Van? Check. Adorable dog? Check. Golden hour light? Check, check and check! Andrew Muse photo.
You’ve probably seen the smiling faces of Andrew Muse and his adventure dog, Booter, kiting, boarding or climbing somewhere rad. A Park City transplant from Massachusetts, Andrew recently put his life savings into a van and is currently hitting up all the best spots in the West.
From Yellowstone to Yosemite, his fun-hogging is bound to make you jealous. Keep up with his exploits by watching the Tiny Home Adventure series every week on the TGR Stash and learn more about what makes him tick and how much he loves his dog below.
What inspired you to pull up roots and put your life savings into a van?
A space as cozy and organized as this doesn't just happen overnight. Andrew Muse photo.
I lived in an AWD Astro van for smaller trips and climbing purposes. When I turned 26, I wanted a nicer vehicle, so I got a Nissan Titan. The plan was to spend a couple months out of the summer living out of the truck, and after scoring a truck camper for about $500, it all made sense for me.
I’ve always wanted to live in a small house in the woods with my dog and with my guitar, up in the mountains somewhere.
I’ve always wanted to live in a small house in the woods with my dog and with my guitar, up in the mountains somewhere.
But I also like to do so many extreme sports and I like to travel, so I just went for it.
To save money, Andrew actually uses this kitchen a lot -- eating out adds up! Andrew Muse photo.
Once I got into the project, it just took over. I was working 12 hours every day. I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up at six in the morning, stoked and ready to go. I had no idea I was capable of working that hard. I learned a lot about myself.
Once I got into the project, it just took over. I was working 12 hours every day, I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up at six in the morning, stoked and ready to go. I had no idea I was capable of working that hard. I learned a lot about myself.
There were definitely stressful times, but it all came together.
What was the hardest part? Did you ever have doubts?
A post-remodel glamour shot. Andrew Muse photo.
It was a lot more expensive than I thought it was going to be, and it was a lot more time consuming. In terms of construction, the hardest part was the trim. Trimming the ceiling to the wall was really tricky, because nothing was square or level. But there was never a point where I thought, “I’m not going to be able to do this.”
There was a huge amount of learning involved. I had no idea what the hell I was doing with a lot of the construction–I just YouTubed it.
I had no idea what the hell I was doing with a lot of the construction – I just YouTubed it.
At different stages, different people would come over and look at my van and offer their advice. That was my favorite part of the project–connecting with people and inspiring each other.
How did the Tiny Home Adventure series start and why did you decide to document your adventures?
Sandboarding with Booter on the Oregon Coast. Andrew Muse photo.
I started making GoPro edits a while back and it progressed into something I really enjoyed. Ski Utah hired me as a snowboard blogger, so I also started creating content for them once a week. More importantly, the video series is also a memoir. When I’m older and I have kids, it’ll be a great experience to show them that this is how I spent the better part of my 20's: cruising around, going on adventures, doing cool stuff.
When I’m older and I have kids, it’ll be a great experience to show them that this is how I spent the better part of my 20's: cruising around, going on adventures, doing cool stuff.
It’s great, but a weekly edit is a ton of work. Filming, editing and turning it all around takes at least 20 hours.
It’s great fun though, and I’m learning to be more efficient with how I organize footage. I’m becoming a faster editor out of necessity!
Do you ever find that documenting adventures interferes with the experience?
Inverted paragliding- more difficult with a selfie stick? Andrew Muse photo.
I think it’s definitely harder work. It’s not “just” fun, but I also like being progressive. I feel guilty doing things that are just completely fun. I feel like I have to be progressing in some way. I can’t spoil myself too much. I like to be working. This is trip of a lifetime and a huge privilege, but I also feel this responsibility to keep pushing myself. I have a hard time feeling stagnant.
This is trip of a lifetime and a huge privilege, but I also feel this responsibility to keep pushing myself. I have a hard time feeling stagnant.
Let's get real for a second. How do you finance this lifestyle?
Home is where you park it. Andrew Muse photo.
Preparation. I was living in this four-bedroom house in Park City. When I decided I wanted to go on this trip, I moved to the garage. I worked my ass off waiting tables, my rent was minimized by living in the garage all winter, and I just tried to save as much money as possible.
I leveraged the social media aspect of it to get a little company funding, but it’s mainly coming out of my pocket. I’m really conscious of how I spend my money. I don’t eat out, I eat (laughs)… but I definitely just try to budget myself the best I can. I’ll splurge on gear and gas, and that’s about it.
What advice would you give people who are inspired by you and want to live the way you live?
Booter doubles as a pillow while Andrew snoozes by the fire after a long day of adventuring. Andrew Muse photo.
I’d say: just do it. I’m no different than anyone else. I still have friends from back home who say, “Man, I totally wish I could do what you’re doing, but I just can’t get it sorted out.” Just make it happen! It’s obviously a risk and a step into the unknown, but the best life experiences I’ve had are when I put myself out there, take a risk and it always ends up being something incredible.
Just make it happen! It’s obviously a risk and a step into the unknown, but the best life experiences I’ve had are when I put myself out there, take a risk and it always ends up being something incredible. If you’re serious about it, just make it happen. Step out of the norm and just do it.
If you’re that serious about it, it’s not that hard. I don’t have rich parents, I don’t have anything that really gives me a competitive advantage. I just enjoy working hard and I really have a passion for the outdoors and what I’m doing. Passion goes a long way.
You have an adorable adventure dog, a golden retriever named Booter. Tell us about him!
According to Andrew, Booter loves to get as dirty as possible. I believe it. Andrew Muse photo.
Booter is the man. He’s the star of the show. He’s the best dog I could ever imagine having. He keeps up in every extreme sports setting I’ve ever been in. When we’re mountain climbing, he’ll just climb on my shoulders. He can downclimb ladders. He’s awesome in every scenario.
He’s also a great way for me to make friends. I’m kinda shy to begin with, but he breaks the ice in all of my social experiences. He goes up first! After being in Hood River for the last two weeks, people will come up to me and say, “Is this Booter?!” I love him more than anything I could ever imagine loving. He’s amazing.
All packed into 100 square feet? Andrew Muse photo.
When I went to go pick him out, all the puppies in the litter were pretty sick. But Booter fell asleep, on his back, sucking my then-girlfriend’s finger. I thought, “Well, we probably have to get this one!”
He’s been cool since day one. We got in the car and I thought he would have some separation issues. But he just sat in the back of the car, ready to go! He was super easy, really intuitive, he knows what I need from him and he’s happy to do that. I took him everywhere with me. For the first six months, I was never away with him for more than four hours. When he was a puppy, I’d hike with him in my backpack. He didn’t really have a choice!
For the first six months, I was never away with him for more than four hours. When he was a puppy, I’d hike with him in my backpack. He didn’t really have a choice!
He’s the most stoked when we’re snowboarding. He’ll run circles around all of us, and chase snowballs. I couldn’t even imagine having a better dog.
You've explored a lot of amazing places recently. Can you pick a favorite location or moment?
Could you climb for 13 hours in Zion? Andrew Muse photo (from 850 feet up!).
The first part of the trip was by far the scariest. Climbing Space Shot (in Zion National Park) for 10 hours tested my capacity for fear. I was so scared. It was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Another memorable place was Havasupia Falls in Arizona. There were crystal clear pools, 210-foot water falls… it felt like Jurassic world meets real world. It was unbelievable.
Sunset at Havasupia Falls. Andrew Muse photo.
As far as a favorite town, I’d have to say Hood River. It’s so much like Park City, just a little less developed. For a kiter, it’s paradise.
So it looks like you snow kite, you snowboard, you kite surf, you wakeboard, you climb … is there anything you haven’t tried?
This Hood River shot screams summer. Andrew Muse photo.
I haven’t been on one of those jet boards. That would be cool. I’ve pretty much tried everything... I haven’t sky dived or paraglided alone, but that’s definitely something I’ll eventually do.
I’m trying to balance all these sports too, and it’s so expensive! To get into another hobby is out of the budget at the moment. Right now, kiteboarding and snowboarding are my sports.
What’s next after Hood River?
A Milky Way timelapse over Mount Hood, OR. Andrew Muse photo.
This is the longest stay of the trip, I’m here for 2 months to primarily kiteboard train and explore the area. After this, I’m going to Yosemite for a month to really scare myself. I’m meeting up with my climbing partner, and we’re planning on going up whatever the biggest thing is that our skill sets can handle.
After this, I’m going to Yosemite for a month to really scare myself. I’m meeting up with my climbing partner, and we’re planning on going up whatever the biggest thing is that our skill sets can handle.
I’ll be shooting time lapses and scaring the hell out of myself, that’s the plan!
Frolicking in the turquoise waters of Bear Lake UT/ID. Andrew Muse photo.
I budgeted for six months of on the road traveling without working a real job. So at the end of October, I’ll probably head back to Park City unless something drastic happens where funding comes along. I recently started a media production business for quality extreme sports content, and I’ve had a few gigs along the road, but that’s something I intend to pursue more seriously after the 6 months of fun are up.
I’ll work, save money, get myself out of debt, and do it all over again. If I can swing it, I’d like to do the same thing but in other countries. Go to New Zealand, get a truck camper, that sort of thing. Hard work always seems to pay off, so who knows what might happen.
Check out Andrew's latest adventures on the Oregon Coast, and look for Episode 7 dropping August 15th!
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