Vanlife: Solo Female Travel Can Be Exciting, Satisfying, and Safe
Updated: Mar 16
Bev lives in her 2004 Chevy Express 1500 van. She completed the build herself and decorated it beautifully to match her personality. She has owned this van for 3 years. Before getting into the tiny home lifestyle, she had never really thought about getting into van life. Bev purchased her van from a friend for $5,500 dollars! When she originally bought the van she performed some basic DIY improvements in order to see if she would even like van life. She spent a few hundred dollars at Home Depot and dedicated a weekend to building out a basic bed platform for her full size bed and sink base for the camper van. Turns out she LOVED off-grid living and the freedom of this tiny lifestyle. Bev also loves that she is able to drive her van wherever she likes, because everything she might need is with her at all times.
After she bought the van and decided she enjoyed the simple life, Bev and her daughter decided to buy a campground in Missouri. This allowed her the freedom to temporarily move out of the van and build out the interior exactly how she wanted it to get into road travel full time. The campground is the first place she saw someone doing solo female travel and realized she could do it, too! Bev had previously done a lot of traveling and living out of a suitcase, so was already somewhat used to living simply.
The kitchen sink is set up on a pump that pulls water from a 10 gallon tank housed under the bed platform. She just presses a button and has running water! Bev put in an induction cooktop with a countertop that flips out to give her a little more space, as van life can be quite cramped and utilizing all the usable space is essential to maximize tiny living enjoyment. Figuring out little tips and tricks for expanding the amount of available space is always a challenge, but a great idea. Bev chose induction cooking because she was worried about the safety of having a flame in such a small space, especially with all her decor.
For keeping some cold food and beverages on hand, she has an Alpicool 55 car refrigerator installed in between the front seats of the van.While in the passenger seat, Bev can also use the fridge top as a side table. The swivel seat allows her to spin around and be in a living room type setting within her van, making it more homey and comfortable. Multi-purposing is the hallmark of successful tiny home living, and as such, her toilet is also used as a footstool! Bev has some extra storage above the dash where a TV had been installed and she uses that space to store smaller items in the little nook.
There are also storage nooks around the top edge of the van that Bev utilizes for different items. She has decorated these little spaces to match her personality with shells, lace, crystals, and many other beautiful items. She hand crafted much of the decor within her space and carries her crafting supplies with her. Crystal chandeliers and pretty lighting accents are featured throughout her build, giving it a whimsical feel. The white cabinets with crystal knobs, as well as the white furry bedding, add even more whimsy to her decor.
Additionally, she even has a tiny heater that can run from this battery on cold nights! Cooling for the van is accomplished with a Haughton Bel Air air conditioner that runs off shore power or a 2000 amp generator with a soft-start installed. Bev has a Max Air fan installed, which can either pull fresh air into the van or exhaust the air out and helps immensely with ventilation. Both side doors open in Bev’s van (a camper van rarity)! It definitely makes vanlife easier for her, as she can access the back of her kitchen sink with the gray water tank and her shower setup for an outside shower. She also has more storage that can be accessed from behind the kitchen sink.
Bev is able to support this lifestyle by having a few different revenue streams. Her main source of income is a day spa that she has someone managing for her. The aforementioned campground, purchased with her daughter, is a 2nd revenue stream. Her third is her YouTube channel @ Becoming Bev! This minimalistic lifestyle is much cheaper than living in a regular home and can save a person a lot of money by not having to pay utilities, mortgage, upkeep, taxes. There are, of course, up front expenses, but the end game is much more freedom with much smaller expenses.
Bev is often asked about her safety concerns and frequently meets people who wonder about whether she feels safe in the van. Bev answers, ‘I feel as safe in the van as I do at home.’ She is so proud and thankful that she has taken on this challenge of living on the road, Bev has risen to the challenge and conquered all obstacles! She bought this van on her own, renovated it on her own, travels on her own, and has done a great job with all of it!
Bev’s words of wisdom for others considering this lifestyle, “for the first time in your entire life you get to ask yourself the question, ‘what do I want to do with my life?’” For Bev it has been a time for growing and learning and reinventing herself. It could be a perfect opportunity for other women to do the same. If there are any people out there considering vanlife, or any type of tiny home living…go for it! Give it a shot! There is so much to be learned and enjoyed in this lifestyle!
Check out Bev's tour here:
See the updates she has done since getting on the road: