did you know a full van build could be a petri dish for mold and rust, or even worse, a traveling fire hazard? let’s talk about why i decided to keep my van build simple and how a modular build can save you tons of money (and headaches) in the future.
whats goin on everybody.
it’s me, blue, here to talk to you about why you shouldn’t compare YOUR van life journey to anyone else’s, ESPECIALLY any of these youtube/instagram influencers who are floating around.
don’t let social media and your reflection on it dictate how you live your life.
you see, when i bought my van, i had all intentions to do a full van conversion, floor, walls, ceiling.
little did i realize, i live in texas and adding insulation to a van where it gets hot as fuck is like wrapping a hot burrito in aluminum foil and expecting it to be able to cool down.
so that put the idea of insulation on hold.
did i mention i had heavy water leaks every time it rained for around 6 months? we had a tropical storm blast through and i about killed myself over all the water that got inside my van.
did i ALSO mention it’s humid as hell?
so all that put my floor plans on hold too.
that, combined with my hesitancy to put holes into my van encouraged my decision to not do a damn thing.
but while i waited for a solution to land in my lap, i slowly realized that i didn’t necessarily NEED all this stuff to make my van livable.
after i added my solar panels and agm batteries, my gas mileage dropped pretty drastically.
at that point i was like hell nah i’m not putting anything more into this van than i have to.
trip is my daily driver, and i need to minimize the wear on her body.
this was a no brainer for me. all that extra furniture in the back couldn’t be great for my gas mileage. not to mention the solar panels and batteries that are pretty much not going anywhere.
i figured the less weight i have to carry around 24/7, the more money i save on fillups at circle k, so i decided to forego the wood plank ceilings and walls, despite how nice they look.
and they do look nice. but i’m not in search of instagram validation, so i hope you instead appreciate my practicality and boyish good looks.
moisture and rust
i’ve had water from the rain coming into my van nearly from day one. humidity never went away. cold mornings left condensation on my van ceiling almost every day, so i fully expected that once i start sealing up walls and ceilings and floors, moisture was bound to find its way in again.
in my quest to minimalism, i said fuck all that noise. i can keep it lightweight and use rugs for the floors and tapestries for the walls and ceilings. keeps it less permanent in case i wanna switch things up.
i’ve seen some youtube videos of people springing leaks in their camper and having to destroy layers of insulation, plywood and great stuff foam just to find the source of water and repair it. that doesn’t sound like anything i want to ever have to do.
what if i never notice it? what if i start getting mildew in my home, what if the rust forms and starts creating huge holes? what about my investment then?
i’m not sure many of you think about how fast that fire is gonna spread when your entire home is made of wood.
that coupled with the fact that i got my battery and electrical system hovering over my gas tank, i would be an unlucky person if a fire were to ever break out in my van.
while we’re on the subject, please don’t skimp on the fire extinguisher and co2/fire detector. if you carry propane inside your closed vehicle at all, you should definitely have one. unless you’re trying to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. in which case do what you want i guess.
i change my mind a lot.
idk how people can permanently bind their bed and appliances to the floors and wall. in the 6 months i’ve been living in my van, i’ve moved my bed 4 times.
i still haven’t decided how i want my kitchen laid out, and i’m only dealing with around 70 square feet of living space.
i know there are some notions floating around about how safe it is to have furniture in your cargo area that isn’t bolted down. i have a few things going for me.
number one, i have a huge bulkhead behind me. i never removed it because i liked the idea of added protection, even if it did take a few feet away from my living area.
it felt safer to have my cockpit separated from my cargo area, plus, i mean, i wasn’t gonna remove it. i was barely able to move the rug on my own without pulling some shoulder muscles.
secondly, even though my furniture is lightweight and primarily metal, they are still strapped to the ribs and walls with bungee cables. in the event of an accident or some shit comes flying loose, i have the bulkhead behind me to protect me.
now imagine you DON’T have a bulkhead and some jerk comes from behind and smashes you. all your shit comes flying in your direction. don’t you wish you had a bulkhead now to save yourself from paralyzation from the neck down?
so i admit, having a well built tiny home on wheels looks great for social media, but for myself, it doesn’t represent my current intentions. i use the hell out of this truck. she is going to keep me from being homeless while i get where i want to be financially, out of debt. and once we do that together, i have plans to really lay down where we want to have land.
if i can make it that long.
but the only way to know that is by taking the road less traveled, putting miles on that bitch and seeing what there is to offer.
this has been a long time coming. i’m grateful for the people who have supported me and only accepted a cooked meal from me when i didn’t have anything else to offer.
i mean, i still don’t have anything to offer, but i don’t have to force everyone to see the value that i do bring, and for THAT, i am grateful. i never realized until recently friendship doesn’t have to be so one sided.
so there you have it. my reasons for keeping it simple, stupid. i’m choosing this lifestyle to achieve other goals, so just accumulating more junk and not being smart with my money doesn’t vibe with that.
maybe one day, once i buy my piece of land with a barn where i can be safe from the rain.
but for now, i’m living a simple life. the less i have, the less i have to lose. and loss is still something that i struggle with pretty heavily, so the less i expose myself to it now, the better. we can talk about that later.
don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and follow the van instagram @tripvanstinkle
hopefully i didn’t lose some of you.
also, if you weren’t aware, on my website, i got a signup form where you can drop your email so we can finally, officially become accountabilibuddies.
what does this mean? well, it means a personalized email from me, and a contact any time you need someone to be your personal cheerleader.
i’ve given out my email plenty of times and have gotten more than expected response, but i tried to make it even easier by letting you just drop your email on my page so i can reach out first.
or don’t, i really don’t give a fuck.
just subscribe and be back whenever i’m ready for you, capische? capische.