People were surprised when I bought my van. Everyone except my boyfriend Glenn and my friend Jen.
My boyfriend Glenn is an outdoor guide, and is no stranger to van life. Camping in his van was routine for him, and was a fun adventure for me when we first started traveling together. When we met, I was already planning a climbing trip to Iceland, and I pretty quickly decided he should come with me. We rented a converted Land Rover Defender and drove all around the country, camping, climbing, and rumbling over the F-roads in the highlands. In Iceland, you can’t get to the interior without a 4×4, and we had one. Combine that feeling of invincibility with the freedom to stop and camp wherever, whenever we chose, and you get a heady mix that’s hard to leave behind at the airport gate.
My friend Jen and I had taken my sons and her nephew camping mid-summer at our favorite spot. It was my second camping trip of the year with my kids, and once again I was working a ton and relaxing very little. Let’s face it – an 8-year old and a 6-year old aren’t that helpful at a campsite. I wouldn’t shut up about how great it was in Iceland with that Defender. Then a converted Nissan Quest rolled into our lakeside campground, and I wouldn’t shut up about that. My mind was made up – I would get a van before next summer.
Why next summer? Because a family reunion in Denver would give me the perfect tentpole (no pun intended) to build around for a summer of adventure. Get a van, drive around all summer while the kids are out of school, camp, climb, explore the national parks. And better get the van soon, so we have time to get used to it, learn its quirks, fix it up a bit, and be ready to hit the road come summer.
I became obsessed. Would I buy a cargo van and convert it myself? The DIY blogs are innumerable, so this was an enticing project. I’m crafty, but impatient. No DIY. Would I have a custom conversion done? Nobody could fit everything in that I wanted. I was determined that the van should fit in my driveway, which means I’m restricted to only the short Sprinter vans, at 19.5 feet long. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to build. Custom conversions are expensive, you make lots of compromises, and they take months. No custom conversion. That left buying a Class-B motorhome; a pre-built conversion I could just go buy and start enjoying.
So, I shopped around and discovered the Roadtrek SS Agile, which checked all my boxes. I found a five-year-old unit (waaaaay more affordable than new) in Florida (waaaaay more affordable than in California), flew out there to check it out, signed and paid, then flew home. A couple of days later, my boyfriend flew to Jacksonville, picked it up, and drove it across the country for me. He had the time and I didn’t. Gotta love that guy!