Van conversion ‘took over our lives’: Inside ‘cosy little home’ of full time travellers

Campervans: UK’s ‘Coolest Campers’ discuss van conversion

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When Cazzy and Bradley bought their Peugeot Boxer van in June 2020, they had no experience with van conversions, or vehicles. Cazzy said: “We had never held a tool in our lives. We knew nothing, I’m not even exaggerating.”

Full time travel bloggers Cazzy and boyfriend Bradley were ground to a halt when the pandemic hit.

The idea of getting a campervan had been “floating around” for a while and going into lockdown was the perfect motivation for the couple.

They decided to buy a van and convert it to make the best use of their “newfound time”.

While looking for a vehicle, they practised their skills by building a chest of drawers.

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Bradley said: “It’s quite funny, it took us about two weeks to find any van that we thought could work. In that time, I needed a new chest of drawers in my bedroom. We’d spent £300 on tools for the conversion and we went to B&Q and…”

Cazzy finished the sentence for him: “We practised on the chest of drawer. And we thought, ok, if we can do this, we can do a van.”

Bradley piped up: “So that was our experience, building a big, cumbersome, ugly chest of drawers.”

They eventually bought a van for £6,500 and got stuck in converting it.

Bradley explained: “It took over our entire lives. We didn’t do anything else for that three and a half months.

“It was just all about the van. When you go to sleep you think about problems, when you wake up you go straight to the van.”

They made up for their lack of experience by relying on YouTube.

Cazzy said: “You can pretty much do anything with YouTube nowadays, there are so many ‘how to’ videos, that was basically what helped us.”

For the most technical parts of their conversion, they relied on experts.

They said: “We had an electrician do the electrics. That was the one thing we didn’t want to mess up, because we were going to live in it full time and be safe. We splashed out for that.”

Bradley added: “And for the gas system, my dad installed the piping and we got it checked by a proper gas engineer. They did that part, we can’t take credit for that.”

All in all, they spent “around £17 to £18,000”, including the price of the van on their new home on wheels.

With their van done, they hit the road on a trial run trip to Scotland, which was “a really good trip”, but highlighted some issues.

Bradley explained: “On the drive up, our gas system packed up.

“We had an old gas setup, my dad didn’t do the first one, I did it with someone else.

“And we had it checked and it worked, but then the heater packed up, but when we took that out, it basically wrecked the entire system and so for the whole two months we were in Scotland, which was November and December, we had no heating, no cooker… the whole gas system broke so we had no oven, we couldn’t take hot showers.”

He continued: “The other thing that broke on that trip was the battery charger, and that was a really expensive, £350 B2B, and that packed up too.

“At one point we had no heating, we had no gas and we had no way of charging our batteries either, because there was no sun.”

Cazzy said the trial run really “helped refine things more”.

And the build has given Bradley a taste of making things himself.

He said: “It’s very satisfying now, sometimes I look around and think ‘wow we did this’, it’s been over a year and it hasn’t fallen apart.”

Cazzy: “He wants to do the same with a home.”

Bradley: “Why not? Building a home seems like such a crazy thing, but if you take it one step at a time and are in no hurry. I think it would be really satisfying to live in a home we built ourselves. I’m not promising anything.”

To find out more about Cazzy and Bradley’s build, Britons can go to their YouTube channel. 

And their blog is Dream Big Travel Far.
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