I did a crazy thing the other day. I finally made steps towards living the life I want. Lately I’ve been feeling stuck, both physically and mentally. So, after months of research, touring car lots, and making a list of things I absolutely wanted, and things that would be nice but aren’t necessarily deal breakers…I bought a van. I bought a 1999 GMC Savana low top conversion van and will be drastically downsizing my life so that I can live the van life fulltime. Together with what can only be considered the most adorable trio of co-pilots in the history of doggydom, we’ll be hitting the road and documenting the highs, lows and hysterical mishaps along the way. Here’s a peek into the list of why I bought the van I did and why it fit into the criteria that I’ve been searching for. Also, I know I’m a little crazy to get a low-top van, but I’m vertically challenged at 5’4” so a high-top wasn’t exactly a dealbreaker for me.
- The backdoor opens with two swinging doors. I figure this would come in handy for cooking since I’ll be installing a sort of tailgate to act as a cooking surface for outdoor cooking. The two side doors could help protect from wind. Also, no one can see if I straight up botch a meal. If no one sees it, it never happened.
- The side of the van also has two doors, not a slide. I wanted to make sure I had as much workable space as possible, slide doors were super available, but I wanted the option to use that space and not lose it when the door slides open or shut. It also has the added bonus of me not breaking it within the first leg of the trip. By me I mean my dog Tipsy who has all of the characteristics and coordination of Scooby-Doo.
- I went specifically looking for a conversion van because it would already be insulated. A cold Brandilyn is a cranky Brandilyn. I would classify this one not as a decision made out of a sense of self-preservation decision but also as a public service. I feel like I should apologize anyway to all the people I would have yelled at on the road had I not slept the night before because my dumb ass decided to go with less insulation in the van and then tried to reenact the epic door in the water scene from Titanic. Real talk: they both could have fit on that door! Good job, Rose…just chill on the door while your man turns into a popsicle. Not cool.
- A high-top would have been nice, but the only one I had close by to look at had a fiberglass top, I wanted something sturdier and slightly more insulated. I’m short anyway, so having to duck will be a new and refreshing experience.
I’ll toss up some links to some of the things I’ve either already purchased for the van or will be investing in down the road. My plan is to not do a full on build out of the van, but to leave here with the bare minimum. Yes, that sounds a little crazy, but I promise there is a method to my madness. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a new place it takes me a couple of times of redoing the living room before I’m happy with where everything is placed…I’m using that very same principle with the van. Eventually I may want to invest in a sturdier bed, actual cabinetry or running water, but not until I have lived in it for a while and can tell what I use and where it should be placed. I’ve been straight up binge watching some van and RV life videos on YouTube and the only thing I’ve learned so far: no two are the same.
I mentioned before that I felt stuck. I’ve decided to change that by fully etch-a-sketching my life. I’m shaking it up and starting again. Once I have sold, donated or stored my possessions I’ll be hitting the road and traveling. The only thing I know for sure is that Long Beach, California is my first destination. That’s an 819-mile drive south…12 hours and 10 minutes (According to Siri, who has never let me down. *insert sarcastic eye-roll here). Why Long Beach? That’s probably the closest location to family I have on the map. I don’t have any specific timeline for my travel, but I’d like to be back east when fall comes around. I’d love to see the leaves change in Vermont, and I’ve got a spooky date with Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween. Another factor in my travel plans will be weather and temperatures. I’ll be traveling with three pups who don’t particularly like the heat, though they’re pretty okay with stealing my blankets if it gets cold. I also have Fibromyalgia, so extreme temperatures either way are kind of the Drago to my Creed. That’s a Rocky reference to all you young ones out there. Though I don’t have a specific timeline, that doesn’t mean I don’t have plans…I have a full-on vanlife/travel bucket list! I’ll be posting that up in my next edition.
Thanks for reading!