Ryyan Mandrell

Ryyan Mandrell works as a roaster for one of our favorite local coffee shops in the Ballard neighborhood near our old house. 

Ryyan lives in a 74 Volkswagen Bus converted by Safaré Custom Campers into a camper van. He was gracious enough to bring his home down to Golden Gardens Park to chat with us a little about what life is like when the road is home. 

Originally purchased from a gentleman hoping to convert the bus into an espresso stand, Ryyan had to completely rebuild the inside of his camper to once again become livable. As a result, each drawer and cabinet serves a purpose. Everything is carefully placed.

His decision to live a mobile life was personally motivated by his desire to “become a better person”. In the interview, we discuss his attraction to a simpler lifestyle often associated with the tiny house movement. He generally goes through three gallons of water per week, any electricity he uses is powered through a 15 watt solar panel, his personal library fits in a plywood box. 

There is no doubt, however, that his lifestyle comes with it share of challenges. Ryyan practices a vegan diet, and food preservation is becoming a problem as the summer heats up and  his van isn’t currently equipped with a refrigerator. Additionally, stealth parking has served as an occasional issue: “It’s not technically illegal to sleep in your car in Seattle… but if the cops know that you’re living in it they’ll annoy you and get you on other things.” 

Listen to the full interview below.