By Mark McConville
MEET the woman who packed up her life into a Dodge Sprinter van to travel with her two adventure-loving rescue dogs.
Incredible images show Bryce LaDuc (38) from Elkhorn, WI, USA, with her two 12 and a half year old Border Collie Mix dogs at the top of mountains enjoying the view, lounging by a lake and hiking through the countryside.
Other pictures show Bryce relaxing with Tonto and Finn in their converted van or excitedly jumping outside to go on their next adventure.
Bryce currently uses the van on the weekends with her boyfriend Paul and their two dogs, but plans to move to living in a van fulltime.
“Using the van as an adventure mobile is incredible,” she said.
“We are not held back at all by needing a place to stay and it makes weekend trips, road vacations and exploring simple. We have always tried to live minimalistic so learning to be comfortable in such a small space isn’t hard for us.
“The dogs have adapted well and I think they realise that when we are in the van they are heading for a good adventure.
“The one thing that is hard is they are not able to get up on the bed. We sometimes lift them up for them to cuddle and take naps, but at night we can tell they wish they were up there with us.
“We are trying to figure out the logistics of being full time vanlifers and can’t wait to make our address ‘the road’.”
Bryce rescued Tonto as a stray from Hurricane Katrina and Finn from an abuse situation in Upstate New York.
She explained why she likes to take the dogs everywhere she goes and why they don’t have to miss out on the adventure lifestyle.
“They are my entire world,” said Bryce.
“I may have rescued them, but in the end they are the ones that rescued me. They remind me each day to appreciate the little things.
“They inspire me to be a better person every single day, to be kind, to step out of my comfort zone and learn more about myself. We have spent 12 years together – they keep me young.
“They remind me every day that they are not old, they have just been young a really long time. This is how I want to live my life. Age is just a number and they are the most important pieces of my travels.”
Tonto and Finn have been to 27 states in America and countless national parks and forests. Their future plans include a van trip to Arizona, Nevada and Utah as well as the Canadian Rockies.
Bryce had a message for anyone considering the van life and how it doesn’t mean you have to forget your pets.
“My dogs are beyond happy when camping and hiking,” she said.
“Tonto is outgoing and interested in everything – he is the first one doing perimeter checks around camp. Finn is more reserved and all business – he watches our every move and always is in tune with us.
“Life is short. Spend your time and your money doing things that make you smile. Things you are passionate about. Things that make you feel good about yourself.
“Rescuing our dogs was the best decision we ever made, buying a van was second. The memories we have created with them are priceless and material things or amount of money can buy those memories – life is meant to be lived – go live it.”