Not According to Plan with Van Life Ann

“Let’s build a van” they said. “It will be fun” they said…

Yes. The dream and whimsy of van life is something that tempts us all. What better way to travel long-term, cover long distances, and remain self-reliant than in a fully customized, suped-up, Instagram-worthy van? Many will agree that it’s the perfect mode of transportation for living life to the fullest in a minimal, downsized fashion. Is it on our bucket list? You bet.

But the actual process of building a van can become overly complicated and high stakes pretty quick. Let’s take a moment to celebrate our adventurous friend Ann (@vanlifeann) as she transitions her life from overland life to van life. Like all great adventures, this one has already taken some unexpected twists and turns.

“I was just wondering the other day, do all van-life folks go through a hard process like this one? Looking for a van maybe, the process of buying, the pain of downsizing… is it only me? I mean, just making the decision to pick this way of life is hard enough, it takes years to take the first step, for some at least. 

For the last 5 months I have managed to do the following: I deconstructed and took apart my camper, sold my truck, saved 20% of the value of the van for a downpayment, put my life on hold to save money, downsized all my belongings, left my condo and boxed everything to move into the van. 

This process has not been easy, I’m a rather impatient person and this stage has taken every little bit of patience and money I have left. I’m in a pause.

But the other day I came across two pics on Instagram and they totally reminded me of The Xelles hashtag #StartSomehwere.

They were simple, making the best of what’s there, they were van people who started somewhere, with whatever they had. And it totally made me smile. I realized I just have to start with what I have, even an empty van on the beach is pretty amazing, I’m stoked just about being able to be driving on the highway listening to music… in the van I’ve always dreamed of. That’s pretty awesome right there.”

We’re happy to share that Ann is now officially in possession of her shiny new Mercedes van, and she’s already taken it out for a spin last weekend! Here’s what she was able to whip together in just a few days.

And here’s a walkthrough video she created explaining how to create a basic, temporary #vanlife setup: 


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As I was awaiting the arrival of the van I did a ton of research on how folks got out in their vans before building – there wasn’t much online! Not everybody has the budget to start their build (including me) so I put this together to share my basic setup to get out while I get started! *Sorryyy for all the “uumm’s” lol didn’t realize I do it that often 😂 #homeiswhereyouparkit #adventureisoutthere #costarica #overlanding #overlandrig #overlandbound #overlandlife #lifeontheroad #adventurelife #adventurerig #adventuremobile #womenontheroad #womenwhowheel #nomadlife #outfitandexplore #explorecostarica #camplife #optoutside #getoutside #womenoverlandingtheworld #theoutbound #truckcamping #vanlife #vanliving #vanlifeproject

A post shared by Ann & Taco (@vanlifeann) on

We’re so impressed with you Ann! And also a teensy bit jealous…

To learn more or to follow Ann’s journey, add her on Instagram (@vanlifeann) or visit her blog (

Also, check out our recent article on Women Overlanding the World, an organization Ann is proud to be a part of.