• rebasgr8

Heading on a Vantastic Voyage

Updated: Feb 4

I bought a van.

It all started with an obsession over tiny houses and my desire to live more minimally. Not wanting to sell my current house for investment reasons, I considered buying a tiny house that could be parked on my property and rented out for passive income. Eventually, I could make it my own, renting out the larger main home. I researched DADU (detached accessory dwelling unit) vs #tinyhouse and learned that there are far less restrictions and costs involved with a tiny home, with the biggest perk being the ability to tow the home to a new spot. However, I quickly learned that a tiny house couldn't really be used to travel from place to place as they are really heavy, usually requiring a special and costly tow truck. Really wanting to travel, too, what I really needed was a van and a tiny house! However, I continued to explore as a van for my tiny house and a tiny house for my house was just ridiculous!

Van life: I had been following #vanlife on Instagram over the years and felt drawn to van lifers' seemingly carefree lives, minimalistic living and nomadic spirits. After all, I've been a bit of a nomad myself and usually walk the road less traveled (sometimes running at fast speeds). So, I decided to get a van. With a van, I could keep my home and travel while on vacation, getting a taste for what it's like to live in a tiny space while exploring the nation.

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.” ― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

There was only one rather large obstacle in my way. My job was temporary! I didn't have enough money and the future looked a bit bleak with people losing jobs due to shutdowns related to the coronavirus. Matter of fact, I had even just paid for a new roof for my home along with some other upgrades and repairs, so I was feeling a bit strapped without the stability of a steady income.

I remembered what a dear and very successful friend told me when we spoke about the "Law of Attraction" one day over lunch, having both read the book, "The Secret." She decided to make the word "abundance" (the feeling of it) part of her daily vocabulary, believing she had abundance. And sure enough, she became a successful entrepreneur with clients booked out months in advance with a waiting list, too. So, I took "Law of Attraction" by the horns and decided that my temporary job would become permanent! I believed that this exact location was where I would work as I didn't want to commute. I believed that a permanent position in this well-coveted role would open up just for me. I even turned down a similar position as it wasn't exactly what I wanted. Low and behold, only a few months later, the person I was temping for, resigned. I LOVE my job and am so grateful.

The next obstacle was how to build the thing. I may be adventurous and nomad-like, but I'm still a girly-girl in many ways, with the only calluses being those on my feet from dance. So again, I put it out and into the Universe, "I WILL be traveling in my van over the summer!" I envisioned it, felt it, and got giddy about the plan. I even bought a copy of National Geographic Road Atlas 2021: Adventure Edition.

A couple of weeks later, I received a text from a friend asking if I needed any work done or if my friends/family did, as he was unemployed and looking to keep busy for the time being. Bingo! I had someone to help build my van, at least while he was unemployed. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am to my friend, not to mention how continuously amazed I am by his vast knowledge and ability to learn and perfect any new skills needed.

Van shopping: I wish I had logged the hours I spent researching van life in order to select the right vehicle. Let's just say it consumed many hours and weeks... maybe 2 months.

After vacillating between the 159" and 136" wheel base, ProMaster High Roof Cargo Van, I decided on the 136," so I could be more stealthy in the cities and drive & park more easily. I wanted a newer vehicle as I'm not mechanical and wanted to lower my risk of breaking down in the middle of a national forest. One of the biggest considerations when choosing my van, however, was the potential bed length and inner ceiling clearance as I'm a tall person. With a 136" ProMaster, I could build a platform to support a full mattress going widthwise across the back of the van with a slide-out extension that converts the bed into a wide queen going lengthwise, resting on top of my cabinets. This will allow for more room when I have company. Sounds complicated. We'll see if we can make this work.

Update: It's been at least a month since I bought the van and we have done a ton of work, yet it still looks like a cargo van! See my next blog post to learn about the build.

PS: Since writing this article, I started living in my van full time! To learn more about me, you might enjoy reading my bio on the About page.

#vanconversion #choosingavan #vanlifer #lawofattraction #vanbuild #tinyhouseliving


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