Woman breaks up with boyfriend and quits job to travel in a van across America with her dog

A young woman decided to completely change the course of her life.

Not only she dumped her boyfriend, but she started traveling across America in a van with her dog.

One day, the 24-year-old Sydney Ferbrache saw an interesting picture of a girl in a van. Then, she came up with this adventurous idea. The girl from Indianapolis, Indiana, knew that the 9-5 work-life wasn’t for her. So, she decided to do something much more exciting. 

After breaking up with her boyfriend, Sydney bought a nice van and now she’s traveling the U.S. with her beloved dog. 

When the young woman saw the picture, she loved the idea of being on the road. Without hesitating, she asked her boyfriend to join her on this new adventure. 

At first, Sydney’s boyfriend loved the courageous plan. By that time, the couple was working too many hours for too little money. As Sydney told INSIDER, they were “totally miserable”, so they could spend only $18,000 on a van, and $10,000 more for renovating it, and making it suitable for traveling. 

The young traveler shares: 

“I saw this picture and it took me down this black tunnel hole of van life. I was scrolling for hours a day on my laptop and in between homework and everything else, just looking at vans. We bought one, had it shipped to Indianapolis, and that was the start of how I discovered van life.” 

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I know I post way too much about mornings and breakfast and coffee.. 🤷🏼‍♀️ But my dad said something yesterday about how the thought of coffee is literally what gets him out of bed in the morning from excitement. He wakes up at 5am every day because he’s so excited for the morning 😂 I know that’s where I must get it from. When I roll over and realize it’s even kind of an acceptable time to get up, I get so excited and immediately start on breakfast and coffee. I know I’m a total freak but for some reason, it’s my favorite time of day.🌞 Thankful that my dad made me the weirdo that I am for loving the best time of every day. Any other morning people out there? No? It can’t only be me! It probably doesn’t help that I can’t stay awake passed 10pm 😩

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In September 2017, Sydney and her boyfriend started their journey. They had been together for a little over a year by then. 

They seemed to have a “great relationship in the van”. Unfortunately, Sydney eventually realized that her man wasn’t her true soulmate. 

“I felt I couldn’t be doing everything I wanted, or shooting for the stars the way I wanted because he had very different dreams.”

The young woman also shares that she felt like the van-life was much more to her than it was for her boyfriend. 

“He loved the van life stuff, but he thought of it as a temporary, ‘I’m gonna let Sydney do what she wants and get it out of her system and then we’ll get married and have kids and have a house,’ and I didn’t like that at all.”

This brave and adventurous journey wasn’t a short-term thing for Sydney Ferbrache. That’s why when she found out that her man wasn’t taking it so seriously, she decided to go on her own. 

She broke up with him in March 2018, and she even let her ex keep the van they purchased together. He ended up selling the van, and he never traveled with it again. Not long after the breakup, Sydney started looking for a new van. 

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So fun life update, a bear broke into the van… Thankfully, we were not inside and aside from being filthy, the only things that need replaced are a damaged drawer and a shattered stove. We poured wine and laughed it off. To hear the full story, this week’s podcast is out and I share all my most ridiculous, favorite stories from the road!! Crashing into a hotel and Ella’s emergency surgery are also finally told in detail! I’ll be posting photos/videos for each episode on @mysoloroad so you can jump over there for all weekly updates. Next week will be all about having a dog on the road so let me know what questions you have and want addressed! – Also, THANK YOU so much for the love and support recently. I never imagined having this kind of community behind me and hearing your thoughts on the first episode really took away so much of my fear and insecurity about starting a new project. You proved to me that actually starting is the hardest part and most of the things we are afraid to do aren’t actually as scary as they seem. So whatever it is that you’ve been waiting to do.. PLEASE DO IT. The world wants to hear what you have to say and your abilities, experiences, and voice are worth sharing. Don’t allow your mind to convince you otherwise. – Please note: I fully understand and respect the wildlife and rules here. I know that desensitizing bears and feeding them can lead to harmful measures taken down the line. I made a simple mistake and forgot to lock my doors once. Won’t happen again ❤️

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Although it wasn’t easy for the young adult to start this new journey on her own, she knew she was strong enough to do it. 

Sydney worked three jobs and worked on a lot of side projects. She was determined to do whatever it takes to save up for the van and make her dream come true. 

The brave traveler bought ner new van in May 2018, and she immediately started renovating it. By September the same year, she was ready to enter upon her adventure. But not without one last purchase – her beloved golden retriever Ella

The first couple of weeks, after Sydney hit the road with her sweet puppy Ella, were the best ones in her life. She couldn’t believe she was finally living the life she had always been dreaming of. 

“It was the most freeing. I truly felt like such a badass. I made this happen, I cannot believe I actually made this happen.”

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Sometimes after a big gathering and a super busy week, I just want to decompress and get lost for a bit. When I started driving the other day, I had no idea where I was going for the night and somehow stumbled on this place. We’ve been here for 3 days now. There’s a ton of rain coming though so we’re heading to Phoenix for a week or so before our long journey up to the PNW. Thank you for all the recommendations of things to do on our way and once we get there! ❤️ I have an insane list going so if you have anything to add, please keep em coming. Honestly I don’t have much else to say today. I’m just happy with where I am right now in every way. I feel peaceful. Quiet. Content. Maybe we’ll sit here another minute before getting up. Remember my post about taking mental pictures? This is one of them.

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So far, the young traveler has been to 20 different states. What’s more, she has also visited the mesmerizing lakes of Montana, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Quebec in Canada. 

Besides, at least two times a year, Sydney visits her hometown to spend some time with her family. That makes a total of 300 days on the rod for the adventurous woman.

Ferbrache shares that she earns her money from advertising and affiliate marketing on her website. She also advises and helps people design their personal blogs. Moreover, Sydney recently started her own podcast named ‘My Solo Road’

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Over the last year, I have shared pieces of my story through captions and photos. Snippets and small details of an entire life. I’m constantly thinking about how I want to share more and show you who I really am. There’s a vulnerability to opening up that I haven’t quite got acquainted with enough and I’m finally breaking out of that. 🙌🏼 I want to commit myself to being a much more active part of this amazing community that I have here. Sooo, “My Solo Road” will be the new podcast that I’m creating all about my life in the van! 😝 It’ll be fun and casual but with lots of information and probably some weird stories. You’ll get to know me in a way that I’ve only ever been in person outside of this public space. This is my chance to open up and really let you in on what it’s like on a daily basis to be on the road and share everything I’ve learned along the way! You continuously overwhelm me with love and support, and this podcast will be my biggest and most terrifying project yet. It means the absolute world to me to have you all behind me and to be apart of this new adventure. ❤️ I’ve been thinking about this for way too long and I’m SO EXCITED for it to finally be unfolding. If you have topics you want me to cover, something you’ve always wanted to know, or guests you want me to interview, please let me know! (Get your wine ready because I’ll definitely be drinking. I need it for this one, okay? Thanks.) Episode 1 will be out next week. 🙏🏼

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People often ask the brave woman how she could feel so comfortable traveling alone. She responds she’s not afraid of being on the road. In fact, she shares that she doesn’t feel lonely, and she truly enjoys her own company.

“Honestly, to this day, I have never felt like I was in danger. I have a very Midwestern family, I was around a really protective father, and I have that sense of safety and security and mindfulness. It’s been instilled in me.”

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This is what most nights really look like for me. No crazy views. No insane scenery. Sometimes there really are mountains but most nights there are just bushes in the parking lot. Ella laying at my feet and my best friend on the phone. Working on my laptop and way too much coffee for one person. It’s these moments that make living in a van feel so normal. But it’s also these quiet, normal moments where it usually hits me.. I’ve actually created this life for myself. I worked really hard and still do every day. I figured out what I wanted and I did it. It’s not impossible or just luck. You can do the exact same thing. No excuses. Just figure out what you want and get there. And whenever you doubt yourself, just look forward to the first mundane moment where it hits you and you realize you actually did it. You created your own happiness. Amazing views are cool but these moments are everything.

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Sydney has no intention to quit her van life anytime soon.

Her plan for the first half of 2020 is to make it to Alaska and to visit Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia along the way. Her next steps are yet to be planned. For now, she stays true to her journey.

“I’ve never woken up once in the last year and not felt like this isn’t exactly what I should be doing. I don’t foresee anywhere in the near future where I want to stop, but I also don’t want to hold myself to this idea that I have to be on the road.”

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“I remember taking a mental picture about a month ago. If I close my eyes and think about it, I can relive every detail of that moment. I was parked in Utah on my way to San Diego. I was laying in bed on my side, and Ella was behind me being the big spoon with her little paw thrown across my ear. I felt her head lay on top of mine and press down. I immediately thought to myself, "This moment is one of the best that I'll ever have. The happiest I could ever possibly be." Life was perfect. – Then she moved her head and rolled around… And the moment was over just like that. If you take anything from this story (full blog story), please notice the good moments. The best ones that you'll ever have. – Take a mental picture. – Because you never know when they'll be gone and everything will change. It can happen in an instant. But even in the midst of your worst days ever, keep in mind that it isn't only the good moments that are fleeting. – The worst will pass and another perfect moment will come soon enough.” – A little piece of a pretty lengthy blog post that I wrote while decompressing the last couple days after an incredibly stressful week. If you want to know all the details and updates on Ella’s surgery, the fire evacuation, and everything else we’ve been up to, click the link in my bio. ❤️

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For the solo traveler, one of the most important messages she gives by being alone on the road is to inspire other women to become solo adventurers.

“I’ve grown this audience on social media, and the number of women who message me saying ‘I never heard of van life before you,’ or ‘I never thought I could do it without a partner,’ the number of people on the road who say it’s specifically because of me, that’s so powerful.”

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