Sarah Nelson
by Sarah Nelson
Posted September 5, 2018

Sean and his two daughters—Paige, 11, and Quinn, 8—spend weekends on the road in their Sprinter van named Moohah. The girls designed the van, filling it with vibrant patterns, and even started their own company called Moohah Creatives where they sell products like colorful blankets and magnetic window covers for fellow vanlifers.

See where these weekend warriors’ next journey takes them @moohahvanadventures.

Year, make, and model?

Sean: “2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, high roof with 144-inch wheel base.”

Why did you buy a van?

Paige: “The drive back from climbing practice is about a 30-minute drive. Every time my dad would pick me up, we brainstormed, ‘What if we had a [Volkswagen] van?’ We were always thinking about it, and dad was on Instagram and found all these people who had done Sprinters. That was so much better. You can design out the whole thing and stand in it. There was a dealer close by, and we went down and really liked it.”

Where did the name Moohah come from?

P: “It was very spontaneous. It just fit.”

S: “They were like, ‘Can we name it Moohah?’ What does that even mean?”

You let your kids design the van. Did it live up to your expectations?

S: “It was beyond my expectation. When it first started, I was like, ‘Sure. I’ll just trick them into liking what I like.’ Right off the bat, Paige had her mind set on a yellow refrigerator. I thought it was bonkers. Quinn wanted pink and purple lights inside. The [vans] that I loved online were really really dark and sleek inside.

I had a moment where I realized that I have to completely let go of my ideas and let [the girls] have free rein. It’s beyond anything that I imagined. It’s an explosion of colors but in a really bohemian, unique, tasteful way.”

What did you do to renovate the van?

S: “We added the yellow refrigerator, a sink, a propane stove with a compartment that pulls out, and added in a row of three seats facing forward in the back. We also added swivels on the front seats so a table can go in the front of them, a lithium battery that’s rechargeable, and solar panels.

Inside, we added an AC unit and a heater that works off of diesel. We added beds and cabinets and all of that, too. There’s a portable toilet in the back. We also have running boards along both sides of the van.”

How often do you travel in the van?

Quinn: “Not that often. But we have sleepovers sometimes and sleep in Moohah [when we’re home].”

P: “We don’t take giant road trips all the time, usually only about 1 a month, but we do spend a lot of time in Moohah. It’s always parked outside our house, and my dad has completely stopped driving his Audi even to work. It’s great because we just hang out in there all the time.”

S: “We drive it every single day. If I pick them up in anything else, they’re very confused.”

What kinds of activities do you do during your travels?

S: “Paige is a big rock climber, and we take it skiing a lot. We’re in southern California, so we love the beach and hiking and backpacking.”

What does your home life look like when you’re not on the road?

S: “My place is in Topanga Canyon, in LA but outside of LA. It’s a pretty rugged environment for being right near the city. Moohah is always parked right out front usually with our door open. It’s almost like an extension of the house.”

Can you tell us more about Moohah Creatives?

P: “Moohah Creatives is our project. We noticed that basically no other van has any color, and we wanted to bring our colorful designs to other people. We really just want to bring all the stuff that people don’t have to other people’s vans and homes in general.”

What has been the best place you’ve visited so far?

Q: “The Malibu Triathlon! We drove there and had lots of fun.”

S: “Quinn really likes the feeling of where we find an event we go to. She likes stealth-camping. For [the triathlon], we were in the parking lot the night before, watching movies and eating dinner. At 5 a.m., the event starts and we’re right in the middle of it.”

P: “I loved when we drove down to Las Vegas for a climbing competition. Me and my dad and ended up driving to Red Rock and did a day of bouldering with my climbing team. It was really beautiful and so fun. I just kept thinking that without Moohah, I probably wouldn’t have ever been there. I was really happy in the moment.”

How do you decide where you’re headed next?

S: “There’s so much within half a day or a day of us. We brainstorm little trips and end up in amazing locations.”

P: “We just think about places we want to go and can drive to. We’ll go anywhere.”

Q: “Sometimes we visit family, or there are vanlife events.”

What makes you happiest about the van?

P: “My favorite part is definitely the yellow fridge.”

Q: “I really like the bright pink lights.”

S: “When I think of it as a dad with these girls, a lot of the genesis of this and post-divorce life was ‘How do you take something that’s a negative and turn it into a positive?’ I knew this could be an adventure for the three of us. For me to truly look in the rearview mirror at what they created, and all the adventures and everything it embodies, is so beautiful. It was the greatest decision ever in retrospect.”

Do you have any advice for families hoping to do this regularly with their kids?

Q: “Make it colorful!”

P: “Don’t be afraid to ask your kids what they want. We ended up having very good ideas, and otherwise Moohan definitely wouldn’t have the same story or message.”

S: “Having your kids be really part of it brings them into the experience and helps you manage your expectations, too. But the main piece of advice is to get on Instagram and direct message people and ask a million questions. Everyone loves talking about their builds and will share info so readily. There’s no right way to do it or wrong way to do it.”

Rapid fire Q&A

What’s something you really want to do but haven’t?

Q: “Get a trash can!”

P: “I want to set up a hammock across the L-track on Moohah and sit in it all day.”

S: “I really want this company to succeed. So, turning [Moohah Creatives] into something sustainable that teaches them something about giving back and running a business.”

Favorite summer activity?

S: “My favorite daily one is hikes with the dog in the morning.”

P: “Go to sleepaway camp. I get to climb and hike and wind surf. I’m in the wilderness for two weeks.”

Q: “I like to go to dance and sing camp. I just like to have fun and be crazy!”

Go-to ice cream flavor?

S: “Plain vanilla because I think I won’t eat much but then I end up adding cookie dough and chocolate syrup.”

P: “Mint chip.”

Q: “Any flavor!”

One thing you couldn’t live without?

S: “My girls.”

P: “My cats, Buddha and Oreo.”

Q: “My mom.”

Favorite season?

S: “The southern California version of fall. The weather is a lot more temperate, and there’s a sign of change—but not the foreboding feel of winter.”

P:” Summer because I don’t have any school and get to have the balance of being really lazy and going on adventures in Moohah.”

Q: “Winter.”

Sarah Nelson


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