Last June, the tech world’s quickest response to the pandemic and its ensuing travel ban came via WindowSwap. The crowdsourced website invited visitors, bored of familiar surroundings, to take in the view of windows the world over. But unlike most of us, Shruthi and Peter Lapp never experienced this ennui because they never really woke up to the same view.
Since April 2016, a 1987 Westfalia Vanagon has been their mobile home. The duo, who go by the handle @holidayatsee on Instagram, is part of the burgeoning cohort called vanlifers. And before you dismiss them as a neo-hippie sect of vagabonds, vanlifers aren’t just living out the Kerouac fantasy. They are a tight-knit community of digital influencers with brands who pay them for endorsements. “It began as a fun little project for me, a creative outlet to take pictures on my iPhone and document our trips. We thought we’d rent our house short-term and travel, so it was an easy transition,” says Shruthi.
With about 13.5K followers, they are still rookies in the #vanlife universe when compared to celebrity couples such as @wheresmyofficenow (167K) and @liveworkwander (42.8K). But the number game was never really their plan: “We started traveling to soak in the adventure, live mindfully, disconnect, spend time together and see what’s out there. For me, it’s important to find a balance between sharing our travels and enjoying them,” adds Shruthi. “We don’t post chronologically, and there’s usually a gap between where we are and what we post. I do that mainly for safety so that there’s some privacy for us.”
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