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Four Years Overlanding in Europe in Self-Built Rig

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Stuart and Charlotte were no strangers to tiny house life when they bought an old military truck and decided to transform it into an off-roading home. They had already spent a couple of years living vanlife, but wanted a rig that could take them anywhere.

They spent much of the 2020 lockdown finishing their build and have been chasing good weather and beautiful sights ever since! Read their story and enjoy the photo tour below.

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Their DIY Overlander Built From Old Military Vehicle

My partner, Stuart, and I live in a 30-year-old, 10tonne, ex-military lorry which we converted from a flatbed truck into our tiny home on wheels. Having already spent a couple of years living in vans and an old race truck we decided to move on to something with a bit more off-road capability.

In early 2020 we bought our truck just before the world ground to a halt. We used the following few months to plan out our new build and in September we began.

With Stuart’s engineering and mechanical background we were able to build the whole thing from scratch – creating a metal frame and sheeting it to create our habitation box before insulating and kitting out the inside.

9 months later our home, Dinky, was ready to move in to!

We have everything we would ever need in our truck – including a decent shower, full cooker (with an oven that even gets used for baking cakes), and even a small, top loading washing machine!

After a few more months of our regular 9-5 jobs we left the Orkney Islands and set off on our first Overland adventure – 3 months hiding from the worst of the UK weather while we toured through Spain.

Our general pattern now is to work for half the year and spend the winter months touring through Europe and beyond. This year we spent the summer working on the Shetland Islands.

Next year we intend to spend our work season moving around helping people with their own overland builds, or anything else that comes up.

We’ve been full-time for almost four years now and find the lifestyle suits us perfectly and gives us the chance to move at our own pace and explore the roads less travelled.

More to Their Story:

This winter we are setting off to Italy to spend three months exploring, with a bit of time out in Albania to extend our trip beyond our 3-month Schengen limitations.

In the future we hope to take our truck across to Mongolia, and ship it out to South America for more extended trips, but for now we’re happy to get away for the worst of the winter months before coming back to work and save up again.

For work we’re hoping to be able to help people build their own Overland trucks, or carry out whole builds so sharing our own truck as a sort of mobile CV is a great way of showing people what they could have, for waaay less than what you might expect.

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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)

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Husabergchamp
    October 15, 2022, 2:03 pm

    Very interesting life style.
    I wonder in a case like yours, do you have a base site such as a rented storage where you can go back to for tools, welder, kayak, motorcycle, etc. after you have been on the road a while? A garage at a parents place? Always nice to have a base of operation where bulky stuff, extra clothes, memorabilia and family things are safely stored.

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 15, 2022, 7:53 pm

    What a great story, and you’ve built a very cozy, warm, inviting home that is sooo pretty. I love the entrance to the bedroom and other little touches you’ve done. It’s lovely!

  • LargeMarge
    October 16, 2022, 12:06 am

    Left-handed drive… from Canada?
    Cummins 359ci mechanical?
    2003, we converted a 1996 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
    Similar to your rig, we mounted 3010 (three feet wide by a foot tall) dual-pane sliders designed for a stand-still house.
    Similar to your rig, we mounted these at our eye-level standing inside, about eight feet above pavement.
    Similar to your plan, we split our time between Oregon forests and Baja beaches.

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