A couple has been road tripping across the US for 3 years and took these incredible pictures

Rachel and James left their life and jobs behind in San Diego almost three years ago to give life on the road a try.

They soon fell in love with the lifestyle and decided to make their Volkswagen bus — Sunshine — their permanent home.

The couple carries everything they own in the van; they have nothing in storage, and they like it that way.

“I think that there’s an extreme freedom in having nothing to lose,” Rachel said in an interview published on the “When the Road is Home” project by┬áDaniel Volland and Ben Schuyler.

They document their journey on their Instagram account (@idletheorybus) and on their website.

Their photos might just inspire you to hop in the car and take a road trip of your own.

James and Rachel have been on the road in Sunshine, their '76 Volkswagen bus for almost three years. They started their journey back in November of 2012.

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The couple are high school sweethearts. They met sophomore year in English class.

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They have been together for 10 years.

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On their website, James describes himself as a 'professional photographer, amateur mechanic, and excellent map reader.'

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Rachel is a 'cartoonist, calligraphist, and critic' who has a 'deep disregard of standard time measurements.'

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Before making the decision to live on the road, Rachel and James both lived and worked in San Diego.

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Rachel was writing during the day and working as a sommelier in a restaurant at night, and James worked in the surf film industry, making independent surf culture documentary shorts for a website.

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Rachel wasn't particularly attached to her job and wanted to hit the road.

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They already had Sunshine, and had owned the bus for eight years, using it for weekend trips. 'We just figured, why not live in it?' Rachel said.

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So, after realising that they had unintentionally saved $2,000 over the past year, the couple made the decision to get up and go.

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James and Rachel's first stop after leaving San Diego was Oregon.

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While there, they did some hiking.

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And plenty of exploring.

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Life in San Diego made Rachel feel like somewhat of an outsider. She craved space and a life outdoors.

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Rachel was surprised at the sense of community she and James discovered through their travels on the road. They have made friends through their Instagram account such as Emily and Corey, (@wheresmyofficenow) a couple who also lives on the road.

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Shortly after leaving San Diego, both James and Rachel fell in love with the on the road lifestyle and decided to go full time with it.

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After their stop in Oregon, Rachel and James continued up into British Columbia, then down to Glacier National Park in Montana (pictured here).

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They then headed down to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, made their way through Utah, and back into Glacier National Park.

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The couple had plans to continue the grid pattern they had been making across the US, but James' sister's wedding steered them instead to North Carolina.

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After the wedding they headed south to Florida for the winter.

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Where they enjoyed early morning walks through the trees.

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And some beach time.

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James and Rachel both agree that the best part about life on the road is the connection they have with the natural world. 'We're cold when it's cold and we're hot when it's hot, but we really enjoy living that close to the earth,' James said.

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'We say we live in the bus, but that's a misnomer because really we live outside and we sleep in the bus,' James said. He compares sleeping in the canvas pop top of the bus to sleeping in a tent because 'you can listen to the coyotes and the crickets, and the sun warms you in the morning.'

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The couple showers by going for a daily swim in a creek or river, and once or twice a month they stop at a truck stop or campground shower. They also go to the bathroom outside, by digging a hole and using leaves and twigs in place of toilet paper.

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Life on the road does come with its challenges, though. 'Your clothes are wet sometimes and you can't get them dry, but even in that, we've found that those uncomfortable moments bring out the most joy in our life because when that physical thing is the only thing you have to deal with, once you overcome that, then you're so happy to be alive,' James said.

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Winter is the toughest time because there's more coldness and darkness and less to do. According to Rachel, it's the time of year that the couple has their worst blowouts.

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'Living in about 80 square feet you get to see each other at your best and at your worst and you have to sit next to each other for both points,' James said. However, the canvas pop top does allow the couple some space from each other.

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In order to sustain life on the road, Rachel and James work a combination of jobs that includes farming and producing content and artwork while on the road. Rachel said they enjoy the balance of physical and mental work. 'A lot of people don't want to be stuck behind a desk, but then at the same time they don't want to do back breaking labour all the time,' she said.

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The couple says they don't need much money to live on -- they have lived below the poverty line for five years now, but they agree that their needs have been met. Although there have been times when their bank account has dipped lower than they wanted, they always seem to find a job just in time.

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They have worked on 13 farms so far.

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They have harvested peaches.

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And worked on a goat farm.

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Farming is not only a source of monetary income, but also a way for the couple to get fresh food. 'Farm work is good because we can do it for three weeks or a month at a time, during harvest time, and then we can move on and continue with our travels,' James said.

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Both Rachel and James place great value on eating fresh food that is responsibly raised, and the couples therefore spends about 50% of their budget on food. Besides farms, Rachel and James stop at food stands along the rural backroads they travel, as well as occasionally stopping at grocery stores, and even dumpster diving from time to time.

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According to Rachel, their life is never boring. 'We enjoy change,' James said.

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Change is certainly a part of James and Rachel's life. They're constantly encountering changes of scenery.

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From iconic landmarks such as Mount Rushmore,

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to herds of buffalos.

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They have been out west.

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Down south.

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To the plains, and many more.

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The only two regions the couple hasn't explored are New England and the Great Lakes area. They hope to make it to Alaska next year. Until then, they will continue their travels on the road for the foreseeable future. 'We would never live in a city again; we just couldn't do it,' Rachel said.

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