It pretty much goes without saying at this point that vanlife has officially entered the mainstream. Because of its increasing popularity, it can be hard to find a van and participating enthusiast that stands out from the rest.
After having this conversation with our friends at Transworld RIDEbmx, they told us that 2018 Vans BMX Pro Cup champion Jason Watts lives out of a van that’s big enough to fit his bike and all his friends.
We connected with Watts and after introducing ourselves, he quickly told us that he doesn’t live out of a van. He lives out of an adventure party bus. Read the rest of our conversation below.
When did you ditch the roof and enter the party bus?
I made the move in January 2017 and haven’t looked back since.
What type of bus do you use and how did you get it?
The bus is a 22 seater 1991 Mazda T3500. After searching online for three months, I finally found the right one.
The guy I bought it from told me that it previously belonged to his dad – who had driven it all over Australia before passing. After his son inherited it, he did the same. So for me, it’s rad having something that already has some character that goes along with it.
How long have you wanted to do this for and what made you actually do it?
After talking about doing it for two years, I finally just did it. I’m always down to do something fun and spontaneous so I figured what better way to accommodate those needs than to have my own house on wheels.
That way, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want.
What's your set-up like?
Ever since I got it, I always wanted to turn it into a party bus that I could also use as a home. So that’s what I did. I opened as much space possible and made it feel like a tropical island by decking it out with fake plants and bamboo.
Behind the driver seat, I have a proper kitchen/bar with a big fridge for all the drinks and whiskey taps to pour the perfect shot. In the back of the bus, I have a big U-shaped couch area that can hold around 10 people comfortably and folds out into one double bed and two single beds.
I also have a trunk at the back of the bus under the couch set up that holds all my bags, water, generator, tools and more.
How do you prepare meals?
I use a gas cooker for just about everything. It’s nice being able to eat spaghetti, steak, sausages, fresh wraps, toasted sandwiches, noodles and whatever else I happen to be in the mood for.
Do you stay in one location for the most part? Or do you travel across Australia to all of your favorite spots to shred?
I’m constantly traveling and that’s the best part about it - I can travel to any part of Australia anytime. If I'm in Brisbane and there is a sick BMX jam in Canberra, I can drive 15 hours and be there the next day.
I’m just pumped to be able to go to rad places at any time. I can wake up on a beach, at a skatepark, do what I love all day - then drive off to the next location.
That you know of, are you the only professional BMX rider to live the van life?
I’m not the only one to do it because it’s such a popular thing nowadays. I know a few other BMX riders that do it too and they all do it really well. We all agree that it’s the best thing to do while we can.
What do you do to keep yourself busy when you're chillin’ in your van solo?
I don't really have many chill out days because I’m always trying to keep myself busy. However when it is time to chill, I usually park up at a beach and listen to music, watch the waves and enjoy the sunset or sunrise.
All photos by Jason Watts.
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