Digital Exhibition: Parker Chappel
Name: Parker Chappel (@birdthebus)
Vehicle: 1988 Chevy G30
My name is Parker Chappel, and my little bus is named Bird!
Growing up in California, I had watched the price of real estate skyrocket to an unrealistic rate. I went to college in San Francisco, worked in Los Angeles, followed by Silicon Valley. After paying inflated rent in these areas for years, I was looking for an alternative. I had read a few articles online about people who were working on the road, living out of their various mobile spaces, and I knew that was the life that I wanted to live. Making a daily decision to stay or to go; being able to move with the seasons, those were the things that drew me to vanlife.
Once I had the idea in my head, I started seeing potential vehicles everywhere. Finding the perfect vehicle to convert was definitely still a challenge. When I finally found this 19 Foot, 1988 Chevy G30, I knew I'd found the perfect one.
The only downside to choosing such a small footprint is that I'd have to get creative if I wanted to incorporate many of the amenities that I was used to. After tinkering for weeks, I decided on a
convertible design that would allow me to keep both the front and rear doors accessible. When I need them, I'm able to pull table settings for 4 out of the counter space. When it's bedtime, a full sized, 8” memory foam mattress pulls out of the wall via a Murphy that I designed with my Dad. Having hidden amenities was the only way that I was able to keep a small space feeling so open.
The last, and possibly most important reason that I was driven to join the vanlife community was my ability to focus on my consumption. Growing up in California has also shown me the importance of water and energy conservation. In my bus, I have 200AH of electricity, 27 Gallons of fresh water, and 5 Gallons of Propane at a time. Keeping my numbers simple in this way enables me to track my consumption over time, and make adjustments based on what I think is realistic.
My deepest hope for this project is that it will be able to inspire others to make their own life for themselves despite what's normal. Learning the skills that I needed from my Dad, and then translating them into a completed project has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. On the tail end of my first conversion, I absolutely cannot wait to get started creating another one!
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