Traveling full time in our Suzuki Jimny meant that we had no home base, nor were we in the burden of paying rent. Instead we put ‘rent’ money towards petrol & campsites etc. Being a photographer and film maker we are location independent, in fact we seek new destinations with opportunities for work along the way. Traveling across the country creating films and capturing our experiences is our biggest passion. However we found that a lot of our corporate work (to pay the bills) was coming from our home town - Michael and I are originally from the small Town of East London so we are often called that side as past clients spread the word quickly. Ending up back in East London quite often landed us with a new passion project opportunity!
Our dear friends from Buccaneers Backpackers had an old Gazelle caravan sitting rotting in their campsite. Parked up in the same spot for the past 5 years the caravan needed a deep clean and a facelift! We were eager to do some renovations for building experience and to have a tiny home base for our time in East London. We relocated the caravan to a new spot in the campsite tucked in the natural dune forest and aloes.
First of all we started with a deep clean of the interior. Figured out a semi plan and headed to the hardware store. We sanded all the cupboards before we could apply the universal undercoat. We decided to paint the lower cabinets a light blue colour so avoid the bottom cabinets getting dirty from feet or knocks when walking around. The top cabinets we went with white to lighten up the space. It took a couples of day to complete painting due to all the crevices in the caravan build. With a fresh coat of paint we could already notice the improvements! After a stroll down the Chintsa main beach we had new driftwood handles for our cupboards - these add a beachy feel.
While I did a lot of the painting , michael was had at work removing an enclosed sink/ change room to open up the caravan having it free flowing. This meant it was time for a new counter top to stretch across the entire wall.
We decided to make our own counters tops - this only took 2 days and came out very nice. Step 1 was finding 6 thick wooden planks. We then laminated them together with an epoxy glue and clamped the planks together overnight. In the morning we unclamped the counter to be one big piece. Michael sanded it down bringing out the light wood colour. We cut the counter top to size and placed it in the caravan.
During this time we organised a beige material to recover all the cushions in the lounge nook. Along with a light blue material for all our curtains. Having these put into the caravan our vision was coming to life, we had a much brighter open living space.
Since the original roof had some holes and stains it was time to tackle a new roof. We thought long and hard about what to do and went for a light weight option. We bought a couple meters of hessian fabric and attached it to the roof with a staple gun. We managed to stick the ends under the top cabinets having a flush roof. We then braced the material with white wooden beams to ensure the roof would not sag , it also added a nice touch with the leading lines making the space feel bigger.
The floor was probably the most challenging part. We bought tongue & groove flooring boards. With all the grooves and warped wood in the caravan it was tricky cutting those angles.
Finally we had the caravan looking like our vision , here’s a video showcasing the final product as well as the before & after!
Since our caravan renovations are complete we have embarked on a new project - one we have been dreaming about. We finally bought a VAN! It’s a 2016 Fiat Ducato , high roof and medium wheelbase , and her name is Yeti! Yes that means we had to sell our beloved jimny , but it’s time for a new chapter. We plan to self convert this van into our off-grid tiny home on wheels to keep traveling South Africa full time. With a mobile office & home we will have everything we need for jobs across country as well as a comfortable living space. We found our biggest struggle living out the jimny was weather - we were not properly geared up for bad weather conditions which often resulted in flooded tent and stressed humans with our gear all pilling onto our small bed. We will now have a weather proof structure with a spot designated for editing, cooking and sleeping. We will start the full conversion in February 2022, so keep an eye out for that as we tackle the build with little to no building experience.