“You meet so many beautiful people.”
“You meet so many beautiful people.”
Name: Justin Eaton (50)
Where from: Frankfurt, Germany
Chosen home: VW LT28 1985
Why did you choose van life?
In 2014 I badly wanted to live in a van. The idea of driving around, living in a van, not having to pay rent, bills and all that shit was really attractive. But I wasn’t ready, either mentally or job-wise, so I had to postpone it till 2018. Then everything fell into place. I was looking on Facebook, found this VW for sale and fell immediately in love with it. The guy wanted 6500 euros, so I had to get the money together and then convert it for my needs.
How long have you lived in your van?
One year. I started travelling in May 2019.
What countries have you visited?
Not many. I drove straight from Germany, through France and along the north coast of Spain, and then on to Portugal. I don’t want to rush. I want to see and feel the countries I’m visiting. That’s why I travel so slowly.
How do you make a living?
I’m a tattoo artist. Sometimes I tattoo from my bus, but every few months I return to Germany for a few weeks and work in a tattoo shop. That pays for the next four or five months, as long as nothing mechanically bad happens to the bus. Van life is much cheaper than living in a house. I can live in my van for a month, including all my expenses, on less money than I used to pay in rent.
Best country you’ve visited?
Portugal, without a doubt. I’ve been here over six months, it’s beautiful, the people are really, really nice, very helpful. They don’t have much. It’s a poor country.
Worst country you’ve visited?
France! It’s a beautiful country – it’s just a pity there are so many French people there. I find the French arrogant, they don’t want to speak any language other than their own. They are ignorant. I really don’t like them.
Best experience you’ve had while living in your van?
It’s waking up in the morning and deciding what I’m going to do during the day. It’s absolute personal freedom. I love the evenings in my bus. Even if it rains for three or four days I don’t care. I have everything I need.
Worst experience you’ve had while living in your van?
It was personal. I broke up with my girl friend twice. It didn’t feel right. I lay in my bus in a foetal position for three weeks, crying, feeling lonely and lost. I didn’t know what to do.
Do you have a dream?
I would love to go to Norway and take photos of the Northern Lights. I’m passionate about photography, so I want to take photos of the places I visit. There are so many amazing places to see.
What is the most important thing about your van?
How do you pass the time?
I do a lot of things. There’s always something to do in a van. As space is so limited you have to keep it clean and tidy. I cook, I read, I watch some movies, I listen to music, I watch the sun set. It depends on where I am or with whom I am. Sometimes I work doing tattoos, or I may lie on the beach, or go surfing.
What advice would you give to would-be van dwellers?
Just do it! If you are not a shee-shee person, if you don’t mind making some compromises in life, like not showering every day, it’s perfect. You meet so many beautiful people on the road. Of course I’ve met some weird people, but the majority of people living in their vans are really nice and like-minded. It all comes down to one thing: being together and having a wonderful time. There’s no pretension, superficial things just don’t matter. It’s completely different to society life in towns, where there are always issues such as what car you drive, what’s your job, what’s this, what’s that. In this life it doesn’t matter. All that matters is whether you have a good heart.
* You can follow Justin at tattoosurfnomad on Instagram