Photographer Adam Nawrot wanted to chase light full time, so he bought an old NYPD surveillance van for $2,500 and turned it into his mobile home and editing studio.
Remodeling the interior, doing electrical work, and adding solar panels brought the total cost to around $6,000.
“I’m an adventure and outdoor filmmaker and photographer who moved into a van to chase light and infinite stoke full time,” Nawrot tells PetaPixel. “The van serves as my mobile home and editing studio so that I can stay on the road and keep up with the athletes and subjects of my work.”
Finding the van took about a month and a half of searching for used vans on Craigslist. It’s a 1997 Ford E-350 with 65,000 miles that gets about 10 miles per gallon. From the outside, you can still see the outline of the old NYPD decals.
“I made the decision early on to avoid any sort of plumbing,” Nawrot says. “Its gross and a hassle. So is finding places to poop, but to me that was the lesser of two evils.”
“I decided that all I really needed was a bed, a good amount of storage and a place to work. I’m a photographer and filmmaker so what that translated to was a mobile editing studio.”
Custom additions and modifications include hardwood laminate flooring, decorative plywood walls, storage furniture, a full-length IKEA desk, a bed, insulation, solar panels, various outlets (4 USB plugs and 6 cigarette plug 12V outlets, and lighting.
One of the pull out drawers under the bed is 20 inches deep and houses Nawrot’s camera gear (the other has his climbing gear).
“Although it’s currently enjoying quite the boom, van living is nothing new to the mountain culture communities of dirtbag climbers and ski bums that my filmmaking and photography is interested in,” he says. “I love waking up in a new place every morning and the storytelling opportunities the van life is opening doors to!”
“A van is only as cool as the places you take it,” Nawrot says. You can follow along with photos of his adventures on his Instagram account.