"I stay safe living in my van by installing secret hiding places and taking self-defence classes"

3 months ago
A woman has revealed how she stays safe while living alone in her van - by installing secret hiding places and taking self-defence classes.

Sarah Yak, 26, has been travelling around America since 2018 and has so far visited 16 states.

After realising that university wasn't for her, Sarah dropped out and started working as a carer to save up for a van.

After a 12 months, Sarah was able to purchase her 2017 Ford Transit for $28k.

Sarah then spent $10 renovating her van - including a kitchen, a queen-sized bed and solar panels on the roof.

As she started out travelling alone, Sarah has since added extra security like an alarm system, hiding spots for items and a tracker inside the van.

Sarah, a videographer, from Austin, Texas, US, said: "Four years ago when I got my van it wasn't very popular so not many people were living in them.

"I took safety really seriously. I started taking self-defence classes. I learnt everything - from how to choke someone, to break someone's arm and to even kill someone.

"Doing those self-defence classes boosted my confidence on the road.

"Once I started travelling I added a lot more safety features.

"I installed a hefty alarm system and the van has a tracker inside, so if anyone steals it I would be able to track it.

"I also have an off-grid satellite phone so I will always have a signal in case of an emergency."

Sarah was studying marketing at Colorado State University when she realised she wasn't happy.

She said: "I was doing a degree and chasing a job I wasn't happy with - I really wanted to do art and see the world.

"I wanted to pursue a more unconventional life and that is why I decided to drop out."

Sarah bought the 10-seat transit van in 2018 and stripped it down so she could add her own touches.

Sarah said: "I installed solar panels, an induction hob, a fridge, toilet, outdoor shower with a water heater - everything you could possibly need to live full time.

"It took me around six months to complete and cost me around $10k."

When she started out on the road, Sarah said safety was a big issue - especially as she was travelling solo.

Recently, she installed Starlink - a satellite internet constellation - so she has Wi-Fi 24/7.

Sarah said: "Starlink has been a lifesaver. Whenever I can see the sky, I can get Wi-Fi which is a great safety feature.

"I also keep weapons stored in the van and I have secret hiding spots in the van to keep myself safe.

"I have a CCTV around the van too."

Recently Sarah's girlfriend, Tori Prince, 25, a videographer, from Austin, Texas, US, moved into the van with her in July, 2022 and the pair have no plans to stop travelling anytime soon.

Sarah said: "I can see myself settling down but not anytime soon - I am selling my current van and I have already bought a bigger one.

"The new one is higher, longer and newer - I am very excited.

"We will travel in that for a few years before we think about settling down in a permanent home.