When I was 20, I went on a spontaneous month long road trip. Since then, I've been dreaming of life on the road; exploring the coast, roaming free, seeing what I might become if I threw my inhibitions to the wind.

For the past couple years I have been working, saving and dreaming of how I might make this work.
For the past few months I have been renovating the van I finally purchased to make this dream a reality.

Here's how it turned out...

 

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∼  Chevy Express 3500 ∼

Original condition

 

 

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First I painted and insulated.


It took four coats of paint to cover to ugly fiber glass ceiling. The vans ceiling clears my head by just half of inch in the very middle. For this reason I decided only to insulate the walls. My Dad had some old styrofoam insulation collecting dust in the garage, which I cut into slabs to fill the vans paneling.  

 

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When caulking doesn't stick, duct tape does the trick! 

When caulking doesn't stick, duct tape does the trick!

 

 


 


The van purchase was one of chance. Though a van was my first choice, I did not actually anticipate finding the perfect one, and therefore did very little research beforehand on the materials or construction methods I would use. For this reason I ended up spending countless hours at Menards and Home Depot. It seemed I was there every other day, either purchasing an item I didn't anticipate needing, or returning something that wasn't adequately sized. Luckily my Dad is very handy and agreed to help me with the construction process. 

 

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We used wood paneling to cover the insulation. The upper part of the wall, where the high top had been welded on, had an awkward 6 inch metal casing which came out from the wall. The casing also had jagged metal edges and was nearly impossible to work around. We covered the entire metal casing with a carpet runner and bolted wood shelves in on top of that. Every surface was uneven or awkwardly angled. Each piece of wood had to be cut and recut multiple times.
 

 

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We made benches to cover the wheel wells, and a foldable bed board to go on top. The bed board had to fit perfectly atop the ledges of the benches. This was difficult because the van width is not even with its length. We cut, and recut and cut again. Then I stained the wood and we put it together.

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We worked through sun, rain and a snowstorm.

 

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I used music to keep me going... 

until it didn't.

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We added a closet and light switches.

 

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I ordered a cupboard and a tiny sink. 

  

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Originally we installed a foot pump to use with the sink, however it leaked from the first try. We took the foot pump out and replaced it with a windshield washer pump. It fit perfectly into the spout of the 5 gallon water jug, and worked with the push of a button, after some simple wiring.

 

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For the floors I chose a wood colored vinyl, which I simply cut to fit.

 

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I ordered a 6 inch memory foam mattress, which I was able to cut with an electric knife. I also cut the mattress down the middle, so I can fold it up and out of the way.

 

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Slowly everything came together...

 

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 Finally I get to decorate!!

 

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The ledge on the bottom comes up an inch to hold the books in.
The ledge on the bottom comes up an inch to hold the books in.

 

After a trial trip, I decided the bed wasn't big enough. I could lay down width wise, but my feet were flat up agents the wall. I added a fold out counter board to the length of the bed board. It works as a desk/table and bed extender. I used left over pieces of the memory foam mattress to created a mattress extender. When folded out, the bed now stretches 6ft long.

 

Bed folded up with counter board out
Bed folded up with counter board out
Bed folded out with counter board out
Bed folded out with counter board out
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 The end product turned out way better then I thought. I honestly never imagined I could create something this great with my own two hands. Every time I step foot inside I am inspired. Hopefully this inspiration carries on through my travels and takes me across many varying terrains.

 

 

Storage above the drivers area
Storage above the drivers area

 

 

Hippy flags from Ben @ WildGranite
Hippy flags from Ben @ WildGranite
Kitchen area
Kitchen area
Must have coffee!
Must have coffee!
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For my first trip out I went to Duluth, MN.
Though it's only two hours away from where I am currently living, the entire trip felt like a dream!
I cant wait to make this a lifestyle and travel wherever the wind may blow!

 

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© 2017 Jamiejoy Lidberg