We sold our truck and camper and bought our van exactly 1 year ago today. We’ve done a bit of reflecting back on how that year has gone. Not everything quite went exactly as planned, but that’s the nature of (van)life.

Colorado Trail Sign

For one thing, the van has 18k miles now! That’s rather more than we had anticipated putting on it in one year, but I guess that’s what happens when you go adventuring, and the size and convenience of the van has enabled us to go out and be active more than previous vehicles. Also it has better overall fuel economy, is much nicer to drive and to park, and we don’t have to get out after driving to enter the living space. There have been times when we wished we had all the convenient appliances of the camper (ie. stove/oven, standing height), but overall, we are happy with our trade-off.

van_solar14

We do hope soon to build shelves in the van – it’s getting warmer and is the perfect time to have things scattered outside. It has taken a little longer than we had hoped to fully convert the van, but again, that’s what happens when you spend time adventuring! Plus, we’ve now had a year to think about how we want to lay it out, and what we need (and don’t need!). Which is good, because where we were sure we’d need a fossil-fuel heater (propane/gasoline/etc.) at times, we’re now pretty comfortable with the simplicity and cost-savings to go without. We also believed we absolutely needed a toilet in our dwelling, and while we’re very glad to have it, it doesn’t get used quite so frequently.

What about our priorities and perspectives have changed in that time? Our goal is still to obtain freedom, though it still seems as far away as ever – we sometimes wonder if it’s impossible to achieve and we will be forever DOOMED! We keep trying though. We have considered and discarded more possible ways to fund our lifestyle and still feel ‘free’ than I can even count – I feel like I’m still a kid (I want to be an astronaut, no, an ambassador, no, an acoustics engineer, no, a mountain guide!).

Nate and a cliff

Really though, we’re closer than ever, and still on track. The soul-crushing pile of debt that pushed us down the path of living on wheels, known as student loans, to the tune of nearly $95,000 (you read it right, 95 grand), is paid off. And, as of this moment, we owe a measly $250 on the van. Yep, we will be completely debt-free in just a few more days!

The reason we still feel planted is that with all the debt, we’ve not managed to save much money. So that’s our next main focus. When we feel comfortable with our savings, then we’ll move on. For the moment though, we’ll still be urban camping and salary slaves…

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