By now, you’ve probably heard of “van life.” Perhaps you’ve even considered moving into a van yourself. After all, how fun would it be to go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go there, and have your whole home with you wherever you roam?
Outdoorsy owner Jennifer Duff decided to take those kinds of dreams and make them a reality — so, she bought a van.
“I wanted a completely different lifestyle that allowed me to live simply and travel for extended periods of time,” says Duff. “I lived in my van full-time, which allowed me to save money on rent and bills, meaning I could work less and spend more time outdoors. Three weeks of vacation time per year at my old job was just not cutting it.”
Jennifer chose her van carefully. “I wanted something that would be comfortable enough for me and the pup (I say pup, but he is 15 years old) to live in full-time,” she explains. “I also wanted something that was 100% customizable, so I started with an empty cargo van and spent 8 months building it myself, exactly to my liking.
“When I bought the van,” she continues, “I originally intended to hire an outfitter to build it for me, but as I started gathering quotes and realizing how costly it would be, I decided to start tackling some of the first steps myself in order to reduce the cost of the build. As I kept chipping away at it, I became more confident in my abilities. When I got to the point of setting up the electrical system, I had done enough research regarding what components to purchase that I felt confident I could complete this step myself too.”
That was that—the project had officially become a DIY one. “After I had successfully completed the electrical system, I knew there was no turning back, and I’d be finishing it myself, and I’m so happy that I did,” says Jen. “I learned SO much in the process, and I enjoyed it so much that I plan to do another build very soon!”
Now this lovingly crafted van can be rented on Outdoorsy. However, that wasn’t always Jennifer’s intention. “I did not know when I built the van that I would be renting it out,” she admits. “I built it to be my home, which it was for a year. However, I loved the build process so much that I decided to turn it into a business. I am renting the van out while I build another one.”
Duff closes our interview by sharing her hopes for her amazing van: “I hope my van gives renters a taste of the freedom that comes with an alternative lifestyle like mine.”
All About Jennifer
Favorite morning beverage: “Extra spicy Bloody Mary, complete with a slice of crispy bacon.”
Favorite campsite meal: “Loaded nachos.”
Music you like to play on the radio: “Oh man, too many to name, but lately it’s been Lizzo or Shakey Graves.”
Best game to play on the road or at your campsite: “Would you rather…”
Favorite season: “Fall.”
Last photo you took: “My dog, which will be my answer 97% of the time, I’m asked this question.”
What’s your Outdoorsy spirit animal? “Racoon”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go? “All the way through Central and South America to Patagonia!”