Urge to Build & Yearning for Freedom


This photo is from a UK Small Van Campervan Conversion Project website. http://www.campervanconversion.co.uk/projects/small-van/tin-tent-2


I’ve been chasing another dream.

A dream of building an absolutely minimal camper and heading off by myself — or camping with a few select women friends — and just feeling free — for days or even weeks at a time.

The header photo shows exactly what I was looking for.  A place to sleep, a minimal kitchen and a place to store a porta pot.

So I’ve drawn plans and have how I would do it down to a Tee.

But then I realized.  The van wouldn’t do it for me.  It’s the place.  The openness and spaciousness.  The freedom implied by the photo.

And even if I had the van and took off in it, I would take me with all my emotional baggage along with me.  So the sense of freedom would be fleeting.

So I’ve quit drawing mini van plans.  But in the back of my mind, these images linger.  🙂

NOTE!!! It took over 5 years, but I finally built my microvan inspired by these photos!


  1. Maybe you could start with a long weekend somewhere……..

    I’ll be home in a couple of weeks or less, let’s plan something!


    • Lynne, I’m feeling bogged down by paying for the new roof, and still stare at the big bathroom every day and can’t summon the motivation to start on it. And we’re a one-vehicle family, so where I go, Ron and the dogs go. I’m even feeling tied down by the dogs, although I love them dearly.

      We do have the trip for Texas planned the first week in October. But maybe we could work something out after we get back. 🙂


  2. EmilyO

     /  August 30, 2013

    I know how you are feeling – I just realized it has been a year since I have even hitched up and pulled my Eggie. I hope when the time comes in mid-Oct to take him “home” I remember everything. This is when my checkoff list is going to be extremely handy. I get nervous just thinking about it. I may need you to come hold my hand when I hitch up and take off. I am hoping I can take 5 or so days to get home, instead of 2; but my housemate will be there, in TorC, by himself and will have to see how he is doing by himself. He does not drive and I hope I can rely on a friend’s recommendation to check on him and our son to keep him in groceries, even though son lives an hour north of our new home. Oh my, I didn’t mean to rattle on, but it feels better to get it out in front of me.


    • I wish I could come be your cheerleader while you get back in the towing saddle. It will come back fast. But do hang onto your checklist.

      I truly understand how your housemate situation is weighing you down. I was so hoping you were going to get the help you were looking for last Christmas.

      Maybe it’s just the day for voicing our frustrations. It does help to get them out! 🙂


  3. Tim

     /  August 30, 2013

    That is really cool!


    • Isn’t it the coolest little camper in the world! It’s perfect for people who love being outdoors all day and just need a roost for the night. 🙂


  4. Love the van … well? you know me and ol Homer took off. I don’t regret one second of it. that feeling of leaving it all behind in the rearview mirror driving off to an adventure ~ that feeling free is the bomb…


    • Yep, that’s the freedom I was dreaming of. Still can’t believe you went that long in Homer! That was a major accomplishment!


  5. That is a really neat camper/van!! 🙂
    Keep your eyes on that trip to Texas…the time will pass!!


    • I still think I’d still buy a van if I ever hit the lottery — just for the fun of converting it to a camper. 🙂

      Right now the daytime highs at the place we’ll be camping in Texas are running around 97. Sure hope the temps take a dive in the next month!


  6. What a great little camper van. Well I am just as excited to get my camper shell and have it be mom’s new little runaway.
    The idea of running off and taking you baggage is the idea of the trip to work out your baggage and leave as much behind you as possible. It really works.


    • I am so looking forward to seeing Mom’s New Little Runaway!

      What a beautiful explanation about how running away helps you deal with the baggage!



  7. Love it! I just showed it to a friend who’s visiting as we are trying to figure out how to configure her Honda Odyssey so she can join me sometimes on the road. Those photos show what can be done.


    • Kim, it is so exciting. If you stick to absolute essentials and ditch the “nice to haves” it’s a perfect size. Kind of like backpacking turtle style. 🙂

      I figured I could use a cooler and a small icemaker. There’s no room for a DC cooler or refrigerator, and besides the cooler/icemaker combination would use a lot less power.

      I have a tiny French Press that makes 1-1/2 cups of coffee. No electricity needed.

      If your friend does it, I would really love to see photos!


  8. That is a sweet little van!
    I know how you feel – when I’m stressed, everything seems like too much and I just want to leave with the least amount of stuff possible – but, also like you, I realize that the solution is more in my head than in my circumstances.
    A little creative daydreaming can help though . . .


    • The creative daydreaming puts my mind in distant, fun places and also gives my brain a workout as I try to figure the best use of every cubic inch of space. It’s an intriguing puzzle!


  9. cozybegone

     /  September 2, 2013

    Just adorable…great upholstery. Looks like you. I bet the UK has all kinds of cool different setups over there. So were camped in Jerry daughter basement. I miss my own bed already…and feel intruding. They leave in a few days…ready to get these mods done and get back on the road. Sept has arrived…TX right around the corner!


    • Also, the UK has all kinds of cute vans that aren’t available in the US. And an awful lot of articles about people converting them to campers.

      I empathize with feeling like you are intruding and missing your own bed. I also miss my own bathroom! And there is nothing like your own bed in your own space, no matter how luxurious and comfortable the mattress may be in someone else’s house.

      Wishing you all the best on the mods. September…. can’t believe how this year is flying!


  10. I really like the Van approach…Back in 1970 I had a VW camper van…loved it…and wish I still had it…though traveling the back roads of the northwest was a little sporty…35mph up the mountains…60 down the mountain lol…keep the daydreaming going …it insures your “creative juices” are still alive and well…and flowing..have a super Labor Day….Horst sends


    • Ah… a VW camper van. The stuff of nostalgic dreams. 🙂

      I’m to the point of realizing that a mini van would be way too confining for me. Bjut what a mental blast it’s been to work out exactly how I could configure it to make it work. Now that I finally have figured out how to maximize the space into a functional mini-camper, I’m ready to move on to designing something else.

      BTW, about the mushrooms in Texas. You need to pray for rain! Or visit one of the wetter states. One mycologist whose book I read that said during a drought he and a buddy lugged buckets of water out to the woods in a pathetic, futile attempt to make the mushrooms fruit. 😀


  11. I have filled an entire sketchbook with plans for my small campervan. The process of designing and dreaming was wonderful 😀 Now I am at the beginning of the process of actually building it, which is fun too! One day when we are actually using it, I hope that will be doubly fun. I hope I have as many beautiful outdoor adventures as you have. I’ll be leaving my emotional baggage at home 😀


  12. Sherry Palumbo

     /  September 4, 2013

    Don’t stop dreaming! I have those same dreams and thoughts glad I am not alone in my dreaming. I just need a little courage and will power if I was 15 years younger Itwhen I feel brave enough.would be easy. I am 69 and live alone so I have no one to take care of could leave. Sherry



    • Sherry, lots of women in their 70’s are living that dream. Make plans and take reasonable precautions, but don’t let fear stop you. There are so many beautiful places to see and it’s sad to watch our time slip away without doing the things that really matter to us.

      The only thing that stops me is that I do like being married and what makes Ron happy is important to me.


  • Enter your email address to subscribe to Tinycamper's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 959 other subscribers
  • Cool Stuff!

  • My Blog Topic Categories

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,026,805 hits
%d bloggers like this: