Tours

Retired couple hits the road in a tiny home on wheels to live a nomadic life

October 14th, 2020

Many of us dream about living a life of freedom on the road, going from place to place at our own pace. Jamie and Lisa are doing just this, and in style.

In 2017, Jamie and Lisa decided to travel across the North American continent in a home on wheels.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

They didn’t want a huge RV or a trailer. So instead, they opted for a van that was mostly an empty shell on the inside.

Over the next 18 months, the couple worked on outfitting the interior to suit their needs.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

Eventually, they made a space that could accommodate them as they explored North America. The finished project, which they christened Gertie, is astonishing.

Jamie singlehandedly built the van’s bedframe, insulated the interior, laid down flooring and added wall panels. For the insulation, Jamie opted for sheep’s wool.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

Then the couple found a van build company called Happy Camper Kits. The company made and installed the cabinetry and the woodwork that ended up in the final van.

The couple has a small electric oven, which was a must for Lisa, as she really likes to bake bread. They also opted for this oven as they wanted to avoid using any propane.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

Opposite the oven is a sink and a water filter. The water filter is held in place with a custom wooden design. This filter holder also serves as a set of steps that lead up to the bed.

Above the bed are two storage cubbies, which store Jamie and Lisa’s clothes. Opposite these cubbies is a window that the couple had specially installed.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

On the wooden panel between the bed and the kitchen area are all of the controls for the living space, for utilities like fans.

The draw immediately under the bed is reserved for Lisa’s makeup. And underneath this is the couple’s toilet bucket.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

To keep the weight light, the company that made the cabinetry used a honeycomb design on many of the wooden panels. This design uses less material while keeping the units strong.

Another innovative design feature is that the fridge freezer doubles up as a bench.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

Jamie and Lisa put a cushion on top of it and pull out a draw with a panel that rests the feet. This panel lifts up so that Jamie can access his beer.

There’s a slide-out panel at the end of the counter space next to the sink. This gives the couple a lot more space for preparing food.

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

On the roof of the van are three 200 watt solar panels. These panels are tiltable and provide the van with electricity.

The back doors of the van open out to a “garage.”

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

This is a space underneath the couple’s bed and stores the couple’s mountain bikes, the water tank/water pump, the solar electrical system, batteries and the couple’s outdoor items.

Jamie and Lisa have been a couple since 1978.

They had always talked about living on the road. This incredible van conversion has allowed them to finally realize that dream.

A YouTube video detailing Jamie and Lisa’s van then appeared on YouTube, where it has become popular.

To date, it has gained over 83,000 views. It also has more than 2,600 likes and 300 comments. People have been saying things like this:

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YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE Source: YouTube - VANCITY VANLIFE

Have you been inspired to convert a van into a tiny home?

Jamie and Lisa sure have no regrets about their decision. In fact, they’re living the dream.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: VANCITY VANLIFE

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