A Home on Wheels: Discovering Freedom with Hanna Luna Grkovic

In today’s fast-paced world, more and more people are choosing to step away from societal norms to embrace an alternative and more sustainable lifestyle. Hanna Luna Grkovic, with her home on wheels, is a young woman from Sweden, is a prime example of this trend.

Having left her homeland ten years ago, Hanna embarked on a journey that led her to transform a camper into a home on wheels, exploring the world with her faithful dog. Through this interview, Hanna shares her experiences, reflections, and anecdotes that outline her path towards a minimalist, eco-sustainable life full of freedom.

Hanna Luna’s Interview, home on wheels:

Hi Hanna! Nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you, your life, and what led you to make this lifestyle choice!

Ten years ago, I left Sweden, where I grew up, to travel. Initially, the plan was to backpack for three months, as many do. But three months passed, and I didn’t want to return to the winter and cold.

I continued traveling without money, hitchhiking, and eventually taking seasonal jobs here and there. After about three years on the road with just my tent and backpack, I met a puppy and decided to adopt her.

Suddenly, it became much harder to plan my travels. No one wants to pick up a hitchhiker with a dog. So, I returned to Sweden and took an intensive course to get a driver’s license. The course lasted two weeks, and during that time, I bought a car and began to transform it into a home.

It wasn’t the car I have now; it was a slightly smaller but still fairly large one, an Iveco Turbo Daily from ’92. I passed the driving test after two weeks, and the car was more or less livable. I moved in and drove straight to Portugal.

My travels continued, but now with a camper van instead of just a backpack, for many years. Four years ago, I upgraded to the car I have now, an even older one from ’90, a box truck, and now I have all the comforts I need. It was never planned for me to have this lifestyle. It just happened!

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And What was your first off-grid home/travel experience?

I don’t really remember my first experience, but an early memory I have is from when I had been traveling for about a year with just my backpack. I met an American-Australian family living in a large homemade camper van in Serbia.

There were four people living in the van when I met them, but there had been more. The older children had settled in the US. The van was colorful and had a name. If it had been in a movie, it would have been a classic hippie bus.

They inspired me. They had traveled together for many years, and the children had more or less grown up on the road.

Tell us more about your tiny house and your experience with it !

Currently, I live in a camper van that I built myself. I have lived in it full-time for four years, together with my dog. In the summers, we usually stay in Sweden, and in the winters, we head south, often to the Balkans.

One thing I often notice when visiting people in their self-built camper vans is that you can usually see the particular interests of the person who built it. For example, someone might have a huge bed because sleep is important to them.

Another might have half a music studio in the van with barely any space for anything else but instruments and music, because that’s their passion. I believe that when you enter my camper van, you can tell that interior design and a cozy atmosphere are important to me.

I love beauty and have always been creative. So, in my van, there are many details, and everything is well-thought-out while also being created with creativity. I am proud of my van; for me, it is my work of art.

It’s not a large space to live in, but I have everything I need. I am self-sufficient with electricity, have hot water in the shower, a toilet, a refrigerator, a wood stove, a large bed at night, a cozy living room during the day, and a bar where I can sit and have dinner, with either a beautiful lake or the back of a gas station as the view.

The bar can also turn into a sales counter because sometimes I run a café from my van. That’s why I call my van The Chaishop.

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What paperwork and procedures did you have to go through to build your eco-sustainable home?

First and foremost, I needed to have a driver’s license, of course. The van I live in now, I bought in France but registered in Sweden.

I had to go through a registration inspection, during which the van was registered as a camper. Beyond that, there’s not much more to it. Of course, I have to make sure that the insurance is paid and so on, but nothing special beyond what you need for a regular car.

Why is it worth living in a tiny house and what principles are these houses based on?

For me, it’s a great combination of freedom while still having a home to retreat to. I don’t have to choose where to settle and invest my time and energy. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to stay in one place all the time, but right now, this is the best way for me to live.

I love visiting different communities without feeling dependent on being a guest. The freedom I get from living in a van makes me feel good because I thrive on being independent. Life in the van is also very minimalist, and I believe that it pays off in the long run.

I have nothing more than what I use in my home because there is neither space nor any reason to carry around unused items when you’re constantly on the move.

Have there been any significant changes in your life as a result of this life choice?

The difference between how I live my life now compared to how I lived before I set out to travel ten years ago is, among other things, that I no longer belong to a community in the same way.

Sometimes I miss that sense of community a lot. For example, living in a city or studying in a school with classmates, having friends nearby, having regular commitments, and so on.

Nowadays, I change communities often. I get a seasonal job, make friends for a short time, exchange experiences, share some laughs, and then I move on. Some places I never return to, and many people I never see again. It’s an emptiness and a freedom.

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What eco-sustainable issues do you care most about and what campaigns have you supported and would like to support to spread the word?

I find it completely unreasonable that people spend money on buying new things. Often, it feels like people buy new items that are of incredibly poor quality and break immediately.

For me, it feels much more natural to try to see what is around me and what can be used. If what I need really isn’t available, I look for it second-hand. In an absolute emergency, I buy new, but then I prefer to buy something of good quality, even if it costs more, rather than something I will soon have to replace due to poor quality.

This is something I care about and hope will become more natural for more people to think this way.

Can you tell us a funny anecdote that has happened to you since living in an off-grid house (a home on wheels)?

Since I park in different places all the time, it also means I wake up in different places almost every morning. Often, when I wake up, I’ve forgotten where I am. It takes a while before I remember.

A few years ago, I was parked in Sofia, Bulgaria, in the middle of summer. I had found a parking spot in the city. It was very hot, so I was walking around naked in my van, preparing my morning coffee. Right outside the van was a sidewalk with lots of people.

All the curtains were drawn, and no one could see me, but it struck me how strange it is that here, in my home, I am 100% comfortable, even though there is just a small wall separating me from a bustling city with people rushing to work.

What advice would you like to give to a family or someone who would like to take a similar journey and embark on this lifestyle?

Things will feel big, difficult, and sometimes you’ll feel unsure if it’s worth it. But there’s so much beauty too. There is a freedom. That freedom means you have many opportunities; you can be wherever you want, whenever you want, however you want, if you just want to. And nothing is impossible if you just want it.

When something feels scary and difficult and maybe lonely, believe that you are strong. If you decide you can do things, then you will. I am completely convinced of that.

That’s why I got my driver’s license, built my first van in two weeks, and drove down to Portugal. Because I knew I would succeed. See challenges as opportunities to learn. Decide that you won’t suffer. Decide that you will learn!

Home on Wheels to a Conclusion

Hanna Luna Grkovic is a vivid example of how the desire for freedom and a passion for a less conventional existence can radically transform a person’s life. With her minimalist and sustainable lifestyle, Hanna shows us that it is possible to live in harmony with our values, even when they diverge from traditional norms.

Her story is a source of inspiration for all those who dream of breaking the mold and exploring new horizons. We thank Hanna for the time she has dedicated to sharing her exciting adventure with us.

For those who wish to follow her journey and find further inspiration, you can find her on her Instagram page: @hannalunag. Join her and discover how to turn life into an endless journey.