An interview with Melody Shapiro, What my Outside Van means to me:


“I would call it my joy and my freedom van.

It’s not just all the traveling. It’s how I use it everyday. It’s a retreat. I make long trips in it and I love making the trips because I have the freedom to stop anywhere I want. I don’t have to go to a campground. I love going places like Escalante, to Capital Reef and southern Utah. I have places on BLM land I go, and I can pull off anywhere, and have beauty and hiking, with no crowds.


I remember things like coming through the Bitterroot mountains coming home from Montana and coming into the Wallowas on the back road to camp out. Watching bears come through my campground. I used to be in a tent and have to chase them away and now I can be in my van and watch them with my cup of coffee. It’s helped me be able to observe, and be with, wildlife more. I’m in the van sitting there, not worried about them going through my food and my supplies. I can go out to the beach when it’s stormy and not have to be in a hotel room and when the sun comes out I can go for a hike. Even in my home town, anytime, especially in the winter, I take it down to the river just to watch the birds migrating and come in. I sit down there and read and walk and just hang out in my van for the day.

It’s a retreat.  It’s a retreat, even in the town I live in.

When the weather is right I just have my paddle board strapped to it. I can travel anywhere. I used to take a lot of kayak gear and tents and all of this.  Now I just throw my paddle board onto the rack system that Outside Van made and I travel. I can travel for months. If I see a place to stop over, whether it’s a river or a lake or ocean, I have it with me. It’s complete freedom and joy. I can stop at a beautiful place while I’m traveling and make lunch for myself. With my solar panel I can be off grid for 3-4 days and not be concerned about plugging in and when I drive it charges up again. I absolutely love it. The quality. I’m going to do a commercial.

OSV is a concept.  It’s not just a lot of features.  It has quality equipment.  It doesn’t break down.

This is why it feels so freeing to me. I’ve been in Escalante driving over bedrock and I have friends who don’t have the clearance in their RV and can’t drive over a hump in a campground without cracking a plumbing system. They are falling apart. I don’t have to worry about sewage and plumbing… it’s total freedom. I feel it’s maintenance-free and I love it.

I’m always packed, or just throw in some food and take off. That’s the other thing I love about it — it has everything I need. I keep my water tank freshened up, I love the stainless steel water tank. I don’t have all the maintenance for these people who want to take their houses on the road in these huge RVs, whom are totally bogged down. I was once traveling in Idaho along the Snake River and stopped off at a small RV camp to recharge and the owner came over to me and went crazy over the van. He said “I see all of these RVs in here, and they are all falling apart”.

I could live in my van.  I’m a minimalist, so the van suits me.  I love the simplicity.

At this stage in my life I’ve unloaded everything. I’ve fantasized about living in it. Or having property with a little pad to park the van and a little studio. I don’t need anything else. Sometimes when I come home from a long trip and I get back to regular living, I miss it. Even when I have a lot of guests coming to visit, I go sleep in my van. Or if I visit family, I sleep in my van. It’s my private room I can retreat to. I love it. That’s the freedom, the joy, it’s the whole concept going (you’re not buying features) and you see what you have. Everybody has a unique concept that fits them.”


The Mother video compliments of Skip Armstrong at Wazee Motion Pictures.  Biggest Gratitude!