Couple convert van named Lewis into luxurious home-on-wheels for $18,000 in just four months

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A couple have built their own luxurious home-on-wheels for just $18,000 (US dollar equivalent) and they plan to travel the world once borders re-open.

Sarah Bakeroot, 24, and her partner Cédric De Smet, 29, from Belgium, love travelling but their dreams were put on hold amid the pandemic.

With time on their hands due to lockdowns, the couple came up with the idea to purchase and convert a van into a home, buying themselves a Mercedes Sprinter van for the equivalent of $5,700 in October 2020.

Just four months later, they had finished their van and named it Lewis.

“We decided to buy a van because we are both very passionate about travelling but due to the coronavirus pandemic we weren’t able to,” Sarah told Jam Press.

“On the very first day we met, we already found out that we both had the dream to convert a van and this seemed like the ideal chance to make this dream come true.”

Explaining the layout of the van, Sarah added: “We have a built-in kitchen with a sink, water tap, gas hob and a fridge.

"Our bed is 190x140cm and it's fixed.

“We have two seats with an extendable table in the bed. The seats have hinged tops, so they are also cabinets for extra storage space.

“In the cabinet under the bed, we have a portable chemical toilet.

"In the back, we have a portable gas boiler with a shower head that we can hang up onto the back doors, so it’s an outdoor shower.

“But we do have a foldable shower tent just in case we want a little more privacy.

“We have overhead cabinets where we can store our personal belongings and also next to the bed we have small cabinets with USB power sockets for smaller personal belongings and charging our electrical devices.

“One overhead cabinet is our tiny bathroom, with our toiletries and a mirror.

“And in the roof, we built in a fan for extra ventilation.

“To provide ourselves with electricity and light we have two camper batteries.

“They charge while driving and we also charge them with shore power.”

The couple have since taken staycation trips around Belgium and along the coast – but once the borders re-open, plan to visit Norway and head through Europe.

They are currently working full-time and plan to save up as much money as possible to travel further afield.

Sarah said: “We would really like to make our first trip with the van to Norway – but when we can leave will depend on the travel restrictions.

“As soon as possible, in 2023 at the latest, we plan to make a trip around the world for a few years.

“First through Europe and after that, we are also looking at the possibilities of shipping the van to the US."

Sarah and Cédric hope to make a few minor changes to their van, which include installing solar panels and heating in the vehicle.

They also want to change the colour of the van and add a custom logo to it, along with lights on the front bumper.

Sarah said: “We are very pleased with the outcome.

“We have everything we need; everything works and it looks like how we wanted it to look.

“We know that if we ever want to convert a second one, we might do certain things differently."

In a few words of advice to others who wish to convert a van into a living space, Sarah added:

“Just do it!"

“During our conversion, we learned a lot just by trial and error.

“We’ve had to redo things very often, sometimes even several times. But that way you learn the most and you eventually get the result you wanted.”

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