As I sat down to start my call to theDangerz, I felt a rush of excitement flood through me. I was looking forward to hearing what they had to say, and where they were. From the snip its of podcasts I had listened to while doing my research I could tell this was going to be a great interview.
They were traveling through Montana when I rang and were gracious enough to pull over so we didn’t lose our connection. “Part of the game” said Bryan and I laughed. Of course, I have thought about many aspects of life on the road but that is one I think gets taken for granted - lack of cell service. Such a precious commodity when it goes in and out.
Our talk began with a little background, they left their stable incomes and ventured out into the unknown in 2012. The first two years of their trip in their VW Bus, E, were focused on sunshine and exploring Central America. They met so many like-minded people and were content there for some time. Hearing the stories of young adults trying to find themselves and older adults trying to get back to themselves, they realized there wasn’t much in between. They were trendsetters and had embarked on a journey that very few had before them. Bryan says “There aren’t very many people who have a house and choose to live in a van.” I laughed again as I would many more times during our conversation. Bryan and Jen are so genuine and inviting, they love to share what they’ve learned with others.
After those years they made the trip back to where they started, Portland, Oregon to settle into what would become a “home base” of sorts. They decided not to move back into the house they owned but into the garage with their trusty "E" close at hand to provide a cozy area in their new tiny home. Being the creatives they are, Bryan and Jen renovated their new abode and did so well that it turned into others wanting a similar overhaul for their empty spaces. Thus, Zen Box Design was born. Bryan and Jen now run this company as well as AirBNB-ing their place in Oregon to make their travels possible. It’s curious how the universe comes together to help you achieve your dreams.
Then, I wanted to know about Karma, the cutest blonde lab I ever did see. I loved looking at the pictures of her on their Instagram and so I was curious what it was like to travel with such a companion. They love it. They’ve never traveled any other way. She just wants to be with them and they with her so it works very well. She is a very “chill” dog and so she is perfect for traveling. In addition to all of those pros, she also provides a poignant reminder of why they are where they are - to play and to be happy. In snow she is like a puppy, although she is reaching 11 years old, and in sunshine the puppy comes out once again. “It’s the best day ever since yesterday!”, says Bryan. Why not take notes from her and be just as surprised by everything the day holds? She is definitely an asset to their travels.
Bryan and Jen are about 5 years into this new endeavor and they are still having a blast. Right now, their focus is chasing snow around the Pacific Northwest whose beauty is well-known for being incomparable. They are currently in a Sprinter Van that they built out themselves and it’s proven to be a great mobile dwelling. They check in with themselves frequently and ask about happiness. Are they happy right now? If not, what can they do to be happier? That type of freedom is so amazing and I am in awe of their ability to be so self-aware. Bryan says that they are realistic about this journey having a natural end, due to age or if their happiness starts to wane. However, they have no plans in place as of now and they aren’t great planners so they’ll just keep going until it feels right to stop.
Toward the end of our interview, I, of course, wanted to know if they had any advice for people who may be at their own precipice waiting for the right time to leap. “Why are we talking about it? GO DO IT!” was the animated response I got followed by belly laughs from all three of us. It’s that easy isn’t it? If you are talking about it, it’s in your mind and you want it, so go get it. “Happiness is an option, you may not know exactly the path to find it but being afraid to go try is the worst thing I can imagine now.”, says Bryan contemplatively. In the beginning of all this, he was the one who was so afraid to leave everything behind. He was terrified to give up his job that offered them so much stability. Walking away from their life to lead a completely new one seemed like a nightmare. It seemed so hard, so enormous a task that he just couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea. As he reminisces on where they’ve been it feels so easy. It is so easy now to run towards happiness instead of just dreaming about it.
They have no real answers for anyone other than check in with yourself, if you are not happy then get more of what you need to be happy. Happiness is the goal, it is what everyone wants and needs. The universe provides when you run towards happiness. Jen and I agree that this is “so true!” She always used to tell Bryan “Jump and the net will appear” and that mantra couldn’t be more perfect. Jump and the net will appear, run and your legs will carry you, travel and you might just find yourself in the majesty of it all.
If you want to see more about theDangerz's adventures check out their Instagram here! Happy Travels!