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See how a couple live full-time out of a $40,000 converted Mercedes Benz Sprinter van with a full bathroom and kitchen

See how a couple live full-time out of a $40,000 converted Mercedes Benz Sprinter van with a full bathroom and kitchen
  • As the coronavirus spread across the world, world travelers Kara and Nate Buchanan had to change their lifestyle.
  • To keep up their travels safely, the couple bought and renovated a converted Mercedes Benz sprinter van in the US.
  • They spend their days working remotely, trying local foods, and exploring the outdoors.

Kara and Nate Buchanan spent the last four years traveling the world.

Kara and Nate Buchanan spent the last four years traveling the world.
Kara and Nate look on at an airport pre-pandemic. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan

Kara and Nate saved up $35,000 to travel the world in 2016.

The plan was to travel for a year or until the money ran out. At the time, the couple was working in wedding videography and decided to use their skills to document their adventures and upload the videos to YouTube.

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They visited 100 countries in just four years and documented their experiences on YouTube.

They visited 100 countries in just four years and documented their experiences on YouTube.
Kara and Nate flew to dozens of countries. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan

Six months in, Kara and Nate realized that they loved traveling so much that they didn't want it to end after just one year.

So they got serious about their YouTube channel, posting more consistently and building revenue streams around it like sponsorships.

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"We thrive off of being pushed outside of our comfort zones and experiencing new cultures," Nate told Insider.

"We thrive off of being pushed outside of our comfort zones and experiencing new cultures," Nate told Insider.
Kara and Nate pose for a photo in Antarctica. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan

By 2018, the couple's ad revenue from their YouTube channel was covering the expenses of their travel.

Kara and Nate also make money through sponsorships, affiliates, and Patreon, a subscription platform where you can purchase a membership to access a creator's work.

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International travel restrictions during the pandemic paused Kara and Nate's worldwide adventures.

International travel restrictions during the pandemic paused Kara and Nate's worldwide adventures.
Kara and Nate traveled home because of the pandemic. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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So the couple adapted by purchasing a $40,000 converted sprinter van in the US for their travels.

So the couple adapted by purchasing a $40,000 converted sprinter van in the US for their travels.
Kara and Nate with their converted sprinter van they use to travel the US. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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They bought a van with a full bathroom to be self-sufficient amid a pandemic.

They bought a van with a full bathroom to be self-sufficient amid a pandemic.
Kara sits on the toilet, which lives in the shower. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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After purchasing the van in Atlanta, Georgia, Kara and Nate took it for a test trip to the Smoke Mountains in their home state of Tennessee.

After purchasing the van in Atlanta, Georgia, Kara and Nate took it for a test trip to the Smoke Mountains in their home state of Tennessee.
Kara and Nate's van parked at a winery. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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Then they spent about two weeks and $5,000 renovating it to better suit their needs.

Then they spent about two weeks and $5,000 renovating it to better suit their needs.
Kara and Nate renovated the table to serve as a work desk. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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They turned the clothing closet into a charging safe for electronics.

They turned the clothing closet into a charging safe for electronics.
The electronics safe is seen. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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After four years of living out of a suitcase, the couple had no problem stuffing their clothes into drawers and cabinets instead.

After four years of living out of a suitcase, the couple had no problem stuffing their clothes into drawers and cabinets instead.
Kara and Nate's clothes are seen. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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Their van also features a work space ...

Their van also features a work space ...
Kara works from the back of the van. Courtesy of
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... that transforms into a bed. "Everything worked," Kara said of the van. "We just made everything work a little bit better for us."

... that transforms into a bed. "Everything worked," Kara said of the van. "We just made everything work a little bit better for us."
Kara works on her bed in the back of the van. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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Starting in Tennessee, the couple traveled to Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado and continued west.

Starting in Tennessee, the couple traveled to Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado and continued west.
Kara and Nate travel through Kansas. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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Kara and Nate typically start each day in their van with coffee for breakfast.

Kara and Nate typically start each day in their van with coffee for breakfast.
Nate makes coffee in the morning. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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For lunch, it's usually a smoothie full of almond milk, spinach, peanut butter, frozen fruits, and nutrient powders made by Kara.

For lunch, it's usually a smoothie full of almond milk, spinach, peanut butter, frozen fruits, and nutrient powders made by Kara.
Nate works while enjoying a smoothie made by Kara. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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For dinner, Kara and Nate usually get take out. They enjoy trying local foods in the states that they visit.

For dinner, Kara and Nate usually get take out. They enjoy trying local foods in the states that they visit.
Kara and Nate eat sushi in their van. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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When they're not driving or eating, Kara and Nate spend their days doing socially distanced activities, like hiking and fly fishing.

When they're not driving or eating, Kara and Nate spend their days doing socially distanced activities, like hiking and fly fishing.
Kara and Nate go on outdoor adventures around the US. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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While the couple has been to countries all over the planet, they hadn't spent much time traveling domestically before 2020.

While the couple has been to countries all over the planet, they hadn't spent much time traveling domestically before 2020.
Kara and Nate stand on top of their converted sprinter van. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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"It's been kind of fun to force ourselves to see more of our home country," Kara said.

"It's been kind of fun to force ourselves to see more of our home country," Kara said.
Kara and Nate travel through Kansas. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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For Kara and Nate, the best part of van life is having everything they need to survive with them at all times.

For Kara and Nate, the best part of van life is having everything they need to survive with them at all times.
There are lights hanging inside Kara and Nate's van. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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They love returning from a tiring hike, kicking off their shoes, and just being home without having to drive anywhere.

They love returning from a tiring hike, kicking off their shoes, and just being home without having to drive anywhere.
Kara and Nate are seen together in the van. Courtesy of Kara and Nate Buchanan
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