This couple couldn't afford to live in San Francisco, so they turned their van into a mobile home

Juliana and Richmond are living their most Instagrammable life.

In 2015, the couple, who had only been dating for four months at the time, decided to move out of their small, pricey apartments in San Francisco and convert a used Sprinter van into their mobile dream home. Saying goodbye to the city’s rental market meant the pair could afford to quit their jobs and travel the West Coast in their souped-up van for a year. They blogged about their adventures online¬†and on Instagram, attracting over 120,000 followers.

We caught up with Juliana and Richmond during a pitstop in San Francisco to see why #vanlife, with its cramped quarters and lack of a bathroom, beats apartment-living.

When Richmond and Juliana met online, it didn't take long for the pair to figure out they both wanted to take great American road trips, as depicted in their favourite books.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

There was one major obstacle in their way: rent. San Francisco has the most expensive rental market in America. They both paid $1,500 a month, leaving little left over for travel.

Source: ApartmentList

Van dwelling has become a popular alternative to apartment-living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The bohemian movement recently gained a buzzed about profile in The New Yorker.

Richmond and Juliana quickly decided to forgo an apartment for a four-wheeled home.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

Richmond, a consultant in the green energy industry, bought an old plumbing truck for $12,000. Over the next few months, they poured all their free time into renovating the van.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

Some of the more major changes included new wood paneling, storage-seating, and a mechanical bed lift that raises their bed to the ceiling, saving space during the day.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

The completed mobile home was bohemian-chic.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

In March 2016, they set out for British Columbia with plans to wind down the coast.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

They stayed days at a time in a city in the hopes of getting to know each place. Richmond said they drove between 25 and 50 miles a day.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

They often cooked vegetarian meals in a cast iron skillet on the van's two-burner stove.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

Showering was a luxury. 'You get used to planning your day around, 'where am I going to go (to the bathroom) in the morning and where am I going to go at night,'' Richmond said.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

They climbed rocks in Socorro County, New Mexico ...

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

... and hopped fences to capture the perfect photo of a lighthouse in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

At night, they parked in campgrounds, on national forest lands, and in Walmart parking lots.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

Over the past year, the couple learned new things about themselves. 'Before leaving, I always felt weird if I didn't have something to do all the time,' Richmond said.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

'On the road, you spend a lot more time reading, thinking, and doing things just to fill the time. There's no pressure. (You're) learning to let be,' Richmond said.

Juliana purged a lot of her belongings during the trip. 'One of the big realisation I've had is that I don't need a lot of stuff to be happy. More stuff makes me less happy,' she said.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

The wrapped their adventure in Baja, Mexico, where they parked on the beach.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

The couple returned to San Francisco in May 2017. In the urban environment, they found it impossible to find safe, legal places to park.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

A month later, they set out for Oregon, where they think they will have better luck.

Photos courtesy of Juliana Linder

You can follow Richmond and Juliana's adventure on Instagram.

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