the inside of a van

Van Life: Building Your Home

In mental health, Recovery by THR

By Derek Peters Tree House Staff

The idea of building a something similar to a recreational vehicle that I can live in and explorer with has always fascinated me. I love the idea of being able to walk into something that I have created and built with my own hands. I have found this to be an incredibly inspirational and empowering experience. It started four years ago with the idea of converting a vehicle into a part-time/full-time home. I planned and researched non-stop, putting in countless hours educating myself about materials, products, and information to start moving forward. The time spent eventually paid off. Roughly three months ago, I sold my vehicle and decided to take a leap and purchase a van. From that point on, I started diving deeper into specific research about the products and materials that I would be using to outfit the van. I scheduled an extended vacation from work and set off on a 2,200 mile journey to Chicago, Illinois.

I had 15 days to fully build out the vehicle into something that was comfortable and accommodating where I could live full-time. As the conversion process started, I began to noticed how challenging and exciting the process was. I noticed that no wall was straight. I found how I needed to fit all the necessary needs into 66 sqft. I began with the bed frame, making sure that the bed was high enough that I can store my bike and all of my other equipment underneath. From there, I designed a kitchen area that included sink with running water, a refrigerator, a stove, and a water filtration system making sure that I can gather clean water no matter where I was. After that, I designed cabinet areas and specific areas of the vehicle where I can store my clothes and anything else. It was beginning to take shape, it was looking more spectacular than I ever could have imagined. With the help of my family, my dreams we’re becoming a reality. I ended up completing about 95% of the build on day 15. I needed to allow myself a few days to drive back to Oregon.

This has been a dream of mine and I know that each and everyone of you have dreams too. It’s important to not let challenges or fears get in your way of achieving what you want. This is something that I can be proud of when I open my door, something to be excited about that I can literally wake up in any environment that I want to. The mountains, the ocean, the snow, or the desert. The world is my home and this is just a vehicle that takes me there. Stay tuned for the next post which will include my challenges and successes….

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474