April 29, 2020

I left van life, but it never left me....

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This is Van Life 2.0, I am hitting the road and moving back into a van!!!!

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I am not sure who is more excited about being in full adventure mode again, me or Indy! Who by the way, didn’t flinch a bit at the champagne toast, but definately not a fan of the spray. Also, how is it that this is my first ever champagne pop lol. I pop champagne with couples almost every elopement and somehow I myself have never done it! Got to say, what a perfect time to do it!

Ahhhh here we are again. I have to say it’s so nice to be writing a van life blog again. So you’re asking what the heck, this girl just moved to Sedona and sold her old van like 6 months ago?! Yes, you are right. So let me walk you through what the last six months have been like and the full build out of my new van. Which by the way is still nameless, so feel free to drop any suggestions in the comments 🙂

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I left van life, but van life never left me…

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So we (me and the cat, yes) have been living in Sedona since October working, scouting and doing new things like learning to climb. Immediately after moving into the apartment I would put the cat in the Xterra and to go for a long road trip out past Lake Powell. Quickly after getting settled we made close friends in the van life community. I was spending more time on the road with friends with vans and camping than I was spending at home at the apartment. As my travel schedule for work picked up in areas like California and Washington I was trying to figure out the logistics of living in BFE (if you’re not from my neck of the woods its basically middle of no where) Arizona and having easy air travel and what to do with Indy when I traveled. Ultimately, I decided there was a no brainier answer, I needed to be back in a van. My brain never stops planning the next adventure and my heart always has the desire to explore the mountains and desert oasis-es. Indy has been the saddest cat in an apartment and as soon as we bought the van he was rolling all over everything purring. Since having the van he has been hiking, repelling into slot canyons and scrambling up rocks at crags.

Of course I was hesitant to buy another….. My last van and I had a love hate relationship, so I did not want to end up with another purchase like that. As soon as I saw the, nameless, van I bought I knew I wanted it. It was in mint condition with a build that had a lot of “living room floor” space. I initially wanted to just change the floor and paint a few things and really that’s all I had time for since I needed to head to Yosemite soon for work. Covid-19 had other plans, so all of my travel was cancelled and we did a total make over on the van! Since she has been mostly done we’ve traveled to Vegas, Page, Flagstaff and more. I can’t wait for the Covid bans to be lifted so we can start our big trip for the summer heading to Redwoods, Yosemite, the Oregon Coast and planting for a couple of months in Washington for several elopements.

The Build Out

Before we get into the build out I have to say THANK YOU to my friend Michael, Paul (check out his van build out page here) and my man, Bill for all of the work they put into helping me make my van look like my dream nook.

Before:

During:

So what all happened during the van build?

  • tore out the carpet
  • tore out wood storage panels
  • tore out the bed
  • tore out the sink and storage dresser
  • tore out the door panels
  • put in a ceiling vent
  • put in a white board and chalk board door panels
  • put in new vinyl floors and trim
  • painted sink and new storage panels
  • insulated sides, floor and ceilings
  • built and installed a desk
  • put in window paneling and curtains
  • installed solar flex panels
  • put in a whole new electrical system complete with a VSR for backup

I was excited to keep a few things from my old van which you may recognize like the cacti pillows, my home sweet van sign a friend in Phoenix made me, my cacti and buffalo banner and other decor. I was excited to get a new curtain to block off the front when parked, this time I went with a photo I took of Mt Rainier, so now I am keeping the desert and the PNW with me everywhere I go! 🙂 I have never had a space that feels so much like me so I am very thankful for the help I have had to make this happen and the time to really build it out the way I imagined my home to look.

After:

I am so very excited!

Living in a van feels natural to Indy and I. We both love being outside as much as possible. All of the the exploring we did last year in the van really just gave us a taste of what is out there. I am looking forward to being in places like Joshua Tree, Yosemite, the Oregon coast and Mt Rainier for elopements this year! I will be doing a lot of extensive scouting this summer in Washington and beyond. I am super excited to (hopefully) hike the Wonderland trail this summer for my birthday at Mt Rainier National Park. I will still be based in Arizona for the majority of the year. Being in a van allows me more freedom and time to explore the areas you are eloping at and it offers a space for you to change or do anything else you may need to do at the trial head. Having a van also means all of my things are always with me, so I got you covered if you forget something at home on your elopement day! I can’t wait to take you all on this journey with me again, I promise to keep you all posted on the travels, adventures and funny cat moments along the way. I will miss my off road Xterra, Lucinda, but I am seeing some Jeep rentals in my future.

Drop your name suggestions in the comments or any questions about van life!

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17 comments on “I left van life, but it never left me....”

  1. Im obsessed with seeing your process on your van! I've always wanted to get one but I've been too scared lol I think you convinced me to check it out more though! 🙂 Love this!

  2. I love it!!! I’m not sure I could live the van life full time, but there is something to be said about the freedom of the road. I have a VW van, so I get the love/hate relationship.

  3. This is so cool! Very inspiring and love seeing the behind the scenes of the van build. What exciting adventures you have ahead of you!

  4. LOVE IT! I used to live in a truck and now my husband and I have a condo on the east coast, but the truck is in storage in Phoenix so when I work out west I'm in it. It's the best of both worlds. For some reason I do love sleeping in that 50 sq ft in the middle of nowhere more than a 33 y/o woman should. I can tell your heart is in it and you're going to love it all over again!

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