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From the Netherlands to Discovering Europe in Their Campervan


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Jarrik and Vivian are an amazing couple from the Netherlands who wanted a chance to tour Europe and decided what better way to do so than in a self-built campervan. They spent 10 months, while still working full-time, converting their van and making it a stunning home on wheels.

They have a fixed bed in the back of their rig, as well as two bench seats with a pull-out table for mealtime. The whole van has a lovely blend of sage green and honey wood tones. We did a Q&A with the couple, which you can enjoy reading below!

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10 Months Converting a Gorgeous Van

I love that they have an awning.

Their natural/boho aesthic is beautiful.

I like the mini bookshelf.

That bedding is so soothing.

Beautiful pillows and a mirror.

They have beautiful upholstery.

They have nice recessed lighting.

The cutest little spice rack.

They have a couple solar panels on the roof.

Look at their adorable fur baby!

I love a rooftop deck.

The curtain for the garage is lovely.

They are interested in living tiny again when they get back from their adventure.

Always a good idea to have a bug screen.

Does it get cuter?

Interview:

What got you into tiny living?

We wanted to discover Europe – and what better way to do that than in a camper!? We decided to convert a van into a camper and go out into the world. The three of us (us and our faithful four-legged friend Bennu) are currently living in 6m2 (64.5 square feet). In addition, we also think it is important to have a small ecological footprint and to be connected to nature. We therefore do not find it difficult at all to live small. It gives us freedom and the ability to go everywhere we want. And actually, we feel that we live very spaciously; the world is our backyard!

Did you build your home or buy it? How long did the process take?

We built our camper ourselves. That went with ups and downs, by the way. We had no experience at all, but Jarrik is super handy (name something, and he will make it) and Vivian has a good sense of furnishing. In the end, we did everything ourselves in ten months (in addition to our full-time jobs); from the carpentry to the electricity. That required a lot of research. We just knew that electricity was a thing with plus and minus, but that was about it. We read a lot, watched videos, and asked around. We regularly ran into things, but were super proud when we managed to fix it anyway. And we think the end result is beautiful!

How has tiny living changed your life (for better or worse)?

It has radically changed our lives. We left family, friends, and our apartment behind and Jarrik quit his job. In fact, we have taken a completely different path and have been living this other life in the camper for a year now. But how happy we are with this! Of course, you sometimes miss home and your own familiar place, but we do so many cool things. We have great adventures and experience everything very intensely. From the weather to every place we visit. We meet many people and come into contact with different cultures. We find that incredibly beautiful, instructive, and important for our own development. In addition, we like tiny living so much that when we return from our trip, we would very much like to live in a tiny house.

What’s the hardest part of tiny living?

Everything is a bit more hassle in a camper than at home. You have little storage space, such as a small refrigerator – which you take into account when you do your shopping. Water does not flow unlimited from the tap, and you determine several times a day whether you have enough power. Everything takes a lot of time, from cooking and washing up in a small kitchen and doing laundry at a local laundromat. Moreover, we regularly get in each other’s way, and we have a large dog that halves our free walking space. How many times we have bumped a leg or elbow against a cupboard, we can’t even count anymore. And when it rains, the whole camper is dirty and wet (mainly because of our dog).

What’s the most rewarding part?

That when we wake up, we can slide open the door and the world is at our feet. We have learned to appreciate the little things. Everything doesn’t have to be big, bigger, biggest, we settle for much less. What makes you happy in life is not the big houses and having lots of stuff, but the experiences. And we now have much more experiences than the amount of stuff we have in the Netherlands! Every day is different, we visit the most beautiful places and areas. And all that in our little house on wheels. That little house makes this way of life possible. No villa, where you are locked up between four walls, can compete with that!

Any advice for people looking to go tiny?

Just do it! You really don’t need that much space to be happy. Moreover, in a tiny house or camper there is more space to live in harmony with nature. In addition, we are very manoeuvrable in our camper. We drive everywhere we want, from major capitals to remote nature reserves. We often hear that what we do is someone’s dream, but they don’t dare. We also had zero experience building a camper, but just started. You just need the guts to go. You also don’t always have to choose popular or distant holiday countries, because many beautiful sights and unforgettable experiences are often just around the corner.

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Our big thanks to Jarrik & Vivian 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.
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Liz
    February 15, 2023, 3:07 pm

    This tiny home is astoundingly perfect. The interior couldn’t be nicer. Very clean, well put together, and extremely aesthetically pleasing. I see there’s a smoke detector and perhaps a carbon monoxide detector. Super smart. Bug screen is a great idea. I love seeing that sweet doggo gets to have a wonderful life with mom and dad. You folks really have an ideal life! Happy Trails!

  • Nancy M.
    February 16, 2023, 2:23 am

    My husband and I did something somewhat similar over 50 years ago. We had a used VW van which we turned into our camper. We traveled all over Europe in it, mostly on month-long trips afforded via being in the military. We even took our young son with us for some of the travels, making his bed (only when we were stationary) over the engine in the back. We took out the central seat and turned that entire area into our bed. During the day, it was a bench along the wall opposite the door, but at night, it expanded to become our bed. We loved traveling all over Europe in it! We had some wonderful experiences along the way!!!

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