Exeleon Magazine

Living Vehicle: The Dynamic Couple who are Reinventing Living

Living Vehicle Exeleon Magazine

While the pandemic impacted travel in adverse ways, particularly with respect to flying, it also empowered people to redefine the concept of road trips and nomadic living. With more employers adopting working remotely policies, many took to the road – some even permanently.

Perched on the life mantra “experience is the best teacher,” Matthew and Joanna Hofmann founded Living Vehicle (LV) in 2017. They married their mutual passion for freedom with good living and turned it into a reality, and not just a hope for the future.

Today, with Living Vehicle, their mission is to increase sustained off grid capability for all life’s needs, including water recycling, waste management, and water generation, which enables endless travel on the road. With the advent of electric tow vehicles, the short-term vision is to store solar energy and then charge the same truck that pulls the trailer, bringing the concept of a fuel-free world one step closer. In an Exclusive Interview, Joanna and Matthew share their journey of living on the go!

What according to you makes one a transformational leader?

Joanna: When I think about the concept of transformational leadership, my mind goes to how true a leader is to the path and the dedication to the focus required to execute. Transformation is explicitly grounded in execution – the actions that elicit change are the drivers that bring progress towards that goal. Great businesses are surrounded with countless opportunities. I remember a quote by Steve Jobs that describes innovation as “not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.” Being true to yourself and having the fortitude to pursue that goal with tremendous focus is what I consider transformational. It is the translation of that focus into the execution of a team. That is what I consider transformational leadership.

How did this idea come about of forming Living Vehicle? What were the pain points that you both wanted to address in the market?

Joanna: Prior to founding Living Vehicle in 2017, we lived and traveled full time in a travel trailer while traveling across the country. During this time, we learned what worked and didn’t work for full time mobile living. After designing models for ourselves, we started to provide design services for clients and renovate more than 400 custom mobile projects together. Living Vehicle was created to solve the problems that we faced daily, like compromising life’s luxuries to fit into a mobile space, as conventional trailer design is fundamentally a short-term product, which in the end, is why they are called recreational vehicles. We architecturally designed Living Vehicle to suit the needs of everyday living such as a kitchen with ample pantry space, extra storage for hobbies and exercise gear, a functional closet with room for hanging clothes, and a spa-like bathroom.

Matthew: I am a tall guy, over 6 feet, so one of the key design factors that I look for in an RV is a bathroom that doesn’t feel small, a classic problem to have when considering mobile home options. Living Vehicle’s spa-style bathroom was designed with inspiration from real life with features including a spacious 32” x 36” shower with rainfall showerhead, walnut finishes, and natural, exceptionally durable materials for touches of luxury. While I tend to look at the world from an architectural lens, Joanna brings a practical perspective to the aesthetics of Living Vehicle trailers to make each vehicle special, functional, and comfortable for every day.

Give us some background to mobile living lifestyle. Why are more and more people inclining towards this form of living?

Joanna: While the pandemic impacted travel in many negative ways, particularly with respect to flying, it empowered people to reinvent the concept of road trips and nomadic living. With more employers adopting working remotely policies, many took to the road – sometimes permanently. Living Vehicle, paired with the Bureau of Land Management’s free camping resources, makes this lifestyle a reality of now, not just a hope for the future. With more solar power than most homes, the all-aluminum trailer is designed to traverse all terrains year-round, regardless of weather. So, whether travelers are working from snow-covered hilltops in Colorado, exploring the depths of the Sequoias, or the backyard of an urban dwelling, the vehicle enables owners to call all places home.

Matthew: The advent of technology and innovations found in the 2022 Living Vehicle allows owners to truly work from anywhere. As a result of the pandemic, Living Vehicle experienced an increased demand for its trailers as many people adopted a “work from anywhere” mentality. Armed with this feedback, Living Vehicle added a mobile desk package to its design with a large walnut desk that can be lowered without disturbing the workspace to reveal a queen-sized bed.

What were the factors that were kept in mind when designing the models, in order to ensure utmost functionality and comfort?

Joanna: The design of the 2022 Living Vehicle is as eye-catching as it is functional, with marine-grade materials capable of withstanding the elements of all four seasons and more energy storage than any other previous Living Vehicle model. The 2022 Living Vehicle is also designed to blur the boundary between the indoors and nature outside, with oversized windows, skylights, and an 8’ sliding glass door, as well as a fully integrated, self-supporting deck measuring.

The 2022 Living Vehicle is outfitted with a full gourmet kitchen with a removable cooking island for more space, a 13-cu. ft. all-electric solar refrigerator, and a European-style marine three-burner oven. The kitchen is the perfect example of function and comfort. One of the most frustrating parts about living remotely are the small refrigerators in mobile kitchens and not enough counter space to cook. We solved both of these problems when building the kitchen in Living Vehicle. The master bedroom is designed to star gaze from bed and can transform into a media room with optional 70” 4K HD “Private Home Theatre” and SONOS surround sound – this also fits the bill of being both functional and comfortable.

What has the journey been like for both of you over the years in building this company?

Matthew: The journey to Living Vehicle has been a natural evolution. Living Vehicle emerged out of a need where nothing before existed. Joanna and I were simply fed up with poorly built mobile spaces that did not function well for full time living. It was this need that drove us to create something different – something better. A mentor once told me at the onset of this journey, “business is the ultimate intellectual sport,” and I couldn’t agree more. The journey to Living Vehicle has been extremely rewarding, ultimately challenging, and the lives we have inspired are a testament that we are on the right path. Living Vehicle has only just begun.

Looking back at this journey, what would you have done differently if you were to start again?

Matthew: Nothing. I am proud to see our business form just prior to the pandemic and overcome the challenges we have overcome are tremendous. All these challenges have made our company more resilient, countless lessons learned are priceless. Changing one thing that was a challenge would only result in a different outcome. That may or may not be successful. Our most valuable resource is time and too valuable to spend what I could have done differently. To look where we are today, all things considered, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I use the lessons learned to act in the present and make the best of what we have today.

Do you see Work From Anywhere (WFA) culture to be the new future for business leaders?

Matthew: Yes and no. I am interested to see what the future holds for business leaders who use a WFA approach. Technology is enabling the WFA culture and is being accelerated due to the pandemic. I am highly concerned about business culture and company focus in a WFA business structure. The impacts of not having a team are yet to be seen. This is one giant experiment and will bring transformative lessons in the very near future.

What have been the challenges and learnings that you have faced in your off-grid living experience?

Joanna: Living Vehicle is designed to exist off-grid. Our focus has and always will be to create the most off-grid capable vehicle for life ever seen. Complete self-reliance is what will define our success. The path to this goal is no simple feat.

What does the future look like for Living Vehicle? What are the upcoming new developments for the brand?

Matthew: The mission of Living Vehicle is to increase sustained off grid capability for all life’s needs, including water recycling, waste management, and water generation, which enables endless travel on the road. The launch of its 2022 model put us closer to its company goal of becoming “Net-Zero” than any previous launch. Each year, we build on the success of the latest sustainable model, bringing us closer to our goal of a Net Zero vehicle – no waste out and no energy in. With the advent of electric tow vehicles, the near-term vision is to store solar energy and then charge the same truck that pulls the trailer, bringing the concept of a fuel-free world one step closer!

Visit the Living Vehicle Website.

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