Katie and Toby’s Ford Transit Van Conversion

by Katie Probert

As a solution to the expensive accommodation in the Alps, my boyfriend Toby and I bought a knackered old Ford Transit on ebay for £900, to convert into a home on wheels. Our plans were to quickly convert it into a cosy shelter, with a bed, basic kitchen facilities and lots of insulation. We estimated two weeks’ work. In our excitement we didn’t realise that the engine was shot…until we got the thing home and it was too late. We checked her into the garage for a brand new engine. We didn’t get her back until seven weeks later.

the van

Whilst we waited for our van to come back from the garage, we started sketching out possible layouts and trying to find out as much information about van conversions as possible. This was before we knew about the tiny house movement, or any of the DIY blogs that I read now. I had zero building experience, and neither of us had ever attempted such a project before. Armed with our new bible, the Haynes Motorcaravan Manual, we embarked on an adventure of trial and error, that would end up taking us 18 months to complete. Continue reading

Drive Nacho Drive

Is anyone else stuck in the winter blues and getting the Road Trip Itch? Scratch that itch by taking a look at the blog, Drive Nacho Drive. Nacho is a 1984 2.1 liter Volkswagen Vanagon being driven around the world by Brad and Sheena. They quit their jobs at the end of 2011 and have been living out of Nacho as they discover adventure, food, culture and emergency roadside Volkswagen maintenance.


What popped out of this blog was the great step-by-step breakdown as to how the couple adapted Nacho for around-the-world travel. They cover everything from how they added in a hot and cold water infrastructure for drinking and showering, a solar electric system, custom cabinets, custom bumpers, locking storage boxes and the little details to turn Nacho into a plush tiny house on wheels. Continue reading

Lives in a Van

The sad news these days seems to be centered on people losing their homes and maybe having to live in their car, truck or RV. Dave Thorsrud has been living out of his van for over a year, but he is doing it in an effort to live a simpler life.

His website, Lives in a Van, chronicles his year of living richly on the road in his Pleasure Way van. He writes:


“Ironically, I left the full time job to travel in a van because I wanted to maximize possibilities. With a full-time job, a house mortgage, a car payment and various other debts, my only option when the alarm shrieked was to go to work. This was true during the week and frequently true on the weekends. So I craved choices. I needed to know that if an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience came my way, then I could grab hold with both hands and embrace the new path.”


In order to find his more authentic life, he quit his job, sold all his belongings in five days and packed anything left into his van. During his search, he has traveled across the U.S. and parts of Mexico, met interesting people and has documented it with prose and excellent photography.

Dave lists the best aspects of living in a van as having no daily commute, the overall cost of living is low, all laundry can be done in one load, and every day is a new adventure. He also lists his rules of the road, which can be a metaphor for any simpler life:


  • Avoid drive-thru value meals at all costs.
  • Take photos of everything.
  • Sing along to whatever is on the radio–even talk radio.
  • Exercise whenever possible.
  • Take care of the vehicle.
  • Meet people–especially strange people.
  • Drive slower.
  • Never hesitate to take an exit, get sidetracked or get lost.
  • Take the backroads when possible.
  • Take notes, write daily, find the inspiration.


By Christina Nellemann

Photos by Matador Travel. Schematic by Lives in a Van

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