The Van Plan

Okay so, lets explain the van plan.

My boyfriend- Paul- and I want to get out of the whole ‘living in a house thing’ and go travelling. Go look at all the cool stuff that’s out there. Explore all the far out stuff, explore the close to home stuff. Just explore really. Lots of exploring to be done.

We toyed with different plans, we both knew we wanted to make this last for an extended period of time, we wanted to take as long as we needed, go where we wanted and make it affordable. 24/7. A whole new lifestyle.

We pretty quickly came to the conclusion that what we needed was a HOME ON WHEELS.

Something that would see us through, allow us to move around, go to different places for work and fun, jump out and back into the UK and give us a permanent base camp to do that from. It’s also amazingly cheap when compared to renting a house.

Being a penniless nomad as a lifestyle choice has perks that are too good to ignore. Having each other to work with and support each other makes it ideal. There’s nothing for it but to give these things a shot. Right? Right. So. A vehicle. We played with the idea of buying a straight-up motorhome. They come ready with all the technical and fiddly stuff all sorted out, it would be quick and luxurious. Hmmm, luxury..

Another idea was to grab a small van, a Transporter type model, make a few mods, throw stuff in and see what happened. Maybe we could live out of a mixture of van and also the big bell tent Paul had?

The other option was to get hold of a van/bus/horse box, rip out its innards and transform it into a super home. A Robovan. A hippy A-Team type thing.

We discussed and batted pros and cons about between us and decided that trying to make do with a small van and camping was not really an option for the long term. Especially if we wanted to go to places that are cold or wet.

After Paul crunched numbers we knew that even with ALL the costs of buying/doing up a van, its still better option for us then buying a camper. Campers are pricey!

Also, the idea of building a home, step by step and making it your own, adjusting it to your personal needs and tastes was just, way more exciting. So. A choice was made. A ‘bespoke’ wonderbus it was to be!

What we think we’re gonna need to make van life a happy thing.

  • space for double bed, out of the way if possible
  • light and heat. Which means windows and a wood burner. These things compromise the stealth element of van living, which could be a pain. But we want this to be a home, so its is a must really.
  • running water
  • source of power
  • shower/toilet facilities
  • storage
  • kitchen unit
  • space free for work/seating.

The next step was getting our mitts on a van. Paul really dived into the research, looking at which models of vehicle fitted our spec and what had and hadn’t worked for people before. He squirrelled away, being way more sensible and logical then I have the capacity to be without giving myself a good talking to…..

What we wanted from the van.

  • Big! 3.5 tonnes is the weight limit before you have to go in for special licensing to drive, so this was our aim. Something that could have enough space for building in kitchen/bathroom units AND have room for work and play.
  • Wide! Something that could fit in a space for two people to sleep.
  • Tall! Ceiling high enough to stand up in after cladding goes on.
  • Common! Cheap and easily sourced parts are a major plus.
  • Reliable! A model that comes with a good engine and rep.
  • Good! Decent mileage, minimal bodging and NOT being a death trap are good things.

This is what we’ve ended up with.

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This is Hacey. A Ford Transit Luton box van with a long wheel base and diesel engine. These babies are usually put to use as storage and transport vans. They’re known for being reliable and having good engines.

Hacey is absolutely massive and very much in the beginning stages of being a home. However she has every potential, and has space over the cab that is perfect for a double mattress bed/nest, perched up high. We have already used Hacey to travel about and crash in for festivals and adventures and its so much fun.

Delays to funds needed to start the conversion have left us unable to begin until now, which is in the middle of a very wet and miserable January up here in the North. So progress has been slow and we’re getting very eager to get stuck in.

The current plan is to get this done for around late spring/early summer and set off when light is good and weather is warmer- giving us a better environment to adjust to the change!

Reasons to blog process.

  • The internet has been a source of endless information, experience and learning for us both on this project. This would be a way of adding to this collective. A way of providing insight and hopefully inspiration to others.
  • I get to share all the fun stuff, and you get to laugh at the many potential mistakes we make.
  • I get a record of it, to fondly recall and pore over. Show the grandkids etc
  • If all goes well, then we will no longer be in one fixed location for a great length of time. I suspect that staying in touch may be grow harder too, so this is a way of doing that.
  • People get to ask questions, and throw their thoughts into the mix. I always enjoy a good thought mix-up.

There will also be art, tarot and general updates on here, so will do my best to categorise them as we go.

Any questions or thoughts are welcome.

Or if you would like to share your experiences of van/travel life.

Van updates to follow, so stay tuned!

love, Sammi

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