#VanLife Q&A: Ask Me Anything

Oh, van life. Even after my year spent living on the road, I still get questions about van life all the time. It’s such a romantic idea for adventurers, and I admittedly have my moments of longing for life in a retrofitted Sprinter van. After getting so many reader comments asking for insight and advice on living in a van, I decided to put a Q&A together to put it all out there.

My retrofitted 2005 Dodge Sprinter van, which I lived in for 365 days.

“I was just so inspired by your blog and reading about your 365 day trip around the country in a van, I wanted to know more about your planning for it and what you had to take into consideration to just pick up and leave your life behind for a little while.” – Natalie W.

The decision to start this whole “van life” thing came on a whim while I was living in Colorado. It was about 6 months after I had gone on a monthlong cross country road trip after graduating college. I didn’t have any debt, and hadn’t yet touched my life savings. I was freelancing with LivingSocial, so I could work anywhere with a wi-fi connection. It was the perfect timing to pick up and hit the road – so I decided to take advantage of it!

“I want to live a life like you traveling the world in a van but the only thing I can’t understand is money, how did you find yourself to be able to pay for food and gas for a year? I want to spend my life adventuring like you but money will hold me back, any advice?” – Raymond

I moved back to Florida and saved up for a year before finally heading out on the open road. While I was out on the road, I frequently picked up freelance writing gigs and copywriting work (but it honestly added up to peanuts).  I also totally blew through my entire life savings during the trip – which is something I regret. I was b-r-o-k-e at the end of my trip, and it made it really hard to transition back to the “real world.” I would definitely recommend securing steady on-the-road work if you’re going out on the road, unless you save up like $20k+ for spending money.

DSC_2159DSC_7940“Did you work at all on your adventure? How much money did you save up before you set sail? Did sponsorship’s cover a lot of your costs?” – Connor M.

I attempted to work a respectable amount during my trip, but didn’t do enough to make it sustainable. I took freelance writing gigs often within the outdoor industry, and worked as a ghost copywriter picking up jobs like writing 100 product descriptions for Office Max office supplies. My trip partner Niko even spent a month working as a delivery man for an organic mattress company in Boulder, CO at one point to help pay for unexpected van trouble.

Sponsorship is something I get asked about almost on a daily basis–and a lot of folks have misunderstandings of what a typical sponsorship relationship looks like. I am not a professional athlete, so my sponsorships primarily come in the form of support through gear and travel–my paid partnerships with brands typically focus on content creation. That said, partnering with amazing brands like Goal Zero, Teton Sports, and ClimbOn! was tremendous in getting my van outfitted. Their generosity helped me supply my trip with quality solar equipment, camping gear, and eco-friendly toiletries–three very crucial things for van life! [Read more…]

The Ultimate Roadtrip Adventure Van is FOR SALE

My big, beautiful, very yellow Sprinter van! Let’s make one thing clear: I don’t want to sell my van. If I had things my way, I’d keep this van forever – but a massive van-debt is forcing me to part ways with my beloved Sprinter. Whoever ends up with this impeccable adventure mobile is going to be one very happy camper – and I’ll probably cry a bit as you drive off into the sunset.

This handsome yellow hunk of metal, wood, and rubber is the ultimate road trip vehicle. Sure, it’s rear-wheel drive, but that has never stopped the van from seeking off-road adventure. You want to go rock-scrambling down to the Bridger Jack camping area at Indian Creek? She’s done it. Climb up sandy mud pits at Triassic near Joe’s Valley? Piece of cake. Navigate deep ditches when the Rocktown parking area gets too full? No problem.

You’ve all seen the exterior of the van, but many haven’t gotten a peek at what’s inside the big yellow box. Here’s a look into the retrofit Niko built after we gutted the shelving and partition the van had when we purchased it. *Note: We can include all of the furnishings, some of it, or gut it all before we sell it if you have another build in mind.

We won’t be including the solar panels/equipment when we sell it, but it will include the set-up that’ll have you ready to rock ‘n roll while being powered by the sun. We can hook it up with the water jugs, sink system, curtains, foam bedding, etc.

Here are some specifics about this wonderful 2005 Dodge Sprinter 2500:

  • This diesel van features a 140-in wheel base, and high-top roof (unless you’re a giant, you’ll be able to comfortably stand up inside the van – which is so convenient).
  • The ‘ole gal gets between 25-28 mpg – but once we managed 31 mpg, yeah I’m proud of it.
  • It currently has 160,000 miles on it.
  • The van has a 5 cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine, which we’ve put a lot of money into over the past year. All the typical issues with Sprinter engines have been repaired: replaced turbo resonator and hoses, brand new EGR valve, new battery (still under warranty). It is also up-to-date on all oil changes and mileage-based servicing.
  • It’s a rear-wheel drive vehicle, with four new all-terrain tires (also under warranty).
  • The hot air blows hot, and the cold air is cool.
  • Here’s what’s wrong with the van: the speakers are blown, two of the plastic air vents are cosmetically damaged, and the exterior isn’t the best paint job, but you can’t beat the character of the yellow color.

The interior of my 2005 Dodge Sprinter adventure van.

The Craggin' Wagon perched on the side of the road outside of Hueco Tanks, Texas.This beautiful 2005 Dodge Sprinter adventure van can be yours for
the insanely reasonable asking price of just $14,500!

If you’re seriously interested in my beloved van, shoot me an email at katieboue(at)gmail(dot)com with any questions or offers. Serious inquiries only please – I know we all want my van, but my baby needs to find a worthy new owner who will take her on many adventures. The van is currently located in Tallahassee, FL.

[UPDATE: The van is sold. I am full of regret.]