Chris and Shelby met in Bible School in the fall of 2010, where they became best friends and fell in love.
They married in October of 2013, and began renting a 490 sq. ft. 1940’s house in Shelby’s hometown of Grandville, Michigan. Their home was cozy and their rent was cheap (only $430 a month), but their favorite thing to do together was to get away from it all, by traveling and exploring new places any time they got the chance.
When they discovered, “vanlife,” on Youtube in December of 2015, their immediate response was, “Let’s do this!” They bought a 1989 Dodge B250 camper van the next month, and began to completely gut and remodel it from the inside out.
The whole process took 2 years and 9 months in their free time, and on a very small budget. Finally, in October of 2018, they moved into the van, which they named Luna, and began to travel full time with their bearded dragon, Hagrid.
Some of their favorite memories have been visiting Carlsbad Caverns, walking through the Redwoods, hiking Yosemite Falls, and swimming with manatees in Crystal River.
They mostly boondock, and rely on their solar set up to power their electricity. Chris and Shelby currently both work remotely 4 days a week for Women At Risk, International, a non-profit primarily known for their work with human trafficking victims. They use email and phone calls to book parties where people volunteer to sell survivor-made products in their own homes, to support Women At Risk’s partnering safe-houses.
There are so many more places they want to explore, and they hope to have a family someday.
So, their newest project is renovating a school bus, turning it into their future home on wheels. But, that project will take a long time! So, they will continue to live in Luna until then.
Chris and Shelby are both big fantasy nerds and love Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. They enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, watching movies, and eating delicious food together. You can follow their journey on their Instagram account, @happy_vagabonds, as well as their Youtube channel happy_vagabonds.
Chris & Shelby
I have been using this pizza dough recipe for years! I’ve tried new dough recipes since, but I always come back to this one. It is so simple and always turns out great! Imagine my delight when I realized I could make homemade pizza on our propane stove top in the van! When I photographed this recipe, it was during the COVID-19 quarantine, so the grocery store was out of organic all-purpose flour. I tried making it with organic quinoa flour, instead. I didn’t realize quinoa flour is like a whole wheat flour. That’s why the crust has a darker color. I do NOT recommend using a non-white flour with this recipe! The quinoa flour made the dough difficult to work with, and the crust too crumbly. Plus, the flavor was blah at best. This recipe works best with white flour, and turns out ah-mazing every time with it!
3cupAll-purpose white flour (set aside 1/2 cup for kneading)
Add the warm water to a mixing bowl. Next, add the baking soda, olive oil, and honey (in that exact order, if you want the ingredients to roll right off the measuring spoon well). Then, add the salt, and mix until well combined. Finally, add 2 ½ flour, and stir until it begins to form a ball of dough.
I usually knead the dough for a few minutes by hand, adding flour until it stops sticking to my fingers. This is when you will start adding in the ½ cup of flour that you set aside. You may not need the full ½ cup. Just add flour and keep kneading until the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers any more.
At this point, I usually split the dough in two, and save half of it for a second night of personal pizzas, since there are only two of us. ¼ of the dough will make one personal pan pizza.
Now is the time to add your sauce, cheese, and toppings. Let cook until the cheese melts, and the crust firms up on the bottom. If you like a crispier crust, you may want to turn up the flame a bit on the stove to crisp it.The pizza should slide right out of the pan and onto your plate. Slice it up and enjoy!Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse