Couple Works and Travels in Alaska Full-Time in Self-Converted Van Home

The couple and their 3 dogs are happily traveling around Alaska and beyond in a 2015 Ford Transit van.

Beluga van conversion interior

Tiny Home Tours

More and more people are thinking about van life, but admittedly, there is no one surefire way to go about it. After all, van life can come in all kinds of flavors. For some, it's a way to travel on one's own terms, while living on a relatively tighter budget. For others, it's a form of self-care, while for some van life is a way to work and travel at the same time.

Steph and Alejo fall in the latter category and came into van living on a whim. It was when they took a road trip for Steph's birthday and decided to rent a van conversion instead of a hotel that they realized how much they enjoyed it. Fast forward to today, and the couple has their own DIY conversion of a 2015 Ford Transit van, and are now happily traveling around Alaska and beyond with their three dogs, while both holding down remote jobs. Watch the Tiny Home Tours video showing the inside of their cozy van:

Steph, a marketing strategist, and Alejo, a software engineer, both actually rented several more van conversions after that first van, eventually figuring out which features and layouts they liked the most. This trial period helped them to decide on the final design for their own van, which is nicknamed Beluga.

Beluga van conversion Steph and Alejo

Tiny Home Tours

The exterior of the van has several features that make life easier for the couple, including a custom-built box protecting their generator, which they use only occasionally for air conditioning in extremely hot places (like visiting Baja California), in order to keep their dogs comfortable. Here we also find a rack for carrying their electric scooter, which can be used to get around cities if needed. There's also a solar power system, as well as a weBoost device for amplifying their WiFi signal—a necessary tool for ensuring that they can work online reliably.

Beluga van conversion exterior

Tiny Home Tours

To make sure their dogs don't run off unexpectedly, the couple has installed a slim profile screen that slides out to hook onto the side of the kitchen counter.

Beluga van conversion doggy screen door

Tiny Home Tours

Coming into the van itself, the first thing one steps into is the kitchen area. Here the wooden counter has been extended to cover the mini-refrigerator, and there is enough space to place a relatively deep sink, as well as a two-burner propane stove.

Beluga van conversion kitchen

Tiny Home Tours

The couple says that they used to have an electrical stove, but switched to propane because it consumed a lot of their power. There is plenty of storage to be had in the various cupboards and drawers. The couple also has a small microwave, just to have an extra option when they don't feel like preparing a more elaborate meal.

The shower and closet sit directly across from the kitchen, with a barn door that can slide over either section.

Beluga van conversion shower

Tiny Home Tours

The closet itself is pretty large for a van conversion, as Steph and Alejo wanted to carry different types of clothing, suitable for both warm and colder climates.

Beluga van conversion closet

Tiny Home Tours

The shower stall is closed off by a retractable screen, and also holds a portable cassette-style toilet, and all the usual shower equipment, which is connected to a 40-gallon fresh water supply. While some van homeowners might use a built-in shower occasionally, or use public showers instead of having a shower take up space in a van, a shower was essential for Steph and Alejo, as they do use the shower every day—another example of why it's important to take the time to figure out one's needs and daily habits when designing for a van renovation.

Beluga van conversion shower stall closed

Tiny Home Tours

The rear of the van is where the couple work, sleep, watch television, and store various larger items, from winter gear to a diesel heater. This space is made into a multifunctional space with the installation of a U-shaped configuration, outfitted with two upholstered benches on either side and a permanent, smaller bed at the very rear.

Beluga van conversion van rear

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During the day, the couple uses the Lagun arm-mounted tabletop as a work and dining surface. If ever one of them feels the need for a daytime nap, that can be easily accommodated with the small mattress at the rear.

Beluga van conversion van office

Tiny Home Tours

At night, the couple takes turns transforming the office into a cozy spot to sleep, with the tabletop coming down to rest on the edge of the benches, allowing them to rearrange the cushions to form a much larger bed where they can sleep, or watch a film on the wall-mounted television monitor. The couple's three dogs have their favorite spots on and under the bed.

Beluga van conversion bed

Tiny Home Tours

Working remotely full-time is not a requirement in order to make van life possible, but Steph and Alejo's story shows that with today's wireless technologies and an increasing number of jobs that can be done remotely, one can indeed balance work and leisure like never before. To see more, visit the couple's Instagram account.