Travel can take many forms: from walking over thousands of miles, or cross-country cycling, to flying on an airplane. Nowadays, we're hearing of more unconventional forms of travel, be it digital nomadism, mobile living, to global "co-living" subscriptions that let you sign a lease to live in curated locations around the world.
Of course, there's always the tried-and-true road trip that has you living out of a vehicle -- probably one of the best ways to see new places while keeping costs relatively low. The so-called "van life" now has its own hashtag, and plenty of picturesque images of people and their tricked-out vans against breathtaking sceneries. Whether this lifestyle is green or not depends on a myriad of factors, but at least it gets us questioning what a 'good life' might look like -- and it doesn't have to be a house in the suburbs with a manicured lawn.
Filmmaker and surfer Cyrus Sutton has been living the van life for a decade, and he shows us his latest conversion of a 14-foot long Sprinter van in this video tour:
Sutton writes over on Reef how his mobile life began:
I first moved into a van 10 years ago. It was a practical decision. I’d been commissioned to make a 16mm surf documentary and failed to negotiate a living wage for myself during the three years it took to make it. This oversight had me surviving on cans of kidney beans and needing a rent-free place to sleep while I traveled between Australia and Los Angeles shooting and editing.
So Sutton first bought and modified a Ford Econoline back in 2006, living in it until last year, when he found a used and much more fuel-efficient Sprinter van -- 14 feet long and 6 feet tall inside -- to replace it.
Sutton rebuilt the interior to include a small kitchen with a propane stove, refrigerator and sink, which is supplied with a hand-pump faucet and 5-gallon container of water. There is a drop-down storage cabinet in the counter for pots.
There is a fold-down bed that rests securely on a lip. The space made for the fold-down bed also creates an area for storage; we like Sutton's idea to use a hanging closet organizer full of clothes that can be stored away to keep clothes neat, and hung up using ceiling hooks to access folded clothes in an instant.
There's the awesome hammock desk too: Sutton shows us how he can hook up a resting spot and workspace easily, thanks to a desktop surface that can be inserted into the walls. Electricity is provided by solar photovoltaics and a marine battery to store excess power.
Showers are provided by way of an overhead portable camping shower and an impromptu shower curtain in between the open rear doors.
There isn't a lot of space inside a van, and one has to get creative to maximize space and come up with solutions that are best suited to your needs. Sutton's modified Sprinter van shows how even seemingly cramped spaces can get more roomy with a little inventiveness and imagination, allowing one to live life on the road relatively comfortably. You can get more details on the conversion over at Reef, or visit Cyrus Sutton's website and Instagram.