If you're going to be anywhere near SanteFe, New Mexico in September 2019, plan on attending the Vintage Trailer Supply (VTS) Showroom's grand opening. These folks have the BEST STUFF, and do the BEST WORK. And no, they're not paying me to say that. As an associate editor for Airstream Life Magazine, I've met many people who have had VTS do their RV transformations and I've NEVER heard or seen a bad job from them.
There's Van Life, and RV living, and then there's VINTAGE life. It's a different mindset, culture, tribe, and way of living and thinking and no one does it better than VTS. This event is a grand opening and is their first showroom! So they're celebrating for 3-days. That means international industry leaders, live music, exclusive promotions, and Santa Fe culture. And in September! It's only $25 to register, and WHEN you attend you get a $25 gift certificate, so it's like essentially FREE. But you've gotta register. Still undecided? Here's the schedule of events: https://www.vtsgrandopening.com/festival-schedule
* Gift certificates must be picked up upon check-in at the VTS grand opening event 9/13/19 - 9/15/19. Gift certificates will not be available for collection before or after the event and cannot be sent to registrants who are unable attend the event. Gift certificates can be used at the showroom or online until March 31, 2020.
When my father died of brain cancer in 2006, I quit my job, bought a used van $750 and hit the road. He hadn't started traveling or living really until he got sick, and regretted it. I didn't want to regret not living. I was working seven days a week, 10-12 hours a day and for what? So I ditched it all for the van life. I'd lived for more than a year in a full-sized RV and loved it. A van wouldn't be that much different - or so I thought. Unfortunately, the van didn't look this "good" until after I found an apartment and had the space, time, and money to work on it. But once I had it outfitted, it was great!
The short story of my van life is in my TED Global Talk. What I thought would be full-timing turned out to be being homeless. If I'd had an RV I could have parked at Camping World, where I was working full-time, and been fine. But a ratty old van (not painted at the time), screamed "homeless" to my co-workers. That was odd since the business was all about selling stuff to people who lived in their vehicles. That just went to prove my point - that homelessness is about having money or not, and choices.
The van was old, and eventually threw a rod and was sold to the scrapyard for $400. I used that money to buy a $400 Saturn van. I fixed it up, but then sold it to buy a Dodge Caravan...and was almost finished converting it when it too, threw a rod after a mechanic forgot to fill the oil after changing the oil. My next car was a Plymouth Voyager. I'll post photos of it later. $900 (I paid too much). It's now a dream car, although not much to look at, it's a work in progress. But it runs, is dependable and fun to drive. I recently bought a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo. It's still at the mechanics getting brakes and new hubs etc. but for $800, it was a deal. My goal vehicle is a NEW Dodge Ram Van - the tall one you can stand up in, or not. I'd like for it to be diesel so I can put in a wood burning stove.
I've always (since I was 14 years old), loved to camp, hike, fish, explore and travel. I'm now 63 and still intent on getting back to a traveling lifestyle - van dwelling, camping etc. I'll stay at hotels from time-to-time, but I love the van life. It's not for everyone, but it's worth doing for at least 3-6 months just to know you can.
When you live in a van you become more independent, confident, and capable. You learn to do things you never thought you could do. You survive, and then you thrive. You let go of fear. Yes, you'll still be afraid, but it will be different. This website, blog, and advice is my way of giving back to those who have chosen to live in their vehicles, as well as those forced to live in their vehicles. I hope you find something here that inspires, or helps.
If there's something you'd like to know, or if you have a question, contact me or leave your comments in the comment section below.
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