I am so excited to finally be able to write this post. As many of my long-time readers know, we live a fairly “normal” family life with a few adventures thrown in here and there. Well, that’s about to change. Big Time. After much consideration and debate, we have decided to sell Mr. MMM’s car, bank most of the proceeds, and buy a van with the rest. What are we going to do with this van? Read on to find out!
Why We’re Choosing Van Life
We’ve been toying with the idea of doing something wild and crazy for some time now. At the top of our list was buying a van and traveling around the country.
I actually brought up the idea to Mr. MMM and he instantly fell in love with it because, unbeknownst to me, he has always wanted to try #vanlife – ever since he was in middle school.
In short, a simple Friday night conversation spiraled into months of research. Probably the best research of all was following along in different Facebook groups – here’s lookin’ at you #Vanlife, VanDwellers, and VanLife – Tips & Tricks! Now, we’re finally ready to take the plunge and announce it to the world! Here it is, World. We’re starting #vanlife.
Since we hardly ever drive our second car, and it’s worth quite a bit – we’re cashing it in for van life. And because our van isn’t going to cost us more than a few thousand dollars, we plan to invest the difference.
Not only does it allow us to capitalize on the equity in our current vehicle (that just sits in the garage most days), it also allows us to maintain a second car and doubles as our ultra cool vacation home on wheels.
Before starting our research, we had NO IDEA how many different options there were for van life. Not surprisingly, I’m totally partial to the VW bus. Why, you ask? Because my dad had several when I was growing up. I was too young and foolish to appreciate how cool that was. Now I get it.
Just in case you were wondering, here’s a list of the different types of vehicles you can use for #vanlife:
- Small RVs
- VW Vans/Buses
- Cargo Vans
- Conversion Vans
Our obvious van of choice is a VW bus like my dad had back in the 80s. But, the big downside to these vans is the rate at which they tend to break down. And since we’ll be traveling with an 8-year-old (occasionally), we would prefer to curb the amount of time we’re sitting on a deserted highway waiting for help as much as possible.
Our second van of choice is a cargo work van. If you can picture a “creepy white van”, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This also seems to be the van of choice for a lot of modern vandwellers – especially those willing to put some work into turning the cargo area into a modern paradise, equipped with wooden floors, a working faucet, stove, and heater.
Unfortunately, we’re not willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a rebuild. And since neither one of us are expert carpenters, we would have to outsource all of the work – making van life a much more expensive endeavor than we’re comfortable with.
Our Van Of Choice
All things considered, that leaves us with only one option that makes sense. We’ve decided on a plug ‘n play conversion van. From everything I’ve read, it sounds like they don’t stand out as much as a decked out VW or cargo van. And when you’re on the road in a strange place, blending in is a very good thing.
Here’s a rundown of the various reasons we’re opting for a conversion van:
- We won’t have to outlay a huge amount of cash to pay someone to retrofit it
- It won’t be breaking down on the side of the road or off-the-beaten-path too often (hopefully)
- Standing up shouldn’t be a problem if we find a hi-top – well, maybe for Mr. MMM, we’ll see
- We need at least one rear seat for Mini to strap in while we’re cruising the country
- Future customizations with wooden floors, sink, stove, etc. are still an option
- We can buy it and start rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Must Haves For Our RV
(Yes, a van is also considered an RV 🙂
We have a short list of must-haves for our new traveling adventure mobile.
- Low miles
- No more than $5k
- Mechanically and electrically sound
- Comfortable seats
- Interesting exterior/interior (nice-to-have)
Our cross-country adventures are going to need to be part-time. After all, we do have a young child in school and 4 Mad Money Pets to consider. Oh, and I also have that pesky little W2 job that will sometimes interfere. But since I’ve been with my current employer for over a decade, I have tons of vacation.
Not only are we going to enjoy this most exciting, alternative, albeit part-time, lifestyle, we’re also going to share our travels with all you awesome readers via this blog, and our social media accounts. We would absolutely love it if you followed along! Here are our links to make it easy – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest
Oh, just in case you’re wondering, we’re going to give our van a name, too! Stay tuned. Zoom, zoom, zoom!