Marc and Jen Charron sold their home and all their belongings to live an alternative lifestyle. They quit their full time jobs and decided to hit the road. The young Canadian couple packed the bare necessities into an old box truck that they converted into a 112 sq-ft camper van. They have been living in the renovated box truck for the past two years. The duo has traveled across the country three times, taking their home with them everywhere they go.
Living out of the box
When first looking for a truck to convert, the Charrons, known on social media as Box Truck Tessa, knew they wanted a Sprinter engine. Fuel economy was also a big concern for them, and they wanted something insulated to withstand the cold temperatures of winter. Non-negotiable elements for Marc included the ability to stand upright in the vehicle and having a full bed that didn’t need to be pulled out every night. He also wanted something that would be comfortable for their cat, Stella.
The remodel includes a sleeping area that houses a queen size mattress and a small shelving unit above it for their clothes and personal belongings. The kitchen area contains a two-burner propane stovetop, a double sink with a 12-volt electric water pump, and a portable AC/DC Dometic refrigerator.
Technology includes a Wi-Fi booster, solar power charger, two lithium batteries, and a 2,000-watt inverter.
Why they decided to explore this lifestyle
Jen says that one of their favorite things about living this type of lifestyle is that every day is different, and they have the choice to do anything that comes their way. They love the never-ending surprises and the ability to chart their own path. Marc enjoys being the “architect” of his life, designing whatever he wants to do with his time.
Being from Canada, both of them are avid skiers. The adventurous couple spent four months parked in a ski hill parking lot so that every day they could open their door and hit the fresh terrain. Marc says, “it was a pretty nice way to live.”
How the adventurous couple makes a living
The Charrons have limited expenses, so don’t have to work as hard as they used to. They are quick to point out they still have insurance and cell phone bills to pay but admit that life is much less tiring than it used to be.
They don’t consider themselves minimalists but rather have just enough to provide for their daily needs. Further, they are laser-focused on traveling and spending time together instead of purchasing material possessions.
Jen makes money working online as a virtual assistant and running an organizational blog. Marc is a professional musician that writes custom songs and performs live.
Some cool features in this camper conversion
To withstand the Canadian winters the box truck has three heat sources that include an Espar diesel heater, Cubic Mini wood stove, and electric space heater. The couple spent their first winter completely off-grid, but the second year decided to stay in a campground, so they could plug-in to a power source. The wood stove is in a punch-out insulated box covered in galvanized steel to allow for extra room inside the camper.
There are no showers or laundry facilities in the box truck, so the couple uses campgrounds or gyms for their personal needs. There is a Nature’s Head composting toilet, but they’re not thrilled with how it functions. A handmade box doubles as seating and extra storage. Overhead cabinets store their essential items. Not wanting to put a hole in the roof, they installed a Fantastic Fan in the wall for proper ventilation.