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 traveling 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 CFX65w,” with 60 liters of temperature controlled storage that can work as a freezer or a fridge. “The CFX65w 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 thanks to our solar set up.” Such space saving solutions means 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.
Traveling 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 vanlife.
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.”