Since Victoria and I have departed on a cross-country VanLife adventure, many people have come to us with questions. People want to know how much it costs, how we aquired a van, how and what we built inside the van, and most of all HOW DO YOU SHOWER? Im writing this blog here today to try and answer all questions by walking you through a chronilogical discription of how and why we got to were we are today. So lets begin...
In the middle of a hot summer day, 2014, Victoria and I decided to take a stroll down the streets of Manchester NH. After leaving the corner store with the lemonades and snacks we much needed, we came across a used Van for sale and decided to stop and take a look. We began to talk about the dreams we both had to travel and how a cross-country road trip would be a worthy life experience. At that moment we decided we were gonna do it. We didn't buy the Van on the walk home form the gas station that day, but thus began my research on ALL makes and models of Vans and the beginning to our extravigant journey.
Top Photo* Taken on a rainy day by Victoria on the street of Manchester NH
Bottom Photo* Road through New Mexico
Victoria and I both had full time jobs before this trip, and we both knew we were gonna want to have a good amount saved for life on the road. I did the math and found that it would cost us $3,000 in gas to drive around the country in a van that averages 17 MPG with gas at $3.50 - $4.00 (prices back then). Now, with lower gas prices you would only really need $2,000, but we got lucky and we had still saved for the $3,000 we thought it would cost. We agreed that $5,000 each would not only be a good amount for what we needed, but it would be an amount we could manage saving in 6 months; granted I was living in an apartment at the time and had a handful of expenses. We also planned to leave when we did, so that a couple months after we left we would be getting our taxes back (which we did on the road) and that would help re-emburse any money we had started to spend.
As I was doing my research on Vans that summer, I knew I had to buy a van during the Fall so I could work on converting it into a camper. My Honda Accord at the time was on the market, but before selling it I found the perfect Van for our trip. It was a 2003 Chevy Astro Van AWD, asking price was $8,000, I got it for $6,000 after a week of hagling with the guy. Now I owned a Van AND a Honda and that was somthing I couldn't afford so I was in a mad dash to sell the car. Luckily I sold the Honda the day before I was about to make payments on both cars, phheww.
Bottom Photo* On the ride home after buying our Van.
We got the Van in October and had 2 months to convert it. I moved out of my apartment in Manchester at the end of November and moved home for the holidays. I could still commute to work, but I worked less hours because my job as a schoolday photographer slowed down in the winter. Victoria had been living at her parents house in NH at the time and worked all the way up untill Chritmas. As I was home I went to the lumber yard with my Pops and bought the required lumber for a bed frame. I then had my cousin who is a carpenter help me cunstruct the frame, and he did a magnificent job. The bed frame was built to allow us to store bins underneath that hold our cloths and other misc. things. Along with the bed frame, I also put in a Battery Power Pack (which is primarily an external car battery) that allows me to plug in AC adaptors and use electricity without killing the car battery. It also has an air pump and cables to jump the car battery. Another important asset to our preperation was the Cargo Top Car Carrier. This holds alot of our luggage, mostly camping gear and supplies.
After we had the bed fame built, we then began decorating the Inside. This included pinning a tapestry of the tree of life to the cieling, wiring christmas lights around the top, and velcrowing shades to the back windows. Victoria also threw up some dreamcatchers and stones.
We were now ready to leave New England in our fully equiped Chevy Astro Van. It just so perfectly worked out that we left on the first day of the year, Jan. 1, 2015. We origionally planned on leaving a couple days after Christmas, but after finding out the Van had a slight oil leak, we had to stay a little longer to get everything in tip top shape.
Bottom Photo* Taken the day we left, somewhere near New York I think.
TO BE CONTINUED... NEXT BLOG- Rout- Hygene!- and Current Situation.