Conversion Van. The Ultimate DIY Guide

conversion van, van life, van dwelling, live in a van, camping, hiking, build a van, van conversion, travel

The Ultimate Conversion Van

After four of the most profound, challenging and exciting years of my life backpacking around the world, I have found myself back in ‘Merica, and at a seemingly vulnerable and almost comical time in history as Obama gives his farewell address, and messages from the new president are received via Twitter. After years abroad carrying the greatest backpack in the world, I imagined it might be time to visit the family on this continent, and do things a little differently again. Enter Samsara. The newly acquired early 90’s Ford E250 Conversion Van. And what would become the greatest test of my patience, my creativity, and my ability to surrender.

Conversion Van… made by mistake?

Some of you know that I have a semi permanent case of wanderlust, so in order to satiate that need, I chose to remodel and live out of this conversion van for some time this year. I just wasn’t really prepared for what I had gotten myself into. The van I chose had to be gutted. To the core. Completely.

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Starting from scratch and insulating the walls and floor.

This process was slow and painful, as I tried to see if anything could be salvaged. However, as I gently pulled her apart bit by bit, it became obvious that everything had to be tossed. Starting empty and fresh however, allowed creativity to flow abundantly in this tiny home on wheels and allowed me to really look at how I intended to play with her and to design accordantly. 

Getting custom…

Designing and building a 19 by 6 foot space that is light, comfortable, clean, and as efficient as can be has been challenging, but rewarding. Gifts of custom hand paintings can be found in the bathtub, the cabinets, and over the engine cover giving her a unique quality. The astroturf grass growing below the driver and passengers seats provide a particularly interesting look and a stimulating feel for your feet, as the many LEDs cast shadows in the few corners untouched by their light.  

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The command center is on its way!

Imagine the possibilities…

I have yet to embark on the journey around North America with Samsara as she is now receiving the finishing touches like a bathroom (seriously), cloud curtains and trim, but I have a feeling that right before springtime we will be ready to take our maiden voyages into the new together. I imagine long slow days in the forests, catching sun on beautiful beaches, hiking in the mountains, and camping in the deserts. I can see myself playing card games with grandma, reading, writing, creating, and daydreaming in my favorite tent hammock. I also imagine visiting festivals and taking friends old and new on short trips into the wild and not so wild spaces. Exploring this mobile and minimal way of living together, and being of service and in the flow of whatever surprises await along the way. 

Photo Credit 

If you are interested in backpacking, van dwelling, or just the nomadic lifestyle in general, do subscribe to the One Nomad Woman blog and receive special offers, new videos, and tips and tricks on ways this can be done. The conversion and journey of the van itself will be shared in DIY videos coming soon to inspire a different way of living!

You are also welcome to share your experience and knowledge with us by using the comment section below! 


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