California Man Explores Pacific Coast in Repurposed Ambulance

Ian Dow’s life had hit an all-time low when his fiancée dumped him and kicked him out of their shared home. When Dow realized he couldn’t afford the high rents in Newport Beach he decided to buy a Mercedes-Benz van to serve as his mobile home. However, fate intervened when he injured his shoulder in a motorcycle accident, and he was inspired to find an old ambulance suitable for renovation. He found the perfect prototype being sold by a charity in Missouri and drove it back to California to begin renovations.

Dow’s additions took four months to complete, but he soon transformed the tired old emergency vehicle into a cozy home. Using his nascent carpentry skills, Dow added a tiny tiled kitchen with shiny hardwood floors and a wooden fold-out table. For his living area, Dow created a convertible bed and a cedar closet to store his clothes. The ambulance, affectionately known as Ambi, also comes equipped with a hot water heater, shower and generator. He also converted the roof into a makeshift guestroom with an Astroturf surface perfect for pitching a tent.

Accompanied by his trusty dog Dino and one human friend, Dow set off on an epic journey along the Pacific Coast in June. Driving from California to Costa Rica, he has explored volcanoes, surfed in the warm waters of the Pacific and become an unexpected Instagram star. Dow plans to return to Newport Beach in the spring and make a living from ambulance conversion. He wants to help spread his unique lifestyle by transforming more ambulances into rolling homes.