Van Life: The Impossible Idea

Vanlife. It started as an impossible idea. But, the idea began to spread through my husband and I, as we realized this is the one life we have, so we damn well better make it what we want it to be. Many people are perfectly content with a more traditional lifestyle, and that’s great, but we knew we wanted to live our lives a little differently. We needed, and continue to need, to travel and explore this incredible world we live in. We need to meet new people, experience different cultures, try different foods, heal our souls in the mountains, bathe in glacier lakes, and gaze at the stars to remember how small we really are.

Leaving our apartment in Portland, OR and moving into our van to travel around North America seemed to offer us the solution to fulfill these needs and allow us to live the life we wanted to live. A life where we make the most of each day and are present in every moment. A life where we are wherever our feet are. So, over the next year we slowly worked out a way we could make this idea, this dream, become reality.

We began saving as much as we could, Corbin transitioned out of his career into more flexible work and we began researching what type of van would work best for us. I remember going to look at the first van we were interested in. All three of were there, including our little Maltese, Sir Paris, who is basically our baby. Corbin hopped up into the driver’s seat while I climbed into the passenger seat with Paris on my lap. That first start of the ignition sent a bolt of excitement down my spine, and as we drove around town the biggest smiles were plastered to our faces. I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe this going to be our life soon!”

We didn’t end up getting that van, and in fact, the whole process of finding the right van took us months. It was financially and emotionally draining. We would search every day until we found one close to what we were looking for, then sometimes drive over 100 miles to go check it out, pay the fee to have a mechanic look it over, and then drive home bummed when it didn’t work out for us. Every time this happened it dampened our spirits just a little bit more. It felt like maybe we would never find the right van for us at a price we could afford, maybe this lifestyle was still just out of reach.

But, then in January 2016, we found her. Nestled along the Oregon coast, she sat waiting for us to take her home. We went to check her out and it just felt right. We knew the seller had another person interested, so we took a big risk. We bypassed our normal safety check of having a mechanic look her over, and instead we bought her outright and drove her home that day. That was the day we bought our van , our Wander Wagon, and oh boy we had no idea what we had just gotten ourselves into. The adventure had just begun.

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