I have spent almost two years converting Bombadil into a camper van, evenings and weekends and vacations. There are two “why” questions I get asked the most. The first is “why don’t you just live in a house/apartment, like a normal person?”
I have of course done just that for many years, I am middle aged and until last month that’s exactly how I have lived. But here’s the thing, I have backpacked and hiked much of my life. I have lived all across the country doing a wide variety of jobs. All those years, all of the places I have lived, I have always wished for more time. More time to spend in the beautiful, interesting, different places in this country, more time to explore the places I find, more time to find new places. What I want is time and experiences. I am not getting any younger, in order to have as much time and as many experiences as possible, things need to change.
This is the way that I have chosen to get what I want. Living in a minimalist fashion with only what I need means I can work less and have more time and energy. Living nomadically means I can travel more easily, cheaply and more often. Living this way isn’t as easy and convenient as living conventionally, but it gets me much closer to what I want out of life. For me that is a trade worth making.
The second question is “Why a van?” Generally followed by two or three other “better” options. When I decided that I want to try living nomadically I did a great deal of research. Research into RV of all sizes and ages, into 5th wheels, pop-ups, tear-drop trailers, cargo trailers, buses, vans and at least half a dozen more options. All of these options have positives and negatives. Any of them could work. The trick is to find the option that will work the best for you personally, and to remember that no option is going to have EVERYTHING you want. For ME, for the kind of travel that I want to do, the van is the option I decided to try. Even after I made that decision there was even more research, what van? How old? How long/tall? Etc. There are companies that will convert a van into a camper for you, there are companies that will do just some of the work. I read blogs, I watched Youtube videos, I haunted fora of various kinds. I attended “Vanlife Gatherings”
The van I have ended up with is the product of research and an honest appraisal of what I need and what I use the most. I may change it around, I may try something else entirely. But for now it is working for me!