Finding The Right Van/Bus
Wow. Who knew that there were so many campers to choose from?! From the classic VW to the stealthy sprinter, and even converted school buses. It seems as though we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding our new dream home!
One thing does make it easier - the fact that we both love VW’s. So our decision is now teetering between a split screen in all of its unique prettiness, or the Early Bay that seems to be a little roomier and easier to drive, hmm, decisions decisions.
Which Bus To Go For?
One thing that we know without a shadow of a doubt is we want a vintage bus. The newer ones are probably easier to maintain, and maybe more comfortable - but this new chapter in our lives isn’t about convenience or comfort - this is all about adventure!
We want a bus that has character, one that we can sit outside of on a warm summer’s day and be proud to say “That’s our little home.” One we can throw a snowboard and a couple of bikes on so no matter whether we’re in the middle of the desert in South Africa, or camping by the fjords in Iceland, so that we’re always ready to go!
Making A List Of Camper Must-Haves
I don’t know about you, but I find it far too easy to want to buy every single camper that I see. They’re all a little different, some have different interiors, some more storage, some don’t have a sink, and some seem to have all of the windows.
The problem is, I’m just too easily smitten, it’s like putting a puppy in front of me, I don’t care what breed of dog it is or who owns it, I’ll want it!
To make sure that we didn’t just compromise on our quality of life, i.e., not having a sink! We thought that it would probably be smart to jot down a list of what we actually “need” to live and travel full time in our new home and make ourselves stick to this list.
Comfy couch because duh
Table at a height so we can work from the van comfortably
Big fridge because we’re vegans and need all the veggies :)
The biggest bed possible
Sink + Gas burner combo for easy cleaning
A bunch of storage
USB charging for all our gadgets
A bus that would enhance our photography
A bus we could put our own stamp on
If you’re on your journey to beginning van life, I would definitely recommend writing your own must-have list and sticking to it. You can read through other vanlifer lists, specifically those in your corner of the globe, and that should spark your imagination!
Making The Switch To Camper Life
After reading so many blogs, articles, and guides on van life in the past few weeks, we might just be being overly optimistic, but I don’t see this being too big of a change for us. (fingers crossed!)
Neither of us owns very much “stuff” anymore, being on the road full time for so many years will do that to you! With only hand luggage, we carry everything we own with us, so we’re pretty excited to have more room for buying the things that we’ve been missing - like a bike!!!
I think for me, the one area that’s going to take some getting used to is finding bathrooms and showers! We could have gone for a larger, and more modern camper with a shower and toilet, but we want the adventure of a VW.
With so many international, national, and regional gym chains - we’re hoping that it won’t be too difficult. Plus, it’s a bonus in that we’ll be forced to go to the gym every day!
UPDATE: We Found Our VW!
We’ve found her, our absolute dream bus, and it’s all thanks to David! He’s been hard at work researching the heck out of van life while I’ve been inundated with writing projects. And I bet you thought he was just a pretty face!
It all started when David spotted Nick’s Instagram, and passed me the phone to take a look. I distinctly remember throwing the phone right back at him and saying “There’s no way we can afford anything from them” because let me tell you, their custom VW interiors are heart-stoppingly, jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Sneaky David naturally fired off a message, because, hey, you never know! And somehow, he has convinced Nick of Kustom Life Space to sell us his very own bus, one that isn’t actually for sale!
Red is a 1969 VW Early Bay Adventure Wagon; she hails from the US of A, sunny San Diego to be exact - about ten minutes from where some of my family live over there - how crazy is that! She’s now based in Nick’s workshop in not so sunny Wales, UK.
The Adventure Wagon is the ultimate VW, both practical and pretty. It was designed by some hardcore vanlifers back in the early 60’s who, upon deciding to travel the world in a camper, couldn’t find anything that they thought would suit their needs; so they went ahead and built their own.
I believe they traveled to thirty different countries before heading home and setting up shop turning Adventure Wagons into a thriving business, and so our very own Red was born!
She boasts a full-time high top that’s made from an upside-down boat. Red’s interior height is just an inch or so over 6ft, meaning that David can just stand up, and I have all the room in the world - heck I could probably do a cartwheel in there.
An Empty Shell
OK, so I’ll admit that Red doesn’t meet the “List of requirements” in one distinct way. She doesn’t currently have an interior! Sounds like a bit of a big deal for a couple of adventure junkies wanting to live in full time, right? Wrong.
Nick, the current owner of Red, had planned on gutting the interior and putting in one of his famous custom dealios, the plans were in place, the designs were drawn up, but he just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
With a pretty tight deadline of needing to leave our Airbnb in only a few short weeks, Nick has assured us that he’ll get it done. Now David, the reasonable chap that he is, decided we should give a rough idea of our preferences and then leave the rest to the experts!
So, that we’re doing, and geez am I nervous! I have now been through every photo on their Instagram and I feel a bit better about it after realizing that there isn’t a single interior that I don’t like, but still - I’m on tenterhooks over here wondering what our new home is going to look like.
Planning The Logistics
We weren’t planning on heading back to Europe so soon, after the thirty odd hour journey from the UK to Cape Town, we were hoping to avoid such a long flight, and to continue exploring this side of the world for at least a few more months.
But then again, a few weeks ago we hadn’t planned on buying a vintage VW and yet look at us now! With three weeks left at this Airbnb in the Tamboerskloof district of Cape Town, we should probably book some flights!
It’s still mind-boggling when we think about how fast all of this has happened, but then again I can’t help but feel as though we’ve finally found that missing piece to the puzzle.
We’ve started telling family and friends now, with our older relatives all thinking we’re mad, and our friends and younger relatives all wanting to join and start a van life convoy!
I guess it’s time to get the maps out and planning adventures!