- Will and Kristin have been living in a 180-square-foot bus with their daughter and dog for over a year.
- The renovated bus features a full kitchen, a living room, two office spaces, a bedroom, and a removable skateboard railing.
- The couple’s lifestyle has allowed their daughter Roam to see 30 states before she turned 2 years old.
- “I think there’s a lot of stigma that it’s hard or impossible to raise a kid in a small space like this, but we spend so much time outdoors that we don’t really ever feel like we’re trapped in a small place with a kid,” Kristin told Insider.
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Will and Kristin have been living on a renovated bus with their daughter and dog since April 2019.
The couple caught the bug for the nomadic lifestyle in 2014.
“We took this road trip in 2014 where we lived out of our rental car, and we drove up the California coast,” Kristin told Insider. “I figured out from that road trip that I was obsessed with living in a van.”
In 2016, after watching a documentary about minimalism, the duo started getting rid of things they didn’t need.
Soon after, Will and his father began renovating a bus the couple could live in so they could travel full time.
Two years after starting renovations, the couple was ready to move into the 180-square-foot van.
They didn't originally plan on having kids, but the couple ended up getting pregnant with their daughter Roam during the renovation process.
They moved into the van when she was just six months old, and at 20 months, Roam has spent more of her life on the road than off of it.
Kristin and Will said they typically spend four days to a week in one spot before driving to a new place.
The family was parked in Colorado when they spoke to Insider, but they're headed toward Alaska.
The bus features six distinct spaces despite its small square footage.
Will and his father renovated the bus over two years, ensuring the space was functional as a vehicle and home.
The interior's fresh, white paint and hardwood floors give it a modern and inviting look.
Living in the van doesn't save the couple money, as they have to pay for gas and other travel expenses.
The kitchen features a full fridge, stove, and oven, and the countertops even have a personal touch.
"The countertops are actually made from the Jacksonville Beach Pier," Will said of the countertops.
The couple is from Jacksonville, Florida, and the pier in their hometown was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
They were able to get their hands on some of the wood from the original pier, and they built it into the van so they always have a piece of home with them.
The living room area sits across from the kitchen.
The area features a couch, as well as seat belts for people to sit in safely when the van is moving.
It also folds out into a small bed for guests to sleep on if they're visiting the family.
Behind the living room, Will has an office space next to Roam's bed.
"It's a four-foot desk, and we have an extra monitor that we swivel around and use as a TV as well," Will said of his workspace.
The driver's area doubles as Kristin's office, as she places an insert over the wheel to transform it into a desk.
Both Kristin and Will are able to work remotely, as Kristin is a communications manager for a second home vacation community and Will owns his own creative marketing company.
The van is fully equipped with Wi-Fi, so both Will and Kristin can work wherever they go.
The couple made alterations to a pack and play to create Roam's bed, inserting a baby mattress into it. A closet sits across from her bed as well.
The master bedroom sits at the back of the bus.
The space features a queen-sized bed where Kristin, Will, and their dog, Rush, sleep at night.
The bedroom has storage above, around, and under the bed, and the couple made those storage areas easier to access by making the bed lift up.
"We push a button, and it lifts up so we can easily access the bed, which is something we didn't do when we first made the bus," Will said. "We added it on after, and it's then the ultimate game-changer."
They also keep their home organized by not having too much stuff.
A wet bathroom completes the bus.
Everything in the bathroom is waterproof, so the couple can shower in the small space without worrying about getting the rest of the space wet.
The bathroom also features a composting toilet, and the family has to refill the van's water supply every two weeks.
Will and Kristin also personalized the van's exterior to fit their needs.
"On the back, we have a motorcycle," Will said, and both he and Kristin are able to ride it.
"It's an extra vehicle," he explained. "If one of us needs to go somewhere, go get groceries, or run errands, we can easily take it off the back and do that."
The roof also features a solar panel that powers the van, as well as additional storage space.
Will also added a retractable rail to the side of the bus.
"On the passenger side of the bus, there's a rail that slides out," Will said.
"I'm a big skateboarder, and that actually slides out and it's a leg that you can grind and skate anywhere."
"It's also a bench, so people can sit there, but it's a way for me to skate in crazy places," Will added.
Will and Kristin told Insider that Roam liked van life right away.
"It's been awesome," Kristin said of raising their daughter on the road. "We hit the jackpot with our baby."
"She loves to travel," Kristin added. "She loves hiking and playing outside and going on adventures."
"I think there's a lot of stigma that it's hard or impossible to raise a kid in a small space like this," she said. "But we spend so much time outdoors that we don't really ever feel like we're trapped in a small place with a kid."
"She definitely loves it, too," Will said of Roam's feelings toward van life. Their travels have allowed Roam to see two countries and over 30 states before she even turns 2 years old.
The couple recently posted a video to their YouTube channel to show their followers what a day in Roam's life is like, which you can watch here.
The couple said their favorite part of life on the road is the sense of freedom it gives them, as well as all the places they get to see.
"Experiencing all those new places is the main reason why we wanted to do this, because we love to travel," Kristin said.
Despite their love for life on the road, Kristin and Will said it does come with some challenges, though they think they were better able to anticipate issues because they eased into their minimalist lifestyle.
"I think if someone just jumped into it and tried to do it, they would have challenges and be overwhelmed," Kristin said. "But now everything's so normal for us. Even when we run into little bumps in the road, we're like, 'Oh, we can get through this.'"
They also said paying off their outstanding debts before they set off on the road helped them, as it allowed them to have more freedom in their travels.
Kristin and Will recommend people ease into a minimalist lifestyle.
"Everyone's so attached to their physical belongings and they don't think that they could live without them, and we used to be like that for sure," Kristin told Insider.
"It's like a muscle that you exercise, and you keep getting rid of more and more things. Even on the bus we're still getting rid of more things."
"I had a whole bunch of stuff, and it was put in a trash bag and I didn't touch it for like three or four months," Will said of how he eased into downsizing. "If you don't pull anything out of the trash bag in that time, get rid of it."
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