Cats and Woman Trio Live Adventure-on-Wheels Freedom in a Very Cozy Nissan

Lisa Jacobs' Yoga Session by Her Van 9 photos
Photo: lisamjacobs/Instagram
Freebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV HomeFreebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV Home
Give a woman a house, and she will make a home out of it, or so goes the saying. Lisa Jacobs gave herself a van and made a life out of it. The classic story of “want to be an actress, go to law school instead, hate it, have a life-changing experience, go live on the road” perfectly fits the solo camper.
A Nissan 2500NV – perfect choice for a stealth camper (she is 5’2”) and deemed suitable by her feline companions. With a lot of ingenuity and artistic imagination, turning the “Freebird” christened vehicle into a full-time living space became a child’s play.

With health and nature in mind, the interior is woold-insulated, and barn floor wood decorated. The armrest in between the car seats gave way to a 12-Volt fridge; the entire cabinetries were custom made to exact specifications, so everything fits the minimal space with geometric precision. (Except the cats, which have little interest in geometry and take as much space as they desire. See the video for detailed instructions on “van with cats”).

With a five-gallon fresh water tank under the under-sized kitchen sink, a three-burner stove with a one-month-lasting five-gallon propane tank, a 4kW inverter, a 2.4 kW solar panel, and a 100Ah battery (soon to be replaced by a Lithium Battleborn power cell), living the van life is quite cozy. As for bedding, a bed-to-bench setup takes care of sleeping comfort (watch Lisa demonstrate this).

Freebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV Home
Photo: TinyHomeTours/YouTube
Again, being accompanied by two cats means sometimes (read always and forever) one must make compromises. So, the “temporary” bed is now the Permanent Cat Center. Then again, “you can’t plan for adventure because that’s what van life is – adventure. I had someone move in to where I was living at a certain date, so I made myself houseless; I had to move into the van.”

Since we mentioned health and nature, Lisa wholeheartedly recommends having greeneries inside the van for a touch of nature and fresh oxygen. So the woman settled for a plastic, non-cat-edible pot plant after the cats ate the natural ones. And as far as weather is concerned, a convenient air-conditioning unit is mounted on the roof. But Lisa never used it, as it is so much easier to drive out of the way of a heat wave.

All smiles and glitter as it may seem, Lisa was forced into a life-changing choice when her mother passed away. She concluded that she “could live in a van, not have to pay rent or mortgage and not have to be a slave to the corporate world.”

The shift was scary for somebody who camped only twice in her life - but fully rewarding in the long run, even without the luxury of a shower in the van. A small obstacle for yoga and gym regular: Lisa showers at the gym or yoga studios she visits frequently. The thing she missed the most from her old living style? The clothes hanging closet (girls, please explain this to men). The Velcro-secured upper storage is not a worthy replacement for the missing piece of furniture, but Lisa is ideally at home even without that. With very well-planned and designed space-saving solutions, the ordinary-outside-looking van is more than accommodating.

Freebird, Lisa Jacobs' RV Home
Photo: lisamjacobs/Instagram
The nomad solo female summarizes it with straightforward advice: “That’s it, Solo Van Life! Once you go, all that fear melts away. You don’t have to know all the answers. Do whatever you have to do; kick yourself in the butt to do it. Just do what scares you. This van has been the vehicle toward so much change and going after my dreams, and I’m just so grateful for van life.”

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About the author: Razvan Calin
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After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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