Life On The Road: Mike and Anne Howard

Sarah NelsonAugust 3, 2018

Life On The Road: Mike and Anne Howard

Mike and Anne Howard set off in December of 2011 on their honeymoon with the intention of spending a year together on the road. They planned to return to New York when it was over, but part-way through, they decided to keep going. Six years and a few vehicles later, they’re still traveling full time, running their business from their van and helping other adventurers do the same.

Hear more about their life on the road below and follow along on their adventures @HoneyTrek.

Year, make, and model?

Anne: “1985 Toyota Sunrader”

How did you choose your RV?

A: “When shopping around, we wanted something old, and they call the engines bulletproof in Toyotas. We found this one in Florida with a good bit of love put into it.”

What did you do to renovate it?

A: “What was important to us is we wanted to be as off-the-grid as possible. We installed solar panels, ripped out the old AC, put in fans, and have a generator that we’ve actually never used.”

Mike: “We have bamboo floors, a fridge, did a cabinet makeover, and added a tile backsplash in the kitchen.”

Favorite place you’ve been so far?

M: “New Zealand was the place we did our first-ever trip together, in a Mercedes Sprinter. We did a 13-day road trip around the South Island.”

A: “New Zealand is a mecca for RVing and camper-vanning. You could make any gorgeous place your home. It was epic scenery to wake up to. It was really liberating.”

Did you have any logistical concerns about committing to vanlife long term?

M: “We got kind of nervous to do this in the states—we didn’t know a lot about BLM land and knew that a lot of people talk about having to stay in Walmart parking lots. But it has been super easy. We’ve done around 20 to 25 days in a campground out of the last 450 days on the road. That’s the beauty of having a bathroom and solar power. If you have that, your world gets opened up.”

What was your original goal when you set off?

M: “The original goal was a one-year honeymoon, then go back to New York and get back to the grind. Part-way through, we fell in love with the road. We loved the people we met and the stories we were capturing. We became addicted to life on the road.”

Any plans to stop traveling?

A: “We joke that we were supposed to be home 6 years ago. Everyone understands this is no longer a trip, it’s a life.”

What do you do for work?

M: “We started the blog, HoneyTrek, a couple months before we left for our honeymoon for us to share our experiences with family and friends. It quickly started getting some press coverage. Now, we do a few different things.”

“Across all social media, we work with tourism boards to promote destinations around the U.S. and around the globe. We also run a service called Trip Coach where we teach people how to go full-time in their RV, or go on an around-the-world trip. And the newest branch of our business is HoneyTrek Trips, where we help people who can’t necessarily get 3 to 6 months off [work]. We help them plan 10-day to 3-week trips all over the world. If we can help people travel to more unique places, then it’s part of our mission.”

A: “We’re like a travel agency, reinvented. The idea is having more thoughtful and local experiences. We bring our inspiration and travel experience to the table.”

What does a typical day look like in the van?

A: “We walk outside and do some basic yoga poses and stretches. After, we’ll boil water and get coffee going. We appreciate where we are and bring our meal outside, then head off to our next destination. We’ll hike or kayak later in the day, ideally.”

M: “We put in, on average, 5 to 6 hours of work a day each. We cook most meals in the camper, which is the beauty of having a nice gas stove and oven.”

How do you balance work and traveling?

M: “A big potion of our business is experiencing these destinationswhether it’s for an article, for a tourism board, or for ourselves. When we’re trying to meet more people or digging into a city for work, it forces us to experience it on a deeper level.”

A: “Work enhances our experiences. It gives us a mission to do cooler things and meet more people. People think we’re on vacation all the time, but it’s a lot of work to make it successful and produce good, quality content while always moving.”

What’s your favorite part of vanlife?

A: “We can really get out there and see incredible places we never imagined [when] starting out. We approach every place with an open heart and an open mind. We love everywhere.”

M: “We’re so connected to naturethe environment, the sounds of animals, rivers, mountains.”

How do you choose your next basecamp?

A: “We’re currently writing a book about the best glamping destinations in North America, so that’s driving it a bit. We always have a dot on the map, and then fill in the gaps.”

M: “We highly recommend the book “[Guide to] Scenic Highways & Byways” by National Geographic. It has brought us to some incredible, off-the-beaten-path places.”

Any advice for aspiring vanlifers?

A: “You don’t need a lot of stuff. Bring the things you love, and know that the U.S. is very developed. Everything you need, you can find.”

M: “For anyone, whether going on a 4-day trip or a 4-month trip, type in your GPS ‘avoid highways.’ Travel slow with a smile and an open heart. Good things will happen to you, even if you don’t make it to your final destination.”

Rapid fire Q&A

Favorite TV show?

A: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

M: “You stole mine!”

Twitter or Instagram?

A: “Instagram”

M: “Twitter”

Least favorite food?

A: “Beef—we’re vegetarian”

M: “Beef”

Favorite dessert?

A: “Brownie”

M: “Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups”

Last photo you took?

M: “I have a selfie from last night with somebody who had never been in a camper van or RV.”

A: “We share a phone, so mine is the same, but the last photo I edited was jumping into Iceberg Lake at Glacier National Park.”

Sarah Nelson, Outdoorsy Author

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