Van-Life: Redefining the American Dream in Baja

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Cielito Lindo, however you want to translate it: lovely sweet one or beautiful sky – both hold true for this quaint camping spot just south of Ensenada in Baja. 

With margaritas to put you on your ass, ex-pats to keep you rolling in laughter, palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze, and Lizzy and Thomas to inspire you to move into a van, harvest hemp, hike the Grand Canyon, and surf Baja, there’s no doubt about it. If you ever thought you couldn’t do something, these two, along with Umphrey, their pup, and Carini The Van will send you into van life faster than you can quit your job.

We hope you enjoy this week’s Stout Conversation, a bit off our normal path both in topics and traveling, but every bit – if not more – entertaining and inspiring.

Video Notes to Highlighted Topics

2:09 The Story Behind Lizzy, Thomas, Umphrey, & Carini
Meeting Lizzy and Thomas at Cielito Lindo in Baja California over margaritas y cervezas, we realized we had to tell their adventurous story about deciding to quit their jobs and embark upon the van life, their love of Phish, travel, and adventure.

5:12 One Year Only? No Way!
Saving and budgeting to allow for a year of travel, they picked up a few jobs with friends while traveling and came upon the realization that they had to figure out a way to make this last a lot longer than a year. Finding ways to do seasonal work in Durango and Crested Butte may be one way they are making their van dreams come to fruition.

8:07 Living the Boring American Dream
While Lizzie loved her job and they both had great jobs, they knew that the typical American Dream of college, jobs, buying a house, and what-not was maybe not quite right for them. 

9:45 Building a Van to Build a Dream
Saving for years, spending every waking, non-working moment, building out their van, they wouldn’t even go out for a beer, calling that, “future fun.” Tune in next week for a full tour of Carini The Van.

10:45 Cerveza Artisenal
It’s never too early for a beer.  Yep, it was only 11:00 in the morning when we did this interview; however, it was Baja! Kenny found some Mexican brews made by Indio and we had to share it with friends. 

12:51 Travel Plans? People Actually Plan?
Feeling lucky, issues so far have been little things, like a broken water pump and dead batteries.  Self proclaimed solution-based people, whatever comes up, they’ll figure it out. Everyone has their unique way of life on the road, and Lizzy and Thomas are no different. Being open to different places and different adventures, their way is to generally go with the flow and see where it takes them. Knowing a few locations they want to be, the locations in between are up for grabs.

15:40 Family Support
Ten years ago with no phone, Lizzy went to Argentina, and her mom was ok with that, but ironically now, with cell phone in hand, Lizzy’s mom is a bit nervous but also excited for her. She always curious as to what’s next and wondering when she’s coming home.  Lizzy and Thomas are excited with the unknown, but her parents think they need a plan.  Thomas’ mom and his family are excited for him to be following his dreams. 

17:18 Do it Now
Age doesn’t matter. If you want to travel or live in other countries, do it.  Cielito Lindo is an expat community of people who decided to move later in life.  It doesn’t matter when you follow dreams, just follow them.

18:18 Never Going Back
Not having to set an alarm and taking time in the morning to enjoy the day is a huge perk to living this lifestyle.  Every day is different and full of flexibility and choices. At times, this can be quite daunting, but these two realized that there are times when you don’t need to do anything, let along everything.  Tom states that he had way more FOMO sitting at his desk than he does now.

23:40 The Journey is About the People 
Meeting these two around Thanksgiving, Lizzy and Thomas enjoyed dinner with a variety of people at a local hostel, while we enjoyed dinner and football with an expat. All because we said hi and have the flexibility of not having to be anywhere or having to do everything. 

25:30 Creatively Creating Income
Initially, like many people, Lizzy and Thomas planned on traveling for a year, but are now trying to find ways to make it last until they’re done. With ideas like Workamping, setting up and tearing down festivals, helping with farming, and more, ideas are endless.

27:39 Stout Life
Asking for only a one word definition for their Stout Life, they came up with a great couple of words. These two both grounded us and excited us in their philosophies. We hope they inspire you to live your Stout Life.

We’d love to hear from you.

FOMO – fear of missing out. What’s something you feel like you’re missing out on? If you can answer that question, then you have some planning to do. Let us know in the comments below how you plan on making your day dream a reality.

Cielito Lindo sign with a palm tree in Baja California Mexico

Carini The Van

Click here for a tour of Carini The Van, equipped for any adventure, especially those adventurous Mexican roads.

Want more van life stories?

Click here for Jill and August’s podcast interview
with the Craft Beer Travel and Adventure podcast.

Then catch the video tour of their van, where they dance the night away!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don’t miss out on future Stout Conversations.

To watch previous episodes and stay up to date with future episodes, click here.

Curious as to what premiered last week?

Click here for more craft beer lifestyle stories!



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