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Hi. I’m Natalie Rodriguez. I guess to start I’ll say I’ve been a food enthusiast for as long as I could remember and I’ve been cooking in kitchens for 10 years now. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of Charleston SC in 2013 and spent the next six years trying to find my voice and style as a chef. Before vanlife started, I spent five years as a sous chef with gruelling work hours, leading various kitchens.

I guess you could say I spent a lot of time letting the desire, for travel and for discovering the true essence of my cooking craft, simmer on a back burner. During that time in my life, I met my future wife. Abigail was a free, independent spirit. Someone who if they wanted something in life, was going to reach out and grab it. Somehow she fell madly in love with me and talks of traveling together naturally came about. A few years later after pondering those dreams, I finally told her I needed an outlet. That is when we discovered vanlife.

Abi started doing hours of research on vans, build outs, routes, camping etc. We started selling all of our stuff and even downsized our home. We lived frugally and started saving money. We bought our van and spent a year and a half building it out and saving funds. After getting married and prepping last minute checklists, we hit the road Feb 9th of 2019.

Being on the open road was surreal. I remember sitting on the beach in Florida and thinking this is my new normal for the next year at least. Wow.

Now that I have all this time, I focus my love for cooking on trying new techniques and creating hearty vegan meals for my wife and I. Since we saved enough funds for the year not to work, I haven’t been working, just creating. Eventually I’d love to do In house private chef gigs, but for now, I’m cooking how I want to cook and traveling wherever I want to go.
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