We are explorers, creators, builders, entrepreneurs, and sociologists who have made it our mission to craft a lifestyle for ourselves that feels worth living!
We—Luke and Stephanie—met in 2014 during our final semester of undergraduate studies. That next Fall, we both joined a graduate program in Applied Sociology, during which our friendship blossomed into a partnership. A short two years later, we celebrated graduating with our master’s degrees with a 5-week-turned-8-week trip to Southeast Asia. We explored Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore with three bonus weeks due to a scuba diving injury Luke endured. We returned safe and healthy to the US at the end of that Summer only to pack our lives up once again to move across the country from our home state of Colorado to Indiana for more graduate schooling.
While in Indiana, Stephanie earned her PhD in Sociology from Purdue University and Luke continued his training by taking courses in applied anthropology. It was during this time that we began crafting what some might call an “alternative” lifestyle. We knew we never wanted to end up stuck in one place working for an organization whose values did not reflect our own. Given our qualms with the current exploitative capitalist system, that meant we had very few options when it came to paths already laid out for us.
While our time the midwest was shadowed by term papers, dissertation proposals, and reading for hours on end, we still found time to explore! We explored national forests and parks, small towns with big ideas, and, perhaps most importantly, we explored the possibilities of a self-sufficient and sustainable future.
In 2019, we launched our main website, AppliedWorldwide.com, with a focus on advocating for sociology as an applied science. We partnered with professional organizations and students across the globe to produce what is now a library of well over 300 original publications focused on the versatility and applicability of sociology! During that time, we also moved back to Colorado to be near family during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then, that we decided to make our years-long dream of building out a camper van a reality!
In July of 2020, we bought a 2002 VanTerra Turtle Top shuttle van from a church in Kansas City on our move back to Colorado from Indiana. In honor of the first place we stayed in the van—Shelbina, MO—and her turtle top shape, we named her Shellby. It took us just under a year to gut the entire van and rebuild it into the off-grid, tiny home of our dreams! Shellby is equipped with 40 gallons of fresh, running water, 300 watts of solar power, and the most comfortable mattress either of us have ever owned.
Before we even finished the van build, we started dreaming up our next lifestyle experiment: developing a plot of vacant land into an off-grid homestead.
In May of 2021, we drove down to Arizona with the intension of buying a plot of vacant land. A few days later, we returned to Colorado the owners of an acre of land in the Mojave Desert at the foothills of the Hualapai Mountains. We spent the Winter of 2021-2022 living on our land in Shellby, constructing an outdoor kitchen that will soon become the outdoor space adjacent to our self-built, off-grid, tiny cabin!
Today, using our skills as sociologists, writers, researchers, builders, and creators, we are well on our way to living the self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle we’ve always dreamt of.
Thanks for being here, and we hope you enjoy what we’ve created!