Mel and Armando: Van Life in Europe

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Mel and Armando: Van Life in Europe

American writer Mel and Italian filmmaker Armando met while she was living in the Czech Republic and he in Bulgaria. A couple years later, a few spontaneous decisions found them living and traveling together in a VW T4 Westfalia, and they’ve now been on the road since 2012. We didn’t have a chance to talk about it much, but they’ve also recently adopted a dog!

Mel and Armando

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Note: Some of the language in this episode may not be suitable for work or children!

In This Episode

  • How they each ended up living abroad
  • How they met and started traveling together years later
  • Buying their van
  • Taking their work online
  • Doing trades while they travel
  • Getting sponsors for their travels/blog
  • Learning to live together 24/7
  • And much more

Most Memorable Location-Independent Experiences

So many. We stayed with an Italian circus for a week. We visited the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Europe in Sicily. We’ve been adopted by: a Lithuanian couple, a Portuguese couple, and a Moroccan dog. Grin. Meteora, Greece, was an especially spiritual experience. Morocco for three months was a mix of beautiful countryside and difficult culture. Romania was amazing, pretty much all of it. It’s really hard to say just one.

Biggest Surprise along the Way

How people react to us living in a van full-time, saying either: “Where do you really live/are you homeless?” or “Wow, you’re living the dream. I wish I could do the same.” We weren’t prepared for any reactions about our method of travel.

Resources We Talked About

Mel and Armando’s Links

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2017-04-15T13:07:55+00:00 July 6, 2016|Podcast, with pets|3 Comments


  1. Vanholio! July 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Was the van named “Mork”? As in “Mork and Mindy”?

    • Amy Scott July 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Yes, it’s Mork, though I’m not sure if that’s where the name came from! I wondered the same but didn’t have a chance to ask. Hopefully Mel or Armando will chime in and let us know! (Also, I noticed you shared this on Reddit—thank you!)

  2. Mel Candea July 15, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Hey Vanholio and Amy, the back story is pretty bland. We were halfway to mental, waiting in line to cross the Serbian border in the middle of the night. We started tossing around names (a few from Star Wars, including ‘Jedi;’ a few from TV shows). After being turned away and back around from the Serbian border into Romania, we struck on Mork and Mindy. Mork from Ork, for some strange reason, stuck like silly putty to newspaper copy. It somehow felt right and suited the bright turquoise beast, along with the silliness of the situation. Ha. No other reason. Grin.

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