Always a Logger: Kristen Bor ’05

Kristen Bor ’05, photo courtesy of Kristen Bor ’05
OUTDOOR LIFE Kristen Bor ’05 has been living in a van and working from the road for six years.

After graduating from Puget Sound, chemistry major Kristen Bor ’05 wasn’t sure of her next step, so she spent a year tending bar at Tacoma’s Parkway Tavern. But then she got the opportunity to live with a friend in Hawai`i, and though she had never been an outdoorsy type, hiking became her new passion.

The outdoors have been a major part of her life ever since—so much so that in 2014 she started an adventure blog,, with the goal of making the outdoors more accessible to everyone. At the time, Bor was working for The Pew Charitable Trusts in D.C. to promote sustainable fishing—and she was enjoying it. But she started to crave more freedom and thought about being her own boss. “So I quit, and I told myself that if I can get Bearfoot Theory off the ground within a year, I’ll follow this path,” she says. “But if a year goes by and it hasn’t gone anywhere, then I’ll go back to the workforce.”

Bearfoot Theory (named after the Grateful Dead “dancing bear” tattoo on Bor’s foot) took off, and in 2016, Bor bought her first van, a Mercedes Sprinter. She’s been living in the van and working on the road ever since.

For Bor, Bearfoot Theory is an ongoing experiment to find new ways for people to get involved, beyond just consuming the site’s popular outdoor lifestyle blog, hiking guides, and information on van life. She also organizes Open Roads Fest, a large gathering for van lifers and road trippers in McCall, Idaho, every year. The event is designed to bring together like-minded adventurers for a weekend of van-related workshops, outdoor activities, camping, and community building.

“People come to learn and check out a variety of camper-van conversions, but the friendships people make are the biggest benefit,” Bor says. “There are people who’ve come to the festival who go on to travel and explore the outdoors together, so that’s been really rewarding to see.”