May 29, 2024

Part 2: The Conversion Process

In my last article, I shared my decision to convert my beloved food truck into a van for my European travels. While it was a tough decision to make, I knew that it was the right one. Now, I am going to take you through the process of converting my food truck into a van.

The first step was to strip everything out of the truck. This meant taking out the counters, the ovens, the fridges, and everything else that was specific to a food truck. It was a bittersweet moment for me, as I had spent many years working in that truck, but I knew that it was necessary.

Once the truck was stripped, I began to assess what I needed to do to make it into a van. I knew that I needed to install a bed, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. The bed was the easiest part, as I simply bought a pre-made bed frame and mattress. The kitchenette was a bit more complicated, as I had to design it myself.

After many sketches and consultations with other van travelers, I came up with a design that worked for me. I installed a small sink, a two-burner stove, and a mini-fridge. I also added a countertop for food preparation and storage cabinets for my utensils and cookware. It wasn’t quite the same as my food truck kitchen, but it was close enough.

The bathroom was the most challenging part of the conversion. I knew that I didn’t want to have to rely on public restrooms or pay for campsites with facilities. After much research, I decided to install a composting toilet. It was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, it was a game-changer. I also installed a small shower, which was a luxury that I didn’t think I could afford, but I found a compact one that fit perfectly.

The next step was to insulate the van. This was important because I knew that I would be traveling in all kinds of weather conditions. I used foam board insulation and spray foam insulation to ensure that the van would be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Once the insulation was in place, I began to work on the interior. I wanted to make the van feel like a home, so I added curtains, a rug, and some decorative items. I also installed a sound system and a TV, which were both important for those long nights when I needed some entertainment.

Finally, I had to think about the exterior of the van. I knew that I wanted it to be eye-catching and reflect my personality. I decided to paint it a bright red color and add some decals that showcased my love for food and travel. It was a bit of a risk, but it paid off. Everywhere I went, people would stop and ask me about the van, and I loved sharing my story with them.

Overall, the conversion process took me about six months. It was a lot of hard work, and there were times when I wanted to give up, but I am so glad that I didn’t. Now, I have a home on wheels that I can take anywhere in Europe, and it’s all thanks to my trusty food truck.

In my next article, I’ll share some of the lessons I learned during my first few months of van life. From finding parking spots to dealing with breakdowns, there were a lot of challenges that I had to overcome. But, as always, I took them in stride and learned from them. Stay tuned for more!

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