Singaporean couple lives in DIY van in U.S., saves US$30,000 per year


    By ET Spotlight Special, The Economic Times/Asiaone

    1st December 2022 – (Chicago) The U.S. has approximately 90% of houses in ownership. For Singaporeans, even the idea of renting is unusual. So, a Singaporean coupleGracia and Yee Jia, decided to turn a van into a living space, and they lived there for a year while going on a road trip. In a talk, they narrated their exciting story.

    Gracia and Yee Jia desired to travel around the world. They said, “Singaporean materialistic and meritocratic dreams tired us, so we were dedicated to not chasing them. Our urge to travel the world together made us take a leap of faith, and living in a van became our happiest choice to date.”

    They also said that living in our van provides homely comfort and opens up the possibility of a new adventure wherever we go.

    The couple also estimated that in comparison to living in a rented place, the savings would come out to be approximately $30,000 for the couple.

    DIY van:

    The couple owned a second-hand Ford Transit 2013 and equipped it with the following:

    Extension rack for extra storage, electrical set-up with Solar Panels, Refrigerator, FanUSB OutletsInverter, Wall socket, Puck lights and gel batteries, sofa cum pull-out bed and mini kitchen, water storage system and a small bathroom.

    They stayed in Walmart or Planet fitness gym parking overnight, and while travelling in the wild, they parked on free public land.

    “The logistics of living in a van are surprisingly uncomplicated after the initial stage of figuring things out. Whenever we must receive a parcel, we send it under USPS ‘General Delivery’ to any nationwide post office, or shopping mall that accepts parcels. Renting a PO box is also an option for items of greater value. 

    Perhaps the most difficult aspect of living in a van is dealing with the lack of a proper bathroom. However, we were able to get by with the use of our gym memberships to take showers at Planet Fitness branches located all around the United States.”

    The couple also apply the KonMari method of not keeping things that don’t “spark joy,” keeping mainly to essentials that they use every day.