VanLife Begins

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VanLife Begins

Are we the only people who can’t get things done in a timely manner? The plan was to stay with Marty’s parents (who had graciously kept our van safe while we were in Hawaii) for a couple of weeks while we finished building out our Ford Transit van. Two weeks quickly turned into three. And we still aren’t done.

On the plus side, thanks to my gracious inlaws we had a nice bed and bathroom to use while we emptied out the van and basically started from scratch. Out came the cabinets (and everything in them), sink, composting toilet, bed, fridge, computer monitor, clothing, wall/ceiling paneling, tools and batteries.

I won’t bore either of us with what I’ve had to endure over the past 18 days, but let’s just say that despite what Marty thinks, I do know how to use a drill without him peering over my shoulder and, yes, AC is essential.

We knew going into this that everything always takes longer than we expect, but we are still very bad at estimating just how much longer. I still don’t understand why wiring lights and batteries and stuff takes so long. Maybe because I have no idea how electricity works.  

We are getting good at decluttering. We had downsized from our home to a van and a 6’x12’ (72 square feet) enclosed utility trailer. I was proud of that, but admittedly towards the end of packing we were getting sloppy and tossing way too many mountain bike tires into the trailer just to be done.

So we spent the first two days back in Oregon going through that trailer. Being away from the stuff for six months made a difference. I’d forgotten about most of it. We made four trips to GoodWill and supported FB Marketplace. We gave “Dusty” (our Roomba vacuum) to Marty’s mom only to have her call us at Home Depot in a panic because, “Dusty has gone crazy and is in the kitchen.” We made a trip to the dump. Whew.

My dad asked me for an example of something I’d tossed that I wished I’d kept. Let’s see: the violin I haven’t played in years? Our high school yearbooks that we’ve looked at twice? The folders and pens and cables and books and tacks and extension cords and picture frames and stools and containers and tshirts…? Nope, no regrets.

Thank goodness we got rid of 66% of what was in the trailer so we could fill it with the solar panels, window and new batteries that we will install “soon.”

But we have made progress. I love the new walls (shiplap), ceiling (cedar) and flooring. I installed a swivel under the passenger seat so it can swivel around and face the “living area” of the van. We got the AC in (despite very misleading instructions and an outright lie about the size of opening required). The cabinets aren’t new but I’m enjoying the familiarity. We met some cool people who wanted our extras. We have enough left to do that we don’t have to worry about getting bored.

And I even kept a pair of jeans that I know will fit me someday.


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