Chevrolet G20 – a photographer couple lives and travels in a self-converted van
Janine and David needed change. They wanted freedom and joy and to get away from everyday life which, in the end was just waiting for the next long-awaited weekend. And so they started a new life – with the ‘support’ of a Chevrolet G20.
Quick facts about the Chevrolet G20
- car manufacturer: Chevrolet
- model: G20
- year of construction: 88
- how many seats: 2 seats in the cockpit plus a seatbelt on the couch
- complete weight of vehicle: 8k lbs roughly fully loaded.
- how many kilometers: 150000 or around 98k miles
- cylinder carpacity: 8
- output of the motor: Small v8 motor, chevy 305 to be exact. She runs great on normal roads, however goes pretty slow up hill.
- consumption at 100km: 12-15 mpg
- driving license classify: motorhome class b, no special license needed.
- top speed: gets scary past 75 mph, especially if its windy.
- motor fuel: gas, normally we put 87-88 octane. Nothing special.
- price: bought for $3000usd, conversion cost an additional $5000.
- costs of repair per year: The past year on the road we have done intake gaskets, radiator, trans lines, tires, brakes, and oil changes. Roughly $3200
- insurance: Progressive, we have full time RV coverage.
- vehicle taxes: We paid taxes on the purchase price of the van.
Tell me a bit about you and tell me, what made you want to start vanlife?
My wife and I got married in June of 2017, being from the same area and not having seen much of the world, we wanted to travel a bit before we settled down and had kids. We both had normal jobs and the largest transition was being able to work and support ourselves on the road.
Why exactly did you choose this model and not a smaller or bigger one?
I had a strong background in automotive so I was looking for a vehicle I found fit to cross the country with. Our two major concerns were we wanted a shower and we wanted to be able to stand in it. This vehicle fit both those requirements as well as our budget, with plenty of money left over to renovate it and make it home. We have no complaints about our rig other than we wish to purchase something newer.
Where there any barriers while purchasing the vehicle?
Camper vans are not very popular on the east coast, finding one that fit all of our requirements took months in Pennsylvania.
Did you work anything on your Chevrolet G20 yourself or did you get a carpenter?
We did all the renovation work on the vehicle ourselves. We learned plumbing from a co-worker of David’s for the shower and sink set up. David worked as an auto body estimator at a body shop at the time so we were able to get cheaper labor done on the motor work we needed through his connections. As well as having full access to a professional painter to do the paint job with the Raptor bed-liner paint.
Do you miss more space or are you happy as it is?
We do not miss more space. We often visit friends or family on our travels and always sleep in our vehicle rather than guest rooms. We like having what we need within arms reach. We recently went through our overhead storage compartment and discovered how many useless things we brought along. The space in our van works for us, but we would be happy with a little more room for things like paddle boards or bikes.
How long did you worked on your campervan before you started your trip?
Roughly 4 months.
Tell me like 2-3 things that you really love about traveling with a camper.
The ease of pulling into a campsite and not having to set up or tear down camp. We work from our van and we find it comfortable and cozy. The freedom of being able to go where and whenever we want.
Which countries did you travel to with your vehicle? Which one was your favorite by now?
Just the USA. Which is quite large. We have been through a little more than half the states and that took us a year. I can imagine traveling in Europe is very different for that reason. We have our eyes set on Canada next.
How is it to travel in a camper van with your dog?
Luna is the best part of every day. She keeps our spirits up. She keeps us busy and on our toes, and also keeps our feet warm at night. It is difficult at times, we have been to many places that do not allow dogs. But we really feel if we can’t bring her to a place then we don’t want to be there anyway.
What was the longest Road at one piece you drove with your Chevrolet G20?
We do not move very fast, normally 1-2 hours a day in distance. Our longest ride was when we left Sun Valley Idaho on a 110 degree day and wanted to beat the heat. We drove 7 hours straight to the boarder of Oregon and made camp.
Do you sometimes meet other vanlifers?
Yes! We’ve made some incredible friendships along this journey. Meeting other vanlifers is always an awesome experience. We have so much in common, we support each other, we learn from each other.
Are there any things that really annoy you about traveling/living with/in a van?
David’s biggest complaint is having to find a place to sleep every night. Some nights come easy, some nights everything falls through and you’re still driving around aimlessly in the middle of the night. For Janine the hardest part is being away from family and missing out on birthdays on holidays.
Not everything is perfect, what would you change about your vehicle?
More power to get up hills better. A bigger sink would be great. We are really looking forward to our next build to have something newer and sleeker, but this van has treated us well.
So, if not your vehicle-which one would you choose if you could and why?
Coming from an automotive background I love the Mercedes Sprinters. Unfortunately they are very expensive and you have to complete all maintenance at the dealer to keep a warranty. I would love to get an extended 4×4 lifted sprinter.
Do you work online while traveling?
Yes we work a few remote jobs. We work in social media management, graphic design, and content creation. We are also currently working on our passion project VansForLands which is a non-profit aimed at educating, raising awareness for, and giving back to public lands.
What will your next destinations be?
Right now our intention is to do a new van build this winter, after that we plan to travel the northeast of the U.S and the eastern side of Canada.
Follow us on Instagram and on our websites www.skymeetssea.com & www.vansforlands.com.