- A TikToker went viral after she showed off her converted cargo van.
- Sarah Hall is a harpist who travels in her transformed vehicle.
- She said she bought the $21,000 van with the intention of turning it into a “home away from home.”
“I’ve had a Pinterest board filled with DIY camper vans since high school,” Hall told Insider. “So it’s always been on my mind.”
Once it was clear to her that COVID-19 wasn’t going away quickly, and with most of her work and school making the shift to virtual, she decided she’d be able to invest the time needed for this “huge project.”
Hall shared her finished fan with followers on TikTok, and one of her videos has since gone viral with 15.4 million views at the time of writing.
The only time she enlisted the help of family and friends was for heavy-lift tasks like installing the windows or getting solar panels onto the roof.
She bought a self-drying and self-cleaning shower door that retracts into a vertical box, which makes it look like a pocket door. Hall said there’s a squeegee along the height of it that removes water as it retracts to limit mold production.
She felt the same about a toilet, saying that she “didn’t want to be pulling out a plastic toilet from under my kitchen sink.”
Hall told Insider she installed a C-Head composting toilet, which uses a fiber medium like coconut husks or sawdust to mask the odor of solid waste. Liquids are typically separated into a bottle or jug, but Hall modified the system to have it drain directly into the waste water tank she installed on the bottom of her van.
“There, it’s mixed with all the used shower and sink water,” she said. “Liquid waste is basically sterile, and when diluted actually makes a great fertilizer! So you can dump the tank pretty much anywhere responsibly, as long as you are using biodegradable soaps and shampoos.”
Hall takes her followers through the process of how she built the shower in one of her TikTok videos. In the video, she shows off her bathroom at each stage of building, and explained that the subway tiles on the walls are actually sticker sheets.
“When I first stepped into the empty van when I bought it I completely panicked,” Hall told Insider. “It didn’t look like anything would fit! But now that I’m done it feels like the inside of the van grew a few square feet!”
She built it into the base of her full-sized bed that is lofted above the tanks and electrical boxes in the back of the van.
While it was an intimidating task, she said that once she did her research and learned how everything worked, it wasn’t that difficult to put together.
Hall pointed to the composting toilet as a big factor in this as well, adding “I also don’t have any sewage, so I’m not tied down to finding authorized dump spots whenever the waste tank is full.”
She said that since her van doesn’t require any hookups for electrical or water, it’s relatively easy for her to find places to park.
For now, Hall plans to travel around “as much of North America as possible.”
“Eventually,” she said, “I would like to ship it to Europe.”
Hall said that there are lots of free parking and camping sites for travelers who don’t need any electrical or water hookups. She said she’s found some through the Bureau of Land Management, and others through online networks.
“I’m also a member of a site called Harvest Hosts, where there’s a lot of tourist spots/businesses offering one-night stays for campers and RVs,” she said.
But the added component of being a female solo traveler is something Hall is acutely aware of.
“As with most women solo travelers (which is sad that it’s something we have to worry about, but solo men don’t) I don’t post where I am on social media until after I’ve left, and never say where I’m going,” she said.
Hall has installed several security features in and on her van including alarms and video cameras, extra retrofitted locks, and items for her own personal protection.