• Im Interview erzählen die beiden Fotografen von ihrem Alltag als Van-Nomaden

    Katch and Ben move into their Sprinter.

    Katch and Ben converted their Sprinter into a camper van – and moved out of their permanent residence. In an interview, the two US photographers talk about their everyday life as van nomads.

    Photos: Katch Silva

Photography brought Katch and Ben together.

MYVAN: What was your biggest motivation for a van life?

Ben: We had two big motivations. The first was to be able to see friends more often who we didn’t usually get to see. Living and travelling in our van allows us to spend long periods of time in different states without having to pay for a hotel, or crash at friend’s houses. We have close friends all over the States and it’s been amazing to get to basically live in their town for weeks or months at a time, seeing the people we love.

A woman sits on the step of a Sprinter
A man sitting inside a van at a computer

The charm of van nomadism: being outside.

MYVAN: And the second reason?

Katch: Life in the great outdoors and being on the road. The Sprinter allows us not only to be outdoors every now and then, but also to live in nature. Wherever we camp, we are at home.

How can you deal with everyday life in a van? How should the two photographers work in the future and how should the van be equipped? Katch and Ben didn’t rush into anything. They meticulously researched which van best suited their requirements – namely to be a cozy apartment, mobile office and flexible means of transport at the same time. The result: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. They appreciate their travel van above all for its reliability, flexibility and spaciousness.

Life in the Sprinter turns everyday life upside down.

MYVAN: What were your biggest doubts and worries before moving into the van – did some of them come true?

Katch: We weren’t worried about much, because we’ve always been very minimal easy-going people, and we’re not bothered by much.

MYVAN: What advice would you give someone who wants to buy a van?

Ben: Think about every aspect of your lifestyle and how it will be affected by van life. Sometimes people forget to think about certain small details.

A woman sitting in a van

The experts from Sportsmobile did a superb job.

MYVAN: For example?

Katch: How will I make my morning coffee every day, or where will I keep my dirty laundry. Do you like to cook? Do you like alone time? How will all this change for you once you’re sharing a tiny space with someone? Think about every aspect and plan ahead for all the small things!

However, in order to use the Sprinter as a mobile home, they needed some individual adaptations to their vehicle. So they left their 4WD 2016 Sprinter to the “pros”, as Katch says: the bodybuilder Sportsmobile. The result impressed the two of them fully.

A woman barbecues next to her white van

Perfect work/life balance.

What do Katch and Ben no longer want to go without in their van? The answer is surprising: the solar modules on their Sprinter. The photovoltaic systems supply the couple with electricity for everyday life and work. “We couldn’t do most of it without these modules,” says Katch. Because the two photographers are increasingly on the move in social media, another must-have: the smartphone hotspot to get on the internet. For Katch, a camping stove and a barbecue are also essential. “I love sitting outside, cooking and eating,” she says.

Life in a van.

MYVAN: How has your life changed in concrete terms?

Katch: Of course, not every day is waking up to gorgeous backdrops and living a simple life, but we get a lot more of those days than we used to. Sometimes it means sleeping in a truck stop, having gas station coffee in the morning and driving all day. But for the most part we get to enjoy the simple life we really wanted.

A man is lying in a van
A white van in a natural landscape

One year on the road – no end in sight.

MYVAN: You’re an avowed nature lover and you’ve already been around in your Sprinter. What place do you love most in the USA?

Katch: My favourite place so far is Badlands National Park. We had a couple of weeks off before my season started so we decided to drive to South Dakota and stay in the Badlands, and it was beautiful and completely empty. I really hate crowds in national parks, so this was ideal!

Image gallery.