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Cover image for I work from a Van! Vanlife

I work from a Van! Vanlife

dechamp profile image DeChamp ・3 min read

So I've been m.i.a. from here for a while. I ended up kind of reinventing some of my life. I've missed it here! So I figured I would start with a new post about my current situation.

My work started us on a "work from home", since march. It's been a long 4 months. I've loved it, but love it even more now that I WORK FROM A VAN!

Yup! You read that right.

I was a month in, working from home and struggling to stay focussed with the kids hitting me up every 5 minutes to play or them using my zoom calls as their opportunity to see who can scream louder.

Around the same time, my buddy was telling me that he was going to buy a van and live in it. My response was WTF?

He simply replied, #vanlife.

After a hour of scrolling, I was hooked and the seed was planted.

I had already seen that you could live in a van, when I was watching Steveo's video podcast which is does part of it from a van. I thought it was a cool idea, but only saw it as a temporary thing.

Side note, I've alway found tiny homes fascinating and part of me always wanted one.

By now, I'm really running the idea through my head. I say to myself "Wow, would this be a great solution for a mobile office? Could I work from a van?"

After watching Chrome, from youtube Vancity Vanlife, he had me convinced I could do it. He's a full time vanlifer.

So I started looking for a van, two weeks later I was the proud owner of a 1996 ford e-150 cargo van. van

The build took me about 2 months of all the extra free time I had. I did everything myself with basically no knowledge of what I was doing.

But I'm a software engineer and I learn lightening fast when it's something I'm interested in. So I turned to online tutorials and a lot of guess work, trial and error.

I'm damn proud of the results, and most of all I love coding from my van. I'm in it right now at a park as I write this article.

Each day, I drive down the the park in Phoenix, and open up my door, poor myself some coffee, setup my laptop and I'm off to work.

Indian Steal Park
Encanto Park

This is the inside as of now, still a little work to do but for the most part it's done. I have a seat and desk. My table swivels, I can code from my seat or the bed.

van inside
van inside 2

I have a coffee machine ( priorities :P ), fridge, a kitchen with running fresh water, bed for relaxing (it's also a camper van for the kids), essential oil diffuser.

I also have power provided via solar and batteries, a mounted iPad on swivel arm for a second monitor and tv, photos of my family, lots of lights, both colored and normal over head lights. Multiple fans to keep me cool.

A little food storage to keep me fed during breakfast and lunch.

Oh and I can cook steak for lunch... on my George Foreman.

steak lunch

Having a quiet place to work from has been a huge improvement to work life. Being able to change locations and being able to look out my door as I code, has helped with my mood and mental health.

So far the wifi provide via AT&T's hotspot has been awesome, but I'm only a month on it and I'm not sure what it'll look like once I had my max and the slow down begins. We shall see.

I know this isn't your typical post about code, but with most of us revolving our lives around it, it's important to share life as it come with it. My life is now coding from a van in Arizona (yup, it's like 114 on days) and a smile on my face.

sunset

Discussion

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lisasy profile image
Lisa Sy (she/her)

This is incredible! I've definitely thought about doing this while camping, but I think that what I haven't figured out is the wireless internet situation. I feel like it might be pretty costly to pay for hotspot, not to mention the possibly less-than-ideal bandwidth speed. Wouldn't hurt to try for one day, though :)

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Ya so far other than calls I’m finding that it’s not too bad. I have unlimited data on my phone but 30gb of hotspot. So I do the zoom calls on either my phone or when I’m hooked up to WiFi. I leave the hotspot for minimum stuff and so far it’s working out well

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thecre8tivediva profile image
Anita C.

I think I'll be investing in the Weboost. I've heard a lot of good things about it from other Vanlifers for boosting WiFi signals, especially those who work on the road.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Let me know how it goes with that. I've heard great things abiout it.

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thecre8tivediva profile image
Anita C.

Your link was shared with me because I've been researching van life for a little over a year. When I first saw your van before I scrolled down, I said to myself, "Oh he has a van like Chrome's." And then I scrolled and you mentioned him. I follow his channel! I love him and I follow a lot Vanlifers on IG. That's so awesome you did that. When the virus started, that kinda put my van dreams on hold. I live in a hotel right now. I'm hoping that I can get a van before my birthday or at least before winter comes. *Forgot to add that I was going to be driving out in my van to Scottsdale where my godson lives. Kinda bummed that I couldn't do that. How much solar and batter power do you have that runs the fan and the George Foreman grill?

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Ha ha what a small world! I’m actually in Phoenix. Just a few miles from Scottsdale. I think you should do it! It’s been awesome. The heat is no joke but I can handle it most nights. If you are able to travel more, the a hour or two outside of AZ is nice and cool. I’m running 3 x 100 watt panels, and 2 x 200 amp hour batteries. Renogy. It’s given me plenty of power to run my fans constantly, the grill, my fridge and charge my laptops. As long as I have sunny days then I’m good. I was able to get it done pretty quick by myself working hours after the kids went to bed. It was a lot of work but I love it.

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darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

What an awesome idea!
This looks great.
What comes to my mind immediately: Do you use public restrooms or how do you manage this?
And how do you store the fresh water?

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

So public restrooms and plus I live close to home. I have a grey water tank too if I had to pee and couldn’t hold it 😜

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kgprajwal profile image
K G Prajwal

This is some breaking bad stuff! Lol! This is a great idea to maintain a work-life balance. Awesome!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

ha ha. Yes, it definitely helps to keep me balanced.

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jogeshpi03 profile image
Jogesh

WOW, This is amazing.

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Rafik Naccache

This is the coolest workplace in the universe:) !

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Wow that is a huge compliment. Thank you!

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mightytechno profile image
Mighty

This really great idea than sitting the same place and code every day.

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_bigblind profile image
Frederik 👨‍💻➡️🌐 Creemers

Woah, that looks awesome!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you! I appreciate it.

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gustavohd18 profile image
Gustavo Duarte

I love it!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you!

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

I read "kids" then instantly related. This is absolutely genius!!! Must continue reading.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Well thank you!

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heikokanzler profile image
Heiko Kanzler 🇪🇺

The perfect balance between home office and beeing a digital nomad.
Very nice.
Really nice.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

Thank you!