#NEVERIDLE JOURNAL   //   Staff Picks

Life on the Road with Bound For Nowhere


Mak and Owen of Bound for Nowhere have some fun travel facts including; 1050+ days on the road, 82,567 miles traveled, 38 states visited, and 389 tacos consumed. They are van life pros that sustain their traveling tendencies with freelance creative work. The couple chats with us about what life on the road has taught them, and provide sound advice for anyone just starting a long term trip or living in a van or RV. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and where you are going?

“We are Mary Ashley Krogh (MAK) and Owen Chikazawa, a wife/husband team that has been living and working from the road since April of 2016. We last had a permanent residence in the wonderful city of Atlanta, Georgia, which is where Owen is from. I (MAK) grew up in a military family and had an impressive list of moves under my belt. We’re currently traveling around North America trying to get our fill before we start venturing down the Pan American Highway.”

What was your main desire for buying a van and hitting the road? 

“Owen and I decided to hit the road after college in 2012 to pick a new city to live in. We spent 6 months living out of a Honda Element and tent camping while traveling all over the US. While we were on that trip, we completely fell in love with the movement and the feeling of possibility that you have when you sit in the driver seat. That feeling that we could go anywhere our heart desires. We sadly ran out of money and had to come off the road. That is when we realized that we wanted to live our life that way. From that moment until we left in 2016 we were working every day to prepare our life and our business for living remotely.”

How long have you been on the go? 

“As I type, we’ve been on the road for 1076 days. We left on April 19th, 2016.”

What are you currently traveling in, and why did you choose it? 

“We are currently traveling in a 2019 Toyota Tundra 4×4 and a flatbed Four Wheel Camper. It’s a pretty unique set up that we had built for us last year. This is our fourth and hopefully last home on wheels we’ll have for a while.”

Did you build it or make any modifications to it?

“There is almost nothing stock about our vehicle. We’ve done a ton of upgrades to our suspension, added off-road features like a winch and snorkel, as well as had a custom camper made for us! We just knew exactly what we wanted after all of our different vehicles and we wanted this one to be 100% dialed in for our own needs.”

Out of all the vehicles you’ve lived in, do you have a favorite? 

“I don’t think that we could ever pick a favorite. We have loved them all for so many reasons. They all had their own personalities and marked specific phases of our life on the road. It would be like picking your favorite child!”

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Remember our girl Amelia? She was our 1985 Toyota Sunrader 4×4. A while back we started a @youtube series following her build and we are finally getting down to the grand finale. For the next 5 weeks we have a new video releasing every Tuesday to you through the last 2 episodes of the build process. Then Owen will take you on an VERY detailed tour of our electrical system, then finally a tour of her interior. To wrap up the series I will be doing an in-depth explanation for what happened after the build that lead us to selling Amelia 3 weeks later. It feels good to officially be closing this chapter of our life on the road because we’re so damn close to starting a new one. Head over our YouTube channel (Bound For Nowhere) to catch up on the series and subscribe to catch the upcoming episodes!

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 What are some of the off the beaten path places you’ve discovered?

“The Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada. We came back from that area forever changed – Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in particular. The people are incredibly kind, the landscapes were unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and we’re already trying to figure out when we can get back to that area.”

After traveling and living out of your vehicle for 3+ years,  what advice would you give someone just starting a long term trip or living in a van/RV? 

“You’ll make mistakes; some will be expensive, don’t get discouraged. Only look at those mistakes for the lessons that can be learned because there will be another experience down the road where that knowledge will come in handy.”

How do you balance work and travel? 

“Our workdays look nothing like a standard 9-5. If we have work, we will sit down and knock it out. If we have more of a casual day we will try to enjoy wherever we are before working. For instance, this morning we woke up early to get a few hours of climbing in and sat down to tackle our work day in the afternoon. In the end, we LOVE our work, and we LOVE our clients that allow for our life to be sustainable. I will not lie though; sometimes it’s hard to keep working when there is a beautiful and new view outside our window!”

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Q: How do you communicate that you need privacy or a moment away from each other? A: Owen and I’ve been together for 10 years now and have been on the road for 3.5 of those 10 years. We’re obviously very close and genuinely love being together, but in a rare case when one of us needs space we have a rule that you have to just come out and say it. Communication is everything. Ways that we give each other space is that one will go on a walk without the other, one will drop the other off for a yoga class or at the climbing gym without the other, or even take a hike alone. The fact of the matter is that even if you want/need space, you still have to work together to make that happen. Everything we do on the road requires team work so if your team isn’t functioning, life is not functioning. Sometimes a little alone time is what is needed to get back on track. We recommend that you always stay open to eachother’s needs and don’t take those needs personally. Q: How do you keep the romance alive when you live so closely with one another? A: Celebrate the small stuff! When space is small, your trying to save money on the road, and you are out in a remote place celebrating the small stuff is an easy way to make something feel special. Example: If we had a tough work day, we’ll go to the grocery store and buy those tiny personal sized ice creams for $1 each. Then we go out to the parking lot and eat them on the tailgate and call it an “ice cream social”. Or we have fancy feast: which is when we buy a reasonably nice bottle of wine, gather our favorite hors d'oeuvres and some nice chocolate and find a place to watch the sunset and cheers to random things that we like. For our most recent anniversary we had a “pizza party”, which just means we went out for pizza and called it a pizza party and that evening we made a playlist of our favorite love songs and danced in the dark at camp. If you care about one another, it’s really easy to find ways to celebrate each other no matter where you are or how small of a space you live in. (Also I totally realize that some of these things are ridiculous, but we love them, so find something that works for you) 📷 by @aidan.klimenko

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What’s been the most magical spot on your trip thus far? 

“This is such a hard question to answer because we have had so many magical spots and a lot of the time they are so magical because of the people that we’ve shared them with. So here is one that sticks out in our minds: We were camped out at a small wharf in Nova Scotia, as the sun started setting whales began breaching and moving in closer to shore to feed. We ended up sleeping with our tailgate open that night and fell asleep to whales breathing just 15 feet from our bed. Their breaths were so deep that we could feel them in our chests. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think back on how beautiful that night was.”

What does a typical day look like for you? 

“Typical days don’t exist for us because it totally depends on our workload, or if we need to relocate. But here is a day that we always strive for. 

We wake up early with the sunrise, and Owen hopes on coffee duty. I spend the first few minutes of my day sweeping, filling our cat’s water and food bowls, and scooping her litterbox. We will drink coffee and take Luna (our cat) outside for a little adventure. Then we like to knock out some work early. We always then try to do something outside so we can enjoy the area we’re currently in. Sometimes that’s surfing, hiking, climbing or just wandering out from our camp! If relocation is happening, we’ll do that in the late afternoon so we can be at camp before sunset. We are big fans of sunset and always like to be settled so we can really enjoy it. In the evenings, Owen and I love to play cards and listen to music before bed. We tend to go to bed much earlier since being on the road because we live by the rhythm of nature. Once the sun goes down we’re not too far behind it unless there is a fire to sit around…then we usually stay up way past our bedtime!”

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Happy FriYay from our camp to ours 🤙🏼

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What are your 5 must-have items for van life? 

“We just had a YouTube video go live on this exact subject! In no particular order: Bedrock Sandals, Sony A7R Camera, Kindle Paperwhite, Alite Monarch Camp Chair, Lodge Castiron Skillet!”

Here is that video: 

What’s surprised you the most about life ‘on the road’? What have you learned about yourself in the process (so far)? And what have you learned about your partner? 

“The kindness of perfect strangers has absolutely taken us by surprise since living on the road. These days it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity in the world, but every single day we are reminded that people are kind and generous.”

MAK: “I’ve learned how resilient I am. We frequently are met some type of adversity and I never knew how quickly I could bounce back and learn from those experiences. I can honestly look back on those experiences fondly for the lessons they have taught. I’m pretty proud of that quality that I didn’t know I had.”

Owen: “I’ve learned that he is incredibly handy and can learn to fix or build just about anything!”

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Day 4 of 5 Q&A: Q:How do you get snail mail? A: We have all of our physical mail go to our business manager (aka Mom, but really she is also our business manager). We actually get paid via check so it’s good to have someone who has access to our business accounts receiving our mail so they can be deposited ASAP. When there is a pile of mail that we need in person we have her send us packages either general delivery USPS or @UPS to another UPS location. General delivery is a great tool on the road because we can send packages to a post office we know we will be going past in the coming week or two! Visit the USPS website for info on how to address general delivery packages. For those who don’t have a person to send their mail to, we’ve heard that there are services out there that can do something similar, but we’re not experts on them. Side note: I want to publicly thank my mom (@kroghnest) for being the best business manager anywhere <3 Q: How do y’all keep internet connection to do your work consistently? A: During the week we tend to stay in areas we know we have good cell service. We have the @Verzion unlimited plan…and it’s amazing for working from the road. We use our phones as hot spots when we’re doing our day to day work from the road and it works like a charm provided that we have decent service. On project delivery days we require a lot of internet so we try to strategically place ourselves in an area we know we’ll have a strong internet connection at a coffee shop or library. Q: Whats the process like of getting the film back on the road? A: We process all our film with @thedarkroomlab. We can send them our film from anywhere and they process it as we instruct on the form we send in with the film. Once the film is developed they send us digital files that we have immediate access to like this one and the negatives get shipped back to our wonderful business manager who then stores them in a fire safe we left for that exact purpose. If you decide to process through the Darkroom you head to their website and request the their prepaid mailer. We stock up on them when we can so we have a few saved up for when we’re on the move. #boundfornowhere

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MAK: “I’ve learned that Owen is really nurturing. We’ve been together for a long time and this seems like something I should have known. Living on the road we are all each other has most of the time and he can always tell when I need to talk through things. He is so good at listening to how I feel and helping me work through things when I need that. I’m incredibly lucky that he is that person for me.”

Owen: “MAK is very determined and resourceful. If she ever has an idea or wants something to happen she makes it so!”

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“Webster's Dictionary defines "wedding" as the fusing of two metals with a hot torch. Well, you know something. I think you guys are two metals. Gold medals.” -Michael Scott As of today Owen and I have been married for 3 years and something tells me the next three years will go just as fast as these have! ❤️ Photo shot on #35mm by us, type illustration by @makwashere (Me) ~ ~ ~ #boundfornowhere #vanlife #traveler #travelblogger #travelphotography #projectvanlife #vanlifers #vanlifediaries #adventurerig #roamfree #getoutside #homeiswhereyouparkit #vanlifeexplorers #vangirls #stayandwander #staywild #seeyououtthere #livetiny #theoffice #film #ourcamplife #roamtheplanet #filmphotography #liveyourdreams #vanlifemovement #nomadlife #letscamp #womenontheroad

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Rapid Fire Q&A

East coast or west coast?

“West Coast”

Sunrise or sunset? 

“Sunset”

Coffee time or happy hour? 

“Happy Hour”

Mountains or the ocean? 

“Ocean”

Route planning or spontaneity?

“Spontaneity”

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