For a majority of my 20's, and now into my 30's, I dreamt of being a vagabond, free out on the open road. Originally, the vagabond seedling idea was to live out of a Volkswagon Bus (most likely too minimalist for me though!). Vagabond dreaming was still abstract. Pulling off an adventure of that scale off and still maintaining a stable enough life to make it through school while jumpstarting a career seemed elusive. Nevertheless, roaming and some kind of vagabonding was a bucket list adventure I often thought of.
You see, moving around has been apart of my life since I was a little munchkin. For a portion of my kid life, my dad was a long hauler, an 18 wheeler driving fiend. He, my mom, and I were on the road non-stop. Long hualing was where I was given my first CB handle: "Twinkle Toes." From long hauling, my family (which also grew by one sister) went to living in Mexico. Dad flew medical crews in and out of the remote regions. Again, we were always on the move. I think in the span of the 2 years we were in Mexico, we lived in 3 different homes. Upon returning stateside and by the time I was in my 20's we had moved more than fifteen plus times. Moving was stamped into my DNA.
As I have grown through my 20's I have been on many more adventures, advanced a career, and relocated many more times. I still loved being on the move, but packing and keeping my life organized was beginning to become cumbersome. Always planning the food, who would watch the dog, deciding what clothes (and/or gear) to bring, and not forgetting my favorite hat was growing to be a big hurdle (first world problems, I know). I can remember the day I saw a sprinter van at the Sturdy Dirty Enduro in 2015, and a seed was planted. My mom will even tell you that was the day my eyes oogled over the possibilty (thought not yet a feasible reality).
As 2015 progessed, life changes happened and stars aligned, guiding me closer to vanliving! First, I met a dude at a bike race (that statement cracks me up every time) who I ended up dating (and am currently still dating). Our relationship was (and continues to be) a long distance one and I needed a solution how to close the gap of distance, or at least ease the stress of traveling 16 to 18 hours one way for a visit. As time progressed, I started considering moving, or at least taking a travel nurse assignment closer the "dude." At this consideration, I started looking up my travel options: truck and trailer, rent a place, or motorhome. Right, a sprinter van was not in the picture for several months. It was not until I ran across some pictures on Pinterest of decked out vanhomes. that I began looking at all of the build-a-van site options. Good grief! They wanted an arm and a leg (well the cost of a stationary home anyways) for a simple build. They wanted a hefty deposit up front with barely a conversation about the build. And, the build time estimate was almost a year out! Next I tried to find an individual contractor who would outfit a van I brought to them, a one at a time kind of builder. Really, Google searches brought up nothing! It was infriurating because I knew there was someone who would build my van on a personal level, I simply could not locate them. So, I back burnered the idea and continued with my other plan of living out of a truck and trailer idea.
Fast forward a few months, while utilizing my networking skills (okay, Facebook stalking cool people in the mountain bike community from Trans-cascadia) I found a blog site called Freedom Vans through Jack Love. I remember punching in the number to call Tom, hesitating as I let my finger hover over the "green go" button. I was thinking, "this is crazy, going to go no where." But I called anyways, left a voicemil, and waited for the return call.
Tom Doran owns Freedom Vans. He returned my call and from their we continued to have a lengthy conversation. I spilled my dream of living out of a van, that it had to be 4 season proof, and dog friendly. In 48 hours, Tom professionally tranposed my words, our conversation expertly to paper. It was AMAZING! Finding Tom was alsmost too good to be true! He was an individual builder with a passion for making people's vanliving dreams come true! To pinch myself and make sure Tom of Freedom Vans was real, (and at the prompting of my financial backer) I called the Better Business Bureau of California to confirm he reality, which in fact he was legit. So I said, "Let's do it."
10 weeks later, I flew down to Sacremento to drive my new home, "Amelia," home. She is amazing. I am living in her full time in the snowy Pacific Northwest winter and loving it. My plan is to take a nursing travel assignment by the end of January or middle of February 2017 and begin the next stage of vagabonding about. I hope to write more and share more of this amazing adventure with you. Tips, lessons I learn, and stories of where "Amelia" takes me.
If you are interested in vanliving and looking for someone to complete your conversion, I highly recommend you connect with Tom and Kyleigh at Freedom Vans!
Cheers for now!
This is the story of life with "Amelia" my 170 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van home. The adventure is just beginning. Join me as I share experienes and van lessons.
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