Already trendy in the US and Australia, living and travelling in converted vans has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years - and the pandemic may have provided a boost. Demand for commercial vehicles is up 57% year-on-year, Auto Trader says. In its recent survey, the advertising website found more than half of new van buyers said they wanted a van for personal use, such as hobbies, travelling and converting.
A search for #vanlife on Instagram brings up more than eight million posts which show vans fitted stylishly with luxury amenities or parked in beauty spots, rear doors opened to frame a beach sunset.
"There are two main customer bases," says Emily Cotgrove, who runs Vanlife Conversions in Essex with her partner Oli, an Army veteran. Present the couple with a commercial van and they will convert it for you for upwards of £28,000.
"One [market] is like the 25 to 35s, maybe they work remotely and want to travel while they work. They might see they can now work from anywhere. And the other target market are the older generation who would have looked at motorhomes in the past."
Emily thinks coronavirus has accelerated the demand for van conversions as staycations and remote working boom. "Before Covid, we had a six to eight-month wait list," she says. "Now we are booked up for 18 months.
"People have realised there's a lot to see in the UK and a lot of ways we can go around it. And it's not the compromise you normally get with camping. It's effectively an apartment on wheels. You really do feel that it's a luxury way to travel."
perhaps van life chimes well with that shift to simpler living that many saw during the national lockdown?
"It's a nice exercise to live in a van and live with less," says Meg. "I would definitely recommend it."