For seven years Kate worked as a fashion photographer in New York. Then one day, she decided to quit that life and start a new chapter – with an Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland and unstoppable freedom.
Quick facts about the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland
car manufacturer: Mercedes
year of construction: 2016
how many seats: 2 Scheel-Mann’s
complete weight of vehicle: 13,000 pounds
how many kilometers: 28,000
cylinder capacity: 6
output of the motor: –
consumption at 100km: 14mpg
driving license classify: car
top speed: 82
motor fuel: diesel
costs of repair per year: –
vehicle taxes: –
So tell us a bit about you first!
Hi I’m Kate. I’m Australian and moved to New York about 7 years ago where I worked in photography in the fashion industry. I had done a few road trips in rental vans and really enjoyed them, this made me realise I could actually do this full time! For the past almost 3 years I have lived the vanlife seeing almost all the states in America.
What drew you to travel and live in a van?
Growing up I had always been into camping and outdoor adventures. The idea that I could have a forever adventure with all the luxuries of home in a van made the lifestyle seem magical.
What kind of van do you own and why did you choose it?
So far there has been two Sprinter vans in my life, the first was a 170 dually 4×4 and the second started life as a 2WD before having a solid axle swap out to be a true Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland. Mercedes is a great reliable platform to build on and having 4×4 capabilities is a must in my opinion.
Is the interior from your Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland made by yourself or did you get a carpenter?
The first van was DIY and the second we had TouRig do the interior. TouRig is a professional van conversion company based in Golden Colorado. We chose TouRig because they have a clean aesthetic, they use aluminium cabinets to keep the build light weight, durable and easy to clean.
How long did you work on your van until it was finished and ready to travel with?
The first van took a year to fully complete, we lived and travelled in it while adding piece by piece to the build. The second build by TouRig took the company around 60 days to complete.
Tell us your 3 most important camping gadgets of all time!
Music is something that makes me really happy so I love to have good tunes playing. The van has an internal and external stereo by MBQuart which is connected to the house batteries. Being an Aussie I hate to be cold so the on board diesel heater is a fave. Living full time in the van and having an active lifestyle means I like to have a shower every day so adding a 40 gal water tank and a full interior shower has been quite a luxury.
How do you earn money while traveling in your Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland?
I am a photographer and also work in marketing. I manage the social media accounts for a few outdoor brands and work doing photography for a lot of the brands I use on the van daily. This allows me to generate authentic in use content for the brands while being outdoors and adventuring.
Which countries have you seen already with your van?
The past few years have been USA based but hopefully soon there will be some more countries added to the map.
How long are you on the road already and do you live in your Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland full time?
So far it has been 3 years of full time van living. Before that I had done a few month long trips in rental vans which inspired the leap into full time travel life.
Some people prefer campsites for the night, others love free camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. What do you prefer and why?
I like to be as far out in the middle of nowhere as possible. I will choose hidden free camps over paid ones, with all the amenities on board there is no need for the services of paid spots.
How do you shower in your Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland?
The current Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Overland has a full stainless shower by TouRig with on demand hot water. The 40 gal tank usually lasts just under a week.
What kind of kitchen do you have?
On board is a 65L freezer and 85L fridge with a diesel cook top. Its quite large but we host group tours where we cater for guests and it also allows for extended off the grid stays.
What makes travelling and living in a van such a great experience?
Being able to have everything you need with you is great. You get to travel and see different places while still having that feeling of ‘home’.
Nothing is perfect – what´s the down side of vanlife?
It can sometimes be tiring travelling full time and hard to keep to routines. I sometimes miss having the local community like a morning coffee shop or the gym to go to regularly.
What tips would you give new vanlifers?
Persevere with it because at first you can fell a little unsettled and weird but give it time like any new thing your mind adjusts to it and it begins to feel more natural. Once the lifestyle feels normal to you then you really get to start enjoying the advantages.
Do you sometimes make new friends on the road/meet other vanlifers?
Absolutely! All the time, some friends have even caught up in multiple states which has been really fun.
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your van?
My home country Australia is on the horizons so get ready for that!