by JESSICA COX/Entertainment Editor

So many young adults get caught up in the endless cycle of working a job they do not enjoy – day in and day out – ultimately unhappy with the direction that life is going. It takes a very dedicated person to break away from the norm and truly follow his or her dreams.

Trevor DeRuise and his girlfriend, Sierra Davies, are those kind of people. In their book, “Project VanLife: An Epic Journey of Discovery and Perseverance Through the Eyes of Young Entrepreneurs,” this couple pulled themselves away from everyday life and chased their dreams with pure ambition. Living out of a 2000 Ford Econoline van, which they bought in Los Angeles only three weeks before they left, and taking life one day at a time, these two traveled cross country to do what most people only hope of doing: following their dream with abandon.

DeRuise is a 22-year old professional mountain bike racer. More than a year ago, he was a college student at the University of Nevada at Reno with a passion for success. Coming to the end of his undergraduate career, he knew it was time to make a decision.

“I could either go ‘the normal path’ down grad school, or just find a job,” DeRuise explains, “or really go for it and try to do something with cycling – and that’s the path I chose.”

DeRuise decided to go all in. He knew that if he put all of himself into his goal, then failing would not be an option – an attitude that later won him a silver medal at a national competition.

DeRuise and Davies began their journey in the summer of 2014. Living out of his beat up van, they traveled across the country to follow the largest professional mountain bike series in North America. The couple had various businesses in place before the trip, and they continued to run them from the road, proving that anything is possible with a little determination.

They had brought a hotspot box along to provide them with WiFi, but it hardly worked. They improvised by driving extra hours to find somewhere with WiFi. He explained how Davies would continue to stay on top of her work, despite the tough circumstances.

“She would sit in the parking lot, even after it was closed, just so she could use the WiFi – very late at night…” recalls DeRuise. “She would make herself carsick trying to get work done.”

In addition to keeping up with their businesses, DeRuise says there was stress from trying to keep up with his training.

“And then on top of that – the level of racing,” DeRuise added. “That was my first real season in that level of racing. I tried to stay focused and stay up on my training.”

Although that summer was quite the adventure, it was not always glamorous. From “sleeping in weird parking lots in the middle of nowhere” to staying awake all night – it was not always what someone might expect. There were times when they were not sure if their van would start up the next morning – let alone if they had enough food, water, or even enough gas in the tank to get by.

“The biggest thing that gets to you is the uncertainty of it all,” DeRuise says.

In times like these, DeRuise would focus on sticking to his routine and keep pushing through. Above all, he says he would try not to dwell on the negatives, but focus on the positives.

DeRuise’s point of view on life has changed drastically since his experience a year ago. His everyday hustle and bustle seems easy compared to what he has already been through.

“It opened my eyes to how far you can push yourself,” says DeRuise, “how much you can go through, how much you can persevere, and still make it through.”

Though when life does seem to get tough, he looks back at what he has accomplished.

“It’s so much easier to keep going now, knowing that I can keep going,” says DeRuise.

“Project VanLife” is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs around the globe. DeRuise says he finds joy knowing that he can be a part of someone’s dream. Lastly, he encourages entrepreneurs “to just go for it, and not worry about what everybody else is doing… or else you’ll never truly reach your full potential.”

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Photo courtesy of Trevor DeRuise

Posted by Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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