A filmmaker turned his van into a home and now travels the country


If you’ve ever felt an itch to pack up your belongings and hit the road, take notes from filmmaker Zach Both. 

The 23-year-old decided to hit the pavement after feeling uninspired from his desk job, reported the New York Times. Both transformed a $3,900 used 2003 Chevrolet Express into his new home on wheels. Both had no carpentry experience but spent about eight months (on and off) constructing the small space into a mobile home with a little help from his father.

The results are a breathtaking space. 

Before construction

Interior of the van before construction

After construction

Interior of the van after construction

Both left Boston and headed west, hitting up the Grand Tetons and making his way down the coast.

“I typically don’t travel for travel sake,” he told Mashable by email. “I tend to follow where the work or an interesting story is taking place.”

During his experience living the nomad life, Both has encountered some misconception peopl have of living a mobile lifestyle—misconceptions he says are perpetuated by social media. 

“In reality, constantly being a stranger to the environment and the people around you can become exhausting and at times unsatisfying,” he said. “That was a lesson I learned that seems obvious now, but I was oblivious and naive to at the very beginning.”

Despite that, he’s been able to experience incredible memories with strangers that would not have happened if he had not taken the plunge. Because of expensive ticket prices, Both said he was preparing to spend last Christmas alone.

“However, the night before Christmas Eve I drove a young woman two hours up to her parent’s house after her car had slid off the highway,” he said. “Her parents were so appreciative they invited me to spend Christmas with them… and I did! I spent Christmas day learning to make tamales and sharing stories with this wonderfully large family.”

While it’s unknown where future roads will lead, Both says he has another year of this lifestyle left in him. It may seem tempting to quit your job and hop in a van, but Both is realistic in his advice for those wanting to pursue the mobile lifestyle. He encourages people interested to first spend a few weeks experiencing an extended road trip. 

“My biggest advice is make sure you can handle all the aspects of living a mobile lifestyle—not just the inspiring, care-free lifestyle that’s presented in pretty photos on Instagram,” he said.

Both has created a handy guide for those wanting to begin something similar but aren’t sure where to start. A step-by-step guide to pursuing your own life on wheels can be found at The Vanual.  

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