As humans’ companions, there are many aspects of domestic life that dogs really enjoy. Still, they’re just as content spreading out on a sectional couch as they are on a car’s back seat while you run errands. Ultimately, your dog is happiest when he’s wherever you are.
26-year-old Linnea Schmelzer from Wisconsin knows this all too well. She and her German Shepherd Akela live in a van together, exploring the wilderness. Together, they’re very content with their nomadic lifestyle.
As Schmelzer explains:
“I truly think it’s beautiful that we all have different definitions of living a content life.”
A Life Of Love And Contentment
Schmelzer began this unconventional lifestyle after years of working a regular 9 to 5 job and being in a long-term relationship. She felt a longing and a desire to travel, explore, and grow, so she gave all that up and invested in “Togo,” her van. Schmelzer spent a lot of money renovating the van to feel more like a tiny cabin.
“I knew in my heart that my life wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I was seeking more depth, purpose, travels and experiences, so I decided to get Togo.”
“Akela truly has the best life. First thing every morning she gets to play outside or run with me. She loves to swim, hike, climb mountains, and explore… and she gets to do that almost every day of her life.”
Travel Partners And Companions
Living “alone” may seem scary or sad to some people. But though Schmelzer doesn’t have human roommates, she always has her canine best friend by her side. Both love their way of life.
“Akela is as comfortable on my bed as she is in our two-person tent in the wilderness. She is my ultimate travel partner and companion, and I can’t imagine doing any of this without her.”
Schmelzer also admits that there are some challenging aspects to living in a van, especially when your companion is a dog.
“…She does take up a lot of space, and she leaves hair everywhere. I don’t mind this though, I understand it’s just all a part of it!”
Still, Akela makes a great protector for her human while they’re out on the road. Schmelzer feels safer with her dog around.
“She is also protective of the van and myself, which makes me feel much more comfortable knowing that she will always warn me of danger.”
Living a van life isn’t easy, but these two are truly happy every day with each other and the open road. For more on their adventures and lifestyle, follow @linnea.and.akela on Instagram.