Mark Atkins gives Aussies the opportunity to adventure. The founder of conversion company Van Go Fitouts has turned his two passions - carpentry and travel - into a very successful business.
And with more people hitting the road and embracing #vanlife, Mark is proud to work with a range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles including new and vintage Sprinter vans, the Vito and Marco Polo ACTIVITY. But where did his journey begin?
“From a very young age, I’ve had a knack for craftsmanship,” says Mark who was inspired by his father’s DIY attitude.
As a child, Mark would follow dad around the house as he carried out repairs, imitating his father’s movements until taking up the tools came naturally.
Mark’s other passion is surfing, and in 2016 he converted a van for his own weekend adventures - turning it into a vehicle that could securely store his tools and his surf gear.
He took the vehicle up and down the east coast of the country, finding secret surf spots, picking up van conversion tips from other travellers, and picking up carpentry jobs when he needed cash.
But jumping from job to job was frustrating, because Mark rarely felt the satisfaction of seeing a project through to completion.
Then, after some strangers asked him for conversion advice, Mark had a brainwave. Why not combine his carpentry skills and love of life on the road into a business that allowed others to get out and explore in style?
“Designing dream vans and finally seeing them finished in front of me makes me proud every day,” says Mark, who now has a team of 10 helping him out - including plumbers, electricians, carpenters and an interior designer.
The Van Go crew has already converted over 20 vans and a host of buses, campers and off-road vehicles into flexible homes on the road.
Business is booming, and Mark’s team are now looking to move their workshop into a warehouse to keep up with demand. But that doesn’t mean the man behind the brand has had to call time on adventures of his own.
He’s been to New Zealand, the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica, and is about to jet set to Europe. His choice of vehicle when he’s overseas? A converted van, of course.