After renting a van and touring through Japan Keri and Steve caught the van life virus. So they decided to buy a Fiat Ducato and took the year off to hit the road!
- car manufacturer: Fiat
- modell: Ducato
- year of construction: 2009
- how many Seat: 2
- how many kilometers: 100,000k
- cylinder carpacity: 6
- top speed: 180Km so far
- motor fuel: diesel
- insurance: CPP
We have been teachers at a boarding school in The Czech Republic for the last four years. We love traveling and skiing/snowboarding. One year we took a three-week road trip in Japan.
We rented a small basic Toyota “camper” van. It was a basic van that had a small mattress pad over the seats and some curtains. We drove it from Tokyo up to Hokkaido in the north.
We spent 3 weeks driving around scoring the best powder in the world, bathing in the onsen’s and sleeping in our little van. Side note: it’s was the dead of winter and got down to -20 C some nights.
We were hooked. After that we set out educating ourselves about the van life and what we wanted. Saved for a few years, finished our contracts and took the year (or more) off to hit the road!
We choose the Fiat Ducato because of a few basic reasons:
- Availability of parts
- Stealth mode
- Steve can stand
- Sleeping transversely
No we have a great relationship with our builder aka friend Felix. He is Czech and helped us buy our Fiat Ducato.
So Felix is The Godfather of our best friend in Czech, Z! Steve met him when he joined a local basketball club. He has designed and built 15 plus vans that he drives all over and then sells in Germany.
He was happy to meet all of our needs at a great price. We stopped in every few days during the 3-month build to take pictures and chat.
We are very happy with the van and how it turned out. We always get that questions on Instagram and honestly the only small thing we would change is hanging the fan over the bed more centered so one person isn’t cold while the other is hot.
But really that is not a big deal.
Once we had the keys in hand we still had a little less than 2 months on our contacts. We decided to move out of our apartment and live in the Fiat Ducato full time while still working at our school.
Imagine what the kids thought of their teachers living in a van in town. This was a small Czech town called Karlovy Vary, so we didn’t exactly blend in!
1. freedom- we can come and go as we please. We don’t have to pack and unpack. We don’t have to rely on public transport. We love it and think it’s the best way to travel!
2. Home Base- being on the road can be hard if you are tired or sick. Or just fed up with people and need some alone time. That’s what we love about the van. It’s our own little happy place!
3. Saving Money- it’s crazy to crunch the numbers and realize how much money you can save. Between hotels, trains and food. We cook basically every meal and really don’t go out to eat anymore. It’s hard to eat healthy on the road and that’s huge for us!
Everyone has been very welcoming to our lifestyle. Even some people who wouldn’t prefer this life are interested in the van and what we are doing!
France was a pain with all the height restrictions in parking lots because we are 2.4M but it didn’t really stop us from finding amazing spots!
Ravenna to Pescara in Italy. We decided we had enough of the north and went full steam south. It was mostly expressway and they have the auto grill. If you don’t know it’s the best rest stop we have ever been to.
A few espressos will keep you going. Great veggie paninis, good restrooms and even found one with a free shower!
Yea we tend to meet other vanlifers at the park4night spots. It’s a great app that will never do you wrong. We haven’t been going to the tourists spots during the high summer months.
Now it’s November and most spots are empty.
All honesty the benefits outway the downfalls. That being said we do miss fixed plumbing. The toilet hunt and shower game is a struggle but is worth it. We have a toilet for emergencies and a shower in the back.
We prefer doing some 007 missions sneaking into nice restaurants and showering at the beach or public pools. Our shower is ok but very cold! The winter will begin a new challenge, but we welcome the adventure!
We could have added the back up camera and better sound system but that is a luxury.
As a guy and kind of a joke I always say how fun and cool it would be if I had a huge engine and turbo to blow the doors off all those jerks that think a van can’t go fast. Would be a waste of fuel though!
Karmen is a champ and is happy as long as she is with us all day every day. We used to take her to school everyday, and she would chill in Keri’s math class or hike with Steve and the kids!
Europe is great too because we can basically bring her everywhere. We did think about her in the build and included the fan for the summer and the heater for the winter. She loves the van and thinks we live outside now.
We have looked into some possibilities, but we decided to enjoy our year off. We worked hard to save for the past 2 years and want to enjoy it. We still have our summer jobs at a camp in Switzerland.
Putting the wheels in motion to start our own business as well so who knows!!
We are very excited to move to the road less traveled!!! We are both huge winter sports fanatics, so we will be spending all winter exploring new zones.
We have been to France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and even Japan to ski and ride.
Now it’s time for the unknown.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Greece(yes you can ski there)
- Maybe even Georgia!!
Follow our journey on Instagram: eatplayvan