I had not seen my cousin in a long time, in fact, we had really only hung out a few times in our entire lives. He grew up in Saipan, a tiny island in the south pacific, and I grew up in Colorado, on a small farm. I had followed his journey as best I could, I knew he had been in the military and that he had left, I knew he was building a tiny home (Facebook told me), but that was about all I knew. When we caught up at a family wedding in 2016 we decided to catch up after. I saw the incredible craftsmanship and care that went into his house and I was sincerely impressed.
Aaron felt a like a person between steps in life, neither here nor there. I invited him to Outdoor Retailer in SLC in Jan of 2017 and we walked the floor together. He got a little sneak peek into the outdoor industry. Then we sat in a coffee shop across from the event and began talking about his tiny house and what he wanted to do in life(reword this).
We went back and forth we built a website (tetontinyhomes.com) where he could showcase his work. After a bit of back and forth, we both decided that converting cargo vans was where his heart was. He loved his tiny home so much, building and selling them would take too much time and be too big of an emotional draw. So we started talking all things van. I told him that we had a lot of details to work out, but that we were on the right track. I am a fan of rapid prototyping, but there isn’t a simple way to test, but I had a proposal.
I told him, I would buy a van, give him 30 days and a budget to make it awesome. If he could do that, I would start a van conversion company with him.
Well, he did it. And we started Run Away Van.
Here are some images of the van in all her glory. I have since sold this van, (time to start looking at a family car with the fiance), but you can follow her adventures on Instagram @Van_Francisco.