Sunny & Luna decided to trade in their big wedding for a van, because the virus came across their wedding plans. Read our interview, when you want to find out if they regret buying a Ram 159 Wheelbase high roof!
Quick info Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159:
car manufacturer: Ram
model: 2019, 159 Wheelbase high roof, 2500
year of construction: 2019
how many seats: 2
complete weight of vehicle: unsure but we think 7k lbs
Hello you – before we talk about the van – tell us a bit about you!
Hi! We’re Sunny & Luna and when the COVID shutdowns began we decided to trade in our big wedding for a van instead. What was a dream of 5 years for Sunny turned into a reality and as for me (Luna here), I was thrilled to take on the “tiny” design project. We decided to document our build and all of our adventures thereafter… little did we know how much our life would change. After we moved into the van we noticed bits of joy entering our life and more room for creative thinking. We decided to share our life with you and build a community to inspire others to design a more free and creative life, whatever that means to you. While living nomadically, Sunny paid off over $60,000 of debt and I now share tiny living & lifestyle tips we’ve learned and practiced along the way. We are here to inspire and help you get started with your tiny living endeavor as well as help you know where to shop. We have grown to love tiny living and all that it has taught us. This is our journey of finding joy in tiny living.
What drew you to travel and live in a van?
In addition to having the freedom to travel, we also love the ability to not pay rent and save more money! Living in a van is helping us reach our financial goals quicker all while seeing places we never thought we’d be able to see. It’s a win win for us!
What kind of van do you own and why did you choose it?
Is the interior of your Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159 made by yourself or did you hire a carpenter?
We did about 70% of the build ourselves. 30% of it was hired out, primarily the electrical and getting help with the initial walls and structure of the van. We were both working full time during the build and put a 3 month deadline on ourselves to finish the build and live on the road full time. With this intense deadline and only being able to work on the van in the evenings and weekends, we had to hire out some help in order to reach the completion deadline. We are very happy we did this because if we hadn’t we would have needed a few extra months to complete the build and wouldn’t have been able to get on the road as soon as we wanted too. We learned how to do everything from YOUTUBE and made plenty of mistakes along the way. The whole thing was a huge learning experience and I love that Sunny is a lot more handy now! I designed the entire build which was a ton of fun for me. I feel very happy with how the design and functionality turned out.
How long did you work on your Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159 until it was finished and ready to travel with?
The build took about 3 months of non stop work.
How do you earn money while traveling?
Sunny works in finance but his job is currently remote and we’re hoping that doesn’t change. I gave up my job as a makeup artist in LA because it wasn’t able to be remote so now I create content for all of you on our social media platforms, our website and blog and love sharing our van life experience. I’m also working on starting a business that will be announced sometime this year and am very excited to start my own thing! Anyone can live van life. All you need is a remote job!
Which countries have you seen already with your Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159?
We’ve only been able to stay in the U.S. since the covid lockdowns. We really wanted to get into Canada but were unable to. However we went to the San Juan Islands which is the closest place you can get to Canada and loved it! We will be traveling to Mexico this year and are excited about that!
How long are you on the road already and do you live in your vehicle full time?
We live on the road full time and have for the last 8 months. We got rid of our LA apartment so that we could live van life and it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made. We don’t plan on living in an apartment or home anytime soon and would only do so if we have a baby or if our work situation changes.
Some people prefer campsites for the night, others love free camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. What do you prefer and why?
We actually do quite a bit of both. I’d say 50/50. Half the time we’re at free BLM land and we LOVE this option, it’s our preferred option because we love the remote vibe and not having to pay. However we will pay for campsites if there isn’t BLM land near the parks we’re trying to explore. The positives about campsites is the water hook up to refill our tank and some have washers and dryers. We also feel very safe at these locations but also have never felt unsafe at BLM land. We also love staying at Harvest Hosts. They have awesome wineries and vineyards we enjoy staying at when campsites and BLM land aren’t around. And when in dire need we have stayed at plenty of Walmart parking lots and truck stops when needed. At first it feels weird but now we have no problem staying at these locations.
How do you shower in your Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159?
Having a shower was a priority for me (Luna) during the build. Living van life was Sunny’s dream so he wanted to make sure I felt comfortable living in a van. We absolutely love our shower. It’s connected to a 4 gallon water heater, a 33 gallon water tank and a water pump. We have a shower head that has a pause on and off button to control water usage. We actually still only shower 1-2 a week because we don’t like to use all of our water too quickly. It works out well for us and we love the convenience of it. We have a nautilus retractable shower door and LOVE it. The only downside is the beautiful tile is a bit heavy and adds a bit of weight.
What kind of kitchen do you have?
We have a kitchen similar to a kitchen in a regular home. We have a mini fridge with a big freezer and can store about 2 weeks of food at a time. We have a deep sink (10in x 10in) with running water and a large stove and oven that we do all of our cooking with. That’s hooked up to a 6 gallon propane tank underneath our van that we have to refill about every 2 months. We also have a collapsable instant water boiler that we make coffee or tea with every morning.
What makes travelling and living in a van such a great experience?
The feeling of freedom is a big part of enjoying van life. We actually “feel” more free when living in a van, completely tied down to no location. We also love driving up to a location for a hike or whatever it is and never having to worry about forgetting anything because our house and all of our belongings are with us at all times. Being able to drive these days during COVID-19 is a great travel option and we love having a custom built van because we feel so cozy and at home anywhere we go. We love never having to worry about unloading or setting up camp. When we pull up and arrive at our location, we’re all set! It’s so easy!
Nothing is perfect – what´s the down side of vanlife?
The biggest downside about van life is having to worry about having a strong wifi connection M-F. Since Sunny works full time during the week we can’t go too deep into remote locations and save that for the weekends. We have a Verizon hotspot on us that’s pretty reliable but some national parks and forests are complete dead zones and that’s the biggest downer.
What tips would you give new vanlifers?
Our biggest tip to aspiring van lifers is to test it out before you fully commit. We LOVE living this lifestyle however it’s not for everyone. We recommend renting a camper van at a location you like and testing it out for a week or two. It will help you have the true expereince before making the lifestyle change. For building recommendations we suggest making sure the bed isn’t too short for you as it’s so crucial to prioritize having a very comfortable sleeping situation as well as installing a Nature’s Head Compost toilet if possible. We would recommend prioritizing these two things if you can. It will make all the difference in your overall quality of expereince.
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof 159?
We’re fully committed to another 6 months of van life and have lots of big plans. Going to finish up ski season in Colorado, resort hopping then head down to Baja for a month and be beach bums and take up surf lessons. After that we’ll work our way up California till we reach the pacific northwest (our favorite location). And explore the Cascade mountains and other forests and parks in Oregon and Washington. Then we’ll come back to Utah by May 8th for Van Fest where we’ll be exhibiting our van. We’d love to invite you to get tickets and come meet us and check out our van! It’s going to be tons of fun!
You can find more about Sunny and Luna on their website and on Instagram. And for their “Van Layout & Dimensions Guide” have a look here.