A woman quit her job to drive 32,000 miles in a cargo van to visit 28 states in 90 days

Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory'sDaniela Tulai-Depner/Ela’s FoodDaniela Tulai-Depner, who goes by Ela on her blog, Ela’s Food.

Having moved from Germany to Romania when she was 14, Daniela Tulai-Depner (who goes by Ela on her blog, Ela’s Food) has seen plenty of Europe.

She never thought she would see much of the United States.

That is, until she decided to quit her job and spend three months driving around the US in a cargo van with her then-boyfriend.

Both musicians, they saved money from a concert tour in Holland and worked day jobs for a year to pay for the trip. Her travel visa gave them 90 days to see as much of the country as possible.

Altogether, they drove 51,000 kms and visited 28 states.

Daniela Tulai-Depner quit her job as a librarian for Germany's cultural institute in Romania and spent 90 days driving around the US.

'I quit everything,' she said. 'I was really in a very strange place in my life. I didn't know what I really wanted to do.'

Her boyfriend at the time, Solomon Brezoi, found a job as a deliveryman.

'We were basically both in a very strange place in our life, so we decided, 'Let's travel together, let's do this together,' she said.

They drove 51,000 kms in a Mercedes Sprinter cargo van as he made his deliveries, sleeping in the car or on beaches under the stars.

'I always dreamt about doing a road trip, in the sense of taking a guitar and just travelling around, like a hobo traveller, and it was really like that,' she said. 'We didn't buy any accommodation or hotels or anything. We slept in our car.'

They delivered everything from aeroplane parts to furniture -- and even a coffin.

Brezoi has American citizenship, but Tulai-Depner had a travel visa, giving them 90 days to see as much of the US as possible.

Their trip began with a food festival in Chicago.

On the East Coast, they left their van outside the city and explored New York on foot and by boat.

She saw the ocean for the first time on Tybee Island in Savannah, Georgia, which brought her to tears.

'It was like everything just washed away,' she said.

In Florida, they indulged in cocktails.

Out west at the Grand Canyon, Tulai-Depner had some quiet time to do yoga and meditate, as well as hike the trails.

'We made all of the rookie mistakes,' she said. 'We went in the hottest part of the day, we didn't take any water with us. The next day we were more prepared.'

Las Vegas was less relaxing.

'Vegas was really crazy,' she said. 'Crazy, crazy people.'

They focused on sightseeing in California, where Tulai-Depner paid tribute to her favourite musician on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

They sampled Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood...

...splashed through waterslides at New Jersey's Raging Waters Waterpark...

...and visited the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

'I think it was the coldest city,' she said. 'Even in the summer, we slept in the car and it was cold.'

They even ventured into Canada to see Niagara Falls.

The cargo van raised eyebrows at the Canadian border.

'Because I had the travel visa but I was in a commercial van, that was kind of a problem,' she said.

She showed them her travel itinerary, including return flights to Romania, and they let her in.

Because there's no Starbucks where she's from, Brezoi promised to buy her a Starbucks coffee every day -- and stayed true to his word.

'He's really crazy about Starbucks, about coffee in general,' she said. 'I drank so much Starbucks coffee that I really got sick of it.'

While she and Brezoi are no longer dating, they're still best friends.

'I think that being together nonstop, the whole day, we just need a little time for ourselves now,' she said.

Spending that much time on the road with no set destinations helped Tulai-Depner become better attuned to her instincts.

'I think the most important thing I've learned is that your state of mind is really all about your soul,' she said. 'I think the most sane and most healthy thing you can do is listen to your inner instincts and listen to yourself and to your soul. That's the thing that you should invest in.'

She said she also learned to see past people's superficial differences.

'I think borders are just an imagination,' she said. 'I don't think there are any kinds of borders between people, because I think that people in essence are all the same.'

'I think travelling is really important,' she said. 'I think it's like an education. You can embrace tolerance and acceptance and everything when you travel.'

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.