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Woman, 27, turns van into house on wheels just using YouTube videos for help

Mackenzie Klimek, 27, of Minnesota, USA bought a Ford Transit van for £ 15,900 in 2020 and spent an additional £ 11,700 to equip it for a life on the road

Mackenzie Klimek, 27, from Minnesota, USA, bought a Ford Transit van for £ 15,900 and spent an additional £ 11,700 to make it suitable for life on the road

A woman turned her van into an amazing house on wheels while watching YouTube videos for advice.

Mackenzie Klimek, 27, from Minnesota, USA, lived in an apartment shared with friends, but when the lease ended, she moved in with her sister and brother-in-law.

Although the actuarial analyst enjoyed spending time with her family, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was living in someone else’s house.

Desperate to go out on her own, she stumbled upon the van living community and immediately became addicted to the idea.

In July 2020, she bought a 2017 Ford Transit van for $ 21,900 (£ 15,900) and set out to renovate the vehicle from scratch.








Having no construction experience, Mackenzie used YouTube videos to guide her
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




While living with her family, she made a list of things she loved, including vacations in the woods, doing things with her hands, traveling and drinking.

She wanted to find ways to incorporate these things into her daily life and “found the van life”.

“I can’t describe my attraction to the van life as anything other than an obsession,” she said.

“For weeks, I stayed up late watching hours of videos, listening to podcasts and scrolling Instagram.”








His uncle also helped make the van suitable for a life on the road
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




Mackenzie spent $ 16,000 (£ 11,700) on his new home, aiming to be on the road full time.

She watched video tutorials online for inspiration on the van layout, then roped up her uncle, Gary, to help him with some of the trickier parts.

But, the 27-year-old had no professional help to build her new home.

First, the couple stripped bare the van to install new electrical, insulating and plumping elements.








Mackenzie decided she wanted to live on the road full time after feeling out of place when she moved in with her family
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)











She said she scrolled through Instagram and Youtube for tutorials and then her uncle Gary helped her out with the trickier parts.
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




Opting for a nautical color scheme, Mackenzie painted the walls white and the ceiling navy blue, and installed new flooring.

She also bought a new fridge and installed a brand new kitchenette and roof rack at the top of the van for secure storage.

Finally, adding some warm touches, Mackenzie invested in a mattress, new bedding and cushions.

The 27-year-old also shelled out $ 390 for additional security measures, including a motion-activated video doorbell that detects any movement, so she can see what’s going on outside her door at all times.

It took about five months to complete the job, Mackenzie and Gary working up to eight hours a day, but she couldn’t be more pleased with the end results.








Mackenzie said she spent $ 390 on security measures and sometimes felt nervous when she was outside her van at night
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)











The pair stripped the van completely to install new plumbing and electricity
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




She said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have built.

“Every time I open the door, I can’t help but smile a little.”

Mackenzie has so far traveled to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California while living and working full time in the van.

She uses an access point to access the Internet for work and cooks using a small butane-powered camping stove.








The 27-year-old has previously traveled across the country, visiting several US national parks (Mackenzie in Glacier National Park, pictured)
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




Since Mackenzie doesn’t have a built-in tub or toilet in her van, she showers at the gym and uses the public restroom whenever she can, but she does have a portable camping toilet for emergencies.

She said: “My favorite part about van life is spending a lot more time outdoors.”

The challenges of the traveling lifestyle include the use of the bathroom, the shower and the dishes.








Mackenzie says delicate parts of van life include using the bathroom, showering, and washing up
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




The “magic” side is that “generally difficult things like doing housework, paying bills, managing your time, making friends which are now much easier than before”.

She says there are also risks of traveling alone as a woman, and that she feels “on edge” when she gets out of her van at night.

But, the 27-year-old says she “doesn’t live in a constant state of fear” and that the vehicle is her “safe space”.








Mackenzie (pictured with Uncle Gary) says van life hopefuls should plan their daily routine and see what hardships they will face
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)











She tends to use local showers and toilets near where she stops
(

Picture:

Jam Press / @ kenzklem)




“It’s the cozy little house that I didn’t know I needed,” she added.

For other hopes of van life, Mackenzie advises people to imagine themselves living in the space provided.

Walking through the daily routine can be a useful tool in seeing if your usual tasks are easier or more difficult once you get into the box.

This can help you prepare for the expected changes in this routine.


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