Meet Baru and Kathi who created their dream Mercedes Benz Sprinter 313 CDI after they got robbed. Thats the Story about a dog, two wives and endless freedom.
Quick facts about your Benz Sprinter 313 CDI:
Car Manufacturer: Mercedes Benz Modell: Sprinter 313 CDI Year of construction: 2002 How many seats: 3 Complete weight of vehicle: I don’t know How many kilometers: around 100 000 Consumption at 100km: around 9 or 10 liters of diesel Driving license classify: Standart car license (B) Top speed:I drove 160km/h but might be more Motor fuel: Diesel Price: 5600€ costs of repair per year: we spent maybe 500€ Insurance: 140€ per year Vehicle taxes: No vehicle taxes in Czech Republic!
Tell me a bit about you two and tell me, what made you want to start vanlife?
Hello everybody! We are Baru and Kathi, two little rebels from Czech Republic and Germany living the life of our dreams with unlimited freedom and unlimited time for all the beautiful things in life the idea of living in a van came to my (kathi’s) head during my travels through south America in 2015.
I always loved traveling but sometimes it can get quite exhausting, especially with a low budget.
To be always dependent on finding cheap (but nice) hostels or workaway projects/couch surfing people that fit to me became just too stressful after a while and I was seeking a more compfortable and independent way of travel.
So I bought this Mercedes Sprinter in 2016 and with a lot of YouTube videos I did a first, very basic build out 2017 I met Baru (and kiri) in Spain and it was love on the first sight!
Why did you choose this Benz Sprinter 313?
I chose the sprinter van because I wanted to be able to stand in it and have some space to move around. Also it is a very ’stealth‘ car which was important to me because I like to camp in cities and I feel more safe in this invisible car.
It just looks like every working car on the street and nobody would expect a cosy home in it.
Of course as well because the sprinters are ment to be reliable and long lasting.
So, if not your vehicle, what modell would you choose too if you could and why?
Next van will be an Iveco Daily, just because it looks badass no seriously, we would always go for this kind of working cars and it does not really matter which if the deal is good.
Did you work on Mercedes Sprinter vehicle yourself or did you get a carpenter for the interior?
We did everything ourselves and we are so proud of that! In the beginning I didn’t even know how to hold a tool and I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos and do a lot of research.
But I managed to install the solar and the roof window! Also everything else was totally doable.
Would you change something about your Benz Sprinter 313 CDI when it comes to the interior if you could turn back time?
Well, my first version of the interior was not the most practical when I met Baru she had a lot of amazing ideas how to use the space better and improve things.
I was pretty much holding onto my creation and had trouble to imagine different haha.
Then we got broken into our van and everything got destroyed, which was a good thing in the end because we had a total new ‚playground‘ and with a lot of teamwork and compromises we created this perfect home we have now.
And no, now we don’t wanna change a thing.
How long did you work on your Benz Sprinter 313 CDI before you started your trip?
I would say all together maybe a month or two.. with relaxed three hours work a day.
What do your friends and family say about your vanlife-choice?
They all love it my sister and her boyfriend bought a van as well after they seen how much fun it is to build it. Now they are traveling around Norway.
My mum actually was in the beginning quite doubtful, especially when I came with the jigsaw to cut a whole into the roof but after she seen what we created, I think she is just super proud!
Which countries did you travel to with your vehicle?
We were traveling together in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal so far!
How would you describe vanlife to people who have like no idea of what we are even doing?
Just living- without stress and absolute freedom. Or better: living in the most beautiful places and coolest cities- without paying rent in out Benz Sprinter 313 CDI.
Some people prefer campsites for the night, others love free camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. What do you prefer and why?
Definitely free camping! For once, because it is best feeling to wake up in the middle of the nature and feel like the world is ours there is nothing attractive for us being squeezed next to other people in a place with rules and so on.
And second, we could never- NEVER- afford campsites. Seriously, I still can’t believe how expensive it it to just park your car somewhere!?!
What is the hardest part about living in a Benz Sprinter 313?
For me sometimes, that there is no real routine and structure.
There is so much free time that you are confronted with yourself a lot and this can be not easy for me it works best to always have a plan, a mission, and not just to live into the day and go with the flow (of course there is a lot of days like that as well).
What is the best part?
To have time for the important things in life, for example the work on ourselves and our relationship to have time to cook amazing food, to read and educate ourselves.
That we never have to leave Kiri alone and that we can be outside in the fresh air all day. That we can live wherever we want, without tying us down with renting contacts and co.
Sometimes, when we are camping in the middle of a city (like Barcelona, Berlin or Sofia) we just look at eachother and celebrate that we can just live in places like that without having to care about paying bills.
How do you fund your travels?
In many different ways. In summer we worked for three months in Germany, so this money lasts us easily for the other nine months. But before, we also sometimes went with the guitar on the street.
That way we could sustain ourselves for more than six months and we could even safe something. We sometimes also do something like workawaying/ wwoofing to make our money last longer.
How much money do you spend in a month (roughly)?
Depends on how much we have, in what country we are and how much we drive but I think excluding fuel, insurance and stuff like that around 200-300€ a month.
There are more and more people who want to experience vanlife. What is the most important thing you would wanna tell them before they start?
Take your rubbish, dig your shit and behave extra friendly and respectful to locals!
Wild camping is not legal in most countries, so be as inconspicuous as possible and give no one a reason to dislike what we (the vanlife community) are doing!
Check where it is tolerated or even supported ( for example Albania ) park4night app is really helpful with finding good spots to camp. Enjoy and don’t be afraid of talking to other vanlifers. Most are super happy to make friends and share stories.
How is it to travel with a dog in a Mercedes Sprinter ? Do you maybe have a funny or beautiful story?
Vanlife is just perfect for dogs! Kiri is so happy to be with us wherever we go and she loves to explore new places everyday there is so many of beautiful and funny stories that I can’t think of one specific one.
But Kiri is definitely very useful in saving water – we always let her ‚clean‘ all dishes, so we only have to splash them a little.
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your van?
We will be definitely living and traveling in a van for a veeeery long time- we both love this lifestyle too much! But we are also looking at the moment for a little land to buy somewhere in Portugal.
We want to create a little ‚homebase‘, where we can come back to after our travels and of course we want to keep sharing our advantures in our Mercedes Sprinter on our Instagram page – so please come visit us!