Yep, you read that correctly. We bought a whole entire VAN!
Before you start envisioning some hideous and especially random mini van or one of those scary white vans your mom told you to stay away from as a kid, let me clarify. We bought a renovated sprinter van. A tiny home on wheels. In other words, #VanLife here we come!
While this blog post is intended to finally reveal this secret I've been keeping for the last couple of months, it's also to provide some insight into why we decided to take this leap and introduce you to what kind of content you can expect to see from Almost Fabulous Me over the course of the next couple of months (hopefully longer!).
Remember our visit to White Sands National Park back in April of this year? Well, believe it or not, that trip inspired this big purchase. We were both so captivated by White Sands and the wonder of nature, not to mention the fact that we're big road trip people, and thought it would be so much fun to rent an RV for the summer.
Summertime is just the best time, isn't it? During the summer I find myself wanting to spend every waking moment outside (unless of course it's 106 degrees like it was today in Sacramento) but nevertheless outdoor adventure is the name of the game during the summer. Of course the National Parks are some of the best places in the US to have outdoor adventures and there's so many that I haven't yet had the chance to see or explore.
Well, that thought bubble on the drive home from White Sands, still lost in a reverie, captivated by the beauty of that natural destination, inspired some research. Thorough research at that. We hopped online and researched all the sites that offered RV or van rentals. Turns out just renting a van for a couple months during the summer can cost you upwards of $15,000! (Yes, all those zeros are intentionally included in that number if you can believe it).
At that point, we grew discouraged. How could we justify a summertime road trip for $15k not even including all the things required during that summer road trip? (i.e. gas, food, activities, etc.). Slowly that dream of cruising along in the National Parks all summer drifted into the abyss.
"...Well, it was a nice thought," I sighed and figured that was the end of that dream.
But then the conversation took a turn. No, it didn't make any kind of sense to rent a van for two months for upwards of $15,000 not including all the other road trip essentials BUT, what about buying a van? Obviously that would cost quite a bit more than $15,000 but it would be ours to do what we want with. We could take our time with the trip making it a shorter or longer journey as we saw fit and not have to incur any additional fees due to that extension. Plus, we could fix it up after living in it on the road for a bit and turn it into a young millenial's van life dream and rent it out probably earning back the money we spent purchasing the van in no time at all.
*Dream reinstated in brain.*
The research quickly turned more aggressive at that realization and suddenly we were in the market to buy a van. You may be thinking "how do you know what to look for?" when in the market to buy a renovated sprinter van to which I would say great question! My better half is definitely the car person while I on the other hand, well, I'm not, which is why I left this serious research up to him. Ideally we were looking for a self-serving van that had a bed to accommodate two people (and a small dog), a desk area for working out of the van, a shower and toilet and of course a kitchen to accommodate cooking, meal prep, the works.
After lots of inquiries out to individuals looking to sell their renovated sprinter vans, we ended up finding what would soon become our home on wheels. The previous owner had suited it for a single man with a motorcycle so while there are plenty of things I would change right off the bat, it met all of our needs and offered a great starting point for two people looking to dabble in van life. Plus, considering what some of these vans go for, the price was certainly right.
Adam managed the financial piece of it all so you'll have to let me know if you want to learn more about that in particular but after he worked his magic on that end, we were ecstatic to call this van ours!
If you follow me on Instagram (@almostfabme) then you know we were in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend. For my observant, smart little cookie readers out there you may have noticed we flew out to Chicago but for some reason we drove back?!?! What in tarnation!?! Wellllll, that's because we picked up the van from Chicago (the former owner drove it from Florida - we agreed to meet halfway between California and Florida which worked out perfectly since Adam's family is in Chicago), and drove it back to Sacramento so we could pack it up and get ready for a summer of driving.
Believe it or not, we've actually had this van since May! Adam was supposed to drive it out here at the end of May to depart the beginning of June but two hours into the drive from Chicago, he hit a deer and the van was immediately towed back to the shop where it's been for the last 4 weeks. 4 weeks and $20k in damages later, she is good as new and ready for her new life adventuring with us.
I'm trying to keep this post from turning into a novel but I'm just SO excited to finally share this with you! We're hoping to make it to Florida this summer before turning around and heading back West. Ideally we're hitting as many states as possible and as many National Parks as possible along the way.
Needless to say, I'm going to be doing a whole lot of blogging and posting this summer. Be sure to follow along both on the blog as well as Instagram (@almostfabme) to see how summertime van life is going.
If you have any specific questions about the process of purchasing the van, researching vans, planning travel, etc. please don't hesitate to reach out. While we still have a lot to learn - I mean we really haven't even started yet - I want to share anything and everything with you in the hopes that it will not only inspire you to take a chance and do something you've always dreamed of but it will help alleviate some of the stress from unfamiliar situations you may encounter in your own planning process.
More to come soon! In the meantime, as I mentioned, please don't hesitate to send me a direct note at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @almostfabme.