Vegan Earth and Soul
When the end of high school was approaching and she didn’t quite know what she wanted to do with her life yet, Vegan Anna spent one summer and $3,000 carving out 70 square feet of living space for herself. Her van was found on Craigslist after weeks of searching and driving all over her home state to find a suitable vehicle for taking on the van life. Finally, she bought a 1997 Chevy Gladiator for $5,200 with 106k miles on it, clocking in at a little over 18 feet long and with a fuel economy of about 14–17 miles per gallon. Now she’s hit the road, and been cruising for two months.
The darkness of the wood stain, the white countertop, and the bright botanical pattern of her bedspread give the van’s interior a cozy farmhouse look. The colorful tapestries Anna hangs using magnets on the van’s ceiling add not just privacy but also a peaceful vibe to the space.
Simple was the name of the game in designing the kitchen, which is located opposite the side door. The 35 L Dometic Top-Loading Fridge is compact and does its job better than any cooler would. A Coleman Propane Camping Stove stored beside the fridge is used for cooking both inside and outside the van. The countertop has a 16” x 16” x 8” stainless steel sink and a very leaky Valterra Hand Pump Faucet. Non-perishables, cooking tools, condiments, soaps and shampoos, and miscellaneous items are stored under the sink.
Anna’s custom-built bed frame was elevated to fit several storage crates underneath, where she keeps clothes, toiletries, and additional non-perishables. Even more storage—primarily of items that she doesn't need access to regularly—can be found within the two feet between the bed and the backdoors of the van. She sleeps on a Modway Memory Foam twin mattress from Amazon, and finds it even more comfortable than the bed she left at home! Extra pillows and a spare blanket on top make the space ultra comfortable and inviting.
In the absence of other seating, Anna spends most of her leisure time sitting on her bed. She’ll also sit on the floor for short periods of time while filming her YouTube videos or practicing yoga. Occasionally, she takes a book or her electronics to be charged into the driver seat and stretches her legs across the passenger seat, using her seat cushion as a backrest. She’s added homey, personal touches like souvenir magnets from national parks, succulents, crystals, geodes, and essential oils to the nooks and crannies all around the van.
Three 100-watt solar panels on top of the car serve to charge electronics, which are controlled by a 30 amp charge controller. Her set-up also includes a 125 amp hour AGM battery and a 500 watt inverter. All of this came in a kit from Renogy. For ventilation and keeping cool, Anna installed a Fan-Tastic Fan on the ceiling of her van. For more of a breeze, she pops open windows, and she plans to stay warm by bundling up with extra layers whenever the temperature drops.