This is the first in a series of articles about the process of converting a van, with the intention of starting out stationery then progressing to becoming nomadic. I have decided this will be the next step in the evolution of my Thrifty & Green life. Later I will share tips I have gleaned recently. As the title says: Less Stuff – Life on the Road, Come along for the ride. I will share this story with you as it evolves.
For many years I lived a somewhat normal life. I worked a corporate job for a few years, got married, bought a house. Heck I did the above a few times :). Only to find out I do not fit well in that box. Have any of you been there?
Having less stuff, becoming a minimalist, and Marie Kondo are VERY popular concepts these days. We as humans in my opinion have forgotten what is important in life. Becoming more organized for me is a means to an end, not just a way to feel better. Stuff is NOT the most important thing in life. If you need a laugh at what we have become, watch George Carlin’s bit on stuff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x_QkGPCL18
Eight years ago after a divorce I moved from CT to VA. I purchased a few acres of land, had a well drilled and did all of the required stuff for zoning. I live in a yurt set back amongst lots of tall tall trees! There is NO ambient light so the stars are my friends. I talk to the trees and stars when I walk the dogs. Life is great, however there seems to be an itch I need to scratch.
When I mentioned the idea of converting a van to be an office/home on the road it should have not surprised me to hear my sister call me a hippie. (She is more of a suburbanite) So maybe I am! I do love my jeans, casual tops, and occasionally I wear my Birkenstock’s! Most of all I truly care about what we as humans are doing to the earth and its wildlife.
My goal is like most people’s goals, I want to be happy. I want to be careful with my money, live as green as possible, meet interesting people and help those that I can.
I am in love with the thought of being off the grid with solar, being able to hop behind the wheel and go out to Colorado and visit my nephew’s daughter that is almost 2 years old and I have not met yet!
When I researched my move to Virginia I spent a lot of time on Youtube learning about the region and what it had to offer. Once again I have turned to Youtube. I have also joined a few Van conversion pages on Facebook! I am not the only one out there dreaming of this lifestyle!
I SO appreciate all of the information that people have to share. With this information I will not only learn how to approach and plan the build, but I will be able to make fewer mistakes learning from the valuable nuggets that content creators are sharing. What I find really fabulous is when I hear the same advice from many different people that have experience with building and live in a van.
Here is a list (the shortlist) of what I think are the MOST valuable nuggets so far:
Insulate your van well! This helps with cooling, heating and road noise
Install 2 roof fans for optimal air circulation, one should be over the bed area
Finish wood with Danish oil and wax instead of toxic polyurethane
Buy a louvered, screen window insert that will allow air flow without letting in the rain
Install more wires than you think you will need to allow for future growth
Thermal window screens are a must
Carry a hose for easy water reloads
Carry an extension cord
It IS possible to easily and affordably build your own composting toilet without spending close to $1000. I NEVER thought I would spend SO much time watching videos about toilets!
The above list is not in any particular order. Stay tuned for more lists like this as I do much more research on the subject.
The planning has begun. I am at the point where I am starting to draw out potential layouts. I cannot finalize anything until I have the van or it’s specs which I hope to have within the next 6-8 months.
In the meantime, In response to the upcoming shift in my life I have been busy selling my “stuff” It surprised me that things I HAD to have, I can let go of now so easily. There is a feeling of lightness that happens each time I let something else go. The funds from items sold will help to build the interior of my new tiny home. After all in SO many ways you cannot take it with you.
In my next article I will share with you the adventures of selling my stuff on Ebay. There is a learning curve and I hope to share some specifics that will help you get started if you so wish. Until then, thank you for stopping by, and feel free to share this article!