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Jasmine Wilson has always loved road trips, but it wasn’t until last year that she decided to base her entire lifestyle on it.
Wilson, 28, has lived in a refurbished van since December 1, 2020 and travels the country aiming to visit every national park in the US
Wilson, who is originally from Battle Creek, Michigan but is currently in Galveston, Texas, told Fox News that the coronavirus pandemic was the catalyst for her to take to the streets.
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Although she learned about “van life” during her college years – when people live in refurbished vans – Wilson took an interest in the lifestyle again last summer during the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
“I decided to look up [vans] on sale and then I found mine at a dealer and then I just picked it up the next day, “Wilson told Fox.” I just wanted to get started because this year was very unpredictable, so I figured you should take advantage of the freedom we have as long as we have them. “
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Wilson bought the van in July or August last year and spent two months renovating it herself, although at the beginning she didn’t really know what she was doing.
“I didn’t have any power tools before,” said Wilson. “I didn’t know how to build anything outside of IKEA furniture.”
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She still did the renovations herself, learned from tutorials on YouTube, and bought some parts – like cabinets – ready-made instead of making them herself.
When she finished, Wilson’s van was complete with a large bed, two benches – one with a fridge / freezer in it, the other with a shower – a monitor for games, a ceiling fan, and security cameras.
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Wilson doesn’t have a full kitchen, however. Instead, she gets by with a collapsible sink and camping stove, which she thinks is enough for her lifestyle.
“I have everything like a normal house, I just chose not to present it the same way,” said Wilson. “Because I think the goal was to get out of the house. So I didn’t want it to look exactly like a house.”
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Wilson finally hit the road in December after the lease on her home expired. She continues to work remotely as a product designer at three tech startups and earns $ 300,000 a year. Wilson has also developed an app Kinnectto join black-owned businesses and run an organization called organization Colorful codersthat teaches programming to children in underrepresented areas.
“As long as I have WiFi, I can do the job,” said Wilson, later adding that her employers appreciate her travel.
“They know I live in a van and travel a lot and they love that,” she said. “When we meet, they ask where I am that day.”
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Now that she has been on her trip for seven months, Wilson said she has been to 10 national parks and plans to visit parks on the east coast next before it gets cold.
She said she chose to visit all of the national parks because she had never been to a single national park before her trip, despite living in several states such as Texas and Arizona with famous national parks nearby.
“I haven’t seen much of the country, but because [National Parks are] in so many different places, it’s a great way to do something in almost any state, “said Wilson.