After three months of living his ideal travel lifestyle on the road, exploring the diverse landscapes of America and creating content for his social media following, AJ Rezac has been forced to put his dream on hold.
Originally from Minnesota, AJ has now lived on Maui, Hawaii since he was 14. As it was his mother's dream to live here, AJ developed an up-close understanding of what it takes to follow your passion. From here, he uncovered his love for photography.
Fast-forward six years, AJ was chasing his dream of travelling the world with his camera. He actively chose to further develop his craft while setting off on unforgettable adventures.
Rather than walking the beaten path like many people after graduating from high school, AJ chose to go all-in on his dream, focusing towards making it a reality.
"I was so inspired by all of these people on social media," explains AJ. "Seeming to live free and doing what they love on the road. I got the idea to buy a van, go to the mainland and road trip for as long as I possibly could."
"If all of these people can do it, why can’t I? What was stopping me from doing the same thing and living out my dreams? The only possible answer I could come up with was: only I can stop myself from doing what I want to do."
Over a span of two months, AJ saved up some money, sold his car, quit his job, took an extended leave from his second job, found a van, packed up his life and hit the road.
"It was one of the hardest, most difficult, and most mentally exhausting times of my life. Trying to continuously believe in yourself in times like these are so challenging when nothing seems to go your way.
"I knew in my heart that this is what I wanted. Nothing could stop my determination, and I can’t regret anything that I put my all into and try my hardest."
AJ began his American road trip in Washington before making his way through to Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, before abruptly finishing up in Colorado.
"My first night on the road, I was overjoyed with bliss! I finally did it. I got on the road. Everything up to that point was so mentally exhausting, that once I got on the road, every single moment of doubt was worth it. I was finally able to go where I want, when I want, and however I choose!"
"My experiences of the past three months living on the road can’t be compared to anything else I have ever experienced in my life."
"The purity of the moment, living truly in the present and facing your fears while simultaneously living out your dreams is something that you can only feel yourself. Something that can’t be fully expressed to someone else unless they have experienced it."
Unfortunately, by the third month of his trip, AJ had no other choice than to unexpectedly return home after putting over 7000 miles on his van.
"I took it in to get a normal checkup for regular upkeep and maintenance, but it turned out that it needed much more than a couple normal fixes. Everything from the brakes, fuel pump, battery, shocks, multiple leaks in the engine, and many more all need to be fully replaced."
"I was, and still am, completely devastated. Without the financial capability to repair it and continue on my journey, I have been forced to put the van in storage, forfeit my dream, and return home."
"I have spent so much time and effort towards this trip and to see it come to a screeching halt like this... I just can't put it into words of how heartbreaking it is. With three months, five states, and a whole other country still left on my trip, I had only completed half of my goal. I have been working non-stop to get back on the road again."
Since being home, AJ has focused all his attention towards finding a way to get back out on the road. He has been actively trying to harness his social media platforms and artwork to ultimately achieve a regular income.
"Now that I have been home, I have been trying to harness my platform and my artwork into making a living through my social media outlets. This way, I can continue to have an income and work on the road, rather than just saving up before I leave and not having any income while I am traveling."
"I am still trying to figure everything out myself and I am determined to get back on the road so that I can make this my full-time reality once more."
"Thank you all so much who gave this a read, and if you would like to help out in any way, I created a GoFundMe page to get back on the road!
"I also have some very exciting new content coming to my page and my website about 'How to Live Vanlife', 'How I Started Traveling', a tour of my van, and much more!"