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Cross-Country in a '84 VW Van:
Traveling with Vancrafted

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Written By Nick Miller
Photos By Kelly Smith



One Wednesday morning in June,

at the United By Blue flagship store, our routine was livened up by the arrival of a high-spirited pair of travelers. Kelly and Brendan stopped by our shop for the day, just rounding off their first week on the road, in what they plan to be a six-month journey. We sat down with them over coffee to chat about their plans ahead.

Kelly and Brendan are the recent co-founders of West Falls - “a creative studio on wheels” as they describe it on their website, They created the company so that they could both pursue their own creative interests, through a collaborative project, unrestricted by a corporate setting. They plan to drive across the continental United States, “telling the stories of American makers and doers.” To chronicle these stories, they will be filming documentary style videos, and short stationary videos, to capture their environment. They will also be taking photos along the way, and posting short written pieces.

...a creative studio on wheels

As a creative team, they both come from artistic backgrounds. Kelly hails from Rhode Island, where she attended the University of Rhode Island, majoring in Journalism as well as Fashion Merchandising and Design. Until a year ago, she was working as a Brand Manager for Ralph Lauren, but had begun to move into set design and prop styling, focusing on visual voice in photography. Brendan is from Moorestown and studied Film and Video at Fordham University, which have been his life-long passions. He has worked in film in a variety of settings, beginning as an intern, following his sophomore year of college. He worked at Collegehumor as a director and editor, and directed post production for Vampire Weekend’s music videos as a supervising producer at ApK. Together, they are two halves of a talented, creative force, with the potential to tell powerful stories.



Kelly of Vancrafted


Kelly and Brendan in United By Blue Coffeehouse and Clothier


The van is a perfect ride for the two, who put it in a lot of work to make it the ideal living and working space for their project.


Their odyssey began in Brooklyn, NY, with a send-off party that they were excited to see was a huge success, as their journey has piqued the interests of all of kinds of friends and family, just as it has caught our attention. We were thrilled when they decided to visit us as one of their first stops, and were excited to equip them with UBB gear for the long road ahead. Of course they are traveling light, as they will not be driving a large RV or trailer, but rather, in an iconic and stylish 1984 VW camper, fittingly called a Westfalia.

They parked their snug, new home just outside, and invited us in to check out their highly renovated camper. The interior was surprisingly roomy, and efficiently packed, with a special spot reserved for each of the carefully chosen items that they brought. Maps were rolled and slid into small crevices, supplies neatly stacked in the many cabinets and compartments. They gave us a stooped walking tour of the main living area, which doubles as a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, pantry, and workspace. The back is mainly filled with supplies like camera lenses and tripods, as well as a small aluminum ladder to reach the top of the van, where they have a surfboard and a sleek, black cargo box, firmly latched to the roof. The roof pops open to extend into a kind of lean-to, to accommodate a second bed. It also provides much needed cool air, as the van does not have an AC unit. Instead, they have a pair of small fans (though they admit that the dashboard fan is more often used as a hat rack).

Camp Cap
Derby Tier




The van is a perfect ride for the two, who put it in a lot of work to make it the ideal living and working space for their project. Kelly and Brendan are optimistic, and enthusiastic about the adventures that lie ahead, and look forward to meeting people doing creative work all across the country. We wish them the best experience possible, and will be eagerly following them on their instagram, @vancrafted, and hope you will too. All the best to Kelly and Brendan!

Travel Update - 08.24.14

So far, the two have traveled to:
Brooklyn, NY
Montauk, NY
Philly, PA (!)
Hickory Run State Park, PA
Newport, RI
Boston, MA
Pemaquid, ME
Acadia, ME
White Mountains, NH
Burlington, VT
Niagara Falls, NY
Cleveland, OH
Chicago, IL
Madison, WI
Devil’s Lake, WI
Great River Bluffs, MN
Brookings, SD
Pierre, SD
Black Hills, SD
Badlands, SD
Bighorn National Forest, WY
Yellowstone, WY
Grand Tetons, WY
Jackson Hole, WY
Salt Lake City, UT
Wasatch Mountains, UT
Park City, UT
Bear Lake, UT
Random BLM, ID
Sawtooth Lake, ID
Boise, ID
Crystal Crane Hot Springs, OR
Bend, OR

and onward...

VW Van



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