How the Van Life Chose Me

Step 0: Daydream in college about a pipe dream.


Step 1: Live in a trailer instead of a dorm.


Step 3: Graduate and get a job.


Step 4: Get evicted from trailer park because trailer exceeds age limit. Sell Trailer. Get rid of junk.

Step 5: Sleep on couches and refuse to rent apartment.

Step 6: Work 60 hours a week and save money.

Step 7: Buy 2006 high roof 158″ WB 3500 Dodge Sprinter.


Step 8: Drive sprinter from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania in three days.


Step 9: Rent Garage.


Step 10: Design.


What’s next?

Build Van

Sell Car


  • An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I do think that you need to publish more on this topic, it
    may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not talk about these subjects.
    To the next! All the best!!

  • Richard Hauser

    Congratulations. Question about specific van choice: you got a 158 which is ~23′ long. Most parking spaces are only 20′ long is that an issue? I know the extra space must be great. Also you went with a 3500 instead of a 2500: did you expect you needed the extra weight capacity or possible durability? Or did you just get such a great deal on the van that it outweighed the minor negatives? I’ve been looking into getting a 2000-2006 2500 with 144″ wb and a high roof. I’d love to get a 158 but worried about the parking limitations. I’m looking for a mobile office/ commuter vehicle, but envy your ability to go fulltime. Just started with the first post after seeing you on youtube. Best of luck.

    • Joe

      I wouldn’t worry about parking. If I can’t find a pull through, then I back in with my rear tires against a curb. I even managed to parallel park it in New Orleans. I went with the 3500 because I didn’t want to be limited at all in the build.

      • Richard Hauser

        I hadn’t ran the numbers, but that makes sense. With 42 gal of water you would be carrying 336lbs of just water. The three batteries are another 500 lbs, so maybe the 3500 isn’t such a bad idea. I’ve saw you can get in about 2500 ibs but I can see how the lbs could definitely add up quick. My guess is the 3500 is also going to get upgraded brakes.

        • Joe

          Yeah I’m glad I went with the 3500

  • Dj Smith

    Dude this is great! Well thought out well put together! As you probably know Pa is boring haha so trying to start my own project! How’d you choose the van? Did you know you wanted the big 3500 and looked for them or did the deal come to you? Don’t have much money so wondering if I should save for a better nicer van or try to fix up an older one that’s a good deal! Just want it for road trips, tailgating, camping, and kayaking. Love how you explain every step along the way and show the struggles and fun out of it! Hope ur trip is going great and van on!

    • Joe

      Thanks for your support! PA is boring. I look around for a long time online. I knew I wanted a 2006 3500 from the South, because anything from the North East would have a lot of rust. Everything I read said the 2006 was the best year for them. I would keep saving and get what you want. It’ll make the build go a lot smoother.

      • Dj smith

        Awesome thank you and I was thinking the same! I gotta go down to floridia for a buddy’s wedding so I’m going to save and hopefully find one down there! Lost my license so I need a project to work on and these vans have soon many uses! Thanks for the motivation and knowledge!

  • Bryan from Downey

    I am so appreceitive and grateful for you! Thank you for creating this experience for me! I closed my business of five years, bought a 2011 Sprinter 144 passenger, now I might be selling my home and living in the van. I love a lot of your ideas here, especially how you configured the solar/battery/inverter/AC/fridge! Your build looks very good to me! And I love that you are jumping into the build with the mindset of confidence and growth! I too think this is an opportunity that many people will not understand, but it’s been presented to me so I am going to follow in your foot steps!

    • Joe

      Thanks for the awesome comment Bryan! I’m glad I could give you some ideas and inspiration. It takes a unique perspective to understand this lifestyle. I know you have that perspective and you’ll love the experience. Good luck on your build! Let me know how it goes.

  • Elijah Jones

    Are high roofs or super high roofs still stealthy? I was looking at yours and Mercedes and was wondering is there really any difference so the solar panels can go on

    • Joe

      Stealth is situational. I’m not sure what the differences are.

      • Elijah Jones

        So I could still install the same solar panel amounts on top of a super high roofs etc… lastly where in America are you now

        • Joe

          Yeah I think so. I’m in South Dakota.

          • Elijah Jones

            That’s cool, thanks bro ,safe travels