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Getting Started

stealth rv van at a campgroundAfter my epiphany yesterday, I spent hours researching for the perfect conversion van setup. I ran across this blog, and this guy, Chris Carper, is terrific! His first blog post that I read was How To Build A Cargo Van Into Your Personal Stealth RV: Buying And Prepping Your Van. This inspired me to really look into converting a van, rather than looking into an RV. What I have discovered after living in an RV for almost a year now, is that there are many things that you have to keep up with. Things like:
  • Turning in the water heater for every shower.
  • Lighting the pilot light every time I bake.
  • Replacing propane every month.
  • Regularly emptying the sewage tank.

These things become a part of your life, and are really not a big deal, but when creating something for myself, that I personally want to handle (rather than allowing my partner to manage it), I have to think critically about the importance of these things.

Read More from this Series
Vacation Van Vision
Getting Started
So, This Happened
Reject Or Adapt?
Progress Report
Pre-Planning Ideas
Dreams for the Future RV

First, I want a van because if I am taking this on the road, parking it, and otherwise living in it, I need to be able to handle it. I am not comfortable backing trailers at the best of times. Even considering maneuvering a large vehicle through mountainous or snowy terrain gives me heart palpitations. I'm sure I could do it if I have to, but why should I? I also want the ability to discretely park wherever I'd like. Maybe I don't want to have to find an RV park or rest area if I don't intend to stay long. Perhaps I just want a quick little overnight stay, and parking is limited. The point is, I want to be able to go anywhere and not attract lookie-loos or law enforcement.

Second, I want the ability to be self-sustaining. I want a composting toilet. I want solar panels. I want to minimize the necessity of hooking up to water and electric for basic needs. 
Third, I want to ruthlessly discard anything that is not absolutely integral to my existence. 
So, with these principles in mind, my first big decision is whether to buy a used van for minimal expense, but with the potential for costly mechanical issues, or do I trade my existing car in and get something that is newer, eliminates a redundant vehicle, but ties me to financing? 

If I want to sell my existing car, I will need to do some cleanup on it. She drives very well, but there are some tuneup issues that will chip away at the overall private party value. If I trade it in, I don't have to do these things, but I will be adding expense to a vehicle loan. I could keep both vehicles, but I really want to use my van as my everything, so I'd just be paying for extra payments and insurance. I am leaning toward buying a newer van and financing, since I could eliminate a car, potentially get a warranty, and theoretically have better gas mileage and less mechanical concerns. It may be cheaper to buy an older fixer-upper, but that could get pricey, and I'd rather commit money to the overall rehab and renovation.

I'm still considering and doing a fair amount of meditation, reflection and prayer. Stay tuned!

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