Chris of Defying Normal somehow found time to work on her passion project — transforming an old white van into a cozy camper, in the midst of a condo renovation, a move, a job, and caring for her dad who has dementia. She designed the whole project, and with some guidance from her boyfriend’s uncle, helping hands from her boyfriend and getting tools from her father and uncle she was able to get the whole van ready for her to live! In addition to running water, a sink where she baths (use a 12 volt camp shower and warm the water up with an immersion heater), she added solar power, a full size bed that converts to a full size chaise, under floor storage, and a TV projector. It took her around 32 months (2 years and 8 months) and costed her over 2ok USD to complete, but considering the things going on in her life, plus no prior experience in construction, plumbing, solar or electricity ( as she is a designer who does static graphics, motion graphics, and production design for theme parks and museums) – this is pretty impressive!

She has been living in the van for about 8 months, and has traveled around the coast of California where most of her friends and family live and has also made 2 trips to Arizona to see few of her friends. The only struggle she faces when dwelling in the camper is finding free WiFi hotspots.

She says I plan to travel around and see the beautiful U.S. now that it’s done, but only after I’m done taking care of my dad (he has dementia). I do see it as a cheap housing option too. It’s sort of both. You could totally do the same thing if you wanted–and better! I encourage everyone who’s interested in a project like this to take the plunge because it’s such a unique experience.”

If you’re interested in doing a van conversion yourself, she invite you to download a free guide choosing a vehicle for van dwelling at, And for a list of gear that she used in her conversion, please see

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