Lives in a Van - Tiny House Blog

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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Nydia - March 30, 2009 Reply

I just found your amazing blog via Powerbook River’s space. As my small house is currently being built, there’s a lot of inspiration here. Thanks for sharing your experiences and other’s!

Kisses from a Brazilian blogger.

P. Smith - March 30, 2009 Reply

This is a great idea…for a single person. I hear and see a lot of articles on this and other sites that discuss tiny houses and simple living that work well for singles or couples. What about families? There are so many families out there who struggle with housing. I’d love to see more solutions for groups of three or more. I am not knocking what Dave is doing; more power to you, but I challenge tiny house supporters to find more solutions for families. I know there are a few; I just want to see more.

Thanks for listening.

    JP - March 31, 2010 Reply

    It’s easy, AVOID families, Who wants kids these days anyway? They’re noisy and annoying. If you feel lonely buy a dog…

      Sarah - April 15, 2013 Reply

      That’s TERRIBLE advice! I am part of a family of 4 getting ready to embark on a similar adventure with my husband, 2 kids, and a Schnauzer. Anyone can make something like this work if they really want to 🙂

Ryan - March 30, 2009 Reply

It would be nice to live like this. It seems like it would be a simpler life. If you dont like your neighbors you can always move.

Larry - September 9, 2010 Reply

What a cool story and this guy’s a real inspiration for those of us that still crave freedom and adventure from life.

jo ferrell - March 16, 2016 Reply

thanks for the inspiration looking forward the adventures soon as I get a few more things done to my suv I’m going to adventure outand about with my family be on camping trips this will be a good idea for my family of 3 and are dog we can be gone for as long as we want to if needed I can find jobs any where for extra cash if needed my husband is on retirement and daughter is in her last year of high school online so it will be a good education for her to ravel with us thanks Ferrell family

JustSayin - November 3, 2017 Reply

Want to get a van and leave the traditional lifestyle for the REAL American dream. BTW, you mentioned you have a PleasureWay, isn’t that a B class RV and not a van?

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