Life On The Road: Cole Zuver

Sarah NelsonSeptember 22, 2018

Life On The Road: Cole Zuver

Cole Zuver spends his weekends in his trusty steed, a classic 1972 Volkswagen bus named Sunny, photographing some of the most scenic places along the West Coast. He chases sunrises and sunsets, and often brings his two daughters and husky along for the ride. Follow along for some serious travel inspiration @colezuver.

Where are you based?
Cole: “Portland, Oregon”

Year, make, and model?
C: “I have a 1972 VW bus, technically called a Transporter. I’ve had it for about a year and a half. Previously, I had a 1964 VW bus.”

What did you do to renovate the van?
C: “I got pretty lucky and didn’t have to do a whole lot. I picked it up from a friend who was a mechanic. All I really had to do was some interior stuff: I got rid of older panels, put in wood panels and made it more cozy. The bus has a sink, cabinet, bench seat that rolls out into a full bed, a few storage areas, and a pop top that adds another bed.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:04am PDT

How long have you been on the road?
C: “I would say for a long, long time. I’ve been more avidly involved in the social media aspect [of vanlife] for 2.5 years. It was about 2.5 to 3 years ago when I got divorced. With that led to having kids 50 percent of the time. Any time I didn’t have them, I would take off and head out of town. The bus worked perfectly for that. I could go and camp anywhere—some awesome spot in the middle of the woods or on the side of the highway, which a fair amount of the camping is. It kind of just evolved into taking them, as well, especially in the summer.”

Do you travel full-time?
C: “I do not actually live in my bus full time, I just travel in it a lot. I’m probably out traveling or camping in the bus about half the month, on average.”

How many of you travel in the van?
C: “Typically, it’s myself and two daughters, ages 5 and 8. Seven or eight months ago, we added a dog to the mix: my puppy who’s 10 months old. She keeps the bus full of hair. The girls will typically just sleep up top, and I take the larger bed down below.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Jul 11, 2018 at 10:42am PDT

What attracted you to van life?
C: “I’ve always had a little bit of a gypsy soul. I don’t like to sit still or be in the same place. It makes it a convenient way to travel around and always be going to another place. I’m not a great planner in general, and I really love the idea of not having things planned outto just come and go when I want. A lot of what I do is also outside and weather-dependent, so a lot of time, that dictates which direction I’m going.”

What do you do for work?
C: “My day job is real estate. About a year or two ago, I started getting into photography more and started making a side income. I also do some content creation for different brands, as well, now.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Jun 3, 2018 at 10:01am PDT

How do you balance work life with van life?
C: “Sometimes, it’s a challenge. It’s kind of just been an evolving process of trial and error. There are times where I maybe go too much on van life, and realize I need to work a little more and balance that back out. Realistically, it comes down to the fact that if I have the ability to leave, then I do.

More and more, I’m just developing systems and structuring things so I can be gone more. With real estate, I’ve now minimized the part of the process where I have to be face-to-face, and can do most things from a computer. Developing this content creation and photography will also give me more and more freedom.”

Where did the name Sunny come from?
C: “That’s the bus’s primary function for me: Getting me to those sunsets and allowing me a place to camp out and be there for a sunrise.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Jul 25, 2018 at 1:01pm PDT

What’s the best view you’ve seen so far?
C: “Yosemite is a pretty darn tough spot to beatboth from a unique factor and sheer scale of size. I remember being there like, ‘Wow. This is kind of like another world here.’”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Jul 14, 2018 at 9:56am PDT

Any advice for families looking to do exactly what you’re doing?
C: “Start as soon as possible. One thing I see with a lot of families, especially first-time parents, is that they stop doing things [that they love]. If, from day one, you keep going and keep doing what you love, it’s easier to stay acclimated to that for everyone. The child is more used to traveling.

You also have to have the right mindset. Even if you’ve been doing this a while, it’s going to be different with kids. There will be a different focus. Maybe you can’t do certain aspects of the trip that you would have before, but try to be conscious and mindful of the memories you’re making. Find awesomeness in what you can do together.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by colezuver (@colezuver) on Sep 12, 2018 at 9:42pm PDT

Rapid fire Q&A

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
“Night, definitely”

Favorite pizza topping?
“Canadian bacon”

Favorite vegetable?

Biggest pet peeve?
“Lack of self-awarenesslike the people that you might run into that really do not have any idea what’s going on around them.”

Favorite board game?

Sarah Nelson, Outdoorsy Author

Ready to get started.

Be the first to get doses of destination inspiration, and discount codes.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our privacy policy