Van Life: Ford Highlights Three Women Who Live in Transit RVs
Entrepreneurs Who Call Their Vans Home
“Van life.” The schtick evokes images of drifters, surf bums, and music festivals. But it also includes three entrepreneurial women who live in their Transit and Transit Connect cargo vans.
According to Ford, Teri Lou Dantzler fell in love with “camper-vanning” on a New Zealand vacation. Shortly after returning home to the U.S., she began looking into a vehicle that could take her landscape photography business all over the country. After lots of research, Dantzler settled on a fullsize Transit, then spent the next four months turning it into her dream house on wheels. In went a bed, workspace, refrigerator, and freshwater system, along with solid maple cabinetry with gorgeous purpleheart wood inlays.
“Now, I can live out on the road for extended periods of time,” said Dantzler, speaking to Ford. “In between venturing to unique photo locations, I do meet-ups and conduct live photography classes—all from my home on the road.”
She isn’t the only one who conducts business from her van. Rebecca Gross, an Air Force captain, lives in her Transit eight months out of the year to get to cyclocross and mountain biking events. Gross built her Ford in just a few days, kitting her van out with a storage bed, a countertop, and a storage system for her bikes and parts.
“It’s always an adventure,” said Gross. “I’m happier having control over my time. I can coach and work on the road—anywhere I choose—then stop when I want and go for a ride.”
Going down a size is Tasha Rivard, who lives in a first-generation Transit Connect compact van. A graphic designer, she uses her van as a means to live in exciting places without having to pay exciting rent. The Transit Connect features a roll-up bed that exposes a workstation.
Rivard’s van features a 100W solar panel and house battery that powers a refrigerator, lights, and electronics. It also has a small electric shower hooked up to a freshwater tank, allowing her to rinse off after a trip to the beach.
“The whole ‘not paying rent’ thing gives me the freedom to live in places I might not be able to otherwise,” Rivard said. “That has allowed me to go after new opportunities and live basically anywhere while keeping life simple.”