BY BETH ALLEN
Go-Van is an online magazine about van life culture that focuses mostly on vandwellers, folks who live in their vans full time. It’s also very international – you can read about vanners in Europe and Canada as well as the U.S. Branching away from just vans – there’s a wonderful interview with a woman who lives in a converted school bus – it covers all sorts of cool slices of life from folks who decided to leave the 9-5 world and just ROLL WITH IT! The site has tons of beautiful videos and photos... it’s extremely well done and easy to get lost in for a few hours. Here’s to the wanderlust inspiration and awesome stories, keep ’em coming! This interview is with Go-Van founder Julien Roussin Côté, December 2015.
Who is behind Go-Van and where are you from?
I’m Julien, 35 years old and I’ve always skateboarded, snowboarded and I’ve been running an action sports online magazine for ten years called 33mag.com. I’m the Go-Van founder, but I get more and more contributors to help me with the content and the social medias. I was born in Bâton-Rouge but lived pretty much all my life in Montreal. The past three years I’ve been a part time nomad, but even when I’m in Montreal I keep the nomadic state of mind! I’ve always traveled and was often leaving for some road trip with shitty cars, and one day I thought I should get a better adventure mobile.
How long has Go-Van been around?
It will be one year this January 2016, I’m pretty happy with the turn out after a small amount of time!
What inspired Go-Van?
Driving a van takes you to places you would not think of visiting, and makes you meet so many interesting people. Most of the vandwellers I would meet were taking good photos and even producing cool videos about their travels, but this content would sleep on some instagram accounts... so I thought why not offering them a platform to share their inspiring stories!
Do you have a van now?
Yes I own a 1989 GMC Vandura, I named it Billy Ventura.
Do you see your travels and vannin’ as totally intertwined?
Yes! And with all the vanlifers interviews I do on Go-Van, I have a long list of road trips on my bucket list now! Even if I’ll need to take a plane to visit a foreign country I’m thinking about renting a van first. I’d like to visit New Zealand and Iceland with some great adventure mobile!
Surfin’ and vannin’ as intertwined?
Yes I never leave home without my board. My van is my also my daily driver and I keep a board in it all the time. You never know... sometimes I go visit my friend just an hour outside of Montreal, and if the forecasts look good we can decide anytime to go down on the East Coast (Maine or NH...) to catch a few waves!
Have you ever lived in a van?
Only part time for now! But last winter I’ve been three months on the road living full time in my van. Amazing experience.
What is your favorite thing about vans?
There’s no wrong turns! Most of the best places I’ve visited and people I’ve met were completely random encounters as I decided to turn right here, turn left there without having a plan...
How do you hope Go-Van will inspire others?
I just hope people can understand that owning many properties and working long hours just to pay a mortgage your whole life is not the only way to live. Don’t get me wrong, I might be working even more then someone who has a 9 to 5 job, but the fact that I can work when I want makes work easy and allows living more!
I see more cool products on your online store, is there more stuff coming ?
Yes I want to offer all the useful accessories for the #vanlife! If it does not exist, we’ll invent them! I'm currently working on the perfect chair to work from your van... and I just made these cool notebooks perfect to keep track of every important details of your next road trip.
Tell me about some of the cool vanners you have met on your travels or through Go-Van.
Each vanlifer I interview has a cool story! I was happy to meet with Corey and Emily from Where’s my office now. Corey showed me a few good surf spots around Ocean Beach. When I was driving through Montauk between millionaires mansions and fancy cars, I met a 50 years old+, Phil Berg who was living in his yellow school bus with his dog Umma. Really cool guy!. The Roldan family sold everything and left with their three daughters to live in their Wanderlodge bus mainly around Yukon. I'm sure that when their girls will be adult they will be much better prepared to face anything in life! They were pretty inspiring making me believe it’s actually possible to live a different life then what society tells you to do! I’d like to interview Cyrus Sutton soon, if anyone knows him tell him to check his emails, cool?
If you could have ANY van you wanted, inside and out, skys the limit – describe it for me.
I think I would go for an Airstream! Oh no wait maybe a small Toyota Chinook... or maybe a full proof Sprinter? Haha that’s a tough question I get asked a lot! I think the perfect set up would be an AirStream on some piece of land somewhere in Baja California, and a fully equipped stealth van like a 4x4 Diesel Sprinter to go on some adventures. Oh and I’d like to make desert road trip video with a UniMog vehicle too!
Love the “How-To” Section of Van-Go – “How to pull your van out of the mud!” Any cool upcoming How-To’s you have plans to post?
I've been lazy with this section, but I’m working on a product review section with my buddy Jason.
Ass, Gas or Grass?
I guess a lot of gas, a fair amount of ass, and no grass!
Ford, Dodge or Chevy?
Chevy of course!
Check out the Go-Van website – be ready for some awesome photos and good readin’!
PICTURED ABOVE: (Top to Bottom) Go-Vanner Julien rolling down the road, Slideshow from Julien’s travels, Go-Van logo