Hey friends! Welcome to fromthevan.com
This website, podcast, and YouTube channel is dedicated to my exploration of policy, minimalism, community, and tiny house living through the lens of my DIY conversion of a cargo van into a full time van life custom camper van.
After law school, I was admitted to the California State Bar Association and began to work as a videographer and community organizer for environmental non-profits and their campaigns. Over the course of working to stop a toll road through a local state park, my eyes were opened to the problematic ubiquity of the automobile in American culture. On my 30th birthday in the summer of 2010, I decided to divorce my car. For the next 8 years, I lived in Encinitas and Los Angeles, CA car-free, using bicycle, feet, and transit to get around. I can proudly report that this was the most edifying decision of my life thus far.
But last year, my imagination grabbed me by the throat:
1. I'd always wanted to build a home with my own hands.
2. While living in Encinitas, I yearned for the diverse cultural opportunities presented by LA.
3. And while living in LA, I was pissed off that I wasn't surfing.
4. I have hiking-oriented wanderlust and a fantastically energetic adventure dog.
These four factors drew me to start spiraling into obsessive mania about the trending fad of #vanlife - If I could build a comfortable tiny house (1.) on wheels with a shitton of solar power, a serviceable kitchen, and a modular living space, I could keep a super low carbon footprint, live in both LA (2.) and Encinitas (3.), and scoot Spin and myself out to remote places where we wouldn't need lodging or a bus line (4.).
But that's fucking crazy! What kind of privileged, educated, employed cycling & pedestrian advocate would choose to move into a vehicle? Is "homelessness" some sort of Swiss army knife for my circumstance?
Yea, it seemed nuts, even to me. So, after months and months of study and fantasy, I decided I would buy a van, but one small enough that I could afford to buy while still keeping my apartment. Then I spent 2.5 months watching YouTube tutorials, building custom van furniture, cutting myself on shit and sobbing on top of the van. At the end, there was a converted Mercedes Metris van with a tiny home, complete with a comfy convertible couch/bed, tons of AC/DC solar power, a refrigerator, and running water. And it was operable.
I still had a job, and there was a residential vehicle parked in my formerly unoccupied apartment parking space. And I'm not one to get that close to a big adventure with a huge question mark atop it without at least trying it. "I'll just turn in the keys to my apartment and try living in the van for a little bit. I'll hate it, and then I'll get another apartment."
Well, it's been 7 months, and all that crap I put in a storage unit is languishing there, not being thought about, much less being used. I'm the happiest I've ever been, so now I'm starting a website and a blog about it.
Welcome to from the van