"Buy a van, drive off and live your life on the road."

That's the message that you'll usually read online about the van life, as though anyone can just get a vehicle and disappear off into the horizon in a matter of weeks.  What stops most of us however, is that to have your own affordable van life story in reality, you need to have a fair bit of experience in cars and renovation, just to get a vehicle ready for a full time lodger - Or so we thought...

Enter Marina Piro. This twenty-something from Italy is currently travelling the world in a  2001 Renault Kangoo with her trusty canine sidekick Odie. With little money and absolutely no previous restoration or motor experience, she decided she wanted a change and managed it all on her own. Here's how...


Piro knew she wanted to live a self sustained life out in the world, but she didn't always know it was to be a life lived out of a van. As she didn't know anything about restoration or motors, on deciding to buy a van and do it up, she took two months out to read up and teach herself about doing up a motor.

Taking out the entirety of the van's interior, she installed her own floor, LED lights, a kitchenette and a bed, before decorating it to look like any explorers dream home.

“For real, I learnt everything on the spot," she said in a recent interview. "The van works in fact aren’t perfect, I cannot cut anything straight and I always get my measurements wrong, but it serves me just alright"

Who much did this entire renovation cost? Just £500.


Since driving off into the sunset, Piro and Odie have been travelling around Europe, spending around two to three weeks in each place they visit, before moving on.

“I believe that every choice of lifestyle is “cool" if it’s what you truly want to do" says Piro. "Whether it’s travelling, being a home mum or throwing yourself into a finance career"

In the future, the two hope to visit Portugal, as well as spending some time helping out with charities around the world and spread her empowering 'do it yourself' mentality wherever she goes.


Piro now runs her own site, where she gives tips and advice to anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps and start their own adventure.

“The blog was really created to make women feel like they could convert a van if they wanted to, even if they are alone/clueless/manless" she says.

Follow her adventures here for some daily inspiration!

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