By Timmy Odejimi
MEET the man who converted his van into an off-grid camper van in no more than SEVENTEEN days.
Inspiring images and footage show self-employed Nate Murphy (32), originally from St. Dominick, Cornwall, UK, working on his cargo van as he transforms the white Ford vehicle into a camper so that he can travel the road.
Nate is currently in Yosemite, California, and is a professional rock climber. He said he had always had the idea and urge to build his own camper and the idea of it became practical when he started travelling full time for his rock climbing adventures.
“I actually had the idea in my early twenties as cool project and a fun way to travel. As I started travelling full time for rock climbing it became a practicality too,” Nate said.
“I have lived out of the van for a year and I have travelled through England, Wales, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain.
“I took some time away from the van when I travelled to Thailand for a month during the winter season.
“I am planning on travelling with the van for at least another couple of years.
“Most of my travels have been due to my rock climbing adventures as it is something I’ve been doing for the past two years.
“I find van life super easy and when I’m in my van, I don’t feel like I am slumming it at all because it has heating, water and a solar system that is good enough for two people.”
The van is kitted with full heating, full functioning water for all necessities and a solar system. Nate admits he had no idea of the process of converting a van in the beginning, but after doing much research – which took long hours and days – he managed to gather enough information to convert his van into a multi-purpose camper in a mere seventeen days.
“Initially I did not know much about the process of converting a van so the research side took many days – there is so much good, bad and conflicting information out there to go through.
“The biggest challenge in the process of building the van is if you are going to do it quickly, you have to make sure you have everything delivered at the right time.
“I would say the whole process took me about 250 hours work and 50 hours of design as well as considering planning time.”
Through his numerous travels, Nate has spent time in Barcelona, London, and Paris – all expensive cities – without him having to break the bank. The passionate rock climber has said that the easiness of being able to travel anywhere anytime is one of the things that makes him love the camper van lifestyle.
“The convenience of being able to just move at any moment to somewhere warmer or different without booking hotels or campsites is amazing,” he explained.
“The road life isn’t only good in the countryside, I have spent time in Barcelona, London and Paris without it costing a penny!
“On the road, I have not had too many problems, though I had a power steering issue in the Alps but luckily I had breakdown insurance with European cover.
“Living in Climbing areas the locals are fairly used to van-lifers and are pretty relaxed. Climbers tend to respect the environment and the communities in which they spend time and in-part because of that the people tend to be very friendly.”
Nate believes living on the road is very cost effective and thinks people take too little time off work, especially those in their youth. He said he wants to encourage others to give a try and they will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
“I think many people take an obscenely small amount of time off work, especially while they are young. Twenty-five days a year is practically nothing but somehow, we are conditioned to think we should be grateful for it,” he added.
“Taking a year or two off to travel or spend time focusing on what you want to do does not have to cost very much and van life is a potentially good option – especially if you want to travel or spend time in nature.”