Daniel Barousse comes from the city of Lafayette in the U.S. state of Louisiana and he lived a fairly average life there. He graduated from high school, went to college and then worked as a representative in the textile industry. The next step would have been for him to get married, then buy a house and lastly retire. Many of his friends followed this path and noticed that they were just as unhappy as before. At that time Daniel felt that all he wanted was to see as much of our beautiful planet as possible.
On YouTube and Instagram, he found various Vanlife channels that made him believe that living in a van could be a way to fulfill his dream. Two years ago, he rented a camper to try out this kind of travelling. He found out he could not have imagined anything better. In November 2017, he finally bought a Mercedes-Benz 144 High Roof Sprinter from a car dealership in Chicago and began the conversion, which he had planned himself. His parents were not particularly enthusiastic at the beginning when their son wanted to take out a loan to buy a Sprinter and then live in it. But Daniel argued: “It’s just unimaginable to be there at 60 years of age and not to have done all this because you were afraid.”
One of the best things about my current life: I have the opportunity to skate anywhere in the US with people just like me.
It took Daniel roughly two months to complete the conversion. However, there were a few problems along the way. “There were so many moments when I was about to burst into tears, but I couldn’t stop. I’m not a man who gives up easily.” He is proud of the fact that he converted his Sprinter 100% by himself. He managed to do this despite his lack of experience in the trade. “The biggest challenge was definitely the woodwork. There are almost no straight lines or corners in a Sprinter. Everything is curved and rounded, making it very difficult to get the right fit.”
He has been living in his van for almost four months now and could scarcely be happier. From Louisiana he headed to Texas and then to the west coast through New Mexico and Arizona. He has been in California since February. He has no final goal. His destinations are based on where he can work best and where he would like to go next. Thanks to a Wi-Fi hotspot, he can work directly from his van, no matter where he is. To always be alone on the road is not necessarily easy. “This is one of the most difficult parts of my journey. Sometimes I do get lonely. However, I think there are good sides to this. I grow as a person and get insights into the world and a different way of life.” For now, he does not want to go back home. “I don’t want to go back. I love this life.”
Daniel has been skateboarding for 18 years now. He started at the age of eleven. On his voyage, he skates every day as long as he is not injured. “This is one of the best things about my current life. I have the opportunity to skate anywhere in the US with people just like me. The biggest tip I can give to a skater is to go skating in every skate park you can find. You meet all kinds of people there and some of them become lifelong friends.” Daniel wants to be on the road for at least another eight months. If all goes well, perhaps even a little longer.
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.