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Man Lives in 1985 Westfalia Van to Enjoy Life More

When Sam Jacquette was paying $1100 a month in rent and working at a job that he didn’t enjoy just to pay his bills he decided he would make some changes.

He set a 2014 New Year’s resolution to stop doing things he didn’t enjoy doing and to start doing everything he wanted to do. And making this 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia van his home on wheels would be the first step.

After buying it, he got rid of his apartment, quit his job, and has been living in it and focusing on his New Year’s resolution. To do so, he’s decided to only keep his “top 5 favorites” of just about all of his possessions. His wardrobe, for example, is very minimal.

As for work goes, now he’s doing something more in line with his passion since he’s able to afford to make the decision after the drastic downsize. He now works for Hofmann Architecture helping to restore Airstream travel trailers. And Sam’s goal is to upgrade into an Airstream in the near future.

Young Man Moves Into 1985 VW Van to Create His Own Destiny


Images © Faircompanies

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Images © Faircompanies

Video: Man Turns VW Westfalia Van Into Minimalist Nomadic Home on Wheels


Our big thanks to Kirsten Dirksen and Nicolás Boullosa of Faircompanies for this inspiring story!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Maria
    October 8, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Ok I think it is real cool,but I didn’t catch where he parks at night. Back in my teens,a friend lived in a van for a year.

    • Jody
      October 30, 2014, 1:12 am

      HI Maria!
      I think he said he had a friend and he could just pull his van in the driveway.

  • Martha
    October 8, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I would love it for traveling and camping trips, but I don’t know how long I could live in it at one time. I prefer mountains & forests to the beach, and I think I’d want to park in a less crowded place. But for those who are into the beach lifestyle I think it would be wonderful. The storage in this vehicle is totally amazing!

  • Comet
    October 8, 2014, 3:40 pm

    Judging from the number of AIRSTREAMS in the pics and the fact that the guy WORKS at an AIRSTREAM restoration shop—I would guess either he is parking there (with permission) or did the photo shoot there. Since the WESTFALIA is already a camper-van there should be no problem finding an RV park to visit.

    If the pop-top is down this looks much like any OTHER van–so you could probably park in a yard and get away with at least a couple days. Not familiar with the tank capacities of these etc. so have no idea how long you could go. I DO know that lots of people have put in direct connections for the “blackwater” and “gray water” tanks for these (and other RV’s) right into their home sewer or septic tanks and then you can either park there or go off and wander around and come back and clean out the tanks.

    For “gray water” you can—if you are rural and maybe even more urban—put in a “Dry Well” which is a bed of gravel and a 55 gallon drum with pierced sides filled with larger rocks–you need a way to empty the tank water into this but the rocks gravel and surrounding dirt filter the water back into the gournd and NO leach field is needed. You can also get larger concrete drum shaped containers for this use—and you can save $$$ if you get a flawed one which is still FINE for this use. Call your local concrete vault and septic makers for info. We have used this system for 30+ years with 7 people in the house and a septic for the actual waste.

    For a free standing one this should be very easy –hardest part might be digging the hole and getting the rocks and gravel in there!

  • Dominick Bundy
    October 8, 2014, 5:58 pm

    I’ve always been impressed with Westfalias, and the people who’ve owned them… People like him really are an inspiration to me. Love his story , and hope there are more like this down the road on the Tiny house Talk blog..

  • Marcia
    October 9, 2014, 10:54 am

    I totally want a Westy. It seems like the perfect size for camping for a family of four.

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 29, 2014, 11:58 pm

    The organizatin of space in this camper is amazing! The fact that he can stand up in it comfortably, yet fold it down so compactly for travel is pretty cool! I like it a lot! Good job!

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