Joni Madere

mindbody | lifestyle | travelwell










"Van Life"

Where ‘Joni Travels Well - The Freedom Movement” was ultimately born.

Transition met tragedy which was ultimately the catalyst putting these wheels into motion. Van life was not planned in the least, but perhaps that was just what the doctor ordered.

The long sought out camper van with a hard-to-come-by layout, affectionately named Thunderbolt, birthed a new era. The name derived in witnessing a thunderbolt after leaving the hospital bed of a since fallen adventurer and skier friend for what was the final time. RIP.

"Bolt" became the vehicle. We became the drivers.

Van Life. Yup. It’s passé. Hell, it’s been passé for decades. The latest installment, thanks to Instagram's arrival while I was living in Southern California, has been passé since 2013 or so, right? Or maybe not so much?

Whatever. It’s a movement.

Movements Matter.

The camper van revival stemmed out of the 2008 Recession. To my amazement, some people I personally know are unwilling to admit that The Great Recession actually occurred. Welp - newsflash - it did and it f’d up a lot of people’s lives. For some it has taken an entire decade to bounce back, re-calibrate and revive their health and well being, personally and professionally.

For some, graduating from college with significant student loans and lack of employment, moving into a mobile home existence became a much faster solution to climbing out of financial debt. Van life also become a solution to the housing crisis for some in areas such as San Francisco. Even those moving towards retirement have jumped on board the movement nationwide given what older generations are facing thanks to what the government is unbelievably - not.

Some might argue whether the middle class is disappearing.

Some folks' eyes are wide open watching this 10-year-old phenomenon continue to unfold.

As a lifelong athlete-adventurer embracing a mountain-town lifestyle throughout my 20’s, transitioning to surf culture in Southern California came easy. Landing at the ocean in 2008 as the financial bubble was bursting, the warmer temps fully featured “van life” culture in full swing. Again, open-minded West Coasters were avoiding rent or a mortgage during challenging financial times, forwarding those funds elsewhere, and gaining ground during a time when many were not.

Camper vans and RV-style living also happens to be a "flow" addict’s dream existence.

For anyone riding counter-culture, the equation is easy:

No rent/mortgage = work less = ski, surf, ride more. A lot more.

I’m not talking hippies. Although they did/do that thing, too.

And I’m not speaking of Yippies. That second or third trendy van vehicle ain’t no “van life”.

I’m talking throwing caution to the wind, living full-time in a camper van or recreational vehicle of choice. These vehicles are often like living in tiny-home luxury. Fully equipped kitchen, super high end bedding, "shit, shower, shave" station, flat screens, surround sound, plush leather interiors with hardwood floors and art of choice hanging on limited wall space.

For us, Thunderbolt showing up was 100% synchronicity. Our entire temporary move to the ocean for the summer was scrapped by unexpected family and travel obligations, kicking us out of 'right timing'. But when we began to shift our relationship with time, we were also able to re-frame it as the timing being perfect. After all, we narrowly missed living north of Los Angeles where forest fires engulfed entire communities ruining thousands of homes and livelihoods. Chalk it up... one for 'right timing'.

But jumping into the “Van, Man” with your partner and a 95 llb wolf-dog-child while maintaining a career conjures up Ram Dass’s well-known saying:

If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.

All kidding aside, if you make it through, pretty sure you are GOOD-TO-GO.


Plans were force-shifted. Magic Bus appeared in one of our home bases of all places. Too much synchronicity to turn a cheek. Carpet ride ensued. Traveling well, primarily for work, squeezing in plenty of play, for a little over 6 months. Done and done.

Not our first rodeo riding in the van. Yet, another rendition at an unexpected time in life. Trusting in 'right timing', the timing was essentially perfect. Immense healing took place. Extreme learning about ourselves and each other led to evolution. Patience. Slowing down. Practice. Practice. Practice. Gratitude. PEACE.

Another adventure in the books with emergence of Joni Travels Well … the next new path worth traveling also revealed itself.

Need some inspiration to take risks, never look back, make choices and become a part of movements that matter? Check out Choices that Can Change Your Life, one of my favorite TED Talks by Caroline Myss.


Joni Travels Well - The Freedom Movement is not actually about me. It’s about union. It's about ALL of us. Holistic Health addresses ALL realms of life. This movement addresses traveling well through life, both inside and out with focus on the financial house. The financial realm layered with speaking and owning our truths, getting comfortable with being highly uncomfortable, vulnerability, soft skills, emotional intelligence, staying in our own lanes, knowing it's not the critic who counts, tapping into the genius of this particular remote work, coupled with radical responsibility and opportunity for all. No one above + no one below. Massive positive impact. Global community. Humans for humans.


Travel Well,
Inside & Out,