Creative studio on four wheels.

On their YouTube channel “Dynamo Ultima” Lexi and Cody provide insights into the ups and downs of their lives in the van, which serves them as a mobile studio.

The ups and downs of Vanlife.

Living to work or working to live? For Lexi and Cody, the latter is true. With their laptops open, the couple sits opposite each other in their converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the open rear doors reveal the lush green forests of Oregon. Originally, Lexi and Cody wanted to create an entertaining reality TV show with their YouTube channel “Dynamo Ultima” that realistically depicts life in a van while keeping their friends and family up to date. They describe their style as bizarre and humorous: “We take nothing too seriously and enjoy life to the fullest.”

Cody sits in front of his laptop at the Sprinter's workstation

With their four-wheeled office, Lexi and Cody take the term “open office” to a new level.

Get rid of ballast: Less is more.

MYVAN: You have been travelling full-time through North America in your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter since 2016. How did this come about?
Lexi: Before that, we drove through the States in a sedan. We had a great time and enjoyed every minute, even if sleeping on the reclining seats was not very comfortable. After we finished college, we decided to live in a van. We sold all the stuff from our studio apartment and our cars. Until then we were not even aware of how much stuff we had and downsizing was a very relieving feeling. Then we started with the van conversion and have not looked back since. Since then we live completely in our van and use our parental homes only for our mail and for a few sentimental objects that we couldn’t part with.

Our van is our mobile office.

Life is too short to spend it at the office.

MYVAN: What was the idea for your YouTube channel?
Lexi: We wanted to share with others how we decided to live. People are often stuck in a rather conservative view. By exemplifying our unique lifestyle, we can inspire others to break out of their everyday lives or even embark on their own lives as digital nomads. According to the motto “There are no rules how you should live your life.”

MYVAN: How do you earn your living?
Cody: Dynamo Ultima has two faces. On one hand, we focus on creative customer work. This means we support companies in the areas of branding, product design, web design and video production. On the other, we help individuals to go their own way as “digital nomads”. We create e-courses, workshops and templates for people who want to start their own business and make travel a part of their work.

  • The workplace in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter by Lexi and Cody
  • Lexis and Cody's dog is sitting in front of a laptop in the back seat of the van
  • Lexi sits on the back seat of her Sprinter and looks out the windows of the rear doors
  • The comfortable bed of Lexi and Cody in the Sprinter

Full-time nomads – at home on the road.

Why has Vanlife become more and more popular in recent years? “Most standard jobs are not worth the pay for the time,” the unconventional thinkers find. The opportunity to experience so many different places through life in a van: Priceless for Lexi and Cody. They have also taken a liking to the minimalist lifestyle. They use their travels to go on a discovery tour through the USA. “We like to stay in the western states because they are much less populated. There are also many more public parking areas on the west coast.” Almost more important for the two vagabonds than the destinations are the people they meet on the way. “We often went to van conventions and we met many astonishing people. Most of them have a similar motivation for living in the van – so we’re a big community.”

Living in the Sprinter – undoubtedly a good decision.

MYVAN: Have you ever had any doubts about your plan of shifting your life to the Sprinter?
Cody: We never had any doubts about our lifestyle, quite the contrary. However, there are times when we miss life in a house. If we need a fixed place to stay in between times, we simply visit friends or family. But there were also setbacks now and then. For example, we got stuck in the sand a few times. But that was 90 percent user error and the remaining ten percent was due to bad tires. After initial despair, we finally found out that our doormats could serve us as tangible underlay. That was learning on the job!

Lexi and Cody are standing in their Sprinter, surrounded by conifers on a forest parking lot

On their blog Lexi and Cody give valuable tips on how to earn money with life “on the road”.

The conversion: Practice makes perfect.

Since restoration was out of the question for the couple, they chose a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. They found it at a dealer in Oregon. Nevertheless, they wanted to take the conversion into their own hands. Existing expertise in matters of craftsmanship? Not a chance. But that was no problem for the all-rounders: Thanks to a tried and tested problem-solving strategy and some research on the net, the project was completed in no time. “If we didn’t know how to do something, we’d research and ask around until we figured out how to do it.” They had to acquire a wide variety of skills, from carpentry and electrics to plumbing. The biggest difficulty: Exact dimensions. Because the body of the van is slightly curved in many places. They would describe their van as “clean, modern and quirky”.

Six ways to make money while travelling:

  1. Write an e-book and sell it: With the appropriate software, e-books can be created and offered online independently.
  2. Start blogging and create an Amazon affiliate account: You can blog flexibly from anywhere. The blog can be monetized with affiliate links.
  3. Create your own YouTube channel: YouTube is a good way to earn money; it just takes a little patience. From 10,000 followers you are eligible for monetization.
  4. Share your knowledge and offer online courses: You have mastered something particularly well? Then share your skills in the form of e-courses.
  5. Take on freelance jobs: Jobs such as writing, marketing, social media, graphic design and the like can often be done from a distance. And if it goes well, you may soon be able to start your own business.
  6. Sell digital products: Whether stock images, photo presets or templates of any kind – there are numerous online platforms for selling digital products and thus generating a passive income.

Freedom is the key to happiness.

MYVAN: And last but not least, what are your plans for the future?
Lexi: Plans are constantly changing in our lifestyle. We are considering selling our van to convert another one. At the moment we want to make contacts and build up a network. The beauty of our way of life is that we don’t have to carve plans in stone – that’s the ultimate freedom.

Lexi is lying on the bed of her Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with the rear doors open

Goodbye boredom: On rainy days Lexi and Cody often watch all the Lord of the Rings movies.

Lexi and Cody's Sprinter parked in the desert

Lexi and Cody travel through the USA in their Sprinter and work while on the road.

The interior of the extended van with plenty of space to sit and large storage compartments

The conversion of the van took Lexi and Cody five months and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Lexi lies on the bed of her converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and reads a book

From their Sprinter the pair have created a cozy work and living space.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Alexandria Smith & Cody Cheng

More Links to explore: dynamoultima.com – @Instagram, @YouTube

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Slider images

Hello Adventure – a Swiss couple set off on a world tour in a 310 D.

Debbi and Dominic are travelling in their Mercedes-Benz 310 D “Fredy” to wherever they want. They rarely have a plan, the name of their blog “Hallo Abenteuer” or “Hello Adventure” says it all.

Adventures are seldom scheduled.

A mountain range in Morocco at night. The rain is pattering loudly against the windscreen of the Mercedes-Benz 310 D. Debbi and Dominic have been on the road for hours now and are desperately looking for a road through the rough landscape. Suddenly a man appears in the dark. In Arabic, he tries to explain to the Swiss couple that this road does not go any further. A little later, they have dinner with his family at his home.

A completely normal day in the life of the two full-time travelers Debbi and Dominic, their dog Emy and the converted camper van named Fredy. Living off their savings, they travel wherever they want to go. They rarely have plans. They always jump right into the middle of the action. The name of their blog, on which they share all their experiences, is therefore fittingly called: “Hallo Abenteuer (Hello Adventure)”.

The Mercedes-Benz 310 D is driving through a desert landscape

Debbi and Dominic are travelling with the 310 D “Fredy” through the Moroccan desert.

Special situations call for special decisions.

It sounds like a daring attitude to life. In fact, the two hesitated for a long time with the decision to get rid of their flat and quit their jobs to live their vanlife dream. Then Debbi got a chronic bowel disease. The therapy seemed hopeless. They both realized that if they wanted to fulfill their dream, they should do it soon. No sooner said than done. They bought their van and left. Then Debbi’s therapy worked out after all.

However, the entry into the vanlife did not go quite that fast. It took them about a year to find the all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz 310 D in the small Swiss market. But the waiting was to be rewarded. The van had already been used as a camper van in recent years and was therefore already outfitted. So the two had a good starting point to adapt it to their own needs.

  • Dominic seated at the table in the living area of the 310 D
  • The Mercedes-Benz 310 D is driving against the backdrop of a snow-covered mountain range
  • The Mercedes-Benz 310 D crosses a river
  • Debbi sits in the passenger seat in the cockpit of the 310 D

From Iceland to Morocco in the 310 D “Fredy”.

They’ve been on the road for a good six months now. But why in a van? “Because we would probably miss the flight, if we were to fly,” they say with a smile. Last autumn they started their adventure in Iceland. As the temperatures became colder and colder, the two finally drifted further and further south: From France, via Spain, to Morocco. Apart from the temperatures, three factors play an important role for their next location: Nature, food and above all people!

The Mercedes-Benz 310 D stands in front of high mountains in the desert

Debbi and Dominic share a lot of practical vanlife expertise on “Hallo Abenteuer”.

A blog by travelers for travelers.

Their blog also deals with people. In their series of articles called “Fredy’s Friends”, they tell the stories of other vanlifers they have met on their travels. Above all, they share a lot of practical vanlife expertise on “Hallo Abenteuer”, such as how best to choose a suitable travel health insurance or how to solve technical problems with the van.

But let’s face it: Vanlife blogs like these are now all over the net. So what do they want to achieve with it? Originally, they wanted to entertain their family and friends with “Hallo Abenteuer”. Then they went a little further with the idea: They want to reach out and encourage those who are enthusiastic about the vanlife idea but do not dare to take the first step. “The exchange with like-minded people is important and simplifies the start,” they say.

On our blog everyone can come along on our adventure.
Debbi and Dominic pose in front of their Mercedes-Benz 310 D

Debbi and Dominic are proud of their new home, the Mercedes-Benz 310 D called Fredy.

Ugly parking places are also part of vanlife.

As a result, the Swiss couple do not think that there are too many vanlife blogs on the net. Each one can be an enrichment. However, despite all their enthusiasm, they do not like the one-sided image that they believe is conveyed by camper life. “You don’t always stay overnight in wonderful places, but sometimes also in ugly parking lots,” they say honestly.

In addition, unexpected problems can always occur when traveling in a camper van. Once Debbi and Dominic drove too fast over a sand dune in Mauritania, which bent their front axle. Back in Morocco, where Mercedes-Benz vans are part of everyday culture, they were fortunately able to have Fredy professionally repaired. Situations like these are also part of the vanlife experience, you should know. However, with sufficient patience, you will always find a solution; say the two experienced long-term travelers. If you are aware of this, you are ready to say: “Hello adventure!”

The 310 D Fredy.

Manufacturer

Mercedes-Benz with all-wheel drive conversion from Iglhaut

Production period

1977 – 1995 (Fredy was made in 1992)

Production plant

Bremen (until 1984) and Düsseldorf (from 1984)

Model

310 D 4×4

Engine

OM 602.940 – 2.9-liter diesel engine

Length

5.30 meters

Width

1.80 meters

Wheelbase

medium wheelbase

Gross vehicle weight

3.5 tons

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The Mercedes-Benz 310 D is driving on a dry desert road

The Moroccan desert offers breathtaking scenery.

Debbi and Dominic are sitting in the driver's cabin ready to drive off

With Fredy it's up and away to new destinations.

The 310 D drives through a rocky desert

Rough, but the Moroccan landscape is beautiful.

The Mercedes-Benz 310 D is driving in a snowy landscape

In the mountains, you are well advised to have an all-wheel-drive van.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Deborah Wanner and Dominic Egloff

More Links to explore: halloabenteuer.com, @Facebook, @Instagram, @YouTube

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Slider images

Eat, Work, Love – all under one solar roof.

Hot pool photo

Wes and Savana have reinvented their work-life balance with the mobile energy start-up Tiny Watts Solar. Central focus: Their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Natural van lovers – for the good of the environment.

“One of the best things about running our business out of the van is that we can be as mobile and flexible as we need to be,” says Wes Watts about his start-up company Tiny Watts Solar. The 27-year-old renewable energy engineer from Santa Cruz, California, and his fiancé Savana, 25, have been living and working in their van for the last three years. With their 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo van, equipped with solar cells on the roof, they travel the American West Coast: “We go from project to project and work for customers who are looking for adventure and sustainable energy solutions.” The idea of specializing in smaller units with solar technology came to Wes during his first job in an energy consulting firm. “Customers who wanted their vans, trucks or motorhomes equipped with solar modules kept calling, but the company was simply not interested in the smaller more custom projects.”

The two young entrepreneurs in their converted van

Good team for sustainable energy solutions: Savana and Wes.

To build a sustainable and mobile business.

A visit to the “Tiny House Conference” in Portland in April 2017, an event around the topic “Mobile Life”, gave the decisive impulse for the step into self-employment. “We went to the Tiny House Conference in Portland last April and we saw that all these tiny houses were all running generators and we thought: This is so wrong! Tiny homes should be especially environmentally friendly and sustainable. That’s how Tiny Watts started,” Savana explains the beginnings of her mobile start-up. Ever since they discovered the market niche, they have specialized not only in vans, trucks and motor homes, but also in tiny houses, boats and trailers. Savana manages their social media accounts in addition to wiring batteries and uses her 3D modeling background to design new projects. She also manages customers and orders – “It’s a full time job, but it allows us to live and work remotely which is a lot of fun.”

We always want to wake up in a nice place.
  • The Sprinter in front of breathtaking mountain scenery
  • The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter drives along a road in the woods
  • The two young entrepreneurs in their converted van

Waking up in a beautiful place every day.

In mobile outdoor life, the couple likes variety above all. One day they wake up in the forest, other times on-site working a new project. “Parking is one of the hardest parts about living in a van. You try to find a nice and comfortable place. But you have to check parking regulations and that you’re not bothering anyone. That you feel comfortable and safe.” Once a gang of burglars was arrested right behind their van, but fortunately, this remained the exception. They feel very safe in their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: “Our van is not only very reliable, we can also take it anywhere – to the beach, into the woods or into the snow. There is no limitation on where we live and that is an amazing feeling.”

Savana in the kitchen of the converted Sprinter

Freshly brewed coffee with their own green electricity.

Generate electricity with solar cells on the roof.

They converted their Sprinter together with friends. Together they installed windows, insulated the van, wired it, installed cupboards and covered the ceiling and walls with cedar wood paneling. In addition, their Sprinter van has a recirculating shower and a specially developed, underfloor heating that uses diesel as a heat source and also supplies hot water. The efficient system consumes less than 100 watts of electricity. But the most important extra is on the roof: It’s a custom-made solar system, the linchpin of their start-up. It serves as an energy source for all kitchen appliances such as refrigerators or induction cookers. Wes is enthusiastic about the result: “The van is now the most luxurious place we’ve ever lived – we’ve never had underfloor heating, let alone solar power. We now want to make this comfort available to others as well.”

Wes and Savanas' five tips for van start-ups:

  1. Choose a reliable van.
    If you want to start a van business, it is important to have a reliable and high quality vehicle that will take you anywhere. In our case, it’s a 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – the best solution for us. Another tip: Find out if you can claim the purchase of the van for tax purposes.
  2. Select a suitable business partner.
    Work together with someone you like and who has strengths you don’t have – so you can complement each other well. We are very happy that we can be together every day. It makes the working day so much more pleasant when you are with someone with whom you get along well and you can realize exciting projects together.
  3. Find a gap in the market.
    The vanlife market is flooded with life coaches, bloggers and photographers – therefore our tip: Bring in your individual expertise and apply it to your van business. With us Wes has experience in renewable energy technology and the solar industry – myself in 3D modelling and design. So you can stand out from other van shops
  4. Good photos are the key.
    People want to see beautiful pictures that really stand out. Our photo skills are certainly improvable, but in the meantime we have learned from our professional photo friends Ourviewfinder & Litetravelers how to take professional pictures. We focus on pictures that not only depict our theme – solar energy – but also capture emotions and atmosphere.
  5. Just do it!
    Take risks and get started! If you have an idea, follow it and realize it. Your desk job will not run away, but the opportunity to start your own business could be right now. In the beginning it means a lot of work, but then you have the freedom to be anywhere you want. Life is an adventure, live it!

Out of the nine-to-five life and into the world.

Savana remembers the unconventional lifestyle from her own childhood. Her parents took their two children on a 13-year exploration of the world in a sailing boat. An extraordinary and beautiful time that she recalls fondly: “We were constantly experiencing other countries and cultures and never had a typical everyday life.” When her parents decided to send the two girls to a public school after all, family life in absolute freedom came to an end for the time being. “All the better that Wes and I are now continuing the non-tradition adventure filled lifestyle,” Savana says happily. In the future, the two van entrepreneurs would also like to see a life far away from the classic nine-to-five: “We still want to travel a lot and perhaps buy a sailing boat as well. Discovering the world and never standing still is our goal – this is the only way life feels real to us.”

Savana and Wes sit in their converted Sprinter

The entrepreneur couple has decided to live in a van.

Savana installing the shelves

Savana and Wes did the interior work themselves.

Interior view of the converted Sprinter

The result is impressive: the converted van.

The Sprinter with a solar trailer by a forest

“With my name, the energy business is close at hand,” says Wes Watts.

Savana with her parents Jim and Shannon

Adventurer Family: Savana's parents sailed around the world with their boat “Reefer”.

With the side door open, the couple sits in the converted Sprinter

Waking up in the most beautiful places – for this quest the couple gladly covers a few extra kilometers.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Slider images

Not always a dream: Why the hard times of a vanlife are actually good.

Camper in the desert

The Wagners had a stable and solid life together in Canada. Then Kristyn and Joe sold their house, all their stuff and quit their jobs. They found a home for their dog and left their family behind – first to go travel the world, and then to live in a van in Australia. They love the vanlife, but they stay realistic about it.

The Wandering Wagners.

Within 30 days Kristyn and Joe converted a 2002 sprinter van into their tiny home on wheels. Traveling around Australia they now are “The Wandering Wagners”. In this interview they talk about how small steps make big changes. And how important it is to stop seeing the vanlife through Social Media glasses.

MYVAN: You had quite a nice and solid life back in Canada, what was the reason you decided to leave and live in a van?
Kristyn: Joe and I were pretty settled in our mundane lives of work and preparing for the future. I was a dental hygienist and Joe was a project manager for a construction company. What we soon realized is that the more we planned for the future the more we were missing the present. We started to realize that life is now, not later. After a bit of soul searching we decided that the best thing for us and our future would be to explore. So began the mission to leave Canada behind.

A couple sitting in their Sprinter

Kristyn and Joe feel at home in their converted Sprinter.

MYVAN: Did you know you’d move into a van right away?
Joe: Our initial plan was to go travel and then live in New Zealand. After spending eight months in total in South East Asia we lived in a place in New Zealand and actually went back to living our same Canadian lives, just on a smaller scale: from a two bedroom townhouse in Canada to a one bedroom flat in New Zealand. When our working holiday visa expired we decided to go to Australia. But we didn’t want to stay in just one place neither did we want to be dependent on too many things again. So we bought a van.

MYVAN: Where did you find your van and how long did it take to convert it?
Joe: We arrived in mid November and right away started looking for a van in Melbourne. Within a couple of weeks, we found our van. After that, we pretty much spent 30 days converting it into the camper that it is now.

Some skills are needed.

MYVAN: Why exactly in 30 days?
Kristyn: We had pre-organized a housesit where we could stay while building the camper. It was only available for 30 days though. Luckily we’d met this couple during a prior trip to Australia four years ago that lived very close to the house we took care of. Our friend was a carpenter and had all the extra tools that he lent us. So convenient! We knew if we didn’t finish in time we would have to buy all the tools and materials somewhere else.
Joe: We didn’t have any family we could’ve crushed, so we just had to make it in 30 days. And we did. We probably wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.

MYVAN: Did you do all by yourself?
Kristyn: Yes. It was just the two of us. Joe did most of the work though. I say I did 17%, Joe did 83%. His carpentry background turned out to be absolutely crucial. He knows how to measure and has a sense for building something. If it was me and my sister trying to remodel the van no way we would’ve made it in 30 days. If you’re in a foreign country and you have neither help nor any carpentry skills it gets really tricky.
Joe: Of course, Youtube is a great source of information. But then you have to put that information into action. Without any experience it definitely is a big challenge.

  • Kristyn in camper
  • Joe with drilling machines
  • A dining area in a van
  • Wagners kissing
Kristyn is standing infront of the Sprinter

Kristyn hasn’t felt homesick a single time since leaving home.

Some hard adjustments.

MYVAN: Ever since you’re done remodeling you’ve been traveling around Australia and live the vanlife to its fullest. What is the best thing about the vanlife?
Kristyn: You literally have everything you need – wherever you go. You’re by the beach and you go: Oh I want to go swimming. No problem, here’s the bathing suit, the umbrella and the beach bag. Off you go.
Joe: You don’t pack and unpack a suitcase, it’s just with you all the time. The general freedom is the best thing about it, I guess. You spontaneously decide if you want to stay longer in a place, or leave right away. No problem.

Joe sitting on the driver's seat

Kristyn and Joe say the most beautiful moments cannot be planned ahead.

MYVAN: Speaking of big adjustments. How hard was it to say goodbye to your family and loved ones?
Kristyn: The family: No for me. I’m very close to my family and have quite some friends but I’m also good at maintaining long distance relationships (except for romantic ones). It definitely is harder for everyone at home but in two years since leaving Canada I haven’t been homesick a single time. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my home and my family, but Joe is kind of my family. I have him with me all the time.
Joe: I’ts harder with the little ones cause they’re growing up and you miss out on more. I have some nieces and nephews where I feel that way. But I don’t get homesick at all. And because we’ve had this life change we realize the lifestyle our people back home have isn’t the one we want – work 9 to 5 almost every day for example. We’ve done that, we’re done. Even though we love them we don’t relate to that kind of lifestyle. We stepped out of the bubble.

The illusion of never being able to go back.

MYVAN: Do you have any tips for people that wanna move into a van? To ease up hard adjustments?
Kristyn: First of all and most importantly, think about: Why do you want to do this? Do you want to do it because it’s cool on instagram right now? If you value it for the right reasons, just try it. People worry so much. What if I hate it? Yes, you might hate it. But that’s okay. One time at night, I had to pee really bad. We parked at McDonalds at 11pm and spent the night parked on the side of the street in front of it. The next morning we needed to get up super early and get out of there. Not very picture perfect. But okay, if you stay realistic about it.
Joe: Yes, people think everything is permanent and there’s no going back. Even if you decide to live in a van, you can always go back. There’s no shame in trying it. Maybe you hate it. You could just sell the van and go live your old life. Just make sure you plan ahead thoroughly.

MYVAN: What is easier for you than everyone thinks?
Kristyn: People love to comment on the lack of a bathroom. I’m a female, but it doesn’t bother me really. You adjust with time and you figure it out. In Australia, there’s lots of leisure centers where you pay 1,50 dollars for a shower or you find public showers. We even have an app. People are so worried about the bathroom and the bed that might be too small.
Joe: Yeah, once you’re in it you just adjust and it becomes normal for you.

A couple kissing infront of a Sprinter

On of the best things about the van life: Having everything you need wherever you want.

Unexpected breathtaking moments.

MYVAN: Are there free camping areas in Australia?
Joe: Australia has lots of free camping because its so massive. Not as much on the east coast as it is touristy and populated. We personally preferred heading across South Australia. A lot of free camping there.

MYVAN: You wouldn’t recommend camping in cities?
Joe: In cities it’s the biggest struggle. You usually pay for a proper caravan park to stay in or you basically just park on the side of a street. We’ve done that a couple of times but then needed to be selective where and at what time we parked.

MYVAN: What was the most beautiful experience in your van?
Kristyn: One time we drove to the Nullarbor in Western Australia. Everyone had warned us that there was going to be nothing so we were prepared for red dirt desert and boredom. We pulled off on the side of the road and stopped for the night. It was really calm. We got out and tried to take a shower in a solar bag we’d recently gotten. The shower didn’t really work. It was dark and the cap came off. We started laughing, naked in the unknown wilderness. After the failed shower we just laid in bed with the back doors wide open and I swear, I never saw that many stars in the sky. Just having that moment with no one around was breathtaking. You can’t plan those moments. They just happen.

Van in desert

An unforgettable memory for the Wagners: a night in Nullarbor.

Bad times are among the best.

MYVAN: So you’re saying in total, the good times overweighed?
Kristyn: I have to say: we even loved when it was shit. Because every time we learned something from it and felt more appreciation. We did lost our sense of purpose after the vanlife novelty wore off a bit. But we learned most out of this phase. Don’t expect an instagram perfect world where you wake up by the beach every day.
Joe: People are so afraid to try because of the unknown. They question whether it’s gonna work out or not. Well maybe it won’t, but thats okay. Hopefully then you’ll have learned some great lessons along the way. And that’s the beauty of home. Your family will always gonna be there in case it doesn’t work out.

You have to look at it more logically and not through social media glasses.

MYVAN: Are you planning to stay in the van then?
Joe: Our first year visa expires in November. We’re thinking of extending it for another year. As long as we’re in Australia we definitely want to stay in the van. It suits us perfectly right now.

Wagners taking a selfie through the side mirror of the Sprinter

On their YouTube channel, Kristyn and Joe talk about the good as well as the bad things of Vanlife.

Couple kissing

Joe and Kristyn are their own little family.

The Wagners looking out of the back doors of their Sprinter

The Wagners appreciate the flexibility of the Vanlife.

Wagners kissing next to the Sprinter

“Foley” suits the Wagners perfectly – for now.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Joe and Kristyn

More Links to explore: wanderingwagners.com@Instagram, @Facebook, @YouTube

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Slider images

From the garage to a European tour: The story of a metal band in a 309 D.

The 309 D with the Garagedays logo is parked in front of an Alpine panorama

The Austrian metal band “Garagedays” prefers to play in their garage when they are not on a European tour with their Mercedes-Benz 309 D.

Metal at the scrap yard.

A scrap yard in Austria, in the darkness of the night, muted metal music can be heard, which seems to be slowly approaching. Suddenly we are blinded by the bright headlights of a parked 309 D and the music’s stops. Then four guys with long hair and leather jackets get out of the grey van. They walk straight towards a garage and disappear into it. Then the music returns. But now Marco, Rene, Dominik and Matthias play their own music. The name of their band is “Garagedays”.

The four-man band sits at the table in the 309 D

The band Garagedays from left to right: Dominik Eder, Matthias Mai, Marco Kern, Rene Auer.

Raised by music legends.

At the tender age of eight, hard rock and heavy metal were on the agenda for the four Tyroleans. Born in the eighties, front man Marco Kern grew up with Metallica and Judas Priest. On MTV he and his younger band mates also regularly watched music videos by older artists such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Motörhead. “Since I became fascinated with this music very early on, it was always clear to me that I wanted to play in a band,“ Marco tells us. No sooner said than done. In 2005 the guitarist and singer-songwriter founded the band “Garagedays” together with bassist Dominik Eder, with whom he spent his childhood. A little later, lead guitarist Rene Auer and drummer Matthias Mai joined the band.

Marco Kern plays guitar on a stage

Marco Kern is the founder, guitarist and the powerful, raw vocalist of Garagedays.

Song mechanics and 100% nasty crew.

Why the name Garagedays? In fact, they typically started rehearsing in a garage next to a scrap yard. But for them this place was and is more than just a means to an end. “We always associate a garage with creative work. Where others are tinkering with their cars, we’re tinkering with new songs,” the band explains to us vividly. In the meantime they have even built their own recording studio above the garage. On their 309 D their motto “100% nasty crew” can be read next to the band name. Here, too, we are curious to know what this is all about. “After a concert evening with a lot of head banging together with the audience we all stank terribly on the way back. Since then we associate this moment both with our cohesion in the band and the connection to our fans”.

Van profile

Model

Mercedes-Benz 309 D

Year of construction

1986

Mileage

277,000 km

Engine performance

65 kw

Gross vehicle weight

3,500 kg

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Songs from the inside.

In 2011 the band released their debut album “Dark and Cold”, followed by “Passion of Dirt” in 2014. The band recorded their third album “Here it Comes” with Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen, which has been on the market since mid-September. And what are your songs about? “With our songs we want to encourage people never to lose faith in themselves and to never give up, even in rough times,” explains Marco. In doing so, they take up social problems with their lyrics or process their own experiences, as in Marco’s case the early death of his father.

The band from the front during a live performance

Garagedays creates a good atmosphere in Memmingen.

On tour with the 309 D.

In 2015 the band performed as support band for U.D.O on a three-month tour through 13 different European countries. They covered a total of 25,000 kilometers in their grey Mercedes-Benz 309 D, which was built in 1986 and had already been used as a motorhome. After they had bought the van from Marco’s cousin, they simply built a wooden bed frame into it so that two people could sleep next to each other on two levels. Living in hotel rooms for twelve weeks would have been simply too expensive. So the bus became their home for this trip and for all those to come.

  • The 309 D from behind with opened rear doors
  • View into the interior of the 309 D with seating area
  • View into the interior of the 309 D with bed construction
  • View of the 309 D from the side in the mountains

The history of the 309 D – a little excursion.

In fact, the 309 D is a vehicle steeped in history. With its 90-horsepower OM-602 engine, it is the second of a total of three model series of the Mercedes-Benz T1, the first vans produced by Daimler in Bremen from 1977. Its sharp-edged design, short bonnet and large corner flashing lights made the T1 a true design icon of its time, which is still to be seen today. The van also had a lot to offer in terms of driving comfort in those days. The large windows of the spacious driver’s cab provide a good all-round view. The instrument panel with its characteristically large speedometer is limited to the essentials, while a wide steering wheel facilitates steering. It was not without reason that the van was sold under the then popular slogan “drives like a car”.

Dominik Eder, Marco Kern, Rene Auer and Matthias Mai walk along a path

Long hair and leather jackets – the band can be spotted from a distance.

The silence before the big performance.

During their tour, the band Garagedays often played in front of several thousand spectators. If they had stage fright? “We always have stage fright,” they start to say. “Shortly before the show it gets quiet backstage and you start to do strange things. I start singing, Matti goes to the bathroom a few times and Rene and Dominik run in circles”. So there doesn’t seem to be a real cure. As concert experience grows, stage fright often plays a role, as every venue and audience is different. However, certain rituals may help to cope with stress situations. But the most important thing is still to have a lot of fun. And the four Austrians definitely have that when they are spoken to in English after a show even in German-speaking countries!

The band on stage

With so many viewers, stage fright is a natural thing.

Rene Auer on guitar next to Marco Kern

Lead guitarist Rene Auer plays the lead.

Matthias Mai on drums

Matthias Mai sets the beat.

Dominik Eder and Marco Kern play guitar on stage

Bass guitarist Dominik Eder (left) and rhythm guitarist Marco Kern (right) are in their element.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Marco Kern; René Kößler; Udo Talmon; Garagedays

More Links to explore: garagedays.at@Facebook, @Instagram, @YouTube

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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Weekend trips in the van: travelling through Canada with Le Loup Gris in the Sprinter.

Spending time together outdoor strengthens the bond between Yan Tremblay and his sons. Leaving their day-to-day lives behind, let the boys and their father concentrate on the essentials and their incredible experiences on Canada’s roads.

Vacation time means van time.

Yan Tremblay has a broad grin on his face as he sits at the campfire with his boys. The soft crackling of the burning wood blends in with the relaxing sound of waves. The father, his sons and this unique bond – it all comes together on this evening. The new month brings the beginning of the vacation season. This means van time for the Tremblays. Once again they enjoy getting together in the summer. Meanwhile a necessary ritual for the Canadian family: They escape from their day-to-day lives whenever the opportunity presents itself. With their Sprinter 2500, the three men can head out to all the places that represent free time for them.

Yan Tremblay and his two sons on a hammock

Shared road trips have brought the family even closer together.

They had to make the dream of a camper van come true.

In the past, this kind of close bond was not always possible. “I used to have two jobs and I was always on the road and busy,” says Yan Tremblay, referring to his time as a fireman with a second job. The good relationship with his children suffered. Talking with his son, Loan, provided the inspiration: the four-year-old complained to his father that he never spent time with the family. “I asked him what he would like to do,” says Yan Tremblay. His son wanted his father to make a long-standing dream come true: to build a camper van and then travel. Two weeks later, they owned a van and drove to Newfoundland.

This big step was the start of a new family ritual and the future nickname of the Tremblay Formation. By chance, Yan discovered the “Loup” (Wolf) on the rear of the camper van after he removed the van’s old sticker. “We thought it was funny and left it there. Since then, we have been known as ‘Le Loup Gris’ (the gray wolf) because our converted van was gray,” reminisces the leader of the travelling pack from Montreal.

My youngest son recently said the most incredible thing. He said we should sell the house and live in the camper van instead.
  • Two boys standing next to a campfire
  • A father, two sons and a dog run along the shore of a lake
  • Two Sprinter park in the nature in Canada
  • A father, his sons and a dog sitting on a stony beach. They look out over the vast ocean

Conversion on their own.

In 2015, the first van was followed by a second with all-wheel drive. “For the tough Canadian winter,” as the eternally young father explains. The new camper needed to meet all of the needs of the essential Tremblay trip. Yan Tremblay carried out the entire conversion himself – apart from the electricity. Vague dreams gave rise to the first drawings and then everything followed in a cascade. “Windows, fans, insulation, reinforced flooring, heating systems, interior fittings and roof carriers,” he says, describing the major steps of the conversion. I am proud of the fact that 90% of the wood in the camper van is recycled,” says Yan Tremblay, who was often reminded of his own father as he worked. From his father, he once learned what it means to make lasting things with his own hands.

Yan’s five most important insights into the vanlife:

  1. You discover what it means to live in the moment.
  2. You can escape from your daily grind.
  3. You will have to face your fears.
  4. You learn to develop your full potential.
  5. You spend a lot of personal and valuable time with the people who accompany you.

From father to son.

This enthusiasm for craftsmanship and sense of responsibility toward nature were major parts of the way Loan and Lenny Tremblay were raised. Without any further prompting, the boys grab bags and pick up the garbage on a beach before they start to chop up the wood for their campfire. Yan Tremblay is proud of his boys.

From father to son – Yan embodies this way of life with deep conviction. The van is the product of this philosophy. “My youngest son recently said the most incredible thing. He said we should sell the house and live in the camper van instead,” he says. Then he is still and suddenly Yan Tremblay’s special grin is back again.

A man sits on a steep slope. The slope leads down to the sea

Yan Tremblay is happy that he can share his passion with his two sons.

A boy chops wood on a stony beach

His sons learn to work with their hands the way Yan Tremblay once learned from his father.

A man sitting in his van talks with the father and son as they sit in their own van

On their road trips, the Tremblays meet other travelers with similar stories.

The image focuses on a man and two children seen from within a Sprinter

The Sprinter parked protectively near the Tremblays. It is more than a camper for the family.

Two men and two boys are sitting next to a camp fire at a stony beach

Canada’s picturesque panorama is the family’s constant companion.

Photos: Go-Van; JF Lefebvre

More Links to explore: go-van.com – @Instagram; @Facebook

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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Vanlife Communities – How and where you can meet like-minded vanlifers.

Two people stand on a coast with their Mercedes-Benz vans

The vanlife community is an inspiring group of long-term travelers. We show you how to participate in it.

Traveling together is important.

Similar to sports clubs, fan groups or hobby meetings, the supporters of the vanlife movement also form a large family: The vanlife community. What is it all about? The open exchange between travelers, the goodwill to help each other and the possibility to make new friends. After all, it can get lonely on the road without family and friends. If you are new to vanlife, however, the community can provide valuable tips for you. But how can you be a part of it? We have compiled an overview of different ways to meet like-minded enthusiasts.

View from above a campsite with swimming pools set against a mountain backdrop

Travelers from all over come to various vanlife festivals in Europe.

From Facebook to the festival.

Although a little obvious, Facebook is a reliable means of communication. On the community website of Vanlife Germany you will find links to different vanlife Facebook groups in twenty different cities all over Germany. Here you can find out when and where van meetings take place and who the respective organizers are. In addition, this year for the second time the community is organizing the multi-site “MMCV” festival, MMCV stands for “Meet More Camper Vans”. A great opportunity to talk to other vanlifers.

Some Festivals in Europe:

  • Bus Baslter Basecamp, Black Forest: Passionate drivers come together every year and proudly present their own converted and individually modified vans.
  • Dachzeltnomaden Festival, Stadtoldendorf: At the roof tent nomads festival, visitors install elaborate tent constructions on the roofs of their vans and thus create a living space for the four-day event. Unlike other festivals, some brands are also represented here.
  • CARAVAN SALON, Düsseldorf: A trade fair for camping, caravanning and of course van conversions.
  • Camper Van Summit Meeting (CVSM), Austria: This multi-day camping festival in Tyrol offers a wide selection of exciting workshops, lectures, sporting activities and social barbecues around the campfire. Some brand representatives are also present here.
  • Freiheitsmobile-Meet, Luxembourg: Located on a beautiful lake, near the tri-border area of Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, this meeting is attended by all those who like to travel in a mobile home.
  • Camp Quirky, England: The name says it all, plus workshops, technical talks, live music and many creatively converted vans can be found at the Camp Quirky Festival in England.

On the road with a mouse click.

Another possibility is to read the travel blogs of individual travelers. On MYVAN we regularly introduce van travelers with their own Internet presence, such as “The Road is our Home”. Even more stories from the vanlife cosmos can be found on Go-Van.com or Vanclan.co. If you look generally for the search term or hashtag “Vanlife”, however, it can seem endless. It makes more sense to search for communities in specific countries and regions in order to learn more about the special features of the area and to network with people there.

A selection of Facebook vanlife communities, sorted by region:

Vanlifers do not bite.

Of course, vanlife fans can also meet by chance at music festivals, motor shows, car parks or service stations. No matter how you come across them, it is always important to dare to say hello. Vanlifers are a very open and friendly bunch, which is why the chances for an inspiring conversation are always high. Questions about the van are particularly suitable, because they always like to talk about their own home on four wheels!

Three Mercedes-Benz vans are parked on the beach

Exchange with other travelers is well worth it.

A young woman looking at her smartphone while operating her laptop

The Internet is full of inspiring travel blogs.

A parking lot full of campervans at a beautiful beach

Vanlifers, they’re a sociable bunch.

Photos: Go-Van; JF LefebvreSacha Roy; Jean-François Coulombe; Bruce Mars

More Links to explore: go-van.com

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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Go Bike: Bicycle service in a Sprinter.

Several cyclists pass in front of the Go Bike Sprinter

The start-up Go Bike is a mobile service provider: It delivers and repairs bicycles from a Sprinter.

Bicycles as a solution to urban problems.

Ward Grootjans squints his eyes. He focuses on a fictitious point and places his elbows on his thighs. The 36-year-old now radiates even more authority. He’s in his element. He talks about his greatest vision. “Bicycles are about to become a major solution in urban planning, the prevention of traffic jams and, above all, urban health,” he says. Grootjans focuses this great social responsibility on young mobility companies. That’s his subject. The Dutchman is the CEO of one of these very start-ups, whose leap to success is not based on exponential profit maximization, but rather on these great visions.

Two men stand in front of a black Sprinter

Go Bike came about because the founders themselves were dissatisfied with the service of major bike brands.

Born of necessity.

Ward Grootjans is convinced that more bicycles will minimize urban problems such as traffic jams, environmental damage and particulate matter. His dream is therefore to establish a Europe-wide service network for cyclists. He believes that a network of competent and inexpensive service points will motivate even more people to get on their bikes. Grootjan came up with the idea when he worked for a renowned American bicycle manufacturer. The 36-year-old got to know the weak points of the industry there: “Bicycles are becoming increasingly complex, but service providers are often slow to keep up with this development. The great need for advice often leads to long waiting times and major price increases.” After this experience Grootjans decided to become active himself: The idea for Go Bike was born.

The really special thing is that customers do not come to us, but that we work with them on site.

The “Go Bike” principle.

The basics of Go Bike have had one philosophy from the very beginning. “In my opinion, great and sustainable ideas must create greater benefits for everyone involved,” explains Ward Grootjans. Inclusion therefore. In this way, the start-up represents an interface: It networks bicycle manufacturers and bike shops with national customer needs. In concrete terms, the young company is supplied by those shops and manufacturers with certain raw materials. These raw materials are more or less processed by Go Bike and delivered to potential consumers. The highlight: All this takes place in a van. The van is therefore the complete service package: Technical contact, workshop, bike shop and courier all in one.

  • Stylized images of the three service focal points
  • A Sprinter from Go Bike travels on a country road, with two cyclists in front
  • The Sprinter from Go Bike rides through a picturesque area
  • The Mercedes star of the Go Bike Sprinter

The perfect Go Bike workstation: A Sprinter.

The central challenge right from the start is to make optimum use of the vehicle’s space. This is the only way to implement a complete service package. For this reason, Ward Grootjans opted for an L4H3 for his first van, the largest Sprinter made. Compared to a conventional workshop, space is of course limited. But that’s exactly what makes the van the perfect Go Bike workstation. “For the individual mechanic, everything is within arm’s reach,” says Grootjans. But true to the company’s philosophy, the 36-year-old also sees added value in another area: “The really special thing is that customers do not come to us, but that we work with them on site,” he explains.

The five steps to mobile bicycle service:

  1. Open your free Go Bike account.
  2. Then complete the booking tool.
  3. You immediately receive suggestions for the service: When and where you like.
  4. Select the service.
  5. Ride on.

Go Bike as a Europe-wide network.

The roadmap of the future? With its meanwhile 20 employees Go Bike continues to grow. The business model also provides for franchise partnerships. In addition to Germany, other countries should also benefit from the services of the young company. However, Grootjans himself sees Go Bike less as a company. According to his big dream, Go Bike is a network for him. “Every network needs a critical mass. Our critical mass is fulfilled when the network operates throughout Europe,” he explains. Ward Grootjans then lifts his upper arms off his thighs again. He leans back and nods. This last sentence serves unmistakably as the punch line of his vision: Go Bike the network.

Interior of a Sprinter with integrated bicycle workshop

Inside the Go Bike Sprinters you will find everything you need to get your bike into shape.

A Go Bike employee repairs a bike inside a Sprinter

Go Bike staff have enough space to mount and repair bicycles.

Tools integrated into a Sprinter in a bicycle workshop

Go Bike Sprinters always have all the tools with them to repair even complex bikes.

A man lifts a bicycle into the Sprinter

The founder Ward Grootjan appreciates the spacious interior of the Sprinter.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Go Bike

More Links to explore: gobikeservice.com – @Facebook, @Instagram

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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Work-travel balance in the Sprinter: Eamon and Bec explore Canada.

The Canadians Eamon and Bec have decided against the exorbitant rents in Toronto and in favour of living in their transformed Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. On the side, they sell Masala Chai according to their own recipe.

Vanlife instead of a completely overpriced rental apartment.

Ontario, Canada: It is a sunny morning in the Bruce Peninsula National Park north of Toronto. Eamon and Bec have been woken up by the pervasive sound of the alarm clock. Grudgingly, they crawl out of bed, put a tea kettle on the fire that is filled to the brim with water and open their laptops – this is more or less how many couples would start their day. The view from their window and the windscreen wipers, however, reveal that a crucial detail is quite extraordinary: All of this is taking place in a van – the place where Eamon and Bec live and work.

Eamon and Bec are standing in front of a lighthouse

An experienced duo: Eamon and Bec got to know each other on the job.

The Sprinter as an alternative home.

In the spring of 2017, the couple was on the point of signing a rental agreement for a completely overpriced apartment in their hometown of Toronto when they came across an advertisement for a second-hand Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. “Why not?”, they thought and decided without further ado to take the risk of buying the Sprinter in order to turn it into their mobile home. And the Sprinter even has a name: Inspired by Trinity Bellwoods, a popular park in Toronto, they called it “Trinity”. For it was in this very park that they almost signed the contract for their apartment. The name is representative of this crucial moment.

We live according to the motto: Everything happens for a reason.
  • Eamon’s and Bec’s Sprinter is surrounded by trees
  • Three Sprinters are parked on a beach off the coast
  • Bec is sitting on a rock looking out across the ocean
  • Eamon’s and Bec’s Sprinter from a bird’s eye perspective

A dream team: Eamon, Bec and Trinity.

After a mere 30 days of tinkering, screwing and painting, their DIY project was completed and they were able to move into “Trinity”. “We couldn’t be happier,” is how they describe their decision in favour of Vanlife and an unpretentious lifestyle. What do they appreciate about it in particular? “Above all, there is the feeling of freedom and the conscious decision to live on less,” the couple concludes. Let alone the constant changes: their vistas vary widely – from the snow-covered mountains of Squamish in British Columbia to the enchanting beaches of Prince Edward County.

On their YouTube channel, they share their experiences and offer useful advice about life in their self-converted Sprinter. With vegan recipes and “behind-the-scenes videos” they intend to inspire their community to follow their own dreams.

Bec prepares a Chai for herself

A daily ritual: Eamon and Bec don’t want to do without their self-made Masala Chai anymore.

Chaiwala Chai – out of love for tea.

Besides travelling and their vlog, the “full-time nomads” have yet another passion: Masala Chai. They discovered their love for this hot drink while living in Australia. This was where the couple was running an independent café together. Over many years, the owner had developed a special Chai recipe and taught them a lot about this special tea. After that, they travelled across India and Nepal with their backpacks. Their daily ritual consisted in getting fresh Masala Chai from one of the numerous street stalls.

They were quite disappointed when, upon returning to Canada, they were unable to find a similar Chai anywhere. As a consequence, they developed their own recipe and founded their company “Chaiwalachai”. “Our Chai mixture is absolutely unique in that we combine freshly ground spices with ginger root and organic honey. The result is a sticky Chai not otherwise available on the market,” they explain.

Recipe for a warming, healthy pumpkin Chai

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Chaiwala Chai mixture
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 squirt maple syrup for sweetening (optional)

Preparation:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer on a small to medium flame and stir from time to time. When the mixture is hot enough, sieve off, fill into a cup and enjoy!

Work-Travel-Balance: It is the mixture that counts.

They say that their mobile home is ideal for promoting their start-up company and selling their tea to independent cafés all over Canada. Apart from visiting different trade fairs, they also tour around the country to meet potential new wholesale customers. A privilege that enables them to get cheaply from A to B in their Sprinter: If they had to pay their flight tickets and a hotel room for every business meeting, this would not be possible. A positive side effect: That way they quite incidentally get to know all corners of their country.

The roles of the two entrepreneurs are clearly defined: Eamon takes care of the sales activities and Bec handles all the jobs in the background, such as website maintenance and the online shop associated with it. She can do this from anywhere in the world, everything she needs is a working internet connection. “Nowadays it is hard to imagine for us to live differently.”

Panoramic view of two campervans driving on the road one after the other

The couple would not want to be without its Sprinter “Trinity” anymore.

A journey of discovery across Canada.

Bevor founding Chaiwala, the fully trained marketing experts led a nomadic life for almost three years. “When founding our business, it was clear to us that we had to leave again as soon as possible in order to satisfy our longing for adventure and our wanderlust,” the globetrotters report. Even though they have their own shop in Toronto now, they use it for accommodation only sporadically when they are in town. “We much prefer travelling.” They spent their last winter in Mexico and the next destination on their agenda is the western United States.

Eamon and Bec are sitting on the back seat of their converted Sprinter

Working on the road: Eamon and Bec are running their start-up whilst travelling.

Eamon’s and Bec’s Sprinter is driving along a road

Getting cheaply from A to B – the Sprinter makes it possible.

Interior of Eamon’s and Bec’s converted van

Eamon and Bec have taken the conversion of the van into their own hands.

Food is prepared in the built-in kitchen of their van

Eamon and Bec live on a vegan diet and share their recipes with their community.

Eamon and Bec are sitting in their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter while the sliding door is open

Eamon and Bec have decided against a conventional lifestyle and in favour of a life in the Sprinter.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Go-VanSacha Roy

More Links to explore: go-van.com – @Instagram@Facebook; Eamon @Instagram; Bec @Instagram; Eamon & Bec @Facebook, @YouTube, @Spotify Podcastchaiwalachai.com@Facebook

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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Stuck in snow and mud: What helps when nothing rolls anymore.

The Vito 4x4 drives through Sweden's snow covered landscape

What should you do if snow and mud prevent you from driving on? In our breakdown series, we have compiled the best tips for you.

Keep calm when the tires spin.

A remote street in the freezing cold of January. For hours snow has been whirling on your windshield, the day’s destination is already within reach. Your stomach is rumbling, the long drive is exhausting and suddenly a piece of road is in front of you that has not been hit by a snowplough for hours. There is no way around it and you step on the gas … and you get stuck and the amount of snow seems insurmountable, it is important to keep a cool head and not to freak out! We have put together the best tips on how to get your van out of this kind of trouble.

The A Vito 4x4 tire in the snow

Snow and ice are sometimes a real obstacle.

The most important steps in every breakdown

  1. Take a deep breath.
    The most important thing is to stay calm! This applies above all to breakdowns on busy motorways, but also to incidents that occur far from popular routes.
  2. Warn other road users.
    The first thing to do is to use the hazard lights, because rear-end collisions can also happen on forest roads. If these no longer work, the accident site must be secured.
  3. Out of the danger zone.
    If the van can still be moved, look for a safe parking area. It is best to find a breakdown bay on the motorway, otherwise on the hard shoulder. If you are off the beaten track. Be sure to find a place where no approaching truck can hit you.
  4. Do not do anything risky.
    If the van cannot move or as soon as it is parked, take care not to get out without observing your surroundings carefully. Always get out on the passenger side or away from the road.
  5. Always wear a safety vest.
    Orange suits everyone. In Spain and Italy the safety vest requirement has been in force since 2004, in Germany since 2014, and in the USA only in some states. However, it is always advisable – no matter where – to have a safety vest at hand. If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to pack more than two, so that passengers can draw attention to themselves in the event of a breakdown.
  6. Set up a warning triangle or flare.
    In Europe, a warning triangle is mandatory in almost every country. Depending on the surroundings, this must be installed 50 to 400 m away from the scene of the accident. If a curve obscures your view, set up the warning triangle before the beginning of the curve. In the USA or other countries like South Africa, accident participants often also use “flares”. These either light up with LEDs or are ignited to warn other road users. Be careful not to endanger yourselves when setting up.
  7. Get help.
    As soon as the breakdown has been secured, you can take care of the problem. When waiting or thinking, it is essential to keep behind the guardrail in a safe place. As a member of an automobile club, you can contact them, otherwise a call to a towing or breakdown service will help. Important: Always provide the exact location. With a smartphone or GPS device this can be precisely identified.
  8. Do it yourself.
    If you want to tackle the problem yourself and have packed the necessary equipment, you can use our breakdown tips as a guide. Here, too, it is important to make absolutely sure that nothing can happen to you and that you are parked in a safe place.

The Sprinter 6x6 from Oberaigner drives over a mound of earth

Nothing can stop the Oberaigner 6×6 Sprinter. But if it does get stuck, a strap and wooden board help.

How “rocking-free” works in the snow.

If you get stuck in the snow, stay calm. Hectic and frequent accelerating often gets you even deeper. One solution is to free yourself with cautious “rocking free”. The first step is to use a small shovel or similar tool to clear the snow. Then straighten the tires as much as possible and change quickly between forward and reverse. This helps to gain momentum and to overcome the snowdrift. Another possibility is to place a doormat or piece of cardboard underneath or to sprinkle sand or gravel – this makes it easier for the wheels to grip and helps you out of the slippery snow. Now start gently to let the tires grip. If nothing helps, always have some warm blankets in the van. These will keep you warm if you have to wait a long time for the snowplough.

A Sprinter 211 CDI drives through mud

Over rough terrain – with the right tricks.

Overcome mud holes with branch and ratchet strap.

Those who get stuck off-road or on dirt roads in mud and earth can also free themselves with a shovel and doormat. Another possibility is to free the wheels with the help of a branch or a wooden slat. This method is particularly helpful if you have been trying to get free for some time without success and a trench has formed. The branch or board must be very stable and about half a meter long and about eight centimeters in diameter. The aim is to stabilize the support of the wheel with the wood and to increase the contact surface. This must be attached to the drive wheel, which is the most sunk in ideally with a ratchet strap, but a rope will also do. If both drive wheels are stuck, the double configuration is required for this.

How to free yourself with a board and a ratchet strap:

  1. Before the piece of wood can be fitted, the drive wheels should be turned so that one of the rim holes points to 12 o’clock.
  2. The ratchet strap is passed through this hole and tied around the tire once.
  3. The board is then attached to the top of the tire. It is important not to push the board too far into the wheel well. Otherwise, there is a risk of damage.
  4. Tighten the strap over the board and around the tire several times. It is essential to fix the loose end of the rope or strap so that it does not wind itself uncontrollably around the tire.
  5. Then fix the board to the other side in the same way.
  6. Now start the engine and start driving carefully back and forth. The aim is to make the board turn with you.
  7. When you are successful and the wheels come free, be sure to take off the equipment.

  • Sprinter 6x6 off-road
  • The Mercedes-Benz 310 D crosses a river
  • A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter drives through a massive puddle
  • A Mercedes-Benz 1300 L drives through a cloudy mountain landscape

Teamwork helps in times of need.

If the breakdown point is well secured, the passengers can be helpful. One possibility is to push – carefully accelerate to prevent falls and to maintain the maximum effect. Another solution is to distribute the weight wisely in the van.

If nothing more is possible: Put on snow chains.

If you have several difficult sections of road ahead of you, it is a good idea to put on snow chains. These do not take up much space and provide the grip your tires need in snow or mud. Simply place the snow chains around the tires and fasten them on top and in the middle. Then tighten over the tire. After a short drive, re-fix the chains. Important: Make sure to secure the loose end and follow the varying instructions for use.

A Mercedes-Benz MB 310 with snow chains drives through ice and snow

If nothing more is possible, snow chains could help.

Photos: Daimler; Felix Schwarz; Kai Knoerzer; Chad Smith; Länge x Breite x Weite; Deborah Wanner und Dominic Egloff; Oberaigner

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

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