JOY’S TAKE ON VAN DWELLING FOR NEWBIES………

Now folks…….this is NOT meant to be instruction for everyone. It is only ‘MY TAKE’ and what ‘I’ve’ discovered , through the hard knocks sent my way.

So you are maybe stressed out with the ole 9-5, maybe close to retirement age, and haven’t lived as fully as you’ve wanted, or just fed up with paying ‘The man’ to live in a place, not own it, and have nothing left for working like a dog. Many reasons……we are each unique, special , and deserve to be HAPPY.

TEST THE WATERS

Some advice I wish I had taken in the beginning, is to go ahead and do some short stays in my current vehicle, whatever it may be…to test the waters. When I started out, I was just going to jump in both feet first. And I thought I needed the most perfectly outfitted mini rig possible. Boy was I way off!

If you are stressed out and want to take a stab at the freedom of the road, why not take baby steps. Anyone can sleep, even in their car at a truck stop, or any camp grounds that allows tent camping. While I was very comfy sleeping in my mini van in 24 hour shopping centers, a small car might stress me a bit there. It depends on your comfort level.

All you really need to take for an overnight, is a change of clothes and baggie of toiletries…maybe a lunch box cooler, if not eating out. A couple pillows and cozy throw….you are set for testing the waters. Be sure to research fun goings on. Don’t wait….go attend them….NOW. No need to wait for the perfect Van/RV…just Do IT!

STEP 2……
Ok so you’ve kept your job, saved and minimized, watched every utube vid on van conversions, and you are now mentally an expert at converting any kind of vehicle to your version of Rv Freedom. You have even figured out how to make a living on the road! You are READY to buy your Van or RV. So many choices…Ugh!

Hey…if you can afford a brand spank’in new 4 wheel drive, super cargo van…white for stealth of course,that is my first pick. Build it out exactly how you want. With this you’ll make mincemeat of those rutted roads…bla..bla..bla.

Oh….you’re just a sweet lil old lady and not going the rutted route, and can’t afford new….you need cheap, easy on gas, and don’t need a double bed. Ok…..you are a mini van camper….just like me! Get the best one you can afford and expect repairs. Have enough money to do any repair or replace the whole vehicle, before you start out. Boy did I learn that the hard way!

STEP 3….OUTFITTING
OMG……don’t buy anything till you absolutely can’t stand living without it! Then think on it a week, before buying. I know I wouldn’t buy a big cooler again, that guzzled ice. Shoot…..I ate bananas, nuts, fruit mostly and Mc Donalds dollar menu. In short….who wants to cook in a mini van? Ugh..not me. And boy did all that cook kitchen stuff take up a lotta room!

A good comfy sleeping space is crucial. 4-8″ of solid foam mattress is what most end up liking. I used a 6″ nice fold up chair/foam/twin bed, and it was great. Build a simple wood frame or use milk crates. I took lots of pillows covered in nice shams, so it looked good too. Like a couch or a bed.

I used plastic sterlite before, but this time it will be milk crates. But I am on a mission to do the next build almost for free. I have time, so will search out free postings for some or most of what is needed, just cause it’s a pet project. Of course…some folks use old wood furniture pieces. I’m on a milk crate binge, sooooooo!

STEP 4 …..EXPENSES
GAS and Repairs………..These will be your greatest expenses. The longer you stay in one place, the less gas costs. Repairs can eat you up. You really do have to be prepared for those.

Washing…..Cheap gym membership, baby wipes, and sponge baths at restrooms………….not hard to be clean.

FOOD…..You probably won’t be baking cookies and cakes too much, but of course you can if you want! I noticed that a lot of us have gone to one main meal a day, with healthy snacks…hmmmm. Not too expensive and now we are walking a lot more….wow…..did I just go down a size in clothes! WooHoo!

HEALTH….That is what it always was for you. Same meds….be sure to prepare if traveling.

Electronics……Not even getting into THAT can of worms. Some need iphones and satelite . Others….a trac phone and library for internet. Geeks def. need their solar panels and battery banks. I was really happy to hook up at Mc D’s for some face book time. I DO LUB MOVIES…but when on the road….not so much…hang out chatting with peeps and beach and fire pit time more. When at the home stick n bricks….MOVIES and netflix every day. For me, a portable battery pack, charged as I drive is good to run a fan on me at night to be comfy.

Loneliness…..You may think mobile life will be a bowl of cherries. It CAN get lonely out there. How do you fill up all your free time now? It really pays to research via internet and travel centers to find all these neato places to Go..See..Do…at. Honestly…a Van is an ok place to sleep and store your minimal STUFF, but to live out of like a house…not so much. Some do…more power to em. Us Minivanners…..harder to turn it into a mini house full time, with all the comforts of home. I don’t know….to each his own.

Well friends…don’t bash me too hard. If I helped one person figure some things out…..YAYYYY!

Next blog will be outlining my plans for the new camper van build out.

Minnievanjoy

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7 comments
  1. Well thought out and explained in a simple way. Nice job

    Brent

  2. The advice is sound Joy … especially about the “don’t buy now” part. I too bought stuff that I ended up selling for lots less than I paid.

    You mentioned the cooler is too large. One solution is to look for some of that blue or pink insulation board. Put it atop your ice then the ice won’t melt so fast. I used to keep stuff that didn’t matter if it got wet at the bottom and my lunch meats on top of the blue board.

    I found mine for free — my perfect price. I’ve used it along the hull of my boat where the stripe is painted because it got a lot hotter there. The blue board keeps that from radiating into my cabin.

    And keep an eye out (thrift stores) for a more practical size. I tend to hold on to things too long — wanting to pass them along to someone else. I should be less attached to Stuff that doesn’t make my life better. THAT is my constant struggle.

    So far, so good.

    Keep posting. You write good stuff. 🙂

    Janice aboard Seaweed
    http://janice142.com

  3. Lynn said:

    Interesting to read your pro’s and con’s of minivan camping. I agree, one needs a little more space to travel for extended periods. It will be interesting to see if your build out camper van provides for your needs. I have a camper van which I love for short trips.

  4. Great post! Also helped me make my decision because I plan to take up van dwelling soon as I can afford one. Thanks for the tips! Was hell bent on a van but I guess I’ll experiment on a mini before I go full blown nomad! Cheers 🙂

    • I’m glad my ‘take’ made you think a lil. Always good to test the waters before you jump in both feet first! If you …NEED…to put a kitchen inside and want a full size bed, tv, solar, etc…then by all means, and high top full size or extended van is best. But for less intensive camping, I swear by the mini vans. Easier to drive and better gas mileage. Joy

      • Well first a bed is paramount. The cooking I can live without for sometime. No TV, I plan to carry a laptop around so that’s sorted…Will need power. How do I get that and just how much can I power without needing a recharge? Also, I will need to carry extra gas around right?

  5. Moniqua said:

    Thank you so much for this advice. I’m 27 and wanting to move into a camper van within the next year or two and this helped so much. I have been binge watching YouTube videos and weighing the pros and cons (pros outweigh the cons). I am excited to start this journey, but I do want to be smart about it, so I will keep these things in mind.

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