Couple Converts Van Into Full-Time Traveling Home for $13K

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Bed and underbed storage in the van

Robin Jones / Capturing Adventure

The movement of 'less is more' is manifesting in a variety of different ways in popular culture: it's meant the emergence of ideas like capsule wardrobes, the sharing economy, minimalism, and of course, the tiny living movement. Besides tiny houses on wheels, that's also meant the growing popularity of vehicles like buses and vans being converted into homes.

For UK-based couple Rob and Emily of The Road Is Our Home, transforming a van into a full-time home for traveling in has meant rediscovering the things that matter to them. The couple's van, which they renovated over the course of a year on weekends while they worked full-time jobs to finance the build, will be their home as they make plans to travel around Europe, visiting new places and meeting new people. Purchased back in February 2017 for £4000 (USD $5,406), the 2008 Sprinter van was once an old builders' van that required some fixing up.

couple sits in doorway of traveling home
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome

Layout of the Van

The renovation has been nicely done -- a bit different than some of the previous conversions we've featured in that the layout for the bathroom and kitchen are combined, and located right by the side door. There are not that many windows, except for one by the bed and one by the kitchen, and the result is a more private, cozy interior, clad with wood paneling.

Looking into the kitchen through the open side door
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome
Stove top with the side door open
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome
Large sink in the van
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome
Window next to the bed
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome

The rear of the van has bench seating on either side, plus a bed elevated on a storage platform. One of the panels in that wall of cabinetry is actually a flip-down table, making it convenient to work or watch movies on a laptop in bed.

Bed and benches in the van
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome

The van has been built with long-term off-grid capabilities in mind: there's a large tank for storing water, a place for putting in propane tanks, and the van is powered by 400 watts of solar panels from Renogy and two high-end lithium-ion batteries.

Bed in the van
Robin Jones / TheRoadIsOurHome

A Rewarding Lifestyle

For the renovation, the pair spent about £6000 (USD $8,109) for their DIY conversion, and Rob has this to say about the process:

The whole conversion was a huge learning curve for us both, learning new skills and understanding new concepts. But it has been so rewarding, I look at the van now and I’m still amazed at how much we have achieved. That’s what I love about it, anyone can do this, even if it means working two jobs and spending every spare second researching or building, this lifestyle is really accessible to anyone. Perseverance is key, it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
Other than that, the biggest eye opener of this lifestyle is just how little you need to live a fulfilling life. Over the last couple of years we’ve been happier than ever, and yet we own less than ever before. The whole minimalism and tiny house movement is so inspiring, it’s changed our outlook on life and we’re beginning to understand what’s truly important to us: people and travel.

[Via Tiny House Talk]