Our Home

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
-St. Augustine

We live in a 2006 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
So many people ask us how we manage to live in such a tiny space without killing each other. The answer is a good sense of humor and a creed of loving-kindness. Living in a van certainly isn’t for everyone, but we absolutely love it and can’t image living any other way. One night we live in a San Diego zip code, the next night our front yard view is Baja Mexico. We don’t own couches, stereo systems or TVs. No coffee tables or lawn mowers. That’s the trade off. We’re light. Everything we own is in the van and we can move the van anywhere. That’s the dream of Sprinter Life.
We also estimate that, despite my bad surf board habit, we’ve reduced our overall carbon footprint for a 2-person household by up to 50%. We consume less of everything from electricity to disposables. We run on solar power and propane. We don’t use a lot of water nor do we heat/cool a big living space. What about gas? You would think we burn more fossil fuels by living in a van, but the truth is we drive far less actual miles than we ever did living in LA. Stevie used to drive 2 hours a day to and from school! When they say, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” we’ve got the first one nailed.
Here are some stats on our home, created by Sportsmobile
216 Square Feet including Roof Rack
132 Square Feet without Roof Rack
108 Square Feet of actual living space
Fuel – Diesel, receiving 21+ MPG
Power – 3×5 solar panel on the roof powers all systems
Stove – Propane 2 burner
Refrigerator – Runs on solar electric
Water – 2 holding tanks, 30 gallons of available water
Heat – Temperature controlled gas powered furnace
AirCon – 2 Temperature controlled ceiling fans in the roof
Bed – Queen size Tempurpedic w/ Down Comforter
Kiki Bed – Lg Trail-pro Thermarest w/ Fleece Sheet
Shower – 1 hot and 1 cold water shower off the back of the van
Our home parked in a lot in Norther Baja Mexico
Under the bed is where we have the majority of our storage. We can fit 7 
short boards, 2 bikes, 4 fold-up chairs, 2 hammocks, 1 tool kit. We also have 
showers that are accessible. These are great for rinsing off after surfing. 
If we need a real shower we go to a campground, YMCA, fitness club, 
or hotel. But real showers are only needed 1 time per week 
when you’re in the ocean everyday. (Stevie does not agree with this)
We’re able to store several days worth of food in our small fridge. 
Above that we have a 2 burner stove that Stevie cooks on.  
Next to that we’ve got a big sink with hot/cold  
water for washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.

Kiki has a nice little cave to call her own. She loves this space.

This roof rack is one of the best investments we’ve made. 
We’re able to move the long surf boards out of the van 
and store them on top. Inside the Silver box we have spare van parts 
including windshield wipers, fuel/oil/air filters, radiator hoses, headlights, 
tail lights, etc. Also Scuba gear, a shovel, repair kit, and luggage 
for flying home. We also have a platform for watching sunsets. 

Stevie is often forced out of her seat by my co-pilot

Our wall of pictures and of course our pan-american map.
Wouldn’t want to get lost out here!

Yes, it’s a queen. Oh, the bed is too.

Surrounding the inside of the cabin we have drawers
and a closet for clothing and other storage

Stevie’s shoe rack and other storage areas.

The Sunset Platform in action!


  1. Me encanta vuestro estilo de vida… bravo. Os seguimos de cerca y os admiramos. Suerte. Si pasais por Brasil, contactar.

    • Gracias. Nos gustaría conocerte en brasil. Estaremos allí pronto!

      • Anonymous says:

        Vivo en Novo Hamburgo, estado de Rio Grande do Sul… a traves de correo podemos hablar cuando querais (ingles, portugues y español).

        Un abrazo y buen viaje.

      • Thank you both for a great informative site 🙂

        I am doing my research and trying to decide on what van to buy.
        I was going to build one out myself, but my skills are very limited. I have narrowed my search down to either the Winnebago Revel which is a 4×4, or the Hymer Aktiv on the Dodge pro-master chassis.
        I want a diesel but I heard the services are expensive?
        I hope to buy mine before the end this year 2017….
        Thanks for all the good info.

        • Ian: Be careful buying a diesel for use in Central and S. America. My wife and I are trying to do the same thing, but have found that any diesel engine in the US or Canada starting in 2007, will NOT run properly on the diesel found in Central and S. America. In fact, it will damage several things and may not run at all, and the fix is VERY expensive…and you won’t find parts for them S of the border. I’m looking for a sprinter van 2006 or older, but they all are very high mileage! So, we may actually purchase in S. America, and drive N instead. Keep that in mind!

  2. True fact: I love you guys! My wife and I are Nomadic Souls. We had our own amazing journey that included, among many other things, crossing the Pacific on a 46′ sailboat. We came home, bought the house, aquired things, and realized “Welp…..this doesn’t work for us”. Our feet are itchy and our Souls are restless. Our time to again go explore this vast and beautiful world is nigh upon us. Though it will be a bit more tricky this time around (we are now a family of 4!), we are committed. I’m not jealous of your LIFEstyle, I am inspired by it. Perhaps we’ll cross paths along the way.

    Honor the journey, My Friends.


  3. We are trying to decide between 4×4 camper truck like PanAm Notes crew, a sportsmobile, or a sprinter like this. has the lack of 4×4 held you back as far as getting out to remote places to camp? Thanks! and congrats on the new addition 🙂

    • Hi Meridith,
      We don’t feel like we’ve been held back by the lack of 4×4. We love having the Sprinter and think it may be the best rig to take down the Pan Am!

      • Hey Meredith…the one thing that I may add though is that we don’t often camp in ‘remote’ places. Tree needs to be online to stay in contact with Outdoorplay.com, so we rarely spend time in areas without internet access. If camping off the grid is a goal, then you may feel limited by the Sprinter, depending on how rough the terrain is that you plan to go. The Sprinter is pretty damn versatile and tough for its size and class, but we certainly don’t have the access that PanAm did. Personally, we love the Sprinter because it suits our needs and level of comfort (Read: Queen size Tempurpedic) quite excellently, but your expectations for a rig may be different than ours. If you have any specific questions, feel free to send us an email. Best wishes to you!!! Stay in touch.

        • Thanks Guys!!! I do love how comfy the Sprinter seems, but love the idea of being able to go camping in a remote place, especially remote beach locations. And those locations always involve soft sand. Hard choice. But thank you for the info! 🙂

          • I have a long, tall Sprinter 2500 and it is pretty great in every way except, if the computer malfunctions you’re looking at $500 and on up in repairs and also as you suggested off-road capability. It takes a decent dirt road or you’re not going there. Even the slightest bump feels like thunder in a Sprinter and they have the slip thing in the rear where if one tire is not gripping a surface the other side is not going to spin. If you can afford the 4×4 Sprinter I would take a look at them.

  4. Great setup! Where did you get the bed platform and how does it anchor into the walls of the Sprinter?

  5. Os deseo una buena ruta a bordo de la Sprinter!

  6. Hi, I really like reading all about this, I have a few question. 1. how much does it cost, looking around, 80,000 to start, I don’t have any money, I work full-time, but all of it goes to rent and bills! No savings either, that is why, I would love to live in a van. I am alway in fear of being homeless, one check away from the streets. Please tell me how you started?
    Thank you

    • Anonymous says:

      Check out some used Roadtrek vans. (Roadtrek 190 (200) (210?) You can find them for about $18,000 – 25,000 or even less, (or more, of course) beds, kitchen, shower.

    • It’s incredibly simple. You buy a van, move into it, and get rid of the other stuff. I did it as a single woman of 63…what a great experience traveling this country and Canada, alone and with company.

    • I realise this is an old comment but for anyone wondering the same, you don’t need hardly anywhere near that amount of cash to start a nomadic lifestyle. A few thousand possibly. You don’t have to buy a new sprinter van or even a van. A cheap well looked after caravan, second hand van or even a decent bus conversion can be found from anywhere from less than a thousand to ten thousand. If you don’t know what you are looking for then find someone who does so you don’t end up with something that looks great but is falling apart.

      You can sell all of your possessions to partially fund this. If you want something better in the long run then you should be able to live for less from then on and save up plus use the current van for partial funding. If this seems too risky then sell your possessions and rent a room whilst you save for your dream vehicle.

      There is always a way. Especially if you have a regular income. You just need to find a way to live below that income and have the willpower to save. If you could save half or even a third of what you earned, how long would it take you to get to where you want to be? Something to ponder.

      Also, look for people who have started conversions and given up half way through. This could be a more cost effective way. Even more so would be to do the conversion yourself. If I were you I would research your options, see what budget they fit into, then look at your options to save up and what you have to sell, therefore giving you a realistic total that you would have to play with. Have a brainstorming session. You’ll find a way to do it. If you think you can’t do it then think like this . . If someone gave you a full time job and said ‘use this job to get a van and live a nomadic lifestyle.’ How would you do it? In a world with no fails or limits, just how would you do it? May be you could get a second job temporarily?

      If someone wants this lifestyle (especially with a full time job) then there is a way. It might not be starting out with a brand new van with all the equipment you could desire but there will be a way that suits your budget and circumstances. Good luck.

  7. Great way of life!! where did you get the roof rack??

  8. very nice van…….where did you guys get the roof rack???

  9. Just in reply to Mickey’s post – it’s only US$80K to start if you get a converter to do the Sprinter conversion for you. Plenty of folks have done great DIY Sprinter conversions on the cheap, some for as little as US$15-20K for the van and US$5-10K for the conversion. See my DIY Sprinter gallery page for some inspiring examples: http://www.sprinter-rv.com/diy-gallery/
    But fewer still make such courageous journeys, or write insightfully about such profound topics on their travel blogs, you guys rock!

  10. Steve & Annie says:

    Love the Site, just starting our ‘Worlds Journey’ with a conversion, (gotta be 4×4 tho’ for S.America) then sell the house and away. Done Oz & NZ before and really looking forward to meeting lots of inspirational people like you guys along the way.
    One night please stand on a beach at sunset take a deep breath of FREEDOMS air and enjoy your life’s gift; we’ll dream until we can. Good luck.
    Steve & Annie

  11. Anne and Steve says:

    You guys rock….you have been an amazing inspiration for us. We just bought a
    Sprinter and Steve is doing the van conversion….then….who knows….the Pan American
    hiway northbound and definitely southbound is on the agenda. Go in peace.
    a and s

    • Great game guys! Take that Sprinter and hit the road. The wold is your oyster. Keep us posted on your travels. TREE

  12. I’m interested in the Sprinter life too, hopefully soon; a step up from my old Landcruiser that I wander around in during the summer. Yours looks great. Some advise would be helpful. In the U.S. do you park at campgrounds along the coast or ??? In San Diego, for instance, it seems that most parking lots by the bays and beaches don’t allow vehicles overnight. I’ve done a lot of free road camping on BLM and other federal lands throughout the southwest and California but a Landcruiser has limitations in urban areas. Campgrounds at $20-$40 per night would seem to be quite expensive for long stays. Have you found other alternatives? Thanks. Cheers!

    • Hey Rich. Since the campgrounds in California tend to be so expensive, we urban camped in stealth mode (window coverings up, no loud music, door closed) either in a nice neighborhood or in a 24hr. Fitness parking lot (we were members). I highly recommend the last option. Besides a place to camp, you get to work out and soak in the hot tub before bed. Living the dream on a shoestring!

    • Many…be observant.

  13. MARIAN says:

    I have one sprinter ,like yours , and i transform it in camper. I live in Europa and i discover again now . Its great !! Good luck !!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Where did you get the roof rack?

  15. I am a 57 yo female considering a rig like yours to extend my travel range. I have been saying for years that I want a vehicle in which one can both stand up and lie down. A toilet would be wonderful as would hot and cold running water. These things are possible I think. How much technical knowledge would you think is required as I am not very gifted in that department.

  16. Paul Dunston says:

    I see lots of prople build their vans with rigid cabints so it looks like home but those cabinets add cost, weight, take up space, reduce mpg, etc. ..try to think outside the box and put everything in foam, wall mounted, velcro coolers. They insulate and quiet the inside, hold everything, can be d ringed and velcro changed any time and give you thousands of options. Make a shower out of a golfing umbrella and ripstop cocoon and you have a giant shower tha disappears until you need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Paul,
      I liked your suggestions about not building conventional cabinets, about thinking creatively, about styrofoam coolers and Velcro.


      I would like to read many more details, see pictures etc. I want to be sure that I really understand your suggestions!

      Thanks so much, Sandy

  17. Susan Demster says:

    Go on Amazon.com and search “insulated cooler bag” , the options are endless. You can mix and match to hold huge amounts of stuff. Never have a box or rigid rectangle object in an RV . It costs you massive amounts of room. Put everything in bags and ziplocks to nearly double your space. Dont build cabinets into an rv. They may make it feel like a house but it isnt a house. Use soft goods fir everything in an RV or stealth van and you will living large.

    • None. I moved into my sprinter alone at 63. What a blast! It is what you make it. I choose to make it fun and easy.
      Awesome idea. Thx.

  18. Hi there,

    I have pondered this for awhile now but I was wondering if you are sticking it out in LA, are the areas plentiful where you can park your vehicle without risks of getting towed etc. Or are there long term parking situations that you can pay for to come back to.

  19. Hey, If you guys are in Oregon still and would like to check out Bend, you can come stay with us. (of course I realize you don’t know us…but isn’t that the point 🙂

    We just bout a Sportsmobile Sprinter and are loving it. That’s how I found your great site!

    Have fun!!!

    (541) 948-9187

  20. Are you working as you travel to make end meet ?

    Me and my wife have been thinking about saleing everything we own
    And buying a sprinter van and seeing the country side and work as
    We travel to make thing ends meet … ski jobs in the winter and raft guides
    In the summer or work at a state park .

  21. hi there, I’m also considering a sprinter,2006 158 wb high top… the one i have an tentative offer on has 186k Miles.. My concern is that I have been reading a fair bit about the difficulty and cost of repairs.
    I’m thinking of going from the northwest to central america so the easy or repairs and access to parts is also important.. .any thoughts would be super appreciated

  22. Hey, Just purchased a 2008 sprinter van and I have set it up for camping,surfing,fishing trips. I am trying to find someone to cut a valet key so I can put it around my neck when I go surfing. I don’t like hiding the key under the truck.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks Bill

    • Find a locksmith of good repute and they should carry the older Mercedes key blanks. “MB17”
      It does not have a plastic fob, so is great for concealing on your person in your boardshorts lace-up, or I still wear a speedo under my baggies with string laces. Foreigner-S.A.

    • Try looking for a Key safe padlock. they have a 4 digit key code that you enter and you secure it to the Towing eye at the back of your van. 20-30$

  23. You guys are an inspiration I am 57 and currently shopping for a sprinter to convert, I was curious about your gas mileage do you get 21 mph with the roof rack loaded? It looks like a great space addition. I am going to start my travels on a more modest scale traveling around the US starting with the Southwest. I will be starting a blog covering my conversion of the sprinter as soon as I find the right one in the next month or two. I live just North of LA and can never see myself permanently leaving SoCal my Great Grand parents moved here in the 1880s so I have some pretty deep roots, but I have seen as much as I can from my current location and its time to move around a bit! Again thanks for the inspiration you sound like great people!

  24. We did a similar trip (one year with sprinter and family) in 2010, if you need/want something contact us in Brazil… check out our blog and enjoy the ride.

  25. Hi guys. I’ve popped by Sprinter LIfe in search of info about driving through Central America. We’re thinking about driving from Mexico to Ecuador, but just in our Outback Wagon. Anyway, I love this post and your cozy rig. When we RVd through Europe we bought a used camper and weren’t able to customize it at all. My dream is to do another long trip but fix up a rig so that it’s perfect for us…more storage, better internet options, etc. I love all your little clothing storage spaces…not to mention that stripey top, Stevie!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I purchases a 2012 Sprinter cargo van and had it converted to a camper with windows, solar panels, refirg, 3 burner stove, microwave, sink. Didnt do a shower or toilet because of space concerns. Has a queen size couch that pullls out to a bed. Retiring in 25 days and will hit the road. Very cool site and very cool people.

  27. John Decker says:

    This is a great article and I love you mobile home. What do you use as a heat source or to cook food? Do you guys grill when you get to different locations? I grill a lot of foods using a propane heat source and it has always worked out. I also like using propane a lot and I recently decided to use it has a heat source in my house. I decided to research Propane Suppliers in PA before doing so because I wanted to find the best options.

    • Hey John. Thanks for commenting. We use propane as well. It gets the job done. We don’t grill, but I’d like to get a small Hibachi eventually.

  28. John Ratto says:

    Hola! From Oakland, CA….thank you so much for the pics and the life….I have been romanticizing about this with my wife for the last 10 years ( she wouldn’t let me buy the last year Eurovan Westphalia when we went into the VW showroom…)….I will definitely follow your site and adventures and once again dream about the open road after our 6 year old finishes private …..(yeah it’s Oakland…) school. Thanks again…

  29. hey guys.. where did you get the mesh storage bags shown? We’re looking for a couple for around our bed for books/ mags/ glasses, etc and are finding either crap or ridiculously expensive ones from our camper manufacturer. Yours look like just what we’re looking for.

  30. hey guys…where did you get the mesh hanging bags? We’re looking for similar for the camper by the bed for books/ headlamps/ glasses, whatever and are either finding crap or super expensive ones from the manufacturer.

    • Hey Rhonda. God, I’m so sorry. I can’t remember for the life of me where we got those bags. Good luck finding something though. I know how hard it can be to find the perfect van accessory. xo.

  31. I have plans in the making and noticed that you have folding bicycles. What kind? do you like them?

    • We have a Dahon bike. I really like it, but Tree finds it a bit too small. It’s great for city riding but not so good on dirt/gravel roads.

      Sounds like you have fun plans in the works! Very exciting 🙂 Keep us posted.

  32. I am about to purchase a 2009 Sprinter ~ unfortunately, the owner died. I will be retiring in less than three years. The attorney is beginning probate proceedings to sell the vehicle from his estate. I am so excited after reading your blog. Ya’ll are an inspiration. The vehicle is a luxury conversion.

  33. hi, if you are to cross the atlantic and do europe, the southeast port of europe is 25 Kms fem north africa and you are WELCOME in Morocco. and in my house. don’t hesitate to mail me if interested for hints and so on. nice van, keep traveling
    Hicham (surfer, cycler, diver, snorkler, skater and photographer)

  34. Awesome guys! Where did you get the roof rack if you don’t mind. We have a Sprint van we are looking to put a roof rack on and the solution you’ve found is perfect!

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  35. Brian Thomen says:

    Hey you kids, long time no hear or see just checking in love seeing your posts from time to time and the last I heard Tree was going state side for business. I’m still surfing San Onofre and its not the same without you their I wish you were still here doing surf trips together.
    Peace & Love Brian T.

  36. What size is your Sprinter? Width/length? Which Sportsmobile did your conversion? And… last but not least – What’s it like living in a van with a baby? I lived in a small apartment when my son was a baby and can’t imagine going even smaller.

    • Hey Bea. We have the full-length Sprinter, so 170in long and maybe around 65in high inside? Definitely tall enough for Tree to stand comfortably, and he’s 6ft. Our conversions were done between a combo of three places: a private ‘converter’, van specialties, and Sportsmobile in Fresno. Living in a van with a baby, moving in and out of hostels, and slow living for a couple months here and there in small apartments is all we know, so it’s hard for me to say. Our van doesn’t have a separate sleeping area for the baby or a bathroom, or a play area/dining area or kitchen, so yeah..it’s rustic with a family. That being said, when we’ve had access to the outdoors like at Piedra Parada, it was AMAZING. Traveling long distances with a baby can be very trying. After spending countless hours in her “silla” (car seat), sometimes I think Sol is going to grow up with a fear of being restrained in a tight space. It can be a form of torture for her, no doubt. Consequently, we try to limit our long driving days, and we’re in the market for a bigger, more family-sized vehicle. If you have any more questions, let me know!

      • I love how this couple in Australia (www.stealthsprinter.com/van-build/electric-bed-hoist) made their bed store up on the ceiling to create room for a full dining room / living room area.

      • Kirsten Wiking says:

        Great post! Just wondering–where do you attach the baby’s car seat? Is there a back seat installed in your van?

  37. I love how having 7+ surfboards is a priority in such small living quarters. I also think its extremely important to have a diverse quiver, especially when peeping such a variety of breaks. At one point we had 5 in our taco, and are now down to 3. I wish I could buy more at the moment but the road budget is dwindling, and the taco is now for sale. Big ups to you guys!!!

  38. I thought this was the life we all wished we could live!
    Having done this myself for four years, I know what it is to have another beachfront property every day. I just wonder about safety, especially in Central and South America. I traveled in Canada, the US and Mexico, but would reconsider Mexico today, because of the violence.
    After a two decades I started missing my RV, so I am in the early phase of converting a new cargo van. Hope to be on my way next year.
    Any advice?

    Van Williams

  39. Great inspiration, you guys!

    Driving from TX to Central America in 2007, there was not much info online about doing this, so it was a difficult journey for me alone, especially someone without too much Spanish. Now it seems like more and more people are coming onboard with the idea. I drove a SUV there, taking nearly a year for the trip. Of course I want to do it again, going further South and I am starting to make plans but I see mostly pleasantries of such a trip published online blog-wise and not a lot about details. I have a very old 28′ motor home that I am seriously considering taking to Fin del Mundo, so all this is in the idea-forming stage at this point.

    I know in MX and Guatemala, a lot of my effort was spent running from border to border after my car pass or temp visa expired, staying outside the country the 3 days, etc. Also a concern of mine, the issue of insurance while driving to these CA countries. An even greater mystery is obtaining liability insurance further south. I entered a few CA countries with no insurance whatsoever which made me more than nervous. Otherwise the biggest hassle traveling I found was dealing with the swindlers at the borders which tried to trick me into paying them to help or misrepresenting themselves with false IDs to charge me fees that did not exist. Parking was always a problem and particularly in cities, but never enough of a problem that I wanted to give up “my wheels” to be relieved of it. I thought theft would be an issue but all I lost was a magnetic bumper sticker in San Miguel de Allende, MX and my metal CB antenna in Granada, Nicaragua. Well I did lose a backpack out of my front seat in Union Jack, MX but because I forgot and left my car unlocked.

    So the biggest problem I see with starting a journey like yours and expanding my experience driving Central America and further south is in getting across the Darién Gap. I hear tell there is a new drive-aboard ferry that opened last month, but the online phone number doesn’t return calls and their email bounces saying “invalid”. Now I know the Sprinter, or I believe is too large for crating, so how did you get it across and at what cost? What about liability insurance, country to country? What forms were required at each border crossing? (I understand that if you try to exit Columbia going south and completed the wrong kind of export certification in Panama, that you can be sent back to Panama for the correct papers before exiting Columbia to anywhere else? Also what about parking? Where would you leave the RV to explore the larger cities like Rio and Buenos Aires or where online or otherwise is it documented as to what is available? How in the world did you find places to park your rolling home, how often was power and water available, how often did you leave it for days while traveling on side trips via taxi or bus? Was theft ever a major issue?

    Thanks for any insight or info you can share!

    • Holy smokes, lots of questions. I’ll try and answer a few today. Hit us up as you go and we can answer more. I assure you that crossing borders, finding parking, and filling up on water was usually easy enough. We shipped the Sprinter RoRo to Panama. That was a noodle. Best to hire an agent to help you. We shipped the Sprinter RoRo back to the States from Buenos Aires, and that was a piece of cake. We used Capricorn shipping.

      Step one, hit the road! Step two, ask us more questions 😉

  40. Forgot to ask, what navigation aids did you rely on? If a GPS, what source for maps outside the normal USA do you recommend, etc? (They seem rare …) Thanks!

  41. Hi there. I found that website by accident and I was wondering…. wah were you doing before deciding to live in a camper? Do you have any long-term plans for life?

  42. Anonymous says:

    Hello Tree. Any advice on locating WIFI outside of McDonalds, and the usual Noerth American free providers? Did you have a wireless data subscription? (Verizon, Sprint) What did you do in Central America for an internet connection?

    • Hi there. In the States, we used a USB internet stick and poached wifi from coffee shops. In Central and South America, we did our best to find it in hostels. You can almost always find a place that has it. If we were going to be in a country for an extended period of time– like we were in Peru, Argentina, and Brazil–we bought USB internet sticks. We often had to sweet-talk our way out of a contract, which is possible down there. Todo es posible, nada es seguro 🙂

      • If the internet is really important to you, there are great options in the US to not have to rely on wifi. Verizon’s Home Connect is a wifi device that uses cell data, much like a mobile hotspot that the new phones have. It’s relatively affordable, depending how much data you’ll use. If you’re not doing much streaming of media, it ends up being quite affordable, and as long as you have good cell service you can get great wifi – no McDonalds needed!

  43. Tree and Stevie –
    Congrats on living the life! After years of saving, I’m getting closer to buying our first campervan – considering a new sprinter. The 2013 Sprinter buyers guide says “Starting in 2010, all Sprinters now use the OM642 3.0-liter V6 BlueTec turbodiesel engine. Fuel – The Sprinter requires ULSD (ultra-low-sulfur diesel) fuel, now found all over North America. However, in Mexico and South America, USLD can be hard to find.” I realize that you have a 2006 model, but have you met other Sprinter owners with newer vans traveling South America? Fuel issues? We plan to go everywhere, so if I can’t figure this out, it looks like a new Ford Transit camper for us.
    Happy trails . . .

  44. Hi, just came upon your site, wonderful stories, thank you. Re the internet.. I’m no techie but can at least recommend two sites with good info, google ” technomadia “, and google ” fox nomad “

  45. beautiful home you’ve created.. i’m gonna steal the rear door shoe storage idea 🙂 speaking of shoes, yous sure got a lot of them!

    • Thank you, Dan! Through the years my shoe collection has actually diminished. It’s funny how that happens when you live in a tiny space.

      • Anonymous says:

        Been readong your posts with interest. I have a 2006 Sportsmobile Sprinter that originally was a cargo van with no windows but now has all the amenities including a stand up shower and Thetford curve porta potti. Solar panel, 200 watt inverter, fridge, two burner propane stove. And this is all in a 140″ High Top. Anyway, to get to the point. In one of your posts you said you might get a Hibachi. Let me recommend an EcoQue. Google it for the info. It’s totally cool, takes up very little room and works great. I also recommend an Aeropress coffee maker if you drink coffee. Another space saver that really works. I’ve had my Sprinter for 7 years and been all over the western states but never south of the border. We carry two Tadpole Trikes on a special rack and have ridden a lot of neat Rails To Trails roads. They are all over the place. And we have a trailer for the dog when she isn’t running ahead of us. Keep the kitten thanks.

  46. linda k. says:

    I am 61 yrs old and want to live on the road. I spent last 13 yrs on a lot of med because of a wrong diagnoses. I am now med free and want to be free to do as i want when i want. I have another chance to love as i want. 61 yrs old divorced 16 years and kids have their own lives. I have 98 caravan that my sister gave me when she bought new car. Any advise for a. New comer to this. I read this everyday and want to be part of it. Any advise is welcome

    • Hi Linda. I’m so sorry for the long delay in my response. Somehow I missed your comment until now. First of all, congratulations on getting med-free. I’m so sorry you had to go through years of a misdiagnosis. That couldn’t have been fun 🙁 But now’s your time… onto a new fun chapter of life! What an auspicious time. I’m excited for your opportunities. Your comment reminds me of an article I recently read written by a widow who decided to re-invent life on the road. I pasted the link down below because I think you’ll find it to be inspirational. Plus, you may want to reach out to Winny (the widow). I’ve found that most people on the road tend to be very encouraging and kind. Your inquiry also reminds me of our friend Tonya (https://www.facebook.com/tonyakeittkalule?fref=ts). Years ago, she used to leave me comments on Sprinter Life asking me the same kinds of questions: Did I think a woman in her 50s could live a nomadic life? Would she be safe in South America? Did she need a man, etc… And, I’m going to tell you the same thing I told her, Yes you can do it! Before I give advice, I have a few questions: What are your dream destinations…do you want to live on the road only in the States, would you want to go to Mexico, too? What about further south? Does your Caravan fold down into a bed? Do you have money saved or an income stream? Please stay in touch with me. Let’s keep the conversation going. I want to be the first one to congratulate you when you hit the road!


  47. David McCrary says:

    Finally I have found the information I have been seeking in advance of my travel plans. I will read the posts this evening. Thanks for the details on your Sprinter ie fuel, and set up. I am trying to buy a new Sprinter 4 x 4 and have it outfitted here in the US or Canada. Forget about taking it south as the fuel limitations (ie low sulfur fuel is non existent in most places at best). So I can see the earlier model like yours is the way to go as it runs on both! Thanks from LA.

  48. Hi there, I’ve been really enjoying your Blog! Curious to know what length Sprinter Van do you have? The 140 or the 158 (I somehow missed that at the beginning)? My husband and I are trying to decide which one to get and we will also be surfing/camping and don’t plan to build out a bathroom 🙂 thanks for any advice!

  49. I have a 2011 Freightline Sprinter 2500. It is the long and tall version. It just clicked over to 200000 miles. Great van. I bought it for deliveries and it has been perfect for that. Its like a mini warehouse. Great van. no problems. I just don’t need it anymore. $18500. Please pass the word.

  50. It’s our dream – to buy mercedes sprinter camper and to travel around the world.

  51. My wife and I totally get it. We have been living full time in a Roadtrek 190 Popular on the streets of San Francisco for two years. On weekends we travel up and down the coast. I’m a structural engineer and my wife is a business manager at a major fortune 500 company. We have two daughters in college, and once we were empty nesters we decided to sell our big house and try this out for fun. We could easily afford another house, but we will never go back. We are currently building a full custom one off rv conversion on a Sprinter 170 wheelbase platform.

  52. Great post, thank you for sharing, specially love the pics.

    Some questions:
    1. How did you put the mattress midway (between the floor and ceiling of the van)? I am thinking of keeping it on the van floor but then I lose all the space that you created below the mattress.

    2. The only way to go to the bed (and out) is from the front doors?

  53. How is the bed hanging in mid air?

  54. Thank you for sharing your photos etc. I would like to know the brand of your fridge, as I am looking for a fridge without a freezer, it looks as if your fridge would be suitable.

  55. Dear Stevie,

    Thank you so much for creating this blog and page! You and your family, Tree and Kiki, are Such an Inspiration!!!
    My sisters and I grew up in tents…Volkswagen Vans…and a small Winnebago. This time was during the critical developmental stages in my life, thus I have always been a “Nomad” without ever doing it right, (perhaps because I never had a partner who shared the same vision.) I am getting married for the first time to the Absolute Love of My Life!!! He IS MY SOUL-MATE!!! At 40!!! We saw a shooting star together at the exact same time when we just walked outside to go to the car. (It is said that when a couple sees a shooting star at the same time they are Soul-Mates.)
    My name is Angela and my fiance’s name is Dominick.
    He works in Solar Power: engineering, design and installation. He bought a 26′ sail boat to sail back and forth from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Bahamas to build a Solar System in Cat Cay. He is so frackin’ adorable! He manned the boat ALONE 5 times back and forth, (and that is on the Edge of the Bermuda Triangle.)
    He sold the boat a few weeks ago and we don’t have a house built nor a house payment and don’t have children together. (We are free! 🙂 He has a precious little one in Atlanta, Momma, Sister and Nieces in Orlando, and I have my Loved ones in Louisiana and Texas.
    Being that we have flexibility with projects and our lives we are wholeheartedly 100% ready to make this Life Upgrade Together.
    You guys are Such an Inspiration! We didn’t think we could have a dog, but after seeing your Kiki we feel comfortable adding an angel baby to our pack. And now that I think about it, dogs Love being in cars! And they hate it when you leave, so if they are always with you…so much better!!!

    We are going to install solar panels. Do you guys utilize solar panels?

    We are currently looking at Mercedes Benz’ Sprinters. Can you please recommend a size and type?

    We are totally green, as in newbies. We are looking to spend around $35K…pre renovations. I have been looking on e-Bay, however I don’t really know what I am looking for.

    Thank you kindly and Joyfully!
    Angela Porretto in Florida…(soon to be everywhere!)

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