Get ready for a wild ride with this awesome family! Jake, Gianna and their daughter first set out with van life in 2018. When Gianna found out she was expecting again, they upgraded to a bus. But after three years on the road, the family ultimately decided to “settle down” again and purchased a home, build out buses and vans for work, and run a glamping business opening this fall!
I love their story because it shows how nomadic/tiny living can be for a season, and totally change the trajectory of your life for the better. They reached out to us and shared some Q&A answers about their time on the road, and you can enjoy the read after checking out pictures of their van and bus builds.
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This Family of 4 Spent Three Years on the Road
Their van conversion was for their family of 3.
They traveled to 35 states over their years!
The van layout included a fixed bed.
They really love a clean, white aesthetic.
Then they upgraded to a bus!
Larger sink, and oven in the bus.
Cool L-shaped couch.
The girls had bunks in the back of the bus.
They got a puppy when they moved to sticks and bricks!
Interview with the Family
What are your name(s)?
Jake, Gianna, Luna and Capri
Where are you from? Sarasota, Fl
How did you first become seriously interested in tiny homes? In 2018 we discovered van life after having purchased a home for ourselves and realizing how much time, money and energy went into maintaining a house.
What type of tiny house do you have or are you working on?
We sold everything and turned a Sprinter Van into a tiny home on wheels for our family of 3 and when we found out we were expecting again we built out a 29′ school bus.
Why did you go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of it for yourself?
We had a house, cars, and lots of stuff. Jake was working long hours away from home to maintain this lifestyle and it quickly got old for us. We craved adventure, more time together and the simplicty of living tiny.
How long did it take you to finish your tiny house?
It took us about 6 months to convert our van and about 4 months to convert our bus.
Did you do it yourself? Who helped? How much did it end up costing you to build it?
We did most of it ourselves with the help of Gianna’s uncle who is a custom woodworker in NY. It cost us about $35k to build out our van and about $45k to build out our bus.
How did you figure out where to put it? Do you keep it in one place or do you move around?
We constantly moved around and used the resources available to nomads such as Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, iOverlander, Google Maps, BLM land, State Park Campgrounds and even stealth camped in cities, Walmart, Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop parking lots.
What’s been the most challenging part about your tiny house so far?
The adjustment of needing to source water, find safe places to dump our waste tanks and finding safe places to sleep every night was a bit of a challenge sometimes. Having kids in a bus or van was a challenge on rainy days so we would have to find something to do outside of the van but also indoors so the kids can run around and stay entertained.
What benefits are you experiencing from it so far?
We have been able to travel to more than 34 states, see things we never knew existed and do it all together as a family. We’ve also met some pretty amazing people on our adventures that have become lifelong friends.
What helpful piece of advice would you give to others who are interested in going tiny? What mistakes could you help them avoid?
It’s really important to manage your expectations. No matter how “home-like” you make your tiny home on wheels, it is not a house. There is a lot of maintenance involved in keeping it in good working condition. It is definitely not always glamorous and there will be break-downs, items that break, crappy weather conditions and situations you may get into that will test you.
Do you have a website, blog, or social media pages where we can connect with you and follow along?
We do! We have a website with resources that we are trying to update more. It’s www.ourvanquest.com. We are building vans and buses for others now and are documenting the builds we do on our social media pages: IG page @ourvanquest, a YouTube channel @ourvanquest, and a TikTok page @ourvanquest.
If you like our style, reach out to us for us to do your build!
- Family of 4 Sell Home And Turn to Van Life
- This Family Has Been Living on the Road for 7 Years! #VanLife
- Family of 4 Trade House for RV Life
Our big thanks to Jake & Gianna for sharing as well!🙏
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Natalie C. McKee
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