Life on the Road as a Black Woman
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Life on the Road as a Black Woman

– I’ve gone to areas and I knew
it wasn’t where I should be. And it’s not like when you
GPS it tells you, you know, which side of town’s
the Black side of town. I’m just very friendly. You speak to everybody
“How you doing?” You get your groceries, you get
whatever and you just leave. But I’m not gonna let
someone else’s opinion of me, based on my skin color,
effect how I live my life. If I wanna go there I’m gonna go and then if I don’t feel
safe then I’ll leave and that’s the beauty
of the lifestyle. (gentle acoustic music) My name’s Crystal and I’ve
been living in a vehicle for three years and
living full-time on
the road for a year, in my van. I was married, second marriage and the second marriage
was not going well. We were basically
living like roommates and it had been like
that for a couple years, so I wasn’t happy,
he wasn’t happy. We were very, very deep in debt and I was trying to figure out
how can we get out of debt, how can we pay what
we owe, you know? I started downsizing my own
stuff to let him, you know, show him, you know, we can
live with less and live well and, so when I saw he wasn’t
on board I just kept going with the mindset that
the marriage was done and watched everything I could
on YouTube about tiny houses and the next think you know
I’m recommended van dwelling. What is van dwelling? And so the first three
videos I was like “Oh my freakin’ jeez.” It’s almost like a light
bulb and I was like “I can do that!” (laughing) I just left, left the
husband, left the condo and hit the road and that
was it, never looked back. I feel like life is
really meant to be lived and we’re not really living it. We’re living for bills. We’re living to pay bills, we’re living to keep
a roof over our heads. So right now I’m living
on my YouTube money. It’s not much. It consistently is right around
the 600 to 700 a month mark. I was hoping YouTube
would fully support me, it’s just not right now. It was just a journal for me. If I’m not doing
anything that day I’ll just jump on live
and we’ll just chat. Yeah, there we go. Hi Andrea and Debra and
T&T and Krystal with a K. Carla says “I’m a Black American “and I would like to know, “are there lots of Black
people doing van life? “I am concerned.” There are quite a few Black
people living the van life. “Good to know there are
more of us Black folk “out here on the road.” Yeah, there are. I run into people and
of all age ranges too, just get out there and do it. 108 watching and 100 thumbs
up, that’ll do it for me, thanks guys, I love you so much. Mwah, bye family! There are some people who are
currently looking for a van, there are some that are
in a vehicle or a van and there are some that
are just wishing and hoping one day to do it and
there are some that know that they can’t do it, but they wanna live
vicariously through me, so they wanna see me succeed. There’s really no logistics
to this trip at all, except hitting some states
I haven’t gone to yet, that’s all. And I try and do meetups, so that I can meet
some of my subscribers. I like being able to
put faces with names. – Hey there!
– Hey lady! – How are you?
– How are you? – I’m doing good,
it’s nice to see you. – What’s your name?
– Linda. – Linda! Linda, Linda, Linda
and you got a van! – Yes. (gentle upbeat music) – A hundred year old lobster, I don’t know if
I wanna eat that. (laughing) What are you looking for? – I’ve looked at a couple vans. I don’t want one that
I have to rebuild and do a whole lot of stuff to. – But don’t skimp on a good van just ’cause you’re
afraid to build it out, because you can always
go to a salvage place and pull parts out of a vehicle that are in good shape and
put them in a regular van. – Most of the people that
you see on YouTube are full-timing and
they’re out West, they’re chasing
the t-shirt weather and I’m not going to be
about that for a while, so I need to develop
a tribe of people, people I can travel
and connect with. – You go on Bob Well’s
website, the actual website, go into the forum,
join the forum and go into the women’s section and you could just type in there “Who’s from the East Coast? “I’m from Maine, I’m
looking for a tribe “to kind of hang out with and do some part-timing
van dwelling,” and whoever answers you,
then you can kinda, I mean, but trust your gut. – Honestly, a Black woman on the road. You don’t, I mean, I
don’t have a problem. If you’re Caucasian,
you’re Caucasian, but we see you everywhere,
but you don’t see Black people doing things that are
fun and that are weird. We can do things too. – Okay, all right, let’s
go do some laundry. (laughing) I would’ve never in a
million years thought that I’d be traveling
the whole country, never. I would still be in Virginia
if my mindset hadn’t been, you know, to live tiny. I would still be stuck
there working jobs that I didn’t like, you
know, disappointed with life. I think a lot of
people are realizing that the American dream is not necessarily
everybody’s dream. It is not necessarily
the only dream. I’m living my dream. (gentle uplifting music)


  • The Carla W

    Crystal, Thanks for continuing to share your story and being so open and supportive to us. I appreciate you so very much and have learned so much from you along the way.

  • Crystal Vanner

    OH MY GOODNESS! So happy to be part of this project. Feel free to follow my ever changing journey, and see my new to me van at, find me on Instagram and Twitter @CrystalVanner. Thank you Ben and David you guys rock.

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