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Converting the Commute… One Van at a Time

Every now and again, automotive news revolves around some aspect of the human condition in an unforgettable story. Fortunately, Kyle Johnson captured one such narrative, “A Young Man Quits His Old Life and Goes West,” for The New York Times, and we Chevy enthusiasts are digging it.

In the spirit of true carpe diem adventure, 23-year-old Zach Both, set off from Boston in search of adventures and cinematic footage out west. Rejecting the confinement of his desk, Both hit the road in search of other like-minded artists with whom to create short films. Time and place is everything and if this was the 1960s, surely you’d envision that Both set off on his journey behind the wheel of a VW bug. But you’d be wrong.

As it turns out, Both has been logging miles as the captain of a 2003 Chevy Express conversion van, which, not surprisingly, he has further converted into a mobile home-office hybrid. The Express, and its 200,000 miles at the time of purchase, was in tough shape. But, that didn’t deter Both who forked over $3,900 and cemented his mission to kick off a “cool creative roadshow.”

Seeing past the rust and neglected interior, Both covered the interior in 19th-century lath boards, courtesy of Craigslist. Using these free materials, he even built a futon that collapses into a bed and constructed a makeshift kitchen, including a stove and ARB fridge, powered by a Goal Zero solar generator. Of course, how better to appreciate the ever-changing vistas than through pop-out windows? A perk of Both’s new life on the road, which suits him just fine. As he says, “If I can do what I want to do in these interesting places and not at a desk, that’s what appeals to me.”

And what of the 2003 Chevy Express? What was so appealing about this conversion van when Chevy first released it? Well, Edmunds loved it, and gave it a 4.6/5 rating. Versatility is a key point. Of course, Both took that to a whole new level. The 2003 Express featured six engine choices, housed by four body styles: the cargo van, extended cargo van, passenger van, and extended passenger van.

We’re not sure exactly how we’d designate Both’s Express now, what with all its mods and mobile office solutions, but he clearly appreciated the versatility factor, saying, “The great thing was I had complete control: I could do whatever I wanted and design everything to the exact specification that I needed.” While arguably an unconventional approach to the work-life balance, Both might find himself in good company sooner than later, with other Chevy Express vans sharing his scenic views. “My friends who are my age say, ‘It’s way nicer than the apartment I’m living in.’”

Read the whole story and scope out the unbelievable photos of Both’s day-to-day experience. From our perspective, it’s clear that Both took Chevy’s suggestion to “Find New Roads,” in all seriousness. Why not take a page out of Both’s book and take your Chevy off the beaten path?