Chris moody in his van
Chris moody in his vanBy Cristi Moody

After being laid off, former CNN journalist Chris Moody was at a crossroads.

He and his wife Cristi Moody decided to make a massive life change. They gave up their New York City apartment, sold most of their belongings, and moved into a 72-square-foot off-grid van.

They set out across the US — covering 40 states and tens of thousands of miles — to find how some people are redefining the American dream outside of city limits.

“We wanted to find out if there's anyone out there that's living better,” Chris Moody says.

There’s more to life than getting a job, buying a house and collecting material goods, he argues. He wanted to think beyond the standard narrative of what a “successful” urban American life looks like.

To kick-start their venture ascending from the old-fashioned American dream, they needed a mobile home. Moody admits he’s not much of a carpenter, but within a month’s time, he and Cristi converted a white RAM ProMaster high top into a tiny oasis, complete with a kitchen, bathroom and bed that folds into a couch.

On the couple’s more than 35,000-mile journey, they encountered many different communities, including groups of fellow minimalists and others living in tiny, off-grid homes.