Van Life Interviews: 40 Hours of Freedom

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

As most of you know, Tom and I are gearing up towards van life which is why we thought it would be fun to kick things off by interviewing fellow van-lifers….(is that even a word?) With that in mind, I am pleased to introduce to you the guys behind 40 Hours of Freedom, owners of a gorgeous van which I constantly drool over when browsing Instagram.

I reached out to them over email as I wanted to know the ins and outs of van life, getting down to the nitty-gritty of how much van life really costs, what are the rough expenses on a day to day basis, and what not!

If you’re interested in van life or are just dreaming about it on a daily basis like we do, watch out for this space as we want to fill it up with as many amazing interviews and guides over the course of the year.

Quick Facts:

  • Names: Sara + Alex James and our 2 Italian Greyhounds Bambi + Nugget
  • Van Name: Big Sexy Van
  • Best thing about living in a van: being able to travel and explore together as a couple (and never having to pack)
  • Worst thing about living in a van: having to fill up our freshwater tanks

van life interview

✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…

Travel Insurance

Coming from someone who has been traveling the world for the last 8 years AND has been in the hospital 2x, travel insurance is something everyone NEEDS to get. Get a quote below!

Getting to Know the Duo Behind 40 Hours of Freedom

How long did it take you to convert your van? What was the hardest part?

It took 3 months working on the van full time to convert it. The hardest part was figuring out how to build everything since the van is not level and everything has weird rounded corners and edges.

Total Cost of van renovation?

We bought a 2008 Dodge Sprinter that had only 55,000 miles on it for $25k. The conversion cost us about $15k just for the materials. Most people think building a van is cheap, but we didn’t want to skimp on the things that were most important to us (having a bathroom, nice sink, solar/batteries, etc). We were lucky to have the help of Sara’s dad who was a professional home builder for over 40 years. Without him, we would’ve needed to hire help, so if you don’t have an expert on hand you’re going to end up spending more on the conversion to hire some experts.


Where are you currently traveling around? Any favorite places so far?

We are currently in Southern California for the holidays to visit with Sara’s family. We’ve absolutely loved going to Banff, Jasper and the Washington and Oregon coast.

What do you do to fund your travels?

We have a business teaching others how to build their own brand and business online leveraging social media and affiliate marketing.

What are your average monthly expenses living in the van?

$1500-2000 depending on how much we are traveling and eating out or checking out local activities.

Favorite Van Life meal?

Vegan tacos!

If there was one thing you could change about your van, what would it be?

Making our countertops a little less deep. Our walkway is a little tight between our countertops and our bathroom, so next time we would make that a little bit wider by decreasing the depth of the countertop.

For those of you who've asked… we have a 2008 170" Dodge Sprinter passenger van with 56,000 miles on it. We debated for a long time on whether we wanted the cargo van or the passenger van – the difference being the windows. We ended up falling in love with the passenger van with all the windows because when we are somewhere beautiful we want the option to open up all the curtains and have endless views. At night, we have reflectix panels behind the curtains so no one can see any light or anything inside – the reflectix doubles as a great feature when it's hot outside to keep the van cool. We're also pretty happy we didn't have to install any windows when we did our build. So let's just say it was a win-win all the way around #homeiswhereyouparkit #40hoursoffreedom

A post shared by 40 Hours Of Freedom (@40hoursoffreedom) on

What’s the one item in your van that you can’t live without?

Our fantastic vent fan! That thing is great for ventilation and keeping the van cool during the day/night.

Biggest Tip for those thinking of doing van life?

Expect the unexpected during your build. It will take longer and cost more than you think! Also, expect nothing and experience everything. Being on the road is so much fun, but it can become stressful if you try to plan too much. Just enjoy every day and moment for what it is. It’s such an incredible journey that will only happen once in a lifetime!

Follow Their Journey

Awesome! I hope you guys enjoyed reading that as much as I did. Now if you’re like me and you’re always on the lookout for van lifers to stalk, here are the social media details of Sara and Alex. Feel free to follow them on Instagram or their Facebook page.


Facebook Page:

Email: 40hoursoffreedom (@)

Looking for more inspiring reads? Check out a few of our favorite articles

Inspired? Pin it! Van Life | Interested to find out what van life is really like? Here's a quick interview that I did with the guys over at 40 Hours of Freedom. I asked them how much it cost to renovate their van, average monthly expenses, and and their top tips for those interested in van life! #vanlife #sprintervan #interview

Share This!

Leave a Comment