From Boat to Camper Van – How We Started RVing: Adventure Allens

Published on July 27th, 2021

Hello, we are Chris and Taylor also known as the Adventure Allens. We are a married couple that travels in our 2005 DIY Sprinter camper van with our two dogs Chief and Storm. We have had our van now for almost 4 years. We didn’t always start off it in the van. And it’s a pretty cool story on how Vanlife/RVing found us.

Couple and their dog poses in a desert

How it Started

Over four years ago Chris was in the process of getting out of the Navy living in San Diego. To avoid paying such high rent, Chris decided to move on to a boat. To be exact it was a 32-foot yacht that we got half off because the engine was blown. We were secretly coming in and out at the Marina not paying the liveaboard fee. The manager at the marina would always ask us every day if we were living on our boat because he would see Chris fobbing into the key system. Chris would get off work at 3 o’clock in the morning from his old security job. We would tell the manager that we would just be cleaning the boat and he actually believed it since Chris was just getting out of the Navy.

So after months of keeping our boat squeaky clean, trying to be sneaky, and lying to the marina manager we finally decided that there needed to be some other solution. It was a lot easier for most people in the marina. Their boat was operable, they could leave the marina for a few days out of the week and then come back to reset their account. That way you do not exceed staying at the marina more than three days out of the week. So with the combination of curiosity and our situation we decided on purchasing a van.

Woman poses on red rocks while hiking

Finding the Van for Us

So about four months into having a boat we then purchased a 2005 Dodge sprinter van off of Craigslist. We found this already built camper van with a bed, cabinet, fridge flooring, ceiling, and insulation already done. We were able to acquire it for $13,000 with a loan from the bank. So initially our rotation was living in a van parking close to our jobs on the days that we had to work. Then on the days that we were off, which were usually in a row, we were spending at the marina on the boat. We did this for quite some time. 

Woman poses in a field in front of her campervan

How the Van Helped Us Heal

We are most well known in the community for overcoming adversity. About three months into us getting the van Chris got in a very bad motorcycle accident. The recovery process was rough because he couldn’t lift anything over 10 pounds for six months. However, being in the van at the time was very helpful. We were able to park very close to Taylor‘s job so she could walk to work while still being able to be close to the van. She would come over to check on Chris during her breaks. 

A year after Chris’s motorcycle accident Taylor had a severe asthma attack. The asthma attack was so severe that Taylor had to be sedated and be on life-support for about six days. Just like Chris, Taylor was able to recover from her asthma attack from being in the van always have the ability to be around fresh air moving whenever the air quality is bad so that she could have optimal breathing conditions. 

Since then we have been really active with our self-care and wellness. Chris has regained all his muscles and strength. Taylor is in better physical shape than she was before her asthma attack and this is the longest she’s gone without having a severe allergy/asthma attack. 

Dog lays in snow during a hike

Connecting with Community

Before the accident, we had no clue about the travel community. All of this was on a gut feeling and intuition. Chris was working 3 jobs and just received a quote for a solar system to be installed on the van the day before his accident. Being that now Chris couldn’t work, we need to figure out a more budget-friendly way to have electricity in our van. 

We took our curiosity to YouTube where we were introduced RV-Life & Van-Life. We were able to have access to technical information that no one from a home improvement store can help you with. 

This was our first introduction to the community aspect and information gathering. With that, we did more research on Van gatherings and Van meet-ups. We are able to go to our first two van meet-ups in San Diego. It was a great opportunity to meet so many like-minded people. 

Mountains in a desert landscape

Feeling More at Home in the Van

Eventually, as time passed, we were able to invest more into the van improving the living conditions in the van by having a sink, solar, and fans. We started to take longer trips in the van now that we were able to run our fridge overnight, have solar to recharge our batteries in the morning, and a sink to wash our hands. We soon started to realize that we had a little bit more freedom being in the van than we did on the boat and decided to sell it.

We were able to sell the boat for more than what we bought it for. After crunching the numbers and doing some math we realized that we could not work for a while and travel full-time on the road. This allowed us to travel to one of our favorite places that we enjoy being in the van which is a Baja California Sur in Mexico. 

Couple smiles and poses together in a desert

How to Connect With Us

Thank you for your reading this blog. We really appreciate it. We welcome you to support our business ( or follow along our journey on Instagrams @AdventureAllens and @MusclesOnTheMove. We’re a nonprofit organization that is a representation platform to normalize Black travel and educate the community on living tiny. We sell T-shirts, e-books, and other merchandise on our website

We also have our own personal training company called Muscles On The Move, the only online fitness training platform for tiny home dwellers. Programs are on sale right now for 30% with our promo code AdventureAlien. Have a nice day! 

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