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This Man Created a $250 DIY Camper to Explore America’s National Parks

A Florida man creatively converted his pickup truck into a camper van so he could take an epic trek across the United States.

John Charles Putrino is a 25-year-old from St. Petersburg, Fla., and like many 20-somethings, he had a desire to do some traveling. Instead of spending a ton of money on a new van or a camper, he decided to shell out just a little money and create his own DIY camper from his Dodge Ram truck.

According to Business Insider, he equipped his Dodge with a bed and storage unit in the back for the national parks trip. He added thermal blankets to keep himself warm without shelling out a ton of money. Instead of creating a mini-kitchen, he packed canned beans and olives, granola bars and packaged meat. After spending just $250 on his new adventure vehicle, Putrino packed up and mapped out the journey.

February Route: St. Petersburg, FL ➡️ Savannah, GA ➡️ Shenandoah NP, VA ➡️ Washington, D.C. ➡️ Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN ➡️ Mammoth Cave NP, KY ➡️ Nashville, TN ➡️ Hot Springs NP, AR ➡️ Dallas, TX ➡️ Big Bend NP, TX ➡️ Carlsbad Caverns, NM ➡️ Guadalupe Mountains NP, TX ➡️ Saguaro NP, AZ ➡️ Petrified Forest NP, AZ ➡️ Phoenix, AZ ➡️ Grand Canyon NP, AZ ➡️ Bryce Canyon NP, UT ➡️ Zion NP, UT ➡️ Las Vegas, NV ➡️ Death Valley NP, CA ➡️ Sequoia NP, CA ➡️ Kings Canyon NP, CA ➡️ Yosemite NP, CA ➡️ Pinnacles NP, CA ➡️ Malibu, CA ➡️ Joshua Tree NP, CA ➡️ Los Angeles, CA #acrossthecountry #americaroadtrip #outwest #livingthedream

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To embark on an extensive road trip like this, Petrino had to quit his job. He wrote on an Instagram post that he left his “9-5 to try a more adventurous/simple lifestyle.” Although he’s living “simple” in his camper truck, he’s creating some beautiful memories. He started off at South Carolina’s Congaree National Park and he’s already made made several stops.

Putrino has already visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park and even gotten “caught in a protest” in Washington. The worst part about his journey? He recently wrote on his blog that he misses his dog “a lot.” His sister is taking care of the beautiful yellow lab and, although Putrino considered bringing him, he knew it wasn’t “fair” because of many parks’ animal restrictions.

that one time I got caught in a protest. Washington, DC • • • #democracy #washingtondc

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We bet Mason misses his faithful owner. But for now, the 25-year-old is getting a look at what America’s national parks have to offer. His journey will end on the West Coast and Mason has plans to stay there once he makes it.

“I plan on getting a job that excites me as much as going on this trip,” his blog says. “I want to create my own business idea and eventually start my own sustainable farm/ranch.”

pt. 3

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You can follow Putrino’s journey on Instagram and on his blog.

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This Man Created a $250 DIY Camper to Explore America’s National Parks