Well, we’re Ryan and Mel, a fairly normal married couple who knew from an early time that competing in the rat race wasn’t really for us….

As such we had a rough plan in place for the preceeding 10 or so years until we managed events to enable us to get out of the rat race and enjoy ourselves a bit more.  You’re a long time dead, and we’d rather be in rocking chairs saying “When we were younger we did….” than “I wish we did …. when we were younger”

So this site gives a small insight into our lives and hopefully gives you some ideas and incentive to go and do what you want to yourselves.

Good luck!!

16 thoughts on “About Us”

  1. thinking about doing what you have done, leaving it all behind and enjoying life. How do you fund all your adventures? and do you have a base here in england to come back to?

  2. Hi Ryan and Mel
    Just came across your site a bit by accident as I was investigating camper vans! Hope you are both well – the site is great.
    PS – haven’t quite gotten out of the rat race yet, but we do now have a house in France between Nantes & Poitiers, so that’s our project!

  3. It is so useful to have such detailed information about a conversion. We have a NV200 combi and have considered a conversion., not quiet as you have done but with the ability to remove the conversion because we have need of the van as a van. I do have a few questions about the reasons behind your plans. First question is why in the floor use batons as it seams like over kill. Is their some problem with the fool warping

    1. Fair question! It was a pain and the ply floor was a pain to fit.
      We used battens to support floor as thought the foam insulation may sag with the weight on over time. Also wanted the floor fixed so it could not move so screwing to bonded batens fixed it. The furniture is screwed to ply so hence via battens bonded to floor. Solid as a rock. But a pain! For sure our method could be improved.

  4. Hi Ryan, I’ve been keeping an occasional eye on your progress and have just watched your video on the finished project and I’m hugely impressed. As you probably know Lunar offer an NV200 conversion as do Sussex Campervans and an outfit up in the Midlands (they’ve even done an EV one) but none of them compare to yours. A fine job, possibly bordering on the brilliant, especially as a first timer.

    After our Innovation we went onto an Adria Compact SL van which was great but then I decided to try caravanning and we went through a couple of Eriba Touring Troll 540’s (http://eribaliving.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/eriba-living.html), then a small Lunar and have ended up with a Bailey Pegasus 2 Rimini. I suppose a classic walk through the ‘if it’s bigger it must be better’ caravanning thing.

    However the call of the Innovation is strong, maybe nostalgia, but when I realised the subsequent owners lived just 40 mins from where we’ve lived for the last 7 years and were selling her I nearly went and bought it back. I was even tempted to buy another one that Highbridge Caravans in Somerset had on their used lot a while ago.

    I never did find out how many Cavarno’s and Innovation’s the Pegg’s built and I think it’s a shame the concept hasn’t continued and developed. I always felt there was tension there between the Pegg’s and Steve but I never really got near enough to know for sure. As for the AutoCamper concepts they certainly aren’t for us, indeed every time I look at them I can’t work out the differentiation between them and I suspect I’m not the only one who’s confused. That project has some good points but needs delineation and drawing together to make sense. Talking of the Pegg’s, I was browsing their Vectra website the other day and noticed that they seem to have moved back to near their original premises in Tamworth. Is that a sign of the times?

    Anyway enough reminiscing, congrats on a great job and let’s hope you get as much enjoyment from the Nissan as you did from the Cavarno.



    1. Thanks.
      The cavarno was an excellent van – really very pleased. But yes, the service from a certain “seller” became woeful and caused us major issues. I think the Peggs still do conversions if you provide a van, but the brand isn’t as pushed as before. I really have never seen anything as good as the horizon vans. We took inspiration from them and things we’ve learned, but not come close on finish. We did look at the NV200 brands, the Lunar is just weird and not suitable, and the other we saw and weren’t impressed with – some really bad “in use” design features. But, if you were a weekender you’d get away with it – but not for months. Funny though – despite refusing to answer a simple question for me, they are trying to spam me and my youtube with links to their site. There are some other DIY conversions I’ve seen – both really good, different to us and our needs, but really good finishes and better quality than mine. Remember I don’t show the mistakes on the blog lol 🙂
      Good to hear from you!

      1. We still have two bearded collies, though we don’t show them anymore, so any van we have has to have room for them and their gear.

        Funnily enough I only sold the purpose-built dog crate that fitted in the back of the Innovation, early this year and now I’m wishing I hadn’t. The beauty of it was that each dog had a separate ‘kennel’ and could be got out of the back of the van on their own but the interior side had a central door and they could wander into the van from either side of the crate when it was open. More impressive was that Barjo had built a door in the crate so the Thetford cassette could be removed without taking the crate out of the van. It also stood a lot of weight on top with folded metal puppy pen, grooming trolley and a couple of camping chairs as well plus dog grooming bag, dog towels, washing up bowl and other stuff on top of it.

        I always said that Horizon’s should build a bigger Innovation and use the extra space to add the Cavarno washroom and the Cavarno oven on the kitchen side but leave the ‘boot’ the same size. For some reason they chose to make bigger models but just extended the lounge/bed area and made the ‘boot’ deeper but didn’t add the bits that would’ve made a difference. I got the distinct impression they weren’t listening to users suggestions.

        It would be interesting to talk to Vectra but I suspect it will be very hard to get hold of a suitably specced Mk 7 Tranny in decent condition now.

        1. DIY 🙂
          It isn’t *that* tough really – just takes time. The only way to get exactly what you want. Look at sbmcc to get ideas…..
          Much cheaper too….

          1. I don’t believe you’ve said how much the project has cost Ryan. I’d be interested to know as a comparison the commercial offerings. There again adding in your time for three months might balloon it a bit.

  5. Hi Ryan and Mel
    It was great to catch up with you again at the weekend. we had a brilliant time, it was such a good show. Love the blog and it was great to see the van, it really is genius design. Hope you are both well
    Cliff and Lindy

  6. Wow. This is amazing. I had just decided to downscale from my Ford Custom SWB camper (my design) to an NV200 (which is the width of the tail gate on the Ford!) for increased maneuverability, and have been delighted to find your extensive conversion notes. Love the way you’ve taken advantage of the spaces in the doors! In this tiny van every square cm is valuable. So wish I had your skills and courage with a drill…

    1. Thanks 🙂 There are a few conversions out there, some linked in the youtube vid. But go for it 🙂 I didn’t *actually* drill many holes in the van 🙂

  7. Love your blog and am most impressed with the professional feel to it. We are caravanners with 40 overseas trips behind us gained since we gratefully joined the “scrapheap” when our industries were privatized, more modest itineraries than yours but we have camped in 12 countries for 4 months a year and want to continue as long as possible. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments about living for today.

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