Life and photography in the 407 D.

A green van drives past a field

Because Peter was still not happy with his job after 10 years, he decided to find his own freedom. He quit his job and bought a van.

Vanlife as an attitude.

Everything is colourful. Countless bicycles are parked in front of houses covered in wild graffiti. Here in Neustadt the people are friendly. Peter feels right at home here in this multicultural district of the Saxon capital of Dresden. “Whenever my job takes me to a new city, I always explore districts like Neustadt. You quickly make new friends here and do not have to explain yourself”, he says. The young photographer lives in his blue-green Mercedes-Benz 407 D van out of conviction.

A man sits in a van and plays a guitar

Despite all of the stress of being a freelancer, Peter still has the time to relax.

No going back.

Peter lived in Switzerland for 20 years. “I was passionate about my job yet I never really felt appreciated by my old employer. So I sort of owe them thanks for my new life. They gave me the courage to take the risk and become a freelancer”, he explains. When his Swiss residency permit was also withdrawn, Peter put one and one together. “My greatest dream was always to live in complete freedom and suddenly I had almost no other choice”, he says. Short time later he found the angular, blocky van on the Internet. Even though it was in desperate need for restoration, the 32-year-old did not hesitate for a moment and bought the vehicle immediately.

A van drives past a forest

At the time, Peter’s van was in anything but good condition.

Transforming a van into a home.

“I took the van to a friend’s yard to restore it. He is a vehicle mechanic, explained how to do a lot and was unbelievably helpful”, explains Peter. With his help, Peter restored the interior of the 407 D. He installed a double bed, added insulation and divided the van into two rooms with a partition. His actual profession also played a role in the successful restoration. “I spent 10 years working as a bicycle mechanic in Switzerland. I learned if you want to do something really well then you need to take your time”, says Peter. But how can a bicycle mechanic earn his keep as a nomadic photographer?

Peter’s Mercedes-Benz 407 D

Manufacturer

Mercedes-Benz

Year of construction

1983

Production location

Düsseldorf

Model

407 D

Engine

Diesel 2,350 cm2

Length

5,120 mm

Width

2,095 mm

Wheelbase

2,950 mm

Permissible gross weight

3.5 t (decreased)

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The fighter.

“To be honest, I have never taken a photography course or anything like that. Fortunately, the Internet is full of almost everything you need to know about photography”, says Peter. The self-taught photographer became more and more skilled with the camera until his passion ultimately became his calling. “You have to leave a lot behind you if you want to live a life of complete freedom. You need incredible willpower and perseverance.” It is the DNA of a vanlifer Peter’s telling you about. It’s the story of a person who decides to take things into his own hands and do something different, risk something. “In the end, there isn’t just one way of doing it. You just have to decide for yourself”, he explains.

A green van parked in front of a building

The 407 D is brought back to life in a friend’s yard.

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