Meet Isabelle and Antoine – a French-Canadian couple who ditched their ordinary 9-5 existence in exchange for adventure-filled lives. As their goal was to travel more, they re-did an average-looking van into their mobile house. “At 36 years old, we left behind our engineering careers, sold our house (and everything in it), built ourselves a home-on-wheels and embarked on an epic road trip throughout America! At the time of writing these lines, it’s our third year on the road and we don’t look back!” the couple told Bored Panda.

The couple is more than glad to share the process of making a home out of a van, and you can see their step by step instructions here.

More info: Far Out Ride | Build Journal

This couple ditched their ordinary 9-5 lifestyles for a more adventurous one

Image credits: Far Out Ride

Isabelle and Antoine told Bored Panda that they backpacked “quite a lot” in their young adulthood. “Then, we did what “normal” young professionals do: get a house, cars, careers and the routine that comes with it. Life was good, actually, as we splurged on our hobbies and on short intense vacations,” they told us. “We reached our thirties and realized this pattern would repeat until we finally get to retire and THEN live our life to the fullest… if we’re still healthy that is.”

“We started dreaming of a lifestyle with fewer expenses, less work, and more time to enjoy ourselves as life goes on”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“We started from scratch (empty cargo van) and built everything ourselves”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“We started dreaming of a lifestyle with fewer expenses, less work, and more time to enjoy ourselves as life goes on; why report it later?” the two adventurers revealed to Bored Panda. “Fast forward a few years later, and here we are living in a van and riding our mountain bikes/snowboards pretty much every day. People often assume we’re just “lucky” or we had access to a ton of cash somehow… it’s really not the case! We’re just “normal” people who decided to get their sh*t together, plan and act. It was years compromises and sacrifices, but now it’s payback time!”

“People often assume we’re just “lucky” or we had access to a ton of cash somehow… it’s really not the case!”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“We’re just “normal” people who decided to get their sh*t together, plan and act”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

To build the mobile house of their dreams, the duo started everything from scratch with an empty cargo van. “We built everything ourselves. Because of our engineering background, the design phase went relatively smoothly, but we had to learn how to build stuff with our own hands… It’s quite intimidating at first, but with patience and motivation to learn everyone can do it!” the couple told Bored Panda.

“The van is our full-time home so we wanted all the amenities to live comfortably”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“We estimate [the conversion] took close to 1,000 hours”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

When asked about how much time was put into building the cozy house-on-the-wheels, Antoine said: “It’s hard to tell exactly, but we estimate it took close to 1,000 hours. Keep in mind we never built anything before, so the learning curve was steep. Overall, because we had our full-time jobs and could only work on the van in the evenings and the weekends, the full conversion process happened in about a year.”

“The cost varies greatly with the features and quality of the components used to convert the van”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“The van is our full-time home so we wanted all the amenities to live comfortably”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

When Isabelle and Antoine were building their mobile home, they wanted it to have all the necessary amenities as this would be, as they call it, a full-time home. They installed a fridge, oven, toilet, heater, etc. “The cost varies greatly with the features and quality of the components used to convert the van. Some people do it for less than $1000, others will spend as much as $30,000 for a full conversion.”

“In total, it cost us a bit less than $20,000 for the conversion (plus the cost of the van)”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“We went for high-quality components for reliability and safety”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“In our case, the van is our full-time home so we wanted all the amenities to live comfortably (fridge, stove/oven, composting toilet, heater, solar, etc.) and we went for high-quality components for reliability and safety. In total, it cost us a bit less than $20,000 for the conversion (plus the cost of the van),” Isabelle and Antoine told Bored Panda.

“The van has been our full-time home since 2017”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“For us, living in a van is not a way to live a frugal lifestyle”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“For us, living in a van is not a way to live a frugal lifestyle. Our goal is to actually do more and making it count. In the end, living in a van is quite similar than living in a house: we eat well, have activities, splurge on local craft beer, maintain and buy sport equipment, etc. It costs us about $1,200 USD per person per month. Not bad for living our dream!”

“Our goal is to actually do more and making it count”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

“Having the freedom to choose our backyard is what we love the most”

Image credits: Far Out Ride

The couple says that they are “obsessed” with mountain biking and backcountry skiing, therefore such lifestyle change certainly suits them better than the regular 9-5. “The van has been our full-time home since 2017. We’re obsessed with mountain biking and backcountry skiing, so having the freedom to choose our backyard is what we love the most; there’s nothing like waking up at the trailhead! Because of that, we’re still in love with vanlife and we don’t see ourselves settling down anytime soon,” Isabelle and Antoine revealed to Bored Panda.

“We don’t see ourselves settling down anytime soon”

Image credits: Far Out Ride