GIRLS IN VANS - Kaya from OneChickTravels



Oh gosh. Where do I start.

I’ve been following Kaya from One Chick Travels  for a very long time. I’ll admit, I have a little bit of a girl crush on her.  She’s super bright, unapologetic, climbs hard and has a real talent with words (I’ve been stuck reading her blog for the past hour).

I’m SO stocked to have her taking part of this Girls in Vans series!

You might already be familiar with her youtube channel where she shares insights of her life on the road together with tips and advice (Ever wondered how does dating in a van works?!?)  .  She also has a SUPER blog and a great Instagram account which I daily take inspiration from.


Meet Kaya, the kind of girl you’d want to be friends with.


1.What’s your name and where are you now?


My name is Kaya Lindsay and I am currently sitting in a Starbucks in Squamish British Columbia, Canada. I’m drinking a blended iced coffee and desperately trying to get all my work stuff done before they close.

What are you currently calling “home”?

I am currently calling my 2006 Dodge Sprinter van ‘Lyra’ home!



3. How long have you been on the road?

I’ve been on the road for 2 years as of June 28th!


4. How do you support your travels?

I have my finger in a lot of pies so to speak. My main business is Queen of All Trades  where I do freelance social media marketing for companies. I also do social media consulting for people who don’t need their entire presence managed but just have a few questions about how to make themselves/their businesses more appealing online.

I also make a little bit of money on the side from Youtube ads and affiliate links on Amazon.

And finally I just launched a Patreon and I make a little bit of money from supporters there.



5.  What did you do before embarking in this journey? Describe a typical day.

Before I lived in a van I worked on my freelance business out of a coworking space in Santa Cruz California. My typical day would look like this:

Wake up in my bedroom of my parents house, jump in the shower, get dressed and get ready for work, jump on my bike and ride downtown to NextSpace (the coworking space) have another cup of coffee from the communal kitchen there. Then I would open my laptop and start working on social media content for my several clients, or I would open my school work and do that until around 6pm. Then I would bike home, eat some food and get changed to go to the climbing gym around 7pm where I would stay until around 11pm. Then I might go out for a beer with friends or I would bike back home and pass out and do it all over again!


6. What made you click into wanting to travel around with a van? Was it a sudden realization or a long time dream of yours?

There was this girl at my gym who I really admired at the time. She climbed harder than me, she had really cool tattoos and a cool dog. I remember she posted on her Instagram that she had bought a van and was planning on moving into it full time so she could climb for the summer. This information blew my mind. I’d had no concept of being able to just leave your job, move into a van and climb full time. It sounded like everything I’d ever wanted. I was hooked after that. I started looking for vans and saving up money so I could buy one.



7. I see you’ve converted your van yourself. Did you have any prior skills before the conversion?

Me and my ex boyfriend built the van out together. He had a lot of knowledge when it came to building things and he really guided me through a lot of it, but there was never a step that we didn’t do together (except the drawers, I didn’t have the patience for it). Before doing the van I had some basic construction skills, but a lot of what we did I taught myself from YouTube tutorials. You really can learn anything from YouTube. It’s pretty amazing.


8.  Which part of the conversion did you find the hardest, and which one was the most fun?

The hardest part of the conversion was building the cabinets I think. The van isn’t straight up and down on all sides, it tapers from the top, widens in the middle and then tapers down again at the base. So we really had to get creative for the cabinets and the general frame of the van. Also, making drawers was one of the most maddening things I’ve ever done. Never again.

The most fun part was the insulation! I just really liked spraying foam in all the gaps and cracks in my van and watching it expand! Very silly but that part was just simple fun.



8. Which were your main fears before starting your journey (if any)? How did you conquer them?

I think my main fear before I started traveling alone was being lonely. I was worried I would show up at a climbing area and no one would want to climb with me. I started traveling alone right after a break up and I was struggling to find my self worth. I felt deeply that I was unwanted and that people couldn’t possibly want to spend time with me. It was really hard to overcome that. Fortunately for me, rock climbers are some of the most friendly people on the planet. I accidentally found my way into a group of people who are closer than family today!



10. How do you think you being a girl affects your traveling, and how do you respond to people that believe solo traveling is dangerous?

This is a loaded question for me.

There are two answers to this question. One is, yes of course traveling alone as a woman is dangerous, have you seen the news lately? I guarantee if you look right now some poor woman has been kidnapped or beaten or murdered or worse just because she happened to be both female and alone.

The other answer to this question is; Hell no! Traveling alone as a woman is incredibly safe and you have nothing to worry about.

Where these two opposing realities is where the paradox of being an independent woman collides with our global reality.

On one hand, I’ve traveled all over the world alone. I spent 3 months in India alone when I was 20 years old and I’m fine. I’ve driven over 40,000 miles alone in my van and spent weeks of my life in remote wilderness areas and I’m healthy and alive. I’ve traveled through Canada, the United States, Thailand, China, Spain, France and more either alone or with one or two friends and I am healthy, alive and unscathed. I also think that in some ways I am safer than most women out there. If you have a job which keeps you in one place you might have to work or live with a creep or an abuser and have no escape. For me? I just drive away from people I don’t like and never look back. I also have tons of female friends who travel alone and all of them enjoy a happy safe existence. Women traveling alone are safer today than they have ever been and it’s SO wonderful to have the empowering experience of taking control of your life and doing your own thing.




That being said, my safety as a traveler is always compromised by the fact that I’m also a woman. I do things, like all women do things, that defuse situations of conflict before they ever even happen. I don’t make eye contact with men on the street when I’m alone, I bring up the fact that I have a boyfriend (even if I don’t) in conversation with strangers, I don’t park alone if I can help it, I make sure I have a full tank of gas before the sun starts going down on a long drive, I make sure to never walk alone in remote areas if I can help it, I carry my heavy metal water bottle with me when I do have to walk alone. These things are habits I’ve picked up to keep myself out of situations where I would be in danger of that ‘unnamable danger’ we all know that women are in when they decide to travel alone.

So.. I guess to answer your question I would say that I am safe as a solo female traveler. People are surprised sometimes when I tell them I travel alone, they pretty much across the board think I should get a gun. But, I know that the community of people I have decided to travel around (rock climbers specifically) are welcoming and value me as a member. In fact many of the guys I travel with have stood up for me in a situation where someone was being creepy and told that guy he wasn’t welcome in our community if he was going to treat women this way.

But… I can’t say in good conscious that there is no danger in traveling alone as a woman. We all know it’s not true. But it is worth the risk.


11. How do you deal with being alone? Where you used to being alone or was this the first time?

Being alone at first was hard, but the thing that kept jumping into my head was ‘people are really bad at being alone’. In the strictest sense we cant not have community. More often than not I am trying to find alone time and I just can’t seem to make it work! But I have done a lot of solo travel already so it was comfortable for me. I like being in charge of my destinations and not having to worry about anyone else.


12. Is living in a van different from what you expected?

Not necessarily. I kind of had a plan for what I wanted to do with this time so it feels like I was hoping it would. However I did have a moment early on where I realized I had never experienced this level of happiness before. My life is perfect for me.


13. Name 5 must-have items any van dweller should have.

  1. Pee Nalgene
  2. Broom (tiny is prefered)
  3. Pillow back rest
  4. Fairy lights
  5. Back pillow for drivers seat!



14. Do you have any advice for girls in particular wanting to hit the road?

Hmmmm… I think the only advice I could give specifically to other ladies on the road would be to spend as much time as you can alone. Find yourself in solitude. Journal a lot. Draw. Listen to music. Get away from the expectations society puts on us consciously and unconsciously for a week. Don’t call your parents every day. Don’t text your friends every day. Stop drinking alcohol for a week, and then two and see how it changes your interactions with people. Watch the sunset and try to find familiar constellations in the night sky. Don’t smile at strangers, but always ask to pet someone’s dog first. Stop saying sorry when you bump into people on hiking trails. Take lots of selfies, don’t ask someone to take a picture of you. I think finding yourself in solitude and really falling in love with yourself is the greatest gift that traveling alone can give you.





15. Do you plan in going back to a more stable lifestyle? If so, how do you think this journey will affect your future life?


God I have no idea. I live perpetually 6 months in the future and nothing sooner. I think I’ll probably do this until I absolutely drive my van into the ground and have no other option but to tear her apart and sell her for parts. Thats a terribly sad thought though so I don’t often think too far ahead.


Photo credits:  @tiffany_Nardico_photography and @onechicktravels.

Hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I have! Make sure you go and check Kaya’s blog  Instagram, and her Youtube channel for some proper inspiration.


Are you a van dweller yourself? Wanna share your story? Reach out here!


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3 thoughts on “GIRLS IN VANS - Kaya from OneChickTravels

  1. Good morning,

    thanks a lot for this amazing interview! The idea to travel, live and work in a van is very appealing. There are two points:

    To be alone (or to spend much time on my own) I learnt early because of the large tours with my dog. We lived in a village with many forests and meadows around and we haven’t had mobile phones. This meant for me as a very small girl to learn to manage creepy situations. Today, I love to be on my own, too. If it’s possible, I spent time hiking through the forest which is pure quality time for me.

    The second point is, the only very unpleasant development is the grown aggressiveness (against women). At moment we have troubles because of rapes, gangbangs and murder in a raised number in Germany. To know this development is very uncomfortable. Still there is my hiking-route and as long as it is possible to wander without frightening I’ll do it.

    With best regards from Bonn,

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