Why I Chose Van Life

Thank you for visiting my blog, my name is James and I live fulltime in my tiny Peugeot Expert van. I have a long term partner and soul mate ‘Helen’ who joins me on many of my adventures.

Van life is something I’ve always been interested in, I even remember as a little boy fantasizing about living in an stealthy armoured truck with CCTV and laser guns. I could press a button and the van would magically transport to anywhere on earth!

For the past few years I’ve watched many van life YouTube channels and planned to one day own my own camper van, I love the feeling of being cocooned and cosy away from the elements in my own tiny space.

As of writing (February 2023) the UK is experiencing a severe cost of living crisis, inflation is sky rocketing while pay has mostly remained stagnant. Life has become a real struggle for millions of people. The bank of England have tried to rectify this by raising interest rates which has caused mortgages and rents to increase significantly.

As a single father of two children I was finding things difficult before the price rises. It felt like I was always treading water, I couldn’t afford to take the kids on holiday or give them any special treats, so when my landlord called to tell me they were raising my rent (again) I impulsively told them that I’d be moving out.

I already had a van because of my business and, as I said, I was very interested in the van life scene so I decided to convert it into some kind of living space. I’d not much idea what to do but watched videos and quickly made a start.

My first go at converting my tiny van

In hindsight, my first attempt was quite ridiculous. I thought it would be a good idea to have a fixed bed, but the problem was I couldn’t really fit in it so had to sleep with my knees bent. This became terribly uncomfortable after just a few hours. Not only that, the large bed gave me hardly any space in which to cook, wash & change etc so it was back to the drawing board.

I’d given 28 days notice to vacate the house so in that time not only did I have to clear the property, I had to rip out the fixed bed and start again from scratch. It was really a very stressful time but I knew it would be worth it in the end, so in between shifts to and from the tip and the charity shop I eventually came up with a design which was much more practical. I settled on a narrower bed which could extend into a double for when travelling with Helen or my daughter, this left room for a kitchen unit down the opposite side and a bench/storage unit at the front of the van which would also house my leisure battery.

Flip top bed install


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