Over the last couple of years I have been slowly downsizing and prioritizing my life. Sometimes by circumstance and sometimes almost unconsciously. Being one who moves around a lot, I realized that carting around a lot stuff was costing me time, money and stress. With each move, I would let go of a lot of things but still hold on to what I thought I needed or wanted. Only to have a good portion of what I had brought discarded on the next relocation.
I had recently made another one of my cross country moves, this time from Las Vegas to southwest Florida. One of the reasons I made the move was an opportunity to drastically lower my monthly expenses. After living a couple of months this way I had an epiphany. I could enjoy a very simple yet very fun, fulfilling life if I re-arranged my thoughts about what I needed to survive. I found I really didn’t need or want the fast flashy car, the apartment or the house full of furnishings, nor the traditional job I had to devote myself to in order to have those things.
So in early April 2013, I purchased this 1987 GMC high-top passenger van for $1,400. With the sole intention of turning it into a home on wheels. One that would be very personalized, unique and self-sufficient. on the inside. Yet able to easily slip into stealth camping mode wherever and whenever I want.
I knew the the radical metamorphose of thirty year old passenger van into a “gypsy caravan” (or vardo to use the traditional word) would not be easy or cheap. However no longer working or working only part time meant finding ways to achieve the look and the functionally I wanted within a tight budget. Which lead to reusing materials, hunting for bargains, and generally thinking out of the box on just about every aspect of this project.
I’ll be telling you about the removal of old seats and carpet (neither of which is anywhere as easy as it sounds), and other prep work that I wasn’t expecting…to all the new things like adding a kitchen, closet, water system, and the really awesome electrical system run on it’s own solar power. Of course the decorating and soft furnishings that give it the feel of a space from another time.
With the help of a good friend who has experience in conversions, what was once a unwanted motor vehicle headed for the scrap yard is now a travelling home for a content gypsy and her partner Kij the cat as they are about to start a grand adventure.
I’m excited about living in a van though have no illusions about what it’s going to entail, (at least I think I don’t). I’ll let you know how I got here and as I go along what I’m learning about the van lifestyle. With lots of pictures along the way.