Tasha Rivard (aka: Tiny Van Travels)
Tasha is a crazy talented photographer, designer and digital media master currently living in a “tiny” Ford transit van chasing waves on America’s West coast. Her project @TInyvantravels documents her transitioning her life to be on the road full time. Her stoke on life, her project and her belief in simple living is contagious - I can’t think of anyone better to be our first ever brand ambassador.
When we welcomed Tasha to the Ambassador team here at L/L, we sat down with her to get to know her a little better…
Where did you grow up? Describe home a bit, where you came from
I’m originally from Plum Island, Massachusetts, but I associate “home” with many parts of the northern New England region. My uncle was a captain and my family had a small boat, so I spent a lot of time fishing and playing in the surf. The New England seacoast has a surprisingly vibrant and talented surf community despite the frigid water – there are beach breaks, points, rocks, lobster… it’s cold but it’s generally clear. When I was in high school I went to boarding school in central New Hampshire – I feel just as at home in the mountains and crags there as I do on the coast.
When did you decide you weren't going be taking the "normal" route through life?
I guess my route was never quite normal from the get go. My freshman year of high school I actually failed a class called “Strategies for Success” because I didn’t agree with their definition of success and I didn’t like the strategies they wanted me to use to get there. I guess at some point during college I made up my mind that I never wanted to take a desk job in a Boston high-rise like so many of my peers. I didn’t want to pay 1200/month in rent for a tiny city apartment. I didn’t want to spend my weeks waiting to go to the bars on the weekend. I didn’t want to be locked into a 9-5 grind in order to make a “livable” entry-level salary. I would go mad. So I didn’t. I just learned how to live with less.
What is your passion? What do you live to do?
I love to surf, that goes without saying. Anything that involves being in the ocean puts a smile on my face. When I moved to Texas, I got really involved with SUP and surf-ski racing to make the most of the lesser surf conditions.
I also love to travel. Even though it’s intimidating for me as a natural introvert, there’s something extremely satisfying about connecting with new places and people. I got involved with photography as a means of capturing the beauty in the world around me.
How did you get into surfing/travelling?
Growing up on the coast, I’ve been in the ocean forever. Surfing was a natural step in the progression. As far as traveling – the first real trip I went on was to study abroad (well, surf) in Australia. It was unlike any experience I’d had in the states… it was an entirely new world and lifestyle. I wanted more. After graduating, I moved to the North Shore of Oahu and worked at surf shops to keep myself afloat. I felt like Pipeline ordered me to get a camera. The rest was history.
How are you making a living?
About a year ago I made the decision to put my biology degree on the shelf, bite the bullet, and go back to school for graphic design. I enrolled in a program that I could complete entirely online, so I still had the freedom to travel and work outside of school. It was a pay-as-you-go type deal, so I could pace myself and pay out of pocket without taking on any new debt, either. Now I do freelance digital media and creative marketing work. I really love this field – it gives me the freedom to work flexible hours from pretty much anywhere. It creates a work environment of constant change and creativity, so it keeps me engaged and on my toes. It’s awesome.
What are you doing right now?
Sitting in a vegan café catching up on work and waiting for my lunch to be delivered.
Where are you going next? What are you goals? Ambitions?
For the last few months, I’ve been converting a small van into a tiny solar-powered home on wheels. (You can find out more about this project at www.tinyvantravels.com) Right now I’m in the process of moving in. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to come of this project, but the goal is to reduce my footprint, consume less, experience more, and inspire others to contemplate alternative lifestyles.
Check out @tinyvantravels