I dreamt of owning my own expedition truck for 25 years. To surf on secluded beaches, be independent of water and electrical supplies, to travel distant countries whilst escaping the typical tourist trails and to explore terrain unsuitable for normal motorhomes — that was my vision and motivation. In 2008 I turned that dream into a reality by buying a de-mobbed Mercedes 914 all-wheel-drive truck from the Dutch army and a Zeppelin shelter from the Germany army to create a homely expedition vehicle.
Turning this experience into a book was only possible because I was lucky enough to consider the build phase as the first step toward our planned trips and documented every stage with more than 2000 photographs. Creating the CD-ROM was not part of the original plan. Meanwhile, Starlet (that’s what we fondly call our vehicle) has undergone considerable optimisation. Improvements typical for any motorhome as equipment begins to succumb to the rigours of time or when expectations set upon the vehicle or cabin change. These too are covered in my book and the reason why it is focussed not only toward those who wish to plan and build from scratch, but also toward everyone prepared to get their hands dirty on an existing vehicle or those who just want a better understanding of how the various components interact with one another.
I am by no means a professional cabin builder and it is this particular aspect I want to impart upon other equally travel-minded amateurs to encourage them to look at the alternatives before going to a run of the mill mobile home dealer. I want to open your eyes and motivate you to a full or part build of your own, or to optimise your existing vehicle, even if, like me, you have neither the technical background nor a fully equipped workshop. Most of all though, I want to show you an alternative route to a motorhome finely tuned and tailored to your individual requirements.
I am more than happy if my CD brings you a little closer to fulfilling your dream of a self-built motorhome. I wish you not only fun and success during this exciting process, but also patience and diligence when decisions need to be made.