By Mandy Holmes
Photo by Claudia Johnstone
David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson are the gurus behind the ultimate all-in-one vehicles available from Boho Camper Vans. The business partners convert commercial vehicles into camper vans for both the weekend explorer and the full-time van lifer.
The duo creates beautiful, fully functional living spaces available to buy or rent with components such as beds, running water, kitchenettes, outdoor showers, and cooking stations that run off solar energy and grid use.
“Giving someone an affordable option to live without a mortgage and with immense flexibility is what motivates me every day. I feel we’re on the cusp of an important movement, both socially and environmentally,” Ellenson says.
Sodemann and Ellenson were born on the same day in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and became friends once they found their way to Arizona despite their diverse backgrounds. Ellenson grew up working in machinery and fabrication and has always been a hands-on guy. He moved to Phoenix to work in machinery sales, giving him the experience to run Boho’s shop. Sodemann has a degree in design from Arizona State University, and has since worked on the marketing side of many startups in Phoenix. He has built brands in a variety of industries and his penchant for design and hospitality has helped in the branding of Boho.
Both Sodemann and Ellenson are avid hikers and campers, so the idea of starting a business in this industry came naturally. In the age of rideshare platforms, Boho exists to focus on the destination rather than the journey.
“I’m inspired by the life-changing experiences Boho creates by disconnecting people from their daily routine and giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Sodemann says.
The team even each other out, with Ellenson as the creative visionary.
“[Ellenson is] Extremely detail-oriented and meticulous when it comes to building vans. He’s a true creative when it comes to new layouts and features. Give the man a drill and amazing things happen,” Sodemann says.
Sodemann, on the other hand, has the entrepreneurial spirit.
“[Sodemann] loves working with people and enjoys engaging with renters and prospective clients looking to purchase. He has no shortage of business goals, some crazier than others, but they keep pushing the company forward. We feed off each other, it’s a blast,” Ellenson explains.
By Elizabeth Liberatore
Photo by Claudia Johnstone
Talia Renzo lost her father when she was a teenager and was tasked with writing his memorial service. It was during that extremely tragic time in her life when she discovered her vocation for the written word.
“I will never forget the nervous knot I had in my belly before I went up on stage to honor my father,” she reminisces. “I took a step into the warmth of the spotlight and looked into a sea of hundreds of faces that wanted to hear what I had to say. I spoke true from my heart and felt [empowered]. I realized in that moment that I had a voice that needed to be heard.”
Now 22 and a published author, Renzo’s voice projects loud and clear in her chapter called Recovering the Grieving Heart, included in Life Coach — a collaborative, Amazon-exclusive book that helps readers navigate life’s most difficult issues. Her intimate, eight-page chapter depicts her grief and healing process surrounding her father’s death.
Renzo wrote her chapter for the community of grief victims and her 15-year-old self. In addition to losing a parent when she was a teen, Renzo was relentlessly bullied in high school.
“I wanted to write to this girl that lacked ambition, confidence and self-esteem. I wanted to tell her to stand taller in life because [her] story of grief at the time was not going to define who [she] was, but it was going to define [her] legacy in giving to others.”
Tackling topics of vulnerability that most people shy away from, Renzo is just scratching the surface of her career as an author. The Arizona native has two forthcoming books. The first is Kindness Crusader — another collaborative book that features stories of kindness from authors around the world being released at the end of this year. The second is her first solo book, slated to drop in 2020, that will give a more expansive overview on her grieving and healing journey.
Renzo is currently working on her college degree in creative writing. Apart from writing, other creative outlets of hers include cooking, doing makeup and listening to anything by Lady Gaga.
“I absolutely adore Lady Gaga and attribute a lot of my overcomings to the messages in her music. Her song Marry the Night is about marrying all of your obstacles and becoming one with your destiny.” Renzo continues, “This song always resonates with me and my life.”