Paul Tralka

In 1998 at the age of 20, Paul and two friends drove his 1978 lime green VW Bus Westfalia 9,000 miles from New Jersey around North America and back. Visiting over a dozen National Parks, surfing and skateboarding the West Coast, and attending concerts along the way, he developed his excitement for van life. Returning from the trip with 14 rolls of film, his friends and family laughed because probably 10 rolls were pictures of the VW Bus in various places! Since than he has continued to road trip and inspire others to do so. Paul Tralka, who coined the term Freedom Vessel, lives simply with his wife Tish and their two boys Koa and Taylor and their dog, Kalei in a tiny home in Coastal North County San Diego. Paul restores camper vans, works at a craft brewery, and currently drives to the surf in their 1973 Chevy Balboa mini-motorhome. They are also the founders and owners of the Doggie Beach Bus, an off-leash doggy adventure service in a VW Bus and the Camera Camper, a vintage trailer photo booth. They share their adventures on YouTube and at

Posts by Paul Tralka

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03/22/17 • By Paul Tralka • Photos: Dave Manning
I caught wind of Dave Manning a few years back when I was fortunate enough to organize a van gathering premiere of The Bus Movie, a documentary about the iconic VW bus in which Dave is featured. It’s a must see for any VW van enthusiast. I was drawn to...
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03/22/17 • By Paul Tralka • Photos: Jeremiah Watt, Daniel Noll, Andy Earl
I came across Carabiner Coffee a while ago on Instagram and have enjoyed following along. And apparently it seems several others have too. For those of you unfamiliar, this is the holy grail of mobile coffee carts. Proprietary roasts are fine tuned and hand selected by the founder, and he...