Urvan E20 - OZ
NAME/S, AGE/S, BIRTH PLACE/S (home)
Christine Junge, I'm 28, born in Nambour, Queensland, Australia
MAKE, MODEL & YEAR OF VEHICLE, YEAR OF CONVERSION
She's a 1977 Nissan Urvan E20 (column shift manual, which I was taught on a dirt road at night by the hippie I bought it from)
I don't know the conversion year but it was done by an 84yr old man.
DIMENSIONS (Length, Wide, Height, Volume)
L: 5300mm W: 1800mm H: 2600mm
TOTAL MONTHS LIVING MOBILE
Nine months and I couldn't imagine having to live in a house again. I work full time in Brisbane so I spend each night in a different location around Brisbane.
It's currently broken down located at a local mechanic, along with all my belongings. The downside of the van life! It spends a lot of time at the mechanics and I have to crash on friends' couches, or if I'm lucky, I may be house-sitting at the time.
HOW MANY LIVING IN IT
Just me. For a while, there was a gecko too but I think the recent heatwave got to him.
HOW DO YOU SHOWER
I bought a years' outright membership at a gym - best investment ever. They even have hair straighteners. When a rare good song comes on, I shamelessly sing in the shower as if I was in a private bathroom in a house.
HOW DO YOU GET THE INTERNET
I have a large data plan on my phone. I have a laptop also, but it's so prehistoric that I wouldn't dare to try to connect the internet with it. The last time I used it, it took 45 minutes to send one email.
HOW DO YOU RECEIVE MAIL
Generally, I don't, most of it would still be going to the apartment I used to live in. I had to have an address to get car roadside assistance and my bank mail, so I used a friend's house for those. Sometimes I use my work address for things like buying on eBay.
HOW OTHERS REACTED
Most people love it. A lot of people have come up and grilled me on it, finding out all the details and saying they would love to do it. A lot of people say they wish they could do it. They can!
Usually, the only negative reaction I get is 'Is it because you can't afford to live in a house?', I've only had that once or twice.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU WENT MOBILE & WHY DID YOU MAKE THE CHANGE
I was living in an apartment by myself. It was draining as I was always out and about, so when I came home it felt like an empty shell. I sort of ended up living out of a backpack in my car whilst still having the apartment until one day I started fantasising about being able to carry a bed around with me. It was a slow decision, but I got there.
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE TO MOVE INTO YOUR MOBILE HOME
I sort of started telling everyone who'd listen that I was going to move into a campervan and so I had to do it, you know. Nobody believed that I would and I'm pretty stubborn. The last few weeks before moving into it was very stressful, I advertised all my furniture and useless decorative crap online and had probably over a hundred people trawling through my apartment haggling prices on my stuff. It's amazing how free it feels to unload. I also didn't find the perfect van until a week before my lease ended. I was getting edgy.
DO YOU PLAN TO GO BACK TO YOUR PREVIOUS WAY OF LIVING
No. Well maybe one day, when I want to settle down and have a partner, kids, dog and all that. I love the simple life - two days ago the van blew its engine for the second time and I simply can't afford to fix it, yet I'm still finding ways I'll be able to continue living in it.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK & LIVING IN A SMALL SPACE
I don't find it a very small space, I see the world as my backyard and I am always amongst it. It's great as you can sit in your lounge room reading a book in the sun and meet random people and have your feet in the sand all at the same time. Living in the van makes me spend more time in beautiful places instead of cooped up inside.
HOBBIES ON & OFF THE ROAD
I love to write, my blog is something I want to do long term, and eventually, I'm going to write a book. Drawing and reading I love as well, I probably read a book or two a week. I'm trying to learn more about photography, I'd like to become a photographer. Also, I have all the normal people hobbies like hanging with friends, hiking, drinking, eating food etc.
YOUR TOP 3 GO-TO ITEMS IN YOUR TINY HOME
1. Tiny backpacker stove! I have an oven, stove, and grill in there but I practically always use my little portable one.
2. Curtains with pockets. I show these off to everyone. Don't underestimate curtains with pockets.
3. My mini USB fan. I bought this at a Chinese market and was dubious ('this is very good brand in China!') but on the hottest of nights, it's the only thing that has made sleep possible.
MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT LIVING SMALL
The ever changing view out the back window! Oh and not having to pack to go camping. I look at the other folks pitching their tents and laugh as I drive into the sunset....
MOST CHALLENGING THING
The mechanical issues. I've spent $12000 in nine months and had countless tows, countless hours on the highway and the hot sun.
WHO ARE YOU INSPIRED BY
I'm inspired by all of the people who have gone out on a limb and became their own boss. It's one of my ultimate goals, but it takes some guts, persistence, and skill.
ADVICE TO FUTURE HOMEOWNERS WANTING TO LIVE SMALL / HIT THE ROAD
Don't buy a 40yr old van like I did. Buy reliability over beauty. Buy a Toyota Hiace...and give me that Toyota Hiace.
ANY SECRETS / TIPS
A lot of the places I stay aren't exactly legal places to stay overnight. If you get a knock at the door, be polite, be apologetic and move on to somewhere else. If they try to give you a fine, (where I am at least) they can't actually fine you if you are awake. This sounds odd but you can stay as long as you want as long as you aren't sleeping.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY NEWS YOU WANT TO SHARE
I'm going to buy a Toyota Hiace van, save up and travel around Australia. I would like to meet people from all over the country and decide where I'd like to eventually live.
CLOSING LINE (quote / motto / saying / belief)
'Keep it simple'
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