a self made wooden dream
Ben and Kai rent land in British Columbia, Canada, where they park and live full time in their totally self converted 1992 International 3800 5 ton truck.
Quick facts International 3800
- car manufacturer: International
- model: 3800
- year of construction: 1992
- how many seats: 2
- complete weight of vehicle: max gvw is 30,000 lbs or 15,000 kgs. Don’t know current weight, as the build isn’t finished yet.
- how many kilometers: 300,000
- consumption at 100km: it’s about 10mpg, soooo 23L/100km ?
- driving license classify: Class 5 (regular license)
- top speed: 100 km
- motor fuel: diesel
- price: $4000 CDN for the truck, about $35000 for the house.
- costs of repair per year: $0
- insurance: $0
- vehicle taxes: $0
Hello you! Before we talk about your van, let us please know your name, where you are from and what you do for a living..
My name is Kai, my boyfriend’s name is Ben. We live in British Columbia, Canada, and we both work in the film industry.
What drew you to travel in a van?
We don’t really travel in it, but we choose to rent land to park on instead. This allows us to have a “home base” and to set up some gardens and a workshop. Renting land is much cheaper than renting an apartment, and our area is extremely expensive.
What exact van do you own and why did you choose it?
It’s a 1992 International 5 ton truck, I chose to build a house truck rather than a van or skoolie, because I wanted the design of the living space to be flexible, not constrained by a metal shell.
Is the interior made by yourself or did you hire a carpenter?
I built the interior and exterior by myself, with the occasional help of friends. One of the reasons I did this project is I wanted to learn to build a house, so I figured the best way to learn is just to start!
How long did you work on your International 3800 until it was finished and ready to travel with?
Hahaha, I’ve owned the truck since 2013, and have been seriously working on it since 2015. We’ve been living in it since 2018. And it’s not finished yet. Maybe it will be “done” in 2021. Who knows? I like adding and changing things though, so I think it will never really be finished.
Tell us your 3 most important camping gadgets of all time!
Aeropress, axe, and a lighter.
Do you earn money while traveling? If so, how?
Like I said, we don’t travel in the truck. But I have earned money while travelling by doing watercolor portraits of people’s vanlife rigs in the past.
Do you live in your International 3800 full time?
We’ve been living in the house truck since 2018, even though it was just a box with no insulation or plumbing.
Is the rented area your “final destination” or are you going to move somewhere else in the future?
We stay in one spot for a year or two.
Did your International 3800 ever break down or did you have any troubles in that department?
What makes living in a van such a great experience?
It’s cheap, allows creative expression, and gives us the flexibility to live anywhere.
Nothing is perfect – what´s the down side of vanlife?
Winter. We are outside all the time in spring/summer/fall. We normally fly away for winters, but covid has us trapped in Canada. So the winter has been very hard in only 200sqft.
What tips would you give new vanlifers?
Don’t spend a bunch of money on all the fancy gadgets that you see in videos. Start simple, but start now. Don’t go into it with too many expectations, or you might be disappointed. It’s not like the youtube videos and Instagram photos.
Do you sometimes make new friends on the road/meet other vanlifers?
All the time. Our town is a vanlife destination, and we’ve invited people that are on-the-road to stay at our spot for a night or two.
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your International 3800?
Once Covid is over, we have a friend in California who has invited us to stay at her farm. We’d like to split our time between British Columbia and California. We also want to build a sailboat next.
If you like to follow the two of them and their really extraordinary vehicle, check out Instagram @the_ugly_truckling.