VAN DWELLING AS A FEMALE | What is van life as a female like?

Wondering what it's like to live in a van as a female? Well I'm answering your top questions about what van dwelling as a female is really like. We've been living in our van for the last year and a half so hopefully this helps answer some of the common questions about van life. 

I asked you guys on our Van Life Instagram what questions you had about living in a van as a female...

So I sat down and answered the top questions I got! 

And I #keepitreal, so if talking about periods and sex is too much for you, then don't watch this video! I want to always be transparent and honest with each one of you about the realities of van life, and what it's actually like.

Hopefully this helps you decide if van life and life on the road is for you.

Be sure to follow our Van Life Youtube channel for weekly updates. And hey, maybe we'll run into you on the road somewhere :) 

Van Life Jobs | 3 Ways We Make Money Living in A Van

The #1 question we get is "How do you make money living in a van?"

It's such a big topic if you're thinking about going full time in van life, so we wanted to break it down on how we afford to travel full time and work remotely on the road.

There are 3 main ways that we make money:

1. YOUTUBE

One of the coolest things about the YouTube platform is that you can apply to be "monetized." Basically, that means that they will run ads from some of their advertising partners on your videos. 

YouTube requires you to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours before you can apply to be monetized.

From YouTube's monetization, we make about $1,000 a month from our YouTube channel

2. AMAZON AFFILIATE PROGRAM

Amazon has an affiliate program that you can earn about 5% on any products that are purchased through your affiliate link.

Since we get asked all the time "where did you get that sink?" or "what batteries did you use in your van?" Amazon is a great way for us to get a little kick back for recommending products that we used in our van build. 

Most of the products listed on our Van Life page are affiliate links from Amazon. 

You can find out more about Amazon's affiliate program here: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

We average about $800 a month from our Amazon affiliate account.

3. OUR OWN PROGRAMS

90% of our income comes from offering our own digital programs for sale. We have 2 main products:

Van Layout Guide - the Van Layout Guide is a detailed floorplan of our second van build. If you love the look and finish of our van, this guide will give you the specs and 3D renderings you need to build a van with the same layout. 

Creator Academy - we like to call this our passion project. It's what we both believe we were put on this planet to do! Creator Academy is a step-by-step program to teach you the skills you need to create an income through social media. You can find out more in our free webclass here. 

There are so many van life jobs and ways to make money online out there, so hopefully this helps you figure out some creative ways you can start earning money on the road.

 

Be sure to follow our van life Instagram and our Van Life YouTube!

Vanlife Essentials: How We Stay Cool & More

It doesn't take long to realize what you can't live without in Vanlife.

So we've added a few items to our Vanlife Essentials list to help you fellow travelers live a better life on the road. 

This little "Air Conditioner" has made a huge difference for us on really hot days in the van.  It's not by any means a full blown air conditioner but it will provide some relief and cool down your van.

This has been a fixture in each of our builds.  Part charging station and part functional switches for 12v components like water pumps or ball valves. 

We try to leave a small footprint and love these razors that keep us from constantly burning through disposable razors.  

Life Changing!  This fully biodegradable and non-toxic tank treatment has made a huge difference in our grey water holding tanks. 

These are just FUN!  Toys for the road make the adventure that much more fun. 

DIY Custom Sprinter Conversion Van Tour with Bathroom

We set out to build the ultimate tiny home on wheels for traveling and working on the road. 

After traveling in our first van for almost 9 months we decided to build a new van with some minor modifications.  Our latest van includes everything we need to live and work remotely full-time. 

  • Kitchen with Farmhouse sink
  • Enclosed Shower with hot water heater
  • Urine Diverting Toilet
  • Convertible King Size Bed/Table 
  • Mini Fridge
  • 300 Watts Solar 
  • 300 Amp Hours Lithium Batteries
  • 3000 Watt Inverter/Charger
  • Aluminess Rack/Ladder
  • Espar Diesel Heater
  • Built-in Dog Crate Area

We've now put over 10K miles on our latest van and are super happy with this build. We've traveled from California to Michigan and even across Canada to explore Banff & Jasper National Parks. 

Overall we stuck to a very similar layout from our previous build.  Most of the changes we made were pretty minor based on our experience living in the first build.  

Curious what changes we made? Checkout the video below as we break it down for you. 

Want to see the full list of specs from our latest build?  Click here

Interested in building your own van with our layout?  We've got you covered with our Van Layout Guide.  This membership site includes material lists, electrical and plumbing diagrams as well as measurements for most aspects of our build. 

 
 

How to Install Solar Panels to Your Custom Sprinter Conversion Van

Installing Renogy Solar Panels to our
Sprinter Van Conversion

Building out a van you have lots of different options when it comes to power.  We decided to run our entire electrical system on Solar Power using the Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panels and Renogy Rover Solar Controller. 

Using these components we are able to charge our 3, 100 AH LiFePO4 Battle Born Batteries. 

If you are considering mounting solar for your van conversion you have many options for mounting systems.  On our latest van we wanted to incorporate the Aluminess Roof Rack for additional storage space and they also make a great platform for having a drink, taking photos and mounting your solar panels. Aluminess even makes clamp on solar mounts for seamless integration of your solar panels. 

In the video below I walk you through the process of installing our panels to the mounts, the mounts to rack as well as running the wires through the roof using waterproof cable clams. 

How Much Did Our Van Conversion Cost?

van conversion cost 40 hours of freedom sprinter van

Before you start on your van build you want to make sure you have a realistic budget in mind for the van you want to build.  

To help with the learning curve we are sharing with you how much it cost to convert our 2014 Mercedes Sprinter Van into our permanent home on wheels. 

Van Specs: 
2014 Mercedes Sprinter 170" Wheelbase, High Roof

Purchase Price: $31,000

Framing, Materials & Lumber:
Wood Materials for Cabinets, Walls & Ceiling = $4,250
Butcher bloc Countertops = $100
Flooring = $200
Insulation = $250
Hardware (knobs, latches, hinges, drawer slides etc) = $460
Misc (Screws, nails, adhesive, tools) = $1000
Primer, Paint & Caulk = $300

40 hours of freedom van conversion cost sprinter mercedes

Electrical Components:
LED Lights, Switches, Fuses, Outlets & Wiring = $662
3, Battle Born LiFePO4 Batteries = $3,000
Victron Battery Monitor = $179
Victron 3000Watt Inverter/Charger = $1,600
Inverter Switch = $173
Renogy 400 Watt Solar Starter Kit (Panels & Solar Controller) = $800
Dometic Fridge = $572

Vent Fan & Windows:
5 Windows = $1621
Window Install = $750
Fantastic Vent Fan = $200

Bathroom, Shower & Plumbing:
2.5 Gallon Hot Water Heater = $250
Plumbing materials (pumps, tanks, hose, PEX etc) = $670
Shower Pan = $150
Urine Diverting Toilet = $200
Nautilus Self Cleaning Shower Door = $290
Foam Backerboard, Waterproofing paint, mortar, tile, grout & fixtures = $900
SensaTank Monitoring System = $150

Table, Bed, Seating:
Lagun Swivel Table Base = $180
Passenger Seat Swivel = $300
Cushion Materials & Sewing Cost = $1,150

Misc
Esbar Heater = $982

Materials Total = $25,564

Van + Materials = $56,564

For full details on our second build click here

Travel Tips: 5 Must Do's On Kauai

Kauai is our favorite Hawaiian Island to visit. 

We wanted to share with you our TOP 5 Things TO DO On Kauai!

1. Visit Polihale State Beach:  This beautiful beach on the west shore has one of the most stunning views and incredible huge sandy beach.  The road getting into the beach is a little rough so a 4x4 is recommended. 

2. If it's rainy on the island head to Poipu Beach. Located on the south shore this beach is usually blessed by the sun gods even when it's rainy elsewhere on the island.  It's also a great beach if you have small kids, are interested in snorkeling and are looking to find Sea Turtles. 

3. Waimea Canyon State Park is actually the deepest canyon in the US!  It's beautiful.  Plan on making it a full day trip if you are coming from the east side or north shore of the island. 

4. Hanalei Bay is incredible for learning to surf or just spending a day relaxing on the beach and enjoying some shopping and food around town. 

5.  Visit a local farmers market.  Each town has its own farmers market and they are usually on a different day of the week.  This is a great chance to get fresh, local produce and help support the local economy while vacationing. You can find the schedule here

Van Life Tips for Females

How do you curl your hair? 

How many clothes do you have? 

How do you shower?

We get asked so many different questions about #vanlife that Sara decided to make a video answering the most common questions we get from the ladies thinking of venturing out with a partner or solo. 

What is Creator Academy?

Creator Academy Logo.png

Do you know it's possible to make money online but just aren't sure where to start?

It can be overwhelming to create an online business or to figure out how to make money with a brand or social media following. 

We hear from people every single day who are looking for a way to break free of their 9-5 job to create time & financial freedom to travel, explore and spend time with their family and friends.  

Creator Academy 40 hours of freedom vanlife

We founded Creator Academy to help people just like you learn the skills of online marketing.  

Creator Academy Includes:

  • Brand Development Tools 

  • Specialized Content Creation Strategies 

  • Swipe Files for Creating Valuable Posts

  • Secrets for Finding Your Niche & Avatar

  • 30 Minute 1:1 Coaching Call

  • Step By Step Video Training (how to set up your domain, how to set up your Facebook page, how to set up your Pixel, etc)

Click the button below to get started today!

Exploring California's Central Coast

One of the most beautiful and undeveloped sections of the California Coast lies between Pismo Beach and Big Sur California.  This area, known as the Central Coast, is home to amazing beaches, lighthouses, elephant seals and even a castle. 

We decided to explore this area in our van during the fall after the crowds had left and the weather had turned a bit chilly.  Our first stop was Pismo Beach.  We found a great spot to park and work during the day at Shell Beach Park.  While in Pismo we highly recommend the Ventana Grill for dinner. The sunset view is amazing and the nachos get 2 thumbs up.

After enjoying a day at Pismo Beach we headed further up the coast to our next stop at San Simeon.  This is one of our favorite places to spend time in the van.  There are almost endless vista points to pull over and work, cook or walk the dogs on the beach.

There are 2 "must-see" destinations while in San Simeon.  The first is Hearst Castle.  This State Park offers different tour options of the iconic home of William Randolph Hearst.  Prepare to have your mind blown. Unfortunately on this trip this clouds rolled in and blocked most of the view of the outside of the castle and the view of the shoreline. Another reason to make it back for a third visit!

The next stop you will want to make it at The Elephant Seal Boardwalk at Piedras Blancas Light Station.  Hundreds of elephant seals lounge on the beach sunning themselves.  

elephant seals 40 hours of freedom vanlife

Due to the massive amounts of rain the central coast received last year, Highway 1 is currently closed just as you hit Big Sur.  We took the road as far north as we could to enjoy the view down the coast. 

Our next adventure took us to Paso Robles and as we crossed over the hills we were amazed to be able to spot Morrow Bay and the iconic rock formation in the distance. 

morrow bay via paso robles 40 hours of freedom vanlife travel