For most people, the American Dream doesn’t include living in a van on public land in the middle of nowhere. For others, though, that is the very definition of freedom – a life defined by exploration and adventure, free from the rat race of modern life.

As reported by Wired.com, photographer Andrew Waits spent two years roaming the beaches, forests and deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona and his home state of Washington documenting boondockers, the broadly defined group of people living almost entirely off the grid and on the road. Boondock is a collection of intimate portraits of the men, women and families he met on the road. Some lead the migrant life by choice, others by circumstance. But whatever their reasons, they share a common theme.

“What I boil it down to is this will to survive,” Waits says. “I found that was really the one tie that brought everyone together. If it was something that they needed to do because they were unhappy, they made that decision to change their life to hopefully find happiness–essentially that’s a decision to survive. Losing your job and needing to live out of your van, that is a decision to survive.”

Boondock is neatly divided into two galleries. The first is a set of portraits documenting the boondockers and their abodes; the second is artistic, subjective impressions of them. He was especially fascinated by the different ways people have devised for living out of a vehicle, and how familiar touchstones of a traditional home – a dangling wire basket of fruit, a Duraflame log – found new context in a mobile home.

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