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Vehicle Living

So you're thinking you may want to adventure into the infamous "Van Life". Let me start by saying I am not a van lifer, but I have considered it and can offer resources for exploring different ideas for living out of a vehicle such as: vans, buses, RV, greyhound buses, or getting a truck and hitching a platform with an RV on the back. There are many different ways to go each has their own pros and cons. Below are sections on vehicle living,  my story and steps for how I converted my  outlander, and additional tips I've found helpful! 

Quick Links:

Van Life:

Van life, maybe arguably the most trendy vehicle living of today. 


Also if you're a student I've read some blogs where they buy a parking pass for the school and live there or 4 years and using the gym facilities at the school

Truck Shells

The one thing I didn't want to sacrifice in my vehicle was 4WD. For a while I thought maybe a truck with a hard-shell top was the way to go.                           was an option I considered as they are custom design and fit shells for trucks. 

GlobalX Vehicles

                                           are awesome! I have concerns about parking in towns and road access/clearance. The price tags are also very high. However for overseas travel I think these vehicles could be very useful and make life and travel comfortable. 

Where to stay? 

For me this was always the biggest worry and concern. I would have so many sleepless nights because I would:

1. Worry about getting towed

2. Worry about people knocking on my door

3. Worry about someone breaking in

4. Worry if people knew I was sleeping there

5. Someone telling me to move

6. Is it safe?

7. Is it close enough to my location?

8. Is it affordable? 

I mean I really struggled with this. I would go places and scope out the scene before hand. I would look up trails and see if there were any signs stating I couldn't stay the night. It was tough. What really helped me and I have found to be reliable is                           . If you click on the link it will take you to the home page and then you can either click or type in the location of the area you are in. This has always worked better for me than searching state parks, national parks, or using the app           . The reason for this is I honestly can't find as many free campsite and it takes me much longer. 

My Story: 

Living in a vehicle wasn't anything I was turned off to, but it also wasn't something I thought I'd do either. After I graduating undergrad, I did an AmeriCorp Term of Service in Montana during the summer of 2019, where I slept in my car out of convenience for 2 weeks. My car was a Pontiac and it wasn't the most comfortable to sleep in. In 2020, my car broke down while I was living in Houston so I sold it and set my sights for a vehicle that had a larger backseat. I was in graduate school at the time so thinking about getting a van wasn't something I wanted to commit to, but I did want a vehicle that had a larger backseat in case I wanted to spent the occasional night in it. In 2021, I bought my sister's Mitsubishi Outlander and spent the summer traveling and sleeping in it. I am now actively working towards converting the Mitsubishi into a more livable space. I am still thinking about converting a van or buying a GeoX vehicle. There are lots of different ways to live out of your vehicle so if you're new to it or considering the pros and cons. This page is the conglomerate of resources I've found while deciding what will fit best will my lifestyle.

One helpful tip I would suggest is utilizing the save and organize feature on Instagram to save cool photos or designs I saw. I also did this on Pinterest. 

Mitsubishi Conversion

The following are the biggest lesson I learned while living in the Mitisubishi for 3 months without converting it into a better living space (meaning just folding the seats down and having a mattress pad on top of it). 

1. Having blinds is very helpful for feeling safe and privacy

2. Sometimes it gets really hot and I'm to scared to leave a window open so having vents that go into your window are very helpful

3. Getting a Planet Fitness pass is an easy way to take showers no matter where you are at

4. Eating McDonalds every day is a cheap option but my stomach began to hurt so it is a necessity to be able to keep food cold so its worth the investment to get a nice cooler.

5. Having a cooler that needs ice sucks so getting an electrical setup makes life easier 

6. There are so many bathrooms that are gross. I recommend libraries and restaurants, and hospitals over public parks

7. I pee a lot.... investing in a pee funnel or having a portable toilet would be nice.

So the reason I decided to convert my Mitsubishi instead of renovating a larger van is because I don't like how obvious vans are. The last thing I want to do is attract attention. I want to stay as low key as possible. Everything I did with my car had the capability to be transformed back to its original form. 

Four Steps to Converting my Vehicle

Ok! So I wish I could say this was a seamless process but it was anything but. Below I have listed the process on the left and tips I learned on the right. 

Step 1: Take out the seats

Find videos that help you take the seats out of your car. This portion of the process cost me $3.50. The tools I used were towel, ratchet, 14mm 6point socket, and corrosive penetrating oil. I was able to barrow the tools so I only had to buy a small bottle of the oil to loose the bolts. If this is a frustrating process for you, don't worry that's normal it was for me to. The seats are heavy and the bolts don't come out easily, but it's possible. 

Step 2: Measurements and Design

After removing and storing the seats, I took measurements of the interior vehicle space. The purpose of removing the seats was so I could create storage binds. As you can see, in the before picture my seats collapsed into a flat bed. I got the idea since the backing for the seats were already cut to side that I could take the backing from the seat and use it to create compartments. 

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