GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1996 Volkswagen T4 Transporter Film Shoot
A 28-year-old living in a small space wherein the kitchen and the bedroom are one in the same is a typical scenario, but unlike this repurposed Volkswagen T4 Transporter, studio apartments tend to stay in one place. Callum Creasey’s modified 1996 example of the venerable VW has taken him and his girlfriend Lauren all across Europe thanks to the dependable four-cylinder diesel under the hood, and the social media following that’s cropped up in the wake of their adventures has turned their hobby into something deeper than an Instagram page or just something to do on whims on spare weekends. Full of wool blanket and hot chocolate charm coupled with the functionality required to actually live in it for longer than an afternoon’s picnic, it’s hard to say whether this week’s film is about the journey or the destination when the boundary between the two blurs as much as it has here.
When the trip is a meandering one and the end of it is wherever you feel like parking and firing up the hot plate, the concepts of performance and sport also take on a different meanings. Rolling along slowly but assuredly over the course of hundreds of thousands of miles is impressive in a way that a triple-digit-mph powerslide isn’t, but thankfully we can measure the value of an automotive experience in more ways than RPM and MPH because there’s nothing that says 650HP is innately more fun than 65HP—context, like usual, matters. When the factory took a 1.9L four-banger diesel (not even turbocharged, mind you) yanked out of a Golf and put into something with more than a few extra pounds on its chassis, the T4 Volkswagen was always going to have to earn its keep by way of loyal service rather than getting by on its looks or an impressive 0-60 time. Of course it’s pointless to expect anything else from a machine so utilitarian it’s literally named after its function, but this particular Transporter has transcended the typical life of an under-appreciated workhorse and become a source of continual inspiration alongside its more tangible roles as a van, a kitchen, a bedroom, and so on. It had racked up some 100,000 miles before Callum got his hands on it and since then he’s added another 140,000 over the course trekking around England and criss-crossing the continent often for no reason other than the sake of it.
Creating and adhering to an itinerary can be beneficial if your trip is homing in on something specific that you’d rather not miss, and the sense of completion can be a reward in and of itself, but to indulge your feelings of wanderlust without being bound by the time the hotel desk clerk leaves for the night? That’s true freedom on the open road (or off of it), and in Callum’s case it’s thanks to the simplicity of his VW, a van that rarely complains and is easy to sort out with a few hand tools on the side of the road whenever it does.
Callum and his girlfriend refer to their mechanical companion as the Rolling Home, and in the course of their adventures from forest to seaside and everywhere in between the two started to do what most young people do nowadays: document it. By putting out content on social media that was slightly more compelling than brunch photos, their Rolling Home profile amassed a huge following of people they’d directly inspired or simply connected with in some tangential way, and in the wake of this reaction Callum began producing a quarterly journal dedicated to sharing their stories too, not just his own trekking and modifying.
Clearly not someone who’s content to stay in one place figuratively or literally though, getting more exposure to the community through the Rolling Home Journal soon led to a joint venture between Callum and his friend Duncan that now allows them to do more than write about road trips that have already happened. Now they help to create them for others by building the machines capable of not just getting them there, but making it feel like a home once they have.
Onwards Adventure Vehicles isn’t about building the most rugged or extreme campers, instead they ensure that the essentials are taken care of—water and electrical systems and whatnot—while making a point to mix in some sense of home in the design of the interior. There are obviously a few jokes teed up to be made about having a job that’s based on sleeping in cars, but if you really want to get out there and explore and be an active part of the decision to travel there’s really no other way to do it.