We Have A BIG Announcement! Hint: #VanLife

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

Nissan - Van Life

It’s up for sale! We’re so excited to get it sold so that we can start our mobile adventures. 🙂

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.

Van Types

VW Bus - van life

My dad’s ride back in the 80s. So cool.

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.

Van Life | #vanlife | Vandwellers | Camper Vans | RV Living | Tiny Living | Tiny Movement via @MadMoneyMonsterOur 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’
  • Comfort

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
  • Hi-top
  • Interesting exterior/interior (nice-to-have)

Our Adventures

Mad Money Cat - van life

#VanLife? You’re kidding me. #nothanks

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!

So, what do ya think? Give us feedback. Would you or have you ever done anything like this? Are we nuts? Don’t hold back! Tell us what you really think.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MarLeigh Dec 16, 2017, 7:46 am

    That’s wonderful. I wish you lots of adventures and fun. There is nothing like hitting the road on your terms. We did something similar last year. We bought a 16 ft travel trailer and pull it with my husband’s truck. It has a bed, kitchenette, wet bath which is a must, and dinette that can become a sofa or bed. I love it and so far we’ve toured different parts of Florida. Now we’re ready to see mountains, lakes, wherever the road takes us.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 16, 2017, 7:48 am

      Wow! It sounds like you’re doing it in style! We opted to go small to start to see how much we enjoy it. Although my gut tells me, we’re going to enjoy it 🙂

  • Farah Al Zadjaly Dec 11, 2017, 11:55 am

    This is an amazing adventure. 🙂 I am considering that next year.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 1:27 pm

      We’re hoping to have tons of fun and make wonderful memories. Let me know if you decide to take the plunge!

  • Renee Dec 11, 2017, 11:54 am

    How exciting! Can’t wait to follow your adventure!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 1:26 pm

      Thanks! We’re excited to have you follow our adventure 🙂

  • My Money Adventures Dec 10, 2017, 11:27 pm

    You need to drop a Porsche engine in the VW van. 🙂
    You might check out vanagons too. With a pop up tent. I would love to have one to venture the states to just chilling at the beach. Congrats on your family’s mission to venture! Very awesome.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 8:08 am

      Thanks! We thought about updating an engine in a VW van – just not sure it would have enough space for all of us. It’s on the long list. 🙂

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach Dec 10, 2017, 9:17 pm

    That’s so cool! I’m inanely jealous and can’t wait to follow your adventures. I’ve toyed with this idea myself, but honestly would rather have someone to share the adventure with!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 8:06 am

      I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to post updates. You should definitely keep it as a option! 🙂

  • Military Dollar Dec 10, 2017, 8:47 pm

    Very exciting! I’ve been considering either a pop up or a Sprinter conversion. Sadly, my parents actually sold a Sprinter (high top, 144″ base) in great shape last year that would have been PERFECT, but I had no place to keep it here. When I move out of the DC metro area, it’s happening!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 8:07 am

      You should definitely do it. Then we can follow each other on social media all around the country 🙂

  • Jane @ Cash Fasting Dec 10, 2017, 8:23 pm

    Woah, how exciting! My BF and I have talked a few times about taking a van life plunge, but part of me isn’t ready to take that step yet (plus, we don’t agree on how it should be done, which is very important). I’ve been following quite a few vanlifers on IG, can’t wait to see your updates!
    Four pets would probably get too unwieldy, but it’s not impossible to live on the road with pets. Brianna Madia has two dogs who love living on the road (and I love living through her pictures haha).
    https://www.instagram.com/briannamadia

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 11, 2017, 8:05 am

      We don’t plan on taking the pets. If we do, it would only be 1 dog at a time – especially if we have our daughter along. We plan to have a my mom stay at the house when we’re traveling. She doesn’t mind doing that at all.

      You should definitely follow along and do a little more research. Maybe you and your BF can come to an agreement and hit the road 🙂

  • Physician on FIRE Dec 8, 2017, 5:14 pm

    Congrats! We plan to purchase an RV in the next year or two. We started thinking motorhome, but have shifted our thinking to travel trailer. With two growing boys, I don’t think a van would cut it for us. I have seen some pretty sweet conversions that might make sense for our empty nester days, though.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2017, 9:09 pm

      Thanks! We were thinking RV at first, too. But we’re going to try the van route first to see how we like it. It’s an economical way to try it out.

  • Ty Roberts Dec 8, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Right on! Super jealous and hope to follow your lead someday soon. Looking forward to following your journey!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2017, 4:13 pm

      Thanks! We just sold our second car about hour ago! So excited 🙂

  • Jim @ Route To Retire Dec 8, 2017, 11:10 am

    Wow, I like it! Sure it might be a little crazy, but you do only live once. Should definitely be some an adventure and some great memories for the whole family.

    Have a great time with it!

    — Jim

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2017, 12:04 pm

      Thanks! We’ll definitely be sharing all of our adventures on the blog 🙂

  • FullTimeFinance Dec 8, 2017, 8:46 am

    You had me up until the eight year old. There’s not enough van in the world that would have me sleeping in one with my boys for more then a night. Perhaps if I brought along a tent for them. Still sounds like a great adventure.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2017, 12:03 pm

      I know. It’s going to be interesting. We’ll have to figure out a balance. And she probably won’t always travel with us, 🙂

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