Her original boyfriend lives in Monroe and travels in a converted box truck
Marina Aguilera lives a nomadic life.
Aguilera graduated in 2012 from Monroe High School, where she ran cross country and track.
“They called me the runner,” said Aguilera, the daughter of Marsha Aguilera of Monroe and Robin Aguilera of Texas.
After attending Monroe County Community College for two years, Aguilera moved to Texas, where she met her boyfriend, Mark Dexter, from Wisconsin. He’s a filmmaker who has been living nomadically in a converted car since 2017.
“He was into it before it was a big craze on social media,” Aguilera said. “It introduced me to a lifestyle. It was very new to me. I grew up camping every summer with my family. It was my favorite thing to do. We started building our first car together during the coronavirus. We built every day, all hours of the day. It took 45 days. Mark is very helpful. He has built and figured things out (with previous vehicles).”
Then they hit the road.
“It was in the middle of the coronavirus, so it was a really good time to travel. It was a ghost town anywhere we went,” Aguilera said.
So far, Dexter, Aguilera and their dog have visited about 35 states.
“In the past we moved a lot. Every night was somewhere new. Plus, we appreciate accommodations for a longer period of time. We really like being surrounded by community, with family and nomadic friends. We’ve been staying in Wisconsin,” Aguilera said. from two months”.
She and Dexter are both filmmakers and recently released a documentary about Bedouin life that they will screen on November 4 at the River Raisin Center for the Arts.
“We shoot weddings on the road and promotional work. We shoot a music festival over Labor Day. We shoot ‘Tiny House, Giant Journey’ on YouTube. This is a really great resource to learn more about this lifestyle. There are 3 million subscribers,” Aguilera said. “.
During her two and a half years on the road, she and Dexter had three homes/vehicles.
“All three had a closet and a full-size shower. They completely feel like home,” Aguilera said.
For each house, the couple, with the help of friends, began sketching.
“Everything is precise measurements. What works in which area? For us, entertaining and having people around was important. We wanted to have large seating areas,” Aguilera said.
She also wanted a kitchen as large as possible.
“I love cooking. Cooking has really blossomed on the road. I love healthy, clean, intentional eating. I’ve been able to draw on that creative side of my cooking,” she said.
Their first car was a pickup truck. The second is a box truck. Square walls allowed for more creativity.
“We had a platform in the kitchen, pantry under the raised floor, and an L-shaped kitchen. It gave it a more spacious floor. We closed off different areas so it didn’t feel like just one box,” Aguilera said.
Their current box truck is similar to the previous one, but improved. The couple added features like curved edges to avoid sharp corners. It is 8 feet high, 8 feet wide and 12 feet long.
“It’s smaller than a lot of people’s kitchens,” Aguilera said.
It still has four rooms: a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom and a kitchen with a gas stove and a couple of small appliances. There’s even a deck on the back wall. It’s surprisingly spacious, Aguilera said.
“You’d be very surprised at what I can get in a box truck. We like to dress up and go to music festivals in fun, crazy outfits,” she said. “I had 36 pairs of shoes in the first truck. I don’t have anywhere near that now.
The truck has a biodegradable toilet. The couple washes clothes in the laundries. They store water in a 60-gallon freshwater tank.
“We fill our tanks where we can find water, from friends, family or from the gas station. We have a water filtration system in the truck. I always know the quality of our water. All of our faucets use a low volume of water,” Aguilera said.
Electricity comes from solar panels on the roof.
“The roof has 1,000 watts of solar, and we have a solar-powered battery bank,” Aguilera said. “We have a gas stove, a gas furnace, and a gas hot water heater.”
Aguilera said she learned a lot from Bedouin life.
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“We can really survive on a lot less than we think. This lifestyle has really shown us that.” “And also, how to be more resourceful. My worldly skills have improved. This life has definitely given me the courage to discover things for myself. It shows me that I can do so much more than I thought I could do.
One day, though, Aguilera wants a permanent home.
“I really want to have a house and a garden one day. But I want to be self-sufficient. I always want to have the option to have some kind of adventure. This option is very important. We never know what will happen in the world. If you have some kind Of vehicles, you can pack your belongings and rely entirely on yourself. “We can be self-sufficient on our own,” she said. “I never expected my life to turn out like this. “It was one of the most difficult and beautiful times.”
RRCA hosts a film and panel discussion about Bedouin life
“All Who Wander,” a film about nomadic life starring Monroe native Marina Aguilera, will be shown Nov. 4 at the River Raisin Center for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St. Tickets are $25 with VAT of $1.38. For tickets, visit allwhoandermovie.com.
The hour-and-a-half film will be shown at 6 p.m
“It’s our life on the road, what we go through, the highs and lows of the two-and-a-half years and all the people we meet. It’s for people who don’t know anything about this lifestyle,” Aguilera said.
The film was produced by Aguilera and her boyfriend, Mark Dexter. At 5 p.m., they will show off their home, a converted box truck.
“Come talk to us, get a sneak peek,” Aguilera said. “We’re really excited.”
The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Aguilera, Dexter and their business partners, directors, Joshua Murphy and Madeleine Antio.
Aguilera said 4 million people currently live a nomadic lifestyle.
“It’s always been there since our ancestors. It’s the natural way of living. We all have a natural wandering spirit within us. With Covid, it’s starting to blossom. More are still getting into this lifestyle. It’s a community on the road,” she said.