Happiest when together
Marlene and Dan, together with their three children, live on the move. Home is their 4x4 Sprinter – and wherever they happen to find themselves. After zig-zagging all over North America, the intrepid family is taking on Europe one country at a time.
The story of Mali Mish began in 2008. Dan and Marlene had just had their first child, a baby girl named Ava, and decided to do what most rookie parents would never dare to dream. They hit the road, baby, in tow, with no intention of parking for the long haul. They made their way across America’s southwest in a little camper. Two years later, following the birth of their second daughter, Mila, they went all-in and purchased an Airstream, which they dubbed Mali Mish, which is Croatian for “Little Mouse.” They took the RV across the US from California to Florida. They returned with a stirring inside. There was no question about it – this was how they wanted to spend their lives. Mali Mish took them across all 49 drivable states as well as much of Canada and Mexico. In 2012, a baby boy, Luka, joined the travelling family.
Eventually, the family upgraded to a four-wheel pop-up, and now they roam in a Sprinter 4x4 DIY camper. Adventure is a way of life for Marlene and Dan, who can’t imagine a playground smaller than the world for their children. “Our children lead a rich life, full of unique opportunities that many don’t experience in a lifetime. And although our lifestyle may be trending now, when we first set out in 2008, it was not considered hip,” says Marlene.
While a variety of vehicles, including an Airstream, four-wheel truck camper, Casita trailer, and now the 4x4 Sprinter have kept the family on the road, Dometic has helped them stay there.
Fitting a family of five into such a small space is not a challenge, according to Marlene. They have everything they need to live life to its fullest. They even stand up to the challenge of keeping everyone well-fed while on the road. “We have a Dometic glass top stove/sink combo and a Dometic CFX3,” the newest generation of temperature-controlled storage from Dometic that can work as a freezer or a fridge.
“We love our Dometic CFX that we use every day in our mobile lives. It stores far more food than the size would suggest,” Marlene says. Because the CFX3 is extremely efficient and a top loader, the family has no problems running it 24 hours a day, every day, just using the power of the sun. “The reversible lid allows us to place the fridge wherever we want inside our camper, and the wireless controls via the CFX app is perfect for adjusting the internal temperatures on the fly.” Thanks to the near-silent compressor, which only kicks on when needed, everyone sleeps soundly all through the night, even with it installed at the foot of the beds.
Marlene says, “The sturdy construction gives me confidence that it will probably last forever even with our three kids using it to climb up and down from their bunk beds every day. It is easily one of our favourite items in our van, and we definitely could not live without it!”
“The CFX3 is key for our family of five. It allows us to stock our home with healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) food and keep it continuously cold.” Such space-saving solutions mean they don’t have to compromise; they can enjoy hot meals and cold drinks anywhere in the world. “Some folks, who perhaps don’t know much about mobile living, mistakenly believe it’s a really primitive lifestyle. It isn’t,” says Marlene with a smile. “We have a toilet just like everyone else.” Theirs just happens to come from Dometic.
Travelling the globe, they have experienced extremes of temperature. For relief, they turn to their Dometic Fantastic fans to keep the air fresh in the Sprinter at all times and to help battle the heat. Attempting to see the whole world is quite a feat, and planning is important. Mobile living is amazing, but it isn’t always easy, so Dan and Maureen have to be prepared for anything. “The Dometic propane detector allows us to sleep more soundly. I trust it to keep our family safe from dangerous leaks,” Dan says. Life-saving products that take the guesswork out of day-to-day life and supply peace of mind are essential to van life.
The gang has plans to continue exploring Europe, with stops in Scandinavia, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and more. When asked how long the family plans to stay on the move, Dan says, “As long as everyone in the family is on the same page, I don’t currently see an end to our travels. But I do see adding or switching gears. Maybe a new continent, maybe a sailboat, but still mobile.”
If you want to keep up with Mali Mish adventures, make sure to follow them on social media: @mali.mish