Maker Feature: Connor Buzzell


Odense & Arhus

We loved chatting with Connor Buzzell: he's a pilot, adventurer, and maker living the van life with his partner Stacia. We talked about how impulse + passion was the perfect combination to make his dream into his life. 

How it started

CONNOR: Well, the story is pretty simple, and like those who know me, it was a fairly impulsive decision.  The van, or Vanessa, is a 2018 Dodge-Ram Promaster 2500. With the help of family and few  friends, I was able to finish the build in about a year. 

I think like a lot of people who get into van building they’re looking for both challenges and adventures. I had a general background in basic carpentry but most of it was completely new to me (solar, welding, electrical, plumbing, etc.). YouTube tutorials and user manuals became almost a nightly norm, as a way of understanding the vast network of information required to even begin a van build. Inspiration came from countless rock-climbing films and dreams of driving down the vast unknown.

That’s the basic and truthful answer I tell most people, but in all honesty, I was tired of paying rent. I wanted my money to go towards something rewarding. Something I could use to both live and travel with because there’s big blue beautiful world out there.

How it feels to create something

CONNOR:  I’ve always enjoyed the process more than the product. The skills and general knowledge I have in building a home today compared to a year ago, is far more important to me than what I was able to create. The oopsies and ouchies taught me a lot about myself and truly enriched me. I love learning and a challenge, and there’s plenty of that when it comes to building a van.

A ‘van home’ is more than just wood and metal, it’s an intricate and integrated web of complex life supporting systems; like inverters, solar charge controllers, isolators, converters, shore power, and battery banks.

Something he's proud of in this journey

CONNOR:  I’m proud to be my father’s son and I am grateful for the time I got to spend with him working on the van. Though we only got a month together on it, the days spent with him was far more valuable than any day working alone.

What he does when not working

CONNOR:  I truly love learning. Whether it’s a textbook for work or watching YouTube tutorials, I thoroughly enjoy the process of understanding. When I’m not working, I love being in the mountains; climbing or skiing and spending that time most with my beautiful partner and dog. I also like spearfishing, trail running, gardening, Catan and throwing rocks in the lake for our dog to swim after.

His wish for fellow makers

CONNOR:  I wish them the very best in their quest and happy to connect with anyone taking their vans to the Tahoe area for some backcountry skiing this winter.

Follow Along

Follow Connor and his adventures on Instagram @c_buzzell (plus, give a listen to his curated playlist).  Watch the video below to see his 2020 highlights: