This Bloody Van, (and other ‘happy’ tales of building a home on wheels!)

The title gives a little insight into how much I have (insert sarcasm here) ‘loved’ building our van into our new home. Jess and me have for years talked of a big trip, and loosely set the date for 2017, and after being inspired by many others we thought the van life/ dirt bag climber thing was a way to go. It’s this ‘inspiration’ that I have a little beef with, and maybe need to vent a little of my own experiences to contradict the often idealistic Instagram projection, with a little pinch of reality.

I hated the process; I mean it, the whole bloody thing, irrelevant of the good or bad days. Maybe day one was ok, but the rest, just no. If you were within a couple of miles radius of my van on a bad day, then I promise you, you would have heard an absolutely flamboyant cacophony of foul language, and a few bangs and clatters as my anger spilled out through my arm that just happened to be attached to a hammer.

The saying blood, sweat and tears is often used when defining hard work and effort in strenuous circumstances, but this van was a literal mixture of them all. A slipped drill bit, a Stanley blade, a slipped chisel and that’s just one hands worth of blood. I have shouted so hard and loud that I have literally cried in a ball on the floor. As for sweat, there is enough labor involved to tick that one off too!

However, apart from the injuries, I wonder why? Why have I not enjoyed the experience as a whole? For as long as I can remember I have wanted to do this, when I was a teenager, I remember planning on doing a classic VW conversion, as I think most people do at some point. Although my plan of action has hesitated between different possibilities over the years, now I have had the opportunity and done a conversion I feel no fulfillment or joy from it, I really hope that this whole conversion process has been the dark before the dawn and the lack of enthusiasm in the build is released with years of use, travel and climbing in the future!

That said, I strive to push myself in life, learn new things and push my boundaries both physically and mentally. This should have been perfect. I have had to read, watch, research, question and learn everything from scratch; electrics, gas, plumbing, carpentry and so on. Although I was an Engineer in the Armed Forces for ten years, have worked trades such as plastering since and even taken on a barn conversion in the South of France, I’ve never done anything that has required so many new and multiple skills all rolled into one. Now I have finished, I am proud that I have learnt what I have, and been able implemented it.

So, not all moan and groan then…, but in all seriousness lets have a little ‘me’ time for contemplation. I believe that my experience relates to what happens in real life, things do not always fit and go to plan. I have had to work hard on being patient and I am looking forward to reaping the rewards of my labor and lack of enthusiasm during the build. In the near future I plan to travel all over the place with my girlfriend and do the things I love, with the person I love, and this already sounds like the happy ending I’ve been after.

Maybe this will serve as a non -Instagram style post that reveals a truth about my build and others out there. This post is a simplified part of a document that I am working on, where I have detailed how I converted my van more in depth. Although this will take time to complete.

Hope you have enjoyed this insight as its slightly different to my normal posts so far


4 thoughts on “This Bloody Van, (and other ‘happy’ tales of building a home on wheels!)

Add yours

  1. I think this mirrors exactly our experience. 6 months of graft through the winter, nobody ever tells you how hard it is and how long everything takes. We’re on our journey now and we’re finally reaping the rewards after what was an incredibly long slog building our van! Good luck with your travels guys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers guys, just spent the morning flicking through your blog! Looks like a great adventure so far! We are days from leaving, and it couldn’t come sooner! Cant wait!!


      1. Best of luck with your trip guys. We’ll keep an eye on your blog to see what you get up to on your adventures! We’re only three weeks in and van life is defiantly for us! Catch you guys on the road


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