Our story started with two engineers dreaming of traveling around North America while still working full time. This progressed into buying a Ford Transit cargo van and converting it into a tiny space that we could live, work, and adventure from. After having worked on the van for six months, we hit the road and have been traveling ever since!
February 2015: Started dreaming about traveling around the country.
January 2017: Began planning it all out.
January 24, 2017: Bought a Ford Transit cargo van.
February 2, 2017: Started converting the van into a camper van.
September 4, 2017: Finished the conversion.
September 8, 2017: Started traveling and living/working from the van full time.
Currently: Headed north along Highway 1 in California.
Where Have We Been?
Work. . .
One of Philip’s many office setups in the van 💻. For Philip to be able to sit and work from the counter in the back of the van 🚐, we had to find a stool with telescoping legs that were tall enough and rubber feet that wouldn’t slide. The Walkstool extends to 75cm, which works out to be just the right height for a standard kitchen counter height.
Life is best left simple. . .eating blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning with the person you love, as you look out onto the ocean. No, our views aren’t always this spectacular, but, one thing we’ve come to learn over the years is that you have to enjoy what you have when you have it and realize that if you always had it, you wouldn’t appreciate it.
Campervan Kitchen with Copper Backsplash
Update on the kitchen. . .the wave 🌊 is becoming more turbulent, as a patina begins to form from water splashing onto the backsplash. The fruit hammock 🍌 has fallen apart (notice the temporary repair), but everything else is holding up just fine! Surprisingly, the swivel faucet doesn’t swivel all that much on bumpy roads. Loving this nomadic lifestyle that we currently live in 😊.
Our 600w solar array, in winter desert sun 🌵☀️ - comfortably charging our 300Ah AGM batteries and powering the 1500w pure sine inverter, two laptop computers 💻 , tablets, phones📱, and refrigerator! It’s pretty cool to be able to rely on the sun for power.
Fried plantains for breakfast 🍌.
Making Rice in the Van
Making rice 🍚 out of the rice cooker today. Solar powered rice! Loving living out of the van 🚐 so far 😀!
Van Conversion Complete
We F I N I S H E D 🚐🛠! We are officially done converting the van! It's such a weird feeling to be done. We started this project back in January by researching vans to buy and, around 5pm today, finished the conversion. It took far longer than we had anticipated (originally planned to finish May 20), but we learned a lot throughout the process. We started with barely having used a hand saw to being familiar with a table saw, router, hack saw, jig saw, circular saw, miter saw, and many other tools... So psyched to be finally hitting the road. It has been hard devoting most of my free time to a material procession vs exploring, but I think it'll pay off in the long run. I guess, in a way, we were still exploring, just in the form of learning new things and gaining new skills. It is quite a relief to be finished 😊!
Added the Folding Countertop
We added another part to the countertop that can fold up and down. We'll use this area for additional cooking space or as an additional table to work at. We bought a foldable camp stool, that is a bar stool height, that can be used for sitting here or at the table when we're eating outside at the table.
T-Junction Closet Rail Installed
Installed a T-junction closet rail. In the back we'll hang wetsuits (made this part of the closet long to do so) and we'll hang jackets and sleeping bags in the smaller area. Here I was using the wetsuit to make sure that the rail was at the correct height.
Installing the Copper Backsplash
Working on installing the backsplash! I wanted the wave to come out more stormy ⛈ looking, like the practice piece, but oh well...
Convertible Bed/Couch Complete
And the bed is complete! Just have to add one more support leg...
Woodworking in Maine During the Winter
Haha, I was looking through photos of the van conversion process and found this. Man, it was cold ❄️ back when we started converting the van! I think I'm wearing a fleece, two jackets, and a couple layers of pants. It also appears as though we didn't have tables to work on at this point. I'm glad Philip had the idea of building tables...it has made building the van a lot more pleasant!
Drawers have been stained, but coats of polyurethane are still being applied. I'm pretty psyched about how the stain made the grain in the veneers pop! 🎉 We have certainly learned a lot since the beginning of this project...when we first stained something there were a ton of circular scratches that appeared because we sanded the boards improperly. If you sand before staining, you sand with the grain or use an orbital sander that has a fine grit sandpaper.
Painting Wall Panels
Starting to paint wall panels! 🎨Went with dark wood colors for the floor and ceiling, so we wanted to paint the walls white to keep a "clean" look to the van. Using an outdoor paint over primer so that it is relatively easy to clean. Apparently most paints don't like being applied below 55F.
Started the Van Conversion
Starting to bring electrical into the van. Vent is to the left. The hole on the right is where solar cables will come in.