I often reflect on the path that I’m currently on, and how I think I owe it all to that old bus I pulled out of the sleepy woods of my hometown in Pennsylvania so many years ago. Through owning, working on, and traveling in that freedom vessel, I’ve found myself immersed in a life I’ve always wanted, surrounded by experiences I’ve always craved. Sounds cliché, but there’s no shaking the truth.

Last spring I spent a week or two running around—and breaking down—all over the Pacific Northwest with my buddy James in his 1976 VW Type 2 bus. The trip took us up the coast of Washington, around the Olympic Peninsula, then down to Mt. Hood, and out to eastern Oregon’s desserts to find warm sun in the Painted Hills.

While each bit of the trip left its own lasting impression, I’ll never forget exactly how I felt heading into La Push, in the northwestern corner of the Peninsula; the way the sun was shining while it was raining, The Hotelier playing in the bus, and how it felt like the first day of Spring. Everyone knows how the first day of spring feels, but this was something else.

It’s moments like these that are the reason I first jumped into my old van—to chase that feeling of something honest and pure.