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Van Life

Gift Guide for Minimalists + Van Dwellers

With the holidays upon us now, it might be a head-scratcher to figure out what to get for those people in your life who have adopted minimalism or are in tiny homes.

What do you get someone who doesn’t want anything? Or better yet- has no space to spare?

Fortunately, you have come to the right place! There are so many amazing gifts to give the minimalist or van dweller in your life. I have compiled a list that offers gifts from experiences to unique items for you to go about your holiday shopping with ease and enjoyment.

A couple of things I would like to highlight:

1.If the person you are shopping for has a wishlist, make sure you just buy off that list! I know that gift-giving is more fun when the person is surprised, but if you are shopping for someone living in a small space (van, bus, tiny home) or is a minimalist- they truly don’t want or need anything else but what they are asking for.

2. I really want to emphasize how important it is to buy local and/or from small businesses. If you have the opportunity- DO IT. Small businesses can use all the love they can get this holiday season.

Okay- Let’s jump into it!


Experience Gifts

1. Headspace ($13/month)- Give the gift of a calm mind with a meditation app. Our favorite is Headspace because it gives you options for how long or short you want your session, and you can also pick meditations based on your mood.

2.National Parks Pass ($80)- A perfect gift for those who are traveling and visiting the parks- give them the experience of seeing all the beautiful parks without them having to worry about a fee!

3. Airbnb Credit who doesn’t like to stay in amazing homes/cabins/cottages for a weekend getaway?

4.Pre-Payed Meals– Look into restaurants near you and pre-purchase a meal for take-out! A great way to support local and/or small businesses!

5. Audible ($15/month)- A crowd favorite for those on the road to listen to books on tape.

6. REI Experience Classes ($60-120)- An assortment of classes are available through REI such as navigation, outdoor cooking, snowshoe tours, etc. Covid safe options available, as well!

7. Movie Theater Rent Out ($100)- Did you know you can rent out an entire theater?! What better way to bring in a sense of normalcy than to gift the experience of a movie and popcorn, with COVID safety in mind.

8. Masterclass ($15/month) Give the gift of knowledge this holiday season! Masterclass offers online courses from professionals in an array of categories from celebrities. Let them take a cooking class with Gordon Ramsay (hopefully he doesn’t make anyone cry!)

9. Spa Day – For winter lovers- a great way to relax after the day on the slopes! SpaFinder is a great way to give a spa coupon and have the recipient use it at any participating spas. It is good for a couple of years, so could be a good option even if it can’t be used anytime soon!



1. Jot Coffee Concentrate ($24)- So hear me out- for those with limited space this is a steal! 14 servings packed into a tiny bottle- perfect for space-saving and quick pick me up. Not to mention, you don’t need anything other than a glass to pour it in.

2. Meat + Cheese Items–  If I could eat charcuterie for every meal of the day I would. This is a great gift for the foodie + picnic-goers in your life.  If you live in California, check out Canteen Meats. Owned and operated by some rad people, it’s a small business doing big things.

3. InGoodTaste Wines ($20-$60)-  Have no room for a bottle of wine? Or have you ever opened one up and taken so long to finish that it goes bad? This company has solved the problem. Flights of wine for you to indulge in the comfort of your own home. Support small businesses by drinking wine!

4. Candles– Candles are perfect for low key nights and fantastic smells. This would be a great opportunity to shop at a local store or from Etsy! A word of caution if you are buying for van dwellers- try and find soy or beeswax-based so it has a clean burn, as well as a container that is anything but glass.

5. Mudwtr ($40)- Are you looking for a gift for a health nut? Mudwtr is the perfect alternative to coffee and packed with healthy ingredients such as mushroom compounds and tumeric. A unique and healthy consumable gift for them to try!

6. Coffee Beans– Now for the coffee lovers out there. Bring on the holiday cheer by stocking them up with their favorite beans! Shop your local coffee shops. I’m going to be supporting another van lifer who will be launching her own coffee after Thanksgiving! Check out Sydney @Divineontheroad for updates on how to purchase and support her. Another shop I love is Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, CO!

7. Chocolates– Need I say more?

8. Just Dates Syrup ($9)- Like the name suggests- It’s just dates! I needed to add this on here because it’s currently my obsession and it’s a healthy alternative to maple syrup. I think it’s always fun to try new foods out so if you have a foodie in your life- they will love it!

9. Bath + Body Items- Natural and Eco-friendly soaps, scrubs, face masks, and lotions can be a lovely gift for the ones who love self-care. You can shop locally, small, and even make your own! Need an idea? These CBD facemasks are a must-try.


Gifts for Tiny Homes

1. Magnetic Spice Rack ($150)- These nifty magnetic jars are a game-changer Not only do they help clear up the limited cabinet space but look very pretty on the wall. They come with a variety of spices that you can refill whenever you need! I’ve had mine for over 3 years now- a staple in our kitchen.

2. Microfiber Towels ($22-$45)- Oh boy- these towels help save so much space in the cabinet! They are super absorbent and are quick-dry- perfect for camping, outdoor showers, and quick rinse offs. We used to have regular towels but they took up a ton of space, so we opted to just use these!

3. Home Theater Compact Projector ($579)- The price is up there, but if you have the budget or are doing a group gift (try using PayPal Money Pools) – this projector is being praised by those who have it. It’s super compact with great quality and perfect for those who love movie nights. (Screen not included)

4.  Collapsable Food Containers ($16.88)- When it comes to food storage and all the containers- the space can get packed fast. In comes the collapsible food containers. You can store them away flat and save a ton of space in the pantry, but still get all the benefits when in use!

5. Cocktail Bar in a Bag ($75)- This fun gift is for the ones who love to be behind the bar. Who wouldn’t want a bar in a bag? I love that it has a place for each item and can stow away nicely.

6. Stainless Steel Fire Pit ($ varies)- Okay there are so many amazing things about this. It can break down flat and fit into tiny spaces, use it when there are no fire pits but fires are allowed for easy BBQ’ing + cleanup, AND it can be customized with a design of your choice. Phew! Not to mention it’s a small business! He is based in the UK, but also has boots in Oklahoma. Make sure to order fast since it will take some time to be made.

7.Collapsible Collander ($12.99)- Space is sacred in tiny homes. Every inch and corner is accounted for, which makes having key kitchen items hard. This strainer is gold in our van since it folds up nice and small, but can hold a lot of items when in use!

8. Plants: No minimalist will EVER be upset about getting plants, but be mindful of the space that your recipient has to work with. For van dwellers- pathos and low light plants are the best with small pots.


Road Safety

1.Simplisafe Alarm System ($200)- It’s pricey, but it’s hard to put a price on a piece of mind. This system has latches for all the doors, so an alarm will sound if someone opens them while the system is set. There is a camera that you can access on your smartphone so you can feel safe leaving your home on wheels.

2. Snow Chains ($140.00) – You never want to catch yourself without chains in the dead of winter. A must-have for road warriors! Be sure to check the proper sizing and if they are FWD, AWD, or RWD.

3. Snow shovel ($20)- For those adventuring in the mountains, it’s a great idea to have a shovel!

4. Tile ($35)- When your home is your car, and your car is your home, the keys are the most important thing to always have eyes on. Attach the tile on your keychain and you may never lose your keys again. A great gift for those who tend to lose things!

5. Fire Extinguisher/ AFG Fireball Believe it or not, there are many people living without one of these right next to them. Safety is SO important, and when it comes to a fire in a van/RV/tiny home, even a tiny flame can be deadly. A lot of people on the road have been talking about the AFG fireball that is compact and perfect for fires in small spaces, though we haven’t had experiences with it yet. What’s nice is you can decide the size and style you want with it. We just cruise around with a standard fire extinguisher.

6. First Aid Kit ($20)- Stuff happens on the road.. better be prepared for when it does!


Gift Cards

I know some people don’t like to give gift cards, but sometimes that might be all the individual wants. I would suggest pairing it with something consumable if you are the type that wants to give a physically wrapped present!

1.Visa Pre-Paid Giftcard–  Pay for the gas! A gift of groceries! This is hands down the best gift any van dweller can be given.

2.Apple– You can’t go wrong with an apple gift card!

3.AmazonWe all know this is the mecca for all things. A great gift for someone you are unsure of what they want or need.

4.REI– Another great option is a gift card to REI for the adventure seekers in your life.

5. HomeDepot/Lowes – Because there will ALWAYS be a project that needs to get done.

Final Thoughts

I hope this list has helped put a little excitement into your shopping this year. We all know how hard 2020 has been, so the last thing we would want is to make the holidays even more stressful.

Happy Holidays, and stay safe!

Did I miss something? Feel free to comment what’s on YOUR wish list!

Van Life

So You Want to Live in a Van With Your Significant Other

The #vanlife can often times be romanticized. Seeing couples frolic through gorgeous scenery gazing lovingly at one another or cuddled up on the bed laughing uncontrollably. Not a problem in sight. 

But what happens when there is trouble in paradise? When unforeseeable issues arise, and stress starts to creep up?

We have been there. Oh have we been there. 

Thankfully- we have also learned to work through these issues and figure out the ways to nip them in the bud before things escalate too quickly. It’s extremely important to have these considerations before moving into the van. 

First- I cannot stress enough the following:

Issues that you have while living in a traditional home will only be exacerbated when living in a tiny space.

Please don’t think that moving into a van and traveling to the most beautiful locations will be the answers to your issues.


So with that being said, here are 5 tips and tricks we have learned from being on the road together. 

1. Communication

Communication is by far the biggest key for living in a small space or dare I say- being in a relationship, in general. Make sure you have the proper tools to navigate the stressful and ever-changing lifestyle that van dwelling poses.

There is no room for being passive-aggressive- so it’s vital to address issues head-on without being rude or causing pain to the other person. Talk to one another openly and without being defensive. Listen to what one another is feeling or wanting. This is a huge lifestyle change both of you might be feeling completely different emotions at the same time. Be mindful of that. 

2. Guilt-Free bins

When moving into a tiny space, everything has to have a purpose and place. But what happens when you strongly believe you have justification for a whole bag of facial products, but your partner does not? 

In comes the guilt-free bins! 

This has been an absolute game-changer for when you both have different ideas for what is essential. 

We each have a bin that when things are in the category of “why are you bringing that?”and you really want it- drop it in your bin. Once your bin is full, you can’t add anything else or you need to re-evaluate your choices. It gives us a good break from having to decide on everything together or getting in little arguments over space.

This bin is yours, and yours alone. No one can judge you for bringing a pair of wedges that you haven’t worn since moving into the van. No one. 

3. Merging Habits/ Compromise 

I am a creature of habit. I like to be ready and in bed by 9:30 pm. I’m a light sleeper. I hate being woken up before my alarm.

I sound like a great partner, right?

Moving into the van has helped me grow out of strict routine and practice being more flexible, especially since Chucky is a complete night owl. We have practiced ways to help both of us feel like we can continue with our own routines, while also honoring the other person. Since sleep is the utmost important thing in my life, I have learned to sleep with earplugs and a mask for the nights Chucky wants to burn the midnight oil.

Similarly, Chucky is learning to acknowledge how light of a sleeper I am and stays in the front cab when working late with dimmed lights on. This is just a tiny example of what we do to move toward one another and compromise. 

We have also learned to work together and create a routine that works for us. It’s all up to you both as individuals to see what works and what doesn’t. 


4. Independent Hobbies/ Alone Time

Just because we are living in a small space and are physically together most of the time, it is still very important to have individual hobbies and alone time! 

We can’t always be on the same page and want to do the same things, but sometimes it’s hard to push past the “togetherness” when you have literally no other place to go in the evening when you are camping in a dispersed campsite. So I think it’s always healthy in a relationship to have things you do together, but also apart. 

For me, I’m a morning person and love my slow mornings to myself with a cup of coffee before Chucky or Olympus gets up. It’s something that is pretty sacred for me. 

Chucky enjoys playing around on his computer and researching. Just giving each other space and not feel like we need to do everything together really helps and makes it feel even more special when we do carve out together times! 


All in all, the understanding that one another is just trying to do our best will help soften your heart. You are about to live in a tiny space with the one you love- it’s exciting! But will be difficult at times, and knowing you all are doing the best you can, helps a lot. 

Final Thoughts 

You are about to embark on such an exciting adventure! And if you are already in it, you know how fun these times can be! Enjoy it, love it, live it.

I would love to hear from you- Any van couples have rules for living on the road together? Comment below!

Van Life

10 VanLife Kitchen Essentials

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we wanted our kitchen to look.  

With limited space, we knew we had to be smart about the sizing of items and minimizing the potential for things to break or rattle when we hit the road.

Below is the list of everything we have incorporated and LOVE for our Van Kitchen Build Out. These items have all been tried and tested while going up backcountry roads and hours of highway driving.  


1. Kitchen Sink

I love love love this 17in Copper Sink because it’s a perfect size- it’s deep enough to clean pots and throw dishes in there, but small enough that it doesn’t take up that much space on the counter. The unique copper hammered look is also a plus. I wanted it to be unique and stand out- and that’s exactly what we got.  Don’t forget the drain, also! 

2. Faucet

I definitely wanted our van to feel like a home and preferred a long neck faucet. It’s great to give the whole sink a rinse down and potential for a good hair rinse. We get a lot of compliments on this one and I think the function and look are a win-win! 

3. Back Splash Tile

All admit- this isn’t essential. However, this is by far the show stopper for our kitchen. The first thing people see is the beautiful subway tile backsplash, a way to tie in the kitchen, and extra space for vertical usage. The secret here is it’s actually a stick-on! So easy to put up- just use some type of medium behind to stick it to and voila- a beautiful kitchen! 

4. Dishware

When we first moved into the van, we brought along our beautiful ceramic plates and bowls. That was a mistake. It felt like any tiny bump of turn, they were going to shatter. The rattling was insane when going off-roading and we decided enough was enough. We aren’t ones for buying plastic items, so we made sure to find a set of dishware that was eco-friendly, sturdy, and looked good. In comes our bamboo plates and bowl set. I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived because they looked and felt great! 

5. Pots + Pan Dividers

As mentioned above, the same rattling and clanking noise goes for our pots and pans. We like to put the padded dividers in between each item to not only help dampen any noise- but it actually helps protect their integrity. We used these dividers when we were in a traditional home to keep them from scratching and scraping. If you aren’t concerned about getting the pots and pans scratched, I still think it’s a great idea to separate for noise control.  

6. French Press

Coffee is life. I could write a whole post on this topic but for now, I’ll keep it brief. We had a glass french press in our household for over 4 years. Used it every single day and I absolutely loved the simplicity and taste of a freshly pressed cup. When we were deciding what to bring into our van, we knew the glass was a big no-no. However, we brought our press anyway. After a couple of close calls, we decided to buy an Insulated Stainless Steel French Press just to make sure it can keep up with the ruggedness of van dwelling. As you can tell, I’m one for ascetics and function, and wowie this one is a beaut. I love the black contrast with the wooden handle. It comes in other colors as well! The best part about this is that since it’s insulated, the snoozer in the family can still enjoy hot coffee long after it’s been brewed! 

7. Fridge 

This one is a bit tricky- the fridge situation in vans is truly up to your preferences and budget. The top of the line fridge for energy efficiency and price would be the Dometic Fridge. However, we didn’t want to have a cooler-type arrangement, so we opted for an AC Mini-Fridge that has truly be great. BONUS- it has a separate compartment for the freezer! So hello ice cubes, ice cream, and frozen meals! Just be mindful that is not intended for van life, so the doors swing open at times. 

8. Water System

We have a very simple water system and plan on upgrading- but this is a great option for a smaller budget and time sensitivity to get your system up and running! We have a water pump and four 7 Gallon Water Jugs. Two are always being used- one fresh, one grey. The other two are our backup. We really like how slim the jugs are- a key for van living. 

9. Cooktop 

We started off with an induction stove, but our solar couldn’t handle the pull. We then switched to a one-burner butane stove- but quickly realized how dangerous the butane was as well as the pain of having one burner. We are ending up with a two-burner, propane cooktop that we can use in and out of the van. A good option would be the Coleman 2-Burner Propane Stove. Almost any grocery/wal-mart/outdoor store will have the propane canisters, which is huge! 

10. Collapasble Items

Living in a van means limited space. It’s important to make sure that you bring in only the essentials, and what better than having the essentials also be collapsible? We loved our Collapsible Colander and Collapsible Storage Containers. Both are silicone and very sturdy. It truly helps with saving space when not in use, but very valuable items indeed! 

Final Thoughts 

I hope this list helped you find some products for your new van kitchen- I truly hope you enjoy your build-out and know just how exciting life will be once you hit the road! 



Collapsible Colander

Mini- Fridge


French Press

Peel n’ Stick Subway Tile

Bamboo Bowls

Kitchen Sink

Bamboo Plates

Adventures Van Life

Welcome, Wild Tribe!

Please don’t mind the dust- we are in the middle of an amazing transformation here at Wild Paradigm and cannot wait to take you all along for the ride.

What was once a blog dedicated to minimalism, eco-friendly beauty, and creating yourself- will soon be a mix of van life adventures and living your life YOUR way.

Stay tuned, but in the meantime feel free to follow us on our latest adventures on Instagram @Wildparadigm