Diane “V” Capaldi, founder of the award-winning conscious living brand PaleoBoss Lady, isn’t your everyday vanlifer.
Not long ago, Capaldi was debilitated by progressive multiple sclerosis and was suffering from life-threatening effects of the disease. She had lost bilateral hand movement and experienced body numbness and troubles swallowing.
Capaldi was rendered legally disabled and unable to care for herself. Yet, against all odds, Capaldi turned what was, in her words, a “death sentence” into a “life sentence,” making the conscious decision to ditch the toxins in her life, take control of her healing, and kick MS to the curb through a series of lifestyle and dietary changes.
Today, free from the control of MS, you’ll find Capaldi crushing each day, traveling the country in her Dodge ProMaster 1500 and sharing her “bag of tricks” with the community on her award-winning “Taking it to the Streets Tour.”
Capaldi’s life is more than just a survival story. She has dedicated her life to empowering others to thrive and take control of their lives—and she uses her van to accomplish that mission.
About the BAM van
For Capaldi, her van, idyllically named the Believe in Miracles van (aka the BAM van), is more than a home on wheels. It is a community-powered, cross-country tour machine that “breaks down barriers” so she can more comfortably and effectively serve the community.
“Prior to the BAM van,” Capaldi explains, “I drove around in my Fiat and relied on those who asked for help to … offer me a place to stay.”
If they were unable to accommodate her, she would have to dip into her own finances to support her cause. Moving into the BAM van full time allowed Capaldi to simply “pull in the driveway” and live a self-contained, simple lifestyle.
Capaldi has been a minimalist for 10 years. When asked why she decided to live in a van, rather than a motorhome or RV, she explains that her goal of living consciously leads her to seek out sustainable choices whenever feasible. In short, she wanted to find a home that would be free of excess toxins or waste.
Although the BAM van is still a work in progress, Capaldi insists that life on the road is “exceptional” and that her 60-square-foot home has “exceeded [her] expectations.”
Highlights of her journey thus far have included spending time in national forests, waking up at sunrise with views of Yellowstone National Park, and meeting people on the road. Adorned with CBD branding and her encouraging “Believe in a miracle” tagline, Capaldi’s van has definitely opened the door for dialogue on the road.
Capaldi notes that she loves when “someone on the road approaches her van to discuss how CBD has helped them or a family member.”
Life on the road
Although Capaldi is considered to be one of the most—if not the only—healed from secondary progressive MS, at 55 she had some doubts about her future on the road. However, she says she overcame her fear with a whole lot of determination and “the support of the wonderful vanlife community.”
Still, life on the road isn’t always easy and, like most vanlifers, Capaldi has had her fair share of menacing moments. Recently, while in a national forest, Capaldi’s electrical system completely shut down at 2 a.m. Coyotes could be heard scoping out her camp spot, and as temperatures soared to 98 degrees—a dangerous situation for anyone, let alone someone battling MS—she felt enveloped with fear and uncertainty. However, the vanlife community rallied together and got Capaldi put back together and back on the road.
Suffice to say, the benefits of living on the road have far outweighed the challenges, and Capaldi insists that living this way is significantly more comfortable on her mind, body, and soul.
“I don’t waste precious energy in a house that needs a ton of maintenance and upkeep,” she says. Instead, Capaldi invests her time and energy into serving the community and empowering others to live a mindful and full life.
A day in the life
To stay physically and mentally healthy on the road, Capaldi starts her day by using Elixinol CBD oil and smudging [her] van, “using sage to clear the energy.” She also dances, makes coffee, and meditates daily.
During the 10 months a year that she’s touring full time, it’s not unusual to find her on the road as early as 5 a.m., though she does spend several days serving the community before moving to the next location.
When asked how she maintains her health on the road, Capaldi explains that she cooks most of her meals, plans ahead, and belongs to Planet Fitness, which allows her to workout almost anywhere.
Aside from working out and eating healthy, Capaldi says she’s found that spending a lot of time with mother nature is a great way to maintain a mindful and conscious lifestyle.
When she’s not actively touring, you’ll find her living in the van in California, spending time with her kids and catching up on some much-needed time by the ocean.
Advice from the road
A bona fide boss, there’s no denying that Capaldi is an inspiration for the vanlife community, not only for her perseverance and overwhelming optimism but also for her charitable mission to help others in need.
When asked what advice she would offer others interested in living the vanlife lifestyle, she emphasized the importance of only doing so if it brings you joy.
“Take a conscious look at your life and if you don’t wake up with joy everyday, something should change,” Capaldi says. “I have never met a person living this life who is not joyful.”
“I raised my kid with an RV, and she traveled the world with me as a child via plane, [staying] in first class hotels. If you ask her what her favorite trips were, it always comes back to the RV and vanlife. [The] memories that we cherish happened in our van and RV.”
Once unable to drive a car, Capaldi’s life on the road serves as a daily reminder to live life with purpose, determination, and intent. Not only does she continue to serve the community, but she does so completely free of charge, relying solely on the kindness and donations of the community she serves.
If you’d like to host a visit from V Capaldi, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in donating to her cause, you can do so via PayPal at email@example.com or by visiting paleobosslady.com.
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