20-year-old nomad who chooses to live in a van shares how she stays safe and thrives on the road
via Abigail Martin / TikTok

Do you ever fantasize about quitting your job, moving out of your place, and living life on the road? Seems impossible, right? How do you make money? How do you stay safe? How do you survive without all of the creature comforts you're accustomed to?

Abigail Martin, a 20-year-old photographer and social media influencer, has taken that giant leap into the unknown by buying a conversion van and taking it on the road. On her TikTok page, she shows people what nomadic life is like and how anyone can join her.

It all started when she was in high school and started watching #VanLife videos online. By the time she graduated, she had no interest in going to college or joining the rat race.



So she worked four jobs until she saved up $18,000 to purchase a 2017 Ford Transit with 54,000 miles on it. It cost an extra $10,000 to install a bed, a kitchen, and to set up the electrical.

"In the morning, I would work at a coffee shop from 6 a.m. to noon, then I would walk across the street to a boutique from noon to 6 p.m," she told The New York Times. "Then I'd go waitress at a restaurant from 6 p.m. until closing. On off-days, I was running my own photography business."

Abigail purchased her van during the height of lockdowns and used her TikTok page to engage with people when we were all forced to be apart. Now, her page has over 730,000 followers and her videos have 18.3 million likes.

If you've ever dreamed of dropping out and living life on the road, here are a few videos we've selected from Abigail's page to get you started.

How does the electricity work?


@abigailmartiin

How i have electricity in my van!! #vanlife #fyp #climber #washingtoncheck #vanconversion #foryoupage #vanbuild #outdoors #travel #hiking


How does she use the restroom?


@abigailmartiin

How i go potty 🕺🏼 #vanlife #vanconversion #fyp #adventure #travel #toilet #camping #foryou


How does she shower?


@abigailmartiin

see i’m not a dirtbag 100% of the time ;) #vanlife #fyp #caravanning #vanbuild #solofemaletraveler #camping #adventure #travel


How does she make money?


@abigailmartiin

Reply to @ihave.6babydaddies i do work & heres how! #vanlife #buslife #travel #fyp #solofemaletravler #photographer #adventure #camping


How does she stay safe?


@abigailmartiin

Reply to @whyamisigningupforthis How i stay safe! #vanlife #vanbuild #solofemaletraveler #solofemalevanlife #outdoors #travel #fyp


How to identify a sketchy campsite.


@abigailmartiin

fun times as a solo female :))) #vanlife #solofemalevanlife #adventuredog #fyp #travel #pnw


What's her morning routine like?


@abigailmartiin

a morning in a van. #vanlife #fyp #travel #camping #vanconversion #solofemaletraveler #adventure #foryou #morningroutine #breakfast #coffee


Abigail shares her greatest realization.


@abigailmartiin

here’s your daily existential crisis :) go live yo life #motivational #fyp #vanlife #travel #adventure #inspirational #solofemaletraveler

True


Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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