Our Newest Adventure // Van Life // #adVANrtime
#VanLife // Advanture Time
Welcome to one of our newest adventures. Van Life. Some of you maybe thinking, “Whaaat??? That sounds like so much fun.” or “They are completely crazy.” You are right! We are crazy and it does sound like a blast. But, how did this all begin? Daniel and I were living in a house we were renting a few years back when the idea to live smaller started to pop into my head. We had so much space and things and I felt unsettled. I loved our house but the idea that I wasn’t using all the space just broke my heart. It really got me thinking about what I really needed. Believe me, I like things, clothes, and trinkets as much as the next person but I sat down and really looked at the things I owned and started to wonder if they were owning me.
I didn’t want to live in a way that felt like I needed more things to fill a space that was just too big for us. We had rooms I never went in and spaces that were left unused. I found myself buying things for no real purpose but simply because I liked them. Now, there’s nothing wrong buying things you like but for me it wasn’t fulfilling a place in my life like I thought it would. A life of less just kept feeling more and more appealing. I also started to get in my head that the less I had and the less waste I contributed to the world the better.
I was a little nervous to talk to Daniel about this feeling I was having, most couples get married, buy a house, and have kids but this wasn’t my dream. But, I should have known Daniel would be on board, I mean we quit our jobs and school to start our own business. When we actually sat down and talked about our next steps we started with tiny houses but when I actually called and talked to someone about it they said a tiny house while being able to be mobile shouldn’t really be moved. When you drive your house around, it shifts. So, tiny houses were out. Next was campers, we liked the idea of buying an old Airstream and remodeling it and then a 5th Wheel came into play because they are pretty cheap while being decent sized. But, if we bought a camper we’d also have to buy a truck and I wasn’t sold on that. We also realized how much we loved traveling to cities as much as traveling to more rural areas as well. And honestly we did a TON of research and I don’t know how many people who choose to live smaller found that they thought they needed more space but eventually wished they’d started smaller instead of bigger. This is where VAN LIFE suddenly because an option.
Now for the real questions. Could we live this small? What about a shower or toilet for that matter? Solar? What are our fridge options? Can you cook in there? What van do we want? Do I have to get rid of all my plants? Do books weigh too much to have in the van? Can I really shrink my closet to fit in a van? Will we even have a closet? Yes guys, I had the same questions you all have. We slowly went through each question working out each details and to be honest, we still are working some of them out.
Here’s where Daniel comes in:
We needed a van if we wanted to do ‘van life.’ So, starting at the beginning: which van did we want buy? While there aren’t a huge list of options there are a few go-to vans people invest in for long term use. Ford Transit, Dodge Pro Master, Volkswagen Bus, and Mercedes Sprinter are the top choices of most. It comes down to tow power, fuel economy - diesel vs gas, square footage, dual rear tires, 4 wheel drive, wheel spacing, reliability, customizability, repair cost and buying used or new. This could be a whole blog in itself, BUT we went with the Mercedes Sprinter. Most other options haven’t been in the U.S. long enough to know their track record like this van; it lives for an average of 300,000-500,000 miles. This is also the only diesel option which burns slower for long drives and better fuel costs. Ultimately we think it’s not something where there’s one option that’s best, but just weighing the pros and cons and deciding if the cons are worth it in the end.
Some of the negatives have been the “Blue Tech” diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system, and finding anyone to fix it with the right Mercedes sanctioned tools and computers to read the engine. Again, another blog to come because we wish we knew more before we dropped $4,000+ on repairs that were ultimately optional. Fast forward to today, and we have a van that is huge, can hold any amount of weight we put in it, and we can trust to invest in. But, getting to where we are was a journey in and of itself and a story for another day.
But the point of this blog is really an introductory into our newest adventure with many more decisions, DIY projects, prepping, and more before we will officially be living in this thing. We have our van, wait until you hear that story, and we are hoping to start our build after our wedding season slows down a bit. Any questions, cool stories, friends with vans, or comments on our crazy life decision is welcome. We’ve always been the outliers of most groups so we get it. We come up with big crazy dreams and tend to go after them with passion and drive. Some work out, some don’t, and some take longer than expected and that’s okay. We are learning to live in our today while working towards tomorrow. You all rock!
Our girl, Addi the AdVANture Van!
Bear Creative Co. // www.bearcreativeco.com