We caught up with Ben Quesnel, the man behind some of the most impressive vans that we have featured in Advanture Magazine, about his vision to better outfit Americans for their next road trip.
His one-stop shop, called Simpler Ways, is helping the goal to live the vanlife easier & cheaper for Americans.
Like Etsy for vanlife
Originally from France, I’ve been living in the United States for a decade. Back in 2018, I left my job at Facebook and my San Francisco apartment, sold my belongings and embarked for what was going to be a 6 months trip in my 1985 Volkswagen van I had just finished restoring. A few years later, I’m still at it. I have driven all the way to Alaska, spent multiple winters down in Mexico, and have road tripped all across western United States and Canada.
Since my first build, I have restored two more vehicles, and I keep geeking out about all the ways people turn pretty much any rig into a camper — and for all budgets. During the pandemic, as I was converting a vintage pick-up truck into a camper, I realized there wasn’t a platform curating high-quality goods for life on the road. I spent the following year building a marketplace for small businesses to sell their products to all those interested in embracing a new way of life — a simpler, less materialistic and more nomadic lifestyle. Basically, making vanlife easier & cheaper for Americans.
Simpler Ways was launched in December of 2021, and today it offers over 800 products from over 80 highly curated brands. Last year, seeing how getting a rig outfitted was getting longer and more expensive every month, we took the decision to open a new line of product to help people further in starting their nomadic journey: we started selling conversion kits, with the goal to have a solution for pretty much any rig.
Our mission is to inspire people to downsize their lives to live better. At a time when remote work is becoming the norm and access to house ownership is made close to impossible due to economic turmoils, we want to encourage people to try a new way of living: one that is more about growth and discovery, and less about the linear trajectory society still wants us to believe is the one and only way forward.
My hope is that Simpler Ways becomes a knowledge resource for anyone who’s just starting to think living on the road might be for them, and doesn’t know where to start. From DIY tutorials, to conversion kits, to vanlife essentials… Think of it as Etsy for vanlife: fine craftsmanship curated by — and for — the community. The products listed are made by people who are (or have lived) on the road. We aim to become a place of trust, to help people live the vanlife Easier & Cheaper for Americans!