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
This is our absolute favorite cookie recipe! I made it all the time in the early years of our marriage, before we left for Vanlife. And I was delighted to learn that I could make cookies on a propane stove top with a covered pan!
If you are like us, and don’t have an oven in your van, you will need a lidded pan to make these cookies. It creates an oven effect on your stove top. If you don’t have a pan lid, perhaps you could try a dinner plate!
If you have an electric mixer, you would be fine just using softened butter. I melt my butter to make mixing easier. I didn’t bring my hand mixer, since we boondock most of the time, and rely completely on our solar panels and battery bank. Fellow boondockers, I know you understand!
Melt the butter in the pan you will be using to bake the cookies on. Yay for less dishes! Once the butter is melted, use a scraping spatula to get all of the butter into a mixing bowl. Stir the peanut butter into the butter until well blended.
Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until well combined.
Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract until combined
Add flour and mix until well combined.
Finally, stir in your chocolate chips. The dough should be thick, and the chocolate chips might fall off a bit to the bottom of the bowl. That’s okay! Fold in the chip stragglers as you roll your dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place those balls in your pan, spaced at least an inch apart.
Cover the pan, and cook on the lowest flame possible without your propane stove going out (see picture for reference). The lower the flame, the more evenly they will cook. We don’t want burnt-bottom cookies!
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until they firm up, and are no longer doughy. The time could be shorter or longer for you, depending on your stove. Keep an eye on them.