About

Bjarne__bjarnesalen-00118_edited_edited.

BJARNE SALEN

Founder and 100-day-a-year van traveler

Bjarne started building vans in 2018 to enable his nomadic life shooting documentary and adventure films in the mountains. The way to learn van building is to spend time living in them, then building them—over and over. Because he spends about 100 days each year living out of his vans, he knows every trade-off, every best practice, and every important option there is to consider.

 

He’s also from Sweden, the country of efficiency, so he can’t help but bring his minimalist, functional design to each of his builds.

 

“Live life as much as you can and as well as possible. Traveling and working from a van has changed my life for the better in so many ways”

Ben__bjarnesalen-00089.jpg

BEN CANALES

Van builder, carpenter, metal worker

Ben has built vans, cabinets, floors, and much more in the past 8 years, with 5 years before that spent with the US Navy in Sardinia, Italy and Guam replacing watertight doors, elevators, and more. He’s a curious craftsman and a prolific doer.

 

Ben loves getting creative with reused materials. He’s always looking for finds that give his builds better quality and character, like the $30 old kitchen table he deconstructed, sanded, and refinished into the perfect van interior. He’s the kind of guy who prefers his cool-looking farm boards from actual old farms—not faux-distressed at Home Depot. Ben cares where things come from, so he goes to great lengths to build his vans with materials that mean something.

 

“I want my client’s new van to feel like the perfect pair of old jeans that fit just right, flex in all the places you need and make you smile ‘cause your ass looks good. I’m an enthusiast for weaving the newest technology and design with local, reclaimed building elements so your home is half creation, half inheritance.”

Thomas__bjarnesalen-00419.jpg

THOMAS PRATHER

Carpenter, van builder, metal worker

It's easy to say that Thomas has a passion for woodworking, as it runs in his family. Thomas has built and designed high end cabinetry in homes and vans for 16 years and before that designed retro trailer interiors and custom projects for tiny home makers.
Thomas cares deeply about our forests, with a focus on local and sustainable materials and finishes, whenever possible.

His love for vans was instilled in his childhood on the Southern Oregon Coast in a 76 VW Bus. From family road trips to Cali, to learning how to drive.

 

Outside of work, Thomas enjoys songwriting and making guitars and furniture. Also MTB, chilling in the backyard, renovating his vintage trailer and working on his own van.

Evan__bjarnesalen-00065.jpg

EVAN ERIKSEN

Electrician

Quite often he finds himself somewhat-intentionally stuck somewhere in the seemingly endless vastness of forests exploring decades old logging roads between Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.

Evan, a Wisconsin native, moved to Chicago and continued his education in Automotive, Diesel, and Industrial technology at a young age where he found one of his passions in all things electrical. He brings to the team an experienced skill set that seamlessly mends automotive and electrical projects while striving towards the goal to achieve the ultimate accomplishment of blurring the line between work and play.

Evan also founded a company in 2018 specializing in cultivation technology and automation systems that is still expanding to this day. He has achieved a Certified Master Automobile Technician certification and also a certified commercial contractor in multiple states. Evan takes great pride in his work, and truly enjoys the time spent together with the rest of the team at or outside of work.  

“Take the time to save some time.” -  Evan

“Whatever your views or ways. Be consistent.” - Evan


 

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

― Albert Einstein

Stephanie P portrait 1.jpeg

STEPHANIE PODASCA

Van Seamstress, Cushion queen, Artist

Stephanie has had a deep love for color, texture, and textiles since a very young age. She literally couldn’t go into a clothing store or art gallery without having to touch and feel everything. From 2013-2017, she ran her own business creating hand-dyed and hand-painted scarves, pillows, and accessories. She now enthusiastically brings her personal expertise in textiles and sewing to the adventure van business. When it comes to living in a van, art and textiles are the final detail that truly make it a home.

 

She believes that humans are not supposed to spend all their time indoors and that having an adventure van will completely change the way you relate to nature, exploring, and allows one to build a different relationship to the outside world. A van owner herself, she loves camping and cooking, climbing, skiing, and just hanging out on the beach.

 

When not sewing, painting, or playing outdoors, Stephanie works full time as psychotherapist in private practice. Her passion lies in somatic, mindfulness, nature-based therapy and psychedelic integration.

"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” - Hans Christian Andersen