was 92 years old, she drank like a pint of bourbon and body-surfed
every day,” Roman laughs. “You could not kill this
All the things she worried about before seemed unimport-ant
“I became super aware of the value of time,” Roman says. “I
had just become no one’s granddaughter.”
Everyone around her was telling her to just go get a new job
— any job. But that seemed like bad advice.
“I didn’t want any old job,” Roman says. “If I only have a
limited amount of time here, I don’t want to spend it just
getting a paycheck. That seems like throwing away time.”
She began to ask herself the cliché question, “If money
wasn’t an object, what would you do with your life?” She
decided her greatest passion was throwing her camera in the
car and driving around the backroads to find forgotten pieces
of architecture. So she bought a van and worked on it for four
months, transforming it into a mobile tiny home.
Roman had a vision of saying goodbye and taking off
with the wind in her hair and a camera in hand, but it was
“I would wake up every morning warm in my bed with a
toilet and a hot shower nearby and then I would look at this
van in the driveway and be like ‘I’m going to go sleep in that
with no utilities? I’m definitely crazy!’” she says.
Finally, a clear sunny day came. Roman told herself, “If I
don’t go now, I’m never gonna go.” There were no goodbyes,
no fanfare. She threw all her belongings in the back of the van
and crossed the Cape Fear Bridge with the plan to head south
for only three weeks.
Roman began documenting her adventures on YouTube.
“I woke up one morning and I had all these followers,” she
says. “Unbeknownst to me, van conversions were a thing!”
Hitting the trend at the right time, she gained about 27,000
subscribers and was able to monetize her channel.
On her first night on the road, Roman stopped in George-town,
South Carolina. The town is generally very safe, but she
prepared for the worst.
“On that night, I locked down that van like I had just
parked in a war zone. I was so terrified that people were going
to break in,” she says.
Opposite: Casey Roman insulates the walls of her new van. She finished it off with custom details including a ceiling medallion and a
penny countertop. Above: Roman prepares breakfast in a parking lot at the base of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse in Georgia.