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Brianna Madia

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Van Life: Dirty, Smelly, and Perfect

Brianna Madia takes over our instagram Hitch a ride with Brianna and her family as they make their way to visit us here in Portland, OR. Hitch a Ride Instagram takeover Brianna Madia spends her time roaming the desert in a van named Bertha. She loves the warmth and solitude, and the environment’s scrappy toughness. “There’s something really intentional about the desert that just sort of clicked with me,” says Brianna. “There’s nothing easy about living in a place where daytime temps are triple digits and water is scarce. I remember being absolutely fascinated by all the woody little desert shrubs, all the cacti – for them to survive and thrive in a place like that takes such grit and

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Never Leave the Dogs Behind

Never leave the dogs behind Tips for Traveling with Your Beloved Best Friends For the last two years, I have lived in an old van with my husband and our two dogs. From 31-inch snowstorms and 116-degree Moab desert days, to 17-hour drives across international borders and nights attempting sleep in crowded parking lots…my dogs have seen it all when it comes to life on the road. Traveling with dogs is not unlike traveling with small children…it’s a little exhausting, a lot rewarding, and you might end up with poop in your car. Here are a few of my top tips for traveling and adventuring with your furry friends. Start Slow. The first time you went for a run, was

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Brianna’s Road Trip Tips

Brianna’s Road Tips for Road Trips Getting there is half the journey. That’s what they say, right? But, if you end up laid out on the side of the freeway with smoke pouring from the hood of your car, getting there can end up being the whole journey. Take it from me, a woman who should have earned a college degree in laying on the hot pavement beneath a 28-year-old vehicle playing, “what’s that burning smell?” Now you might be thinking, “Brianna, I don’t drive a vehicle that’s been around for both Bush presidencies, so I’ll be fine.” Maybe so! But a well-maintained vehicle is a happy vehicle, no matter the age. Here’s some quick and easy tips for making

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Brianna Madia – Home For the Holidays

Here at Yakima, a lot of us are traveling “home” for the holidays. To some that means a ten minute drive, or a plane ride to Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Indiana. For one of our favorite van lifers, Brianna Madia, “Home for the holidays” means snuggling down with her husband and two pups in their home, Bertha. I press my nose to the frozen glass of the passenger window. The humming of our van’s engine slows as we meander aimlessly through dark suburban streets. We peer in through passing windows just beyond porches and lawns lit up with lights and inflatable Santas and white wire reindeer to see families gathered around tables and fires roaring up chimneys…children in matching pajamas

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Brianna Madia

I think a lot of folks hear that we live in our van and assume we’re on some sort of trip. But there is no Point B to our Point A. While we do live “on the road” by technicality, we very much call Utah home. We came here from the East Coast nearly 5 years ago, drawn in by the lure of the mountains and the freedom of the American West…but it was the deserts that kept us here.  We felt an indescribable pull to that undeveloped wilderness. And while Utah has an abundance of National and State parks, we much prefer the complete solitude of the rugged BLM lands of the desert backcountry. We learned early on in

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