Lifestyle & Human Interest

Time-Lapse Video: Couple Completely Transforms Old Van into Portable Tiny Home


My wife and I like to joke about the endlessness of our various household tasks. For me, it’s doing the dishes.

For her, it involves the processing piles of dirty laundry. But both of us like to quip that they feel like never-ending wars, boondoggles from which we can’t free ourselves.

Sometimes, though, I like to fantasize about living in some teeny-tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere, its footprint so small that it frees me from many mundane chores. Sounds like a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

Well, one British couple took a very similar dream and made it a reality. Emily and Rob, who blog at “The Road Is Our Home: Vanlife Travel Adventure,” got tired of the proverbial rat race.

“The decision to sell all your things and start living in a van isn’t the sort of thing you do just any day,” Emily wrote on her blog. “Except, for us, it was just that — an ordinary day.”

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She explained that she and her partner had ended up binging on TED Talks, those highly informational, short-form speeches. At one point, they ended up listening to a man who had visited various countries by living as “simply” (i.e., rough) as possible.

Rob loved the idea, but Emily wasn’t so sure. “Sorry, my love, I’m all for exploring the world, but waking up on a park bench is not my idea of a holiday,” she wrote.

“Now this might make me look like a ‘princess’ or ‘high-maintenance’ or whatever. But the reality is I am a homely person. I love my bed, my hot water bottle and my slippers.”

However, Rob knew that she also enjoyed traveling to music festivals and camping, so he came up with a compromise.

His idea was simple: Why not travel the world while living in a van that they converted according to their exact specifications?

And that was exactly what they did. In a video, they shared how they stripped the van all the way down to its metal walls and flooring.

They sliced out bespoke windows and crafted their own sunroofs. They insulated the walls to make them winterproof and crafted a cockpit enclosure to wall off the driving compartment.

They installed flooring, a kitchen, beds, a bathroom and a shower. In other words, they turned an average, everyday van into a super small, entirely livable home.

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Then the couple took it on the road, their blog showing them visiting places like Stonehenge, North Devon and the Brecon Beacons. Sadly, not everyone appreciated their work.

Rob reported that vandals once spraypainted the van. “This van may just be ‘a van’ to others, but to us its our home, our transport, our livelihood, and years of hard work,” he wrote.

They managed to get the graffiti off without damaging the paint, and their van-centric adventure still continues.

“I used to think I’d be settled down with a house and kids and have it all figured out, but here I am on my 30th birthday, sleeping in a van, not a clue what the future will bring and yet I’m happier than can I could have ever imagined,” Rob wrote.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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