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Emma Goes Everywhere in her 1997 Camper Van Conversion!

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Emma was looking for complete and total freedom, as well as a way to live more sustainably and create less waste. Vanlife seemed like the perfect lifestyle for her, so she bought a camper van and gutted it, spending a year making it into her home.

Originally from Connecticut, Emma has taken the van cross-country and is enjoying her nomadic lifestyle (although COVID-19 has, unsurprisingly, put a wrench in her travel plans and reduced the number of showers she gets!). Check out the awesome video tour from Allison over at Tiny Home Tours.  You can follow Emma’s travels on Instagram here.

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1997 Van turned Home: Emma Goes

She has 300 Watts of Solar Power for her van.

Love the live-edge pine counter tops in the kitchen.

Her 1997 DIY Camper Van Conversion


  • Complete and total freedom
  • 1997 van
  • 1 year to finish
  • 3 weeks full time
  • Trash can on door
  • Plug into shore power
  • Solar power 300 Watts
  • Raw-edge pine
  • Fridge and sink are original
  • Full-sized mattress 5 inch memory foam

Learn More:

Our big thanks to Allison for sharing!🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Theresa Perdue
    June 30, 2020, 2:45 pm

    It’s a cute place but I just can’t understand how you can live without a bathroom? At the very least a toilet? It looks like she has a good amount of solar so I don’t imagine she needs to plug in very often so that is good.

    • James D.
      July 3, 2020, 1:12 am

      For bathrooms… There’s usually an emergency option but something to realize is not everyone is bothered by not having a bathroom and manage those needs in other ways, especially when camping…

      There’s many van dweller blogs you can read that covers their reasoning from prioritizing space, reducing maintenance, being fine with public options, not wanting a bathroom in the same space as they eat and sleep, keeping costs low, to being closer to nature and not relying on modern technology…

      While some options like composting toilets, solar showers, etc. can be easily stored away in pretty small space until needed… Among other alternatives, like towing another trailer behind the van that serves as the bathroom, or having a kit you can set up when parked like a tent extension to the exterior of the van that can create a room next to or behind the van… People can manage in a variety of ways. Just depends what you’re comfortable with…

    • jerry dycus
      December 2, 2020, 10:14 am

      While I’ve lived with a bucket for real living you need a good toilet, shower. It could just be the floor set up to drain and a curtain for a shower and a separate urinal, a transmission funnel and a tank, and compositing toilet/bucket works.
      Better is do an aero trailer with standing room and enough room for your needs and a good tow vehicle say S-10 pickup either gas or electric conversion. This takes 50% of the gas done right vs the big van which runs 8-13mpg.
      Another is remove the pickup bed and build a standing room camper on it or buy an older FG one that needs work from the 80s, 90s.

  • Julie Bryan
    June 30, 2020, 9:49 pm

    How wonderful for you to get time while your young. I have one concerns th and that is security system. Your whole life is in your home and I have watched other van lifers who have told stories about everything being stolen. Great idea with he upper windows. Great job have fun and be safe.

  • Paul herzig
    September 11, 2020, 9:55 am

    Very cool. I’m on the edge of moving into a van. I’m liking the idea of a nomadic existence as I am sick of society and it’s stupidity. Looking for all info.


  • Marsha Cowan
    December 2, 2020, 4:56 pm

    Very nice make over. Looks comfortable and cozy. Best wishes for safe and happy travels.

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