Had to highlight the bathroom thing. Vandog says he doesn’t use it often but I definitely would. That is one of the things I hated about living in my car i.e. having to pee discreetly in public off and on (middle of the night kind of thing and at least the plants loved it).
But this post isn’t about me it is about crazy cool English guy Vandog Traveller who not only did the nicest homemade van conversion I’ve seen, he also wrote a book about it: From Van to Home. His website Vandog Traveller has many photographs and detailed information.
1. Hi Vandog and just to clarify… I think you rock! Seriously, the van conversion you pulled off is simply amazing. I had to keep looking at the inside photos, then the photos of the outside of the van and kept going… seriously? The van is that cool on the inside?
Haha cheers. I like the idea that it’s a tatty white van on the outside but on the inside it’s my warm cosy home with everything I need.
2. Ok, it has to be asked as I am sure I am not the only one who wants to know and you get to brag now. How the heck did you fit in that bathroom and how does it work?
It’s small! There is a toilet and a shower. I started with a shower tray which I cut to size and used that as the foot print. I then build up the stud wall frame up around this. I documented this all on my blog (shower building post) and documented in much further detail in my ebook.
The toilet is like a toilet in a caravan. You empty it by taking out the cassette (accessed from the back door of the van) and emptying. To be honest though, the toilet and shower don’t get used as much as I thought.
3. Another ‘need to know’ question – What brought you to this lifestyle? What made you decide to be a van dweller and do all the cool things you are doing now?
I was bored, fed up. I was also a bit disappointed, with everything. I often thought, ‘this cant be it’. Nothing made much sense. I had a good job and more money than I’ve ever had but I didn’t know what my aim was. I was just… making money. I was drifting. I needed to see things and experience things.
4. Where have you traveled in the van?
Europe and now North Africa – I’m in Morocco now. I haven’t counted the countries but I’ve been to most of Europe, although no Scandinavia yet… Or Italy – I really get some abuse for the Italian readers for not yet going to their country. I’m looking forward to eventually going though.
5. Do you live in it full time all year? Or just part of the time?
Full time 🙂 It was all or nothing.
6. What are your favorite things about van dwelling?
It’s difficult to know where to begin. There are many levels to this. I mean, being away from mainstream society seems to suit me quite well. I don’t want to be negative but the dull TV and that ‘music’ they play over and over on the radio. It’s like some horrible joke.
I just don’t understand it. OK I wont get into this rant. I just know there are better alternatives to many things if you look.
Well anyway I’ve totally escaped the things that were starting to turn me into a cynical unhappy person and I’m thankful. Living in a van has helped me in so many ways. I’ve learnt so much, gained new interests and hobbies. I’m able to do the things I want to do. I
just have the time.
I’m also more in touch with nature (as cliche as this sounds) but I never realised the effect that this has on us humans – or I should say the negative affect as we become more and more isolated from nature.
I’m in sync with the sun – it’s so important for me now. I go to bed early and wake up with the sun excited for the day to come – I’ve not felt like this since I was a kid. And also I’ve met people I never would have ever met if it wasn’t for living on the side of the road.
Apart from this I love to live everywhere and anywhere I want. It’s an amazing feeling. I don’t know how I could feel more free. And to do it in something I built myself is a nice feeling AND to power this computer that I’m typing on now (and everything else) from the sun. I like it.
7. Least favorite things about living nomadically in a van? Anything you absolutely hate or dislike a ton?
Nothing I really hate. I feel like I’m a much more positive person since living in a van so any negative things are probably not significant enough for me to really hate it.
I don’t like it when it rains for days on end and when it’s cold. Nothing will dry and it’s difficult to wash clothes and stuff. But this winter I’ve totally avoided any sign of winter by going to Morocco – that’s where I am now.
I mean the other things are just minor inconveniences that you end up just getting used to, like having not having an endless water supply and a proper plumbed in toilet.
8. What can you suggest to folks who are thinking of making this move, either out of necessity or choice?
Know that it’s doable no matter how out of reach it seems or how many
obstacles there appear to be. And if you really want to do this, don’t make excuses like ‘I’m too old’ or ‘but I can’t quit my job’.
You are free right now and you are in full control. Just take the first step and have trust. Oh and read as much as you can about van conversions.
I made my book, From Van to Home to help everyone, at all levels of skills and knowledge, to make a van into their home. I’ve even covered basic electronics – something that many seem to struggle with – so no one is left out.
Thanks so much – you are an inspiration, that is for sure. I am sure your e-book From Van to Home will help many to realize their dream of taking an extended road trip or becoming a wandering nomadic van dweller.
If I make it to Europe some day and travel by car, will have to meet-up 🙂
best of luck with your adventures, Molly