Stories From the Road: Simon Stiles from "Finding Simon"

Meet Simon Stiles

The man, the myth, the legend. Simon Stiles is the creator of the YouTube channel Finding Simon with almost 29,000 subscribers. Through his videos he has portrayed the joys and struggles of van life with his dog Champ. He was inspired to start van life by the photographers Andrew Knapp and Theron Humphrey. The van that fuels his journey is a 1992 Dodge B350 travel home. The camper-van boasts a convenient layout and superior height. "I'm six foot six and I can stand up in the kitchen" Says Simon. In his experience the most valuable van features include a battery bank if you have high energy consumption appliances like a fridge, plenty of fresh water, and a way to stay warm. The basics are a necessity and having a shower and toilets were luxuries that Simon was fortunate to have. When asked how van life affected or changed him he had a very inspiring response. "In more ways than I could possibly list. In a very broad sense van life pried open the door to the world outside and unleashed in me a dangerous ambition. I got to live a life where I bathed in rivers, hot springs, and waterfalls. I hiked every day and met new and amazing people everywhere I went. I learned to climb, to mountain bike, to dirt bike, and to push my limits everyday" It wasn't always easy though. Like any great adventure there were hard times. He had a difficult start. The first two months weren't easy and after a year he went through a breakup which made things challenging for him. However, his second year of van life was a much more profound experience. "All my worst memories makeup funny stories these days." he says "Time has a way of making even the toughest days a little bit funny." To finance his travel, he worked as a photographer full-time and then part time and seasonal. Currently, he makes a living from his YouTube channel or by picking up odd jobs along the way. When asked what his favorite place that he had visited was he had more than a few suggestions. His list includes:
  • ¬†Oceanside, California
  • ¬†Sawtooth mountains, Idaho
  • ¬†Nowhere, Arizona
  • ¬†Black Rock City, Nevada
  • ¬†Glamis Dunes, California
  • ¬†Ensenada, Baja
  • ¬†Whitehorse, Yukon
  • ¬†Liard River Hot Spring, British Columbia
  • ¬†Blue Ridge Parkway
  • ¬†The beaches of Corpus Christi, Texas
  • ¬†Bend, Oregon
  • ¬†Tofino, British Columbia
  • ¬†Gasp√©sie, Quebec
  • Five fingers, New York
  • Jacob's well, Texas
  • Moab, Utah
  • ¬†Grand staircase-Escalante, Utah
  • Dumont Dunes, California
Simon enjoys van life, however, he is currently building a boat to travel around the world with the goal to truly see it all. His tips for eager van dwellers and those just starting out is to not worry so much. Don't sweat the small stuff and always try to travel with the weather. Simon Stiles plans to eventually return to van life after his journey at sea. Check out his YouTube channel to follow along with his story. If you enjoyed Simon's story check out more of our stories!

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