Couple transforms van into full-time home & 'Wander Wagon' (Video)

Exploring Alternatives
Video screen capture Exploring Alternatives

Many of us know the value of travel: not only does it get us out of our mundane, everyday milieu, it can also expand our mental horizons as we experience new places and take on new challenges. But for many of us, full-time travelling is not always an option, due to various reasons like having a static job, rent or a mortgage to keep up on. Yet, as technologies like near-ubiquitous wi-fi Internet and solar power gadgets are improving, people are finding easier to leave the mundane behind, working remotely as they travel, using off-grid options along the way.

Artist Kelsey and journalist Corbin of Steps to Wander did exactly just that, with their recent DIY conversion of an old Ford E-350 El Dorado Encore camper van into a full-time home on the road, with their adorable dog, Paris, in tow. Based out of Portland, Oregon, the couple are now making their way east, criss-crossing over the US-Canadian border along the way. Watch this short tour of their awesome van, via Exploring Alternatives:

Steps to Wander© Steps to Wander

The couple spent about USD $3,800 to purchase a van that was not only mechanically sound, but also had a number of neat features, such as the clerestory windows, the centre roof pop-up that allows tall Corbin to almost stand up, as well as a bathroom with a shower and toilet, and a kitchen with a oven!

Exploring Alternatives© Exploring Alternatives
Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture
Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture
Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture
Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture

At the back of the van, the couple is also carrying a scooter that allows them to zip around new destinations easily, and it's also a backup option if the van breaks down.

Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture

After buying the van, the couple took five long months to strip everything down, rehabilitating leaks, mold and general crustiness, before starting to insulate and build their own custom furniture. They even gave it a nickname: The Wander Wagon.

But before even starting their build-out, disaster struck: while driving the van one day, they were struck by another driver making an illegal left turn. After a lot of negotiation with their insurance company, which didn't want to pay for the repairs initially because the van was in a gutted state at the time, the insurance company finally came around when the couple showed videos of the van's prior, intact state.

Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture

It was a close call that almost stopped their trip even before it started, but the couple was finally able to repair everything, then taking one intense month and a few thousand dollars to build their interior, which features a dinette area with storage in the seats, and a sofa that converts into a queen-sized bed.

Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture
Exploring AlternativesExploring Alternatives/Video screen capture

The couple's aim is to travel out east before heading back west. But while they are living out their desire to wander this enormous continent, they say they are ultimately hoping to find a nice place to settle and start a family. Check out their YouTube channel, Facebook, and Steps To Wander.

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | Small Spaces | Transportation

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