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Van Life Interview with John and Jayme

Meet John and Jayme. They’re a couple with three dogs who are traveling and living out of their converted 1996 Chevy Express 1500 High Top van. They initially bought it for $1,500 but ended up spending a total of $10,270 on it. You can see a breakdown of their costs here.

Would you ever consider going on a long-term van dwelling adventure like this? Maybe this interview will help you figure it out!

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thanks!

Interview with Couple who Sold it all to Live in a Van and Travel!

John and Jayme of Gnomad Couple Living in their Van and Traveling the World 001

THT: How did you first become seriously interested in van life?

My husband and I were looking to travel as one last hurrah before we have kids. In 2016 we started selling our belongings when our friend told us to look into the hashtag #vanlife and that was how we stumbled upon all these different ways to live tiny!

John and Jayme of Gnomad Couple Living in their Van and Traveling the World 002

THT: What type of van do you have or are you working on?

My husband, John, and our three dogs (Nymeria – 3, Delilah – 7 and Crow – 17) live in a 1996 Chevy Express 1500 High Top!

John and Jayme of Gnomad Couple Living in their Van and Traveling the World 003

THT: Why did you go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of it for yourself?

We initially wanted to do “one last hurrah” before we have kids, and in the process of downsizing we quickly learned how much of a burden all of our “stuff” was! We had a bunch of boxes set aside to keep that quickly tuned into our “nahh, let’s get rid of those too!” boxes! The downsizing was pretty addicting, and now we feel so much more free to do what we want, with just the things we need.

John and Jayme of Gnomad Couple Living in their Van and Traveling the World 004

THT: How long did it take you to finish your van conversion?

It took us about 6 months to gut and build our van, all the while we were also selling our belongings, getting renters into our house, and building our online businesses.

THT: Did you do it yourself? Who helped?

It was just my husband and I and a bunch of tips and inspiration from Instagram and YouTube!

THT: What’s been the most challenging part about van life so far?

We’d say the most difficult part is just that initial jump. It was really hard figuring out what items to keep and what to get rid of, and part of us didn’t really want to get rid of anything as every item we owned had some deep story to us. But once we sold that first item, every item after it became easier and easier!

THT: What benefits are you experiencing after van life?

We find ourselves dramatically less stressed about our belongings. We’re not dusting things we never touch 24/7. Everything we own has a purpose for us now that we use very frequently, most items daily. We also find it’s so much easier to clean our house when its just a van versus a 2-story 3-bedroom house! 😂

THT: What helpful piece of advice would you give to others who are interested in going tiny or joining the van life movement?

The only thing holding you back is yourself. If you are conflicted on whether or not to sell an item, than wait a little bit – the answer will come to you sooner or later if that item is truly important to your next chapter. And yes, it will be scary. But most of the time, the things that scare us are the things we deeply need to do for ourselves.

THT: Do you have a website, blog, or social media pages where we can connect with you and follow along?

Website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Our big thanks to John and Jayme for sharing their van life with us! Hey! Let us interview YOU!

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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!
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Glen
    April 6, 2018, 3:31 am

    Just inspired me to become a van dweller first. The path to my tiny house dream on a limited budget will start in a van. I can set one up for much cheaper than they did because…well…it’s just a stepping stone. I can build a smaller THOW to tow Behind my van eventually. Living without debt…and being able to take it anywhere you go. This is the year. Before WW3 and the stock market crash ruins my chances. 😮😓

    I am so putting that queen size bed setup in my van. That is brilliant. The money I will save living in this will go towards the bigger home. For when I’m too old to climb around the back of a van. I’m done renting on Long Island!!!

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