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Notes on Van Life

My Van life story… so far.

I’ve spent 15+ years in the IT field and a few years back the company I work for adjusted their business model to include ethically (my ethics) questionable methods of procuring money… (I.e schlep Chinese shit). This is what kicked off my journey.

For the past 4 years I’ve been spending a lot of my free time and all vacation time to learn and find better ways of doing things that would help me build a lifestyle/business to move away from the 9-5 grind and spend my life learning and helping others. I’ve been to Montana a couple times, Started building an orchard in middle Missouri, California a couple times for conferences and visiting some locations doing some neat things that deviate from the norm. All great learning experiences, but nothing gave me the agile lifestyle I was searching for.

In 2014 I went to a learning/cooking event at Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin. There I ran into an Aussie couple (Jacki and Dale) that had been traveling around the US for a few months in a VAN. We talked a bit about how it all worked and it really got the wheels in my head turning.

In early 2015 I ran across a youtube channel Called A Girl, A guy, And a camper van”. Derrick and Paula had some quirky fun videos about how they are living in a van… in Canada… during the winter! They had me hooked on the idea.

So, Over the past year, I’ve been, seriously, looking for a different living situation that will allow the freedom to travel the US, and elsewhere, with a focus on learning and helping others.

The van life really stuck out as a potential way to make all of this happen.

Now… The plan.

I’m searching for a cargo van to build out a simple mobile living quarters. I’ve gotten rid of about ⅓ of my stuff”… The other ⅔ is on it’s way out over the next few months.

By spring 2017, I hope to have the van built out and have taken a few small trips.

Update Feb 2017:

Well… Plans have changed. I’m now looking for an older Toyota 4Runner (3rd generation 1996-2002 preferred, 4th gen would be acceptable: towing package, cruise, not too many miles <200k or too expensive < 10k.)

Update Mar 2017

2001 4runner Acquired.

Resources

I’ve been compiling some resources over the past year and I hope this information helps if you are interested in this as a potential lifestyle.

Youtube Channels

  • A guy, A Girl, and a Campervan - This was one of the first youtube channels I ran across when looking into van life. They have a great sense of humor and tell some great stories.

  • Bob Wells - Bob does some amazing interviews and really digs into people’s lives and homes. He interviews folks living in a compact car and folks living in a 30ft airstream and all sorts of folks in between. Great source of information. Note: he has recently moved to a new channel, and has tons of content pre-recorded that will be re-released over the next year or so.
  • Enigmatic Nomadics - Jamie does interviews much like Bob and also runs FreeCampsites.net a great resource to find free, and paid, campsites around the world.

  • Finding Simon - Simon (Initially Shelby and Simon) was another early find when looking into van life. Simon is a photographer and videographer; Both lend well to his youtube videos. The videos are fun and often explore the simple goings on in van life with loads of great scenery.

  • Exploring Alternatives- They bring all sorts of van lifers together to one channel. Definitely recommend checking out the variety they have on display.

  • The More We Explore - Steve, Tess, and Fender caught my attention recently. They are out in a 4x4 diesel van and an enormous airstream. I really enjoy their videos.

Websites

Not all of these I have used. (I’ll make a note of it if I have) however there are multiple people reporting that these items are great for the Nomad traveler.

  • Verizon - However much I hate to admit it, as their customer service is crap; Verizon has seemingly great coverage all over the US.

I own and recommend these items

  • Camp Chef Stoves - This is a product I own and Love. Boil water in about 1-2 minutes. Tolerant of wind.
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