Life on the Road With Ad-Van-Tures Over 50

by | May 2024

Tracey Tischler

Photos: Tracey Tischler

Tracey Tischler shares her van life adventures to inspire the over-50 crowd.

Tracey Tischler is embracing life’s second half in a big way: on the road. In late 2021, the then-56-year-old White Bear Lake resident left behind suburban life and embarked on an adventure in her live-in van, traveling across the country and making her home in just 19 square feet.

“I had been thinking about van life for a while,” Tischler says. She watched YouTube videos of people—mostly in their 20s—who opted for the vagabond lifestyle, renovating their vans in real time for their followers and taking viewers along on cross-country adventures. But Tischler wasn’t sure she was ready to make the leap. She felt tethered to her family in White Bear Lake—including her 94-year-old mother, Joy, and her 22-year-old daughter, Jessie—and wasn’t ready to retire.

But her longing for the freedom of van life won out. Tischler especially wanted to honor many of her family members who never made it to their golden years, including her sister, Chris, who passed away from cancer at age 42. “I remember being in the room with her as she was dying,” Tischler says. “I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what she wishes she would have done.’ After that, that’s how I’ve lived my life. Doing the things I love.”

“I bought my van. I started selling everything. I felt freer,” she says. “I got through that fear.” She spent about a year remodeling Charlene (the name of her beloved van), selling her possessions and getting rid of her permanent landing pad. The van is equipped with a small kitchenette and a toilet, and Tischler has a gym membership that gives her access to regular showers. She works part time at a pharmacy when she’s home in White Bear Lake and stays connected to her past jobs as a makeup artist and esthetician to work on photo shoots and events. Those gigs help pay for life in Charlene.

Tracy Tischler shares her adventures on social media and now coaches fellow van lifers.

Tracy Tischler shares her adventures on social media and now coaches fellow van lifers.

“My first adventure was going to NASCAR in Phoenix, Arizona,” Tischler says. “I didn’t even know where I was going to park. Ignorance is bliss!” She started her YouTube channel, Ad-Van-Tures Over 50, mostly so Joy could keep up with her travels. “When I left the driveway, I had 56 followers,” she says. “Now, I have 31,000.” The certified life coach shares her travels with her followers on social media, writes a blog and even coaches fellow van lifers, especially women and folks over 50.

Tischler says it’s easiest to start out by staying near friends or family members when you travel. She usually opts to park at a truck stop overnight—her favorites are Love’s and Pilot, which are clean and well lit. “For safety, I also carry mace and a loud horn and have a security system,” she says.

She looks back fondly on her first solo trip out west, through Montana, Wyoming and Utah. “I would literally have to stop and get out of the van and just stand there. It was so beautiful,” Tischler says. “It’s not something I could ever capture. All the good stuff is on the other side of fear. Now, I get to enjoy the scenery.”

Ad-Van-Tures Over 50
Facebook: Ad-van-tures Over 50
Instagram: @advanturesover50
TikTok: @advanturesover50
YouTube: Ad-van-tures Over 50


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