ALL MOVED IN! // December Updates + How "Van Life" Has Been

Hello, hello everyone! Obviously we’ve been just a bit MIA… (sorry, sorry, sorry…)

It’s been ONE heck-of-a month over here! We wrapped up the final [major] touches with the build, got all of our belongings situated and organized, and took our first trip in the rig (to Iowa- stopped in Des Moines to see my bestie, and spent the holidays in Dubuque with Ty’s family). We’re going to cover quite a few bases here in this one post- so keep reading for more details on how December went, and how van living has treated us thus far!

One of the major fixes/additions that has been completed since our last post was getting the butcher block countertops mounted to the cabinets. We have been applying a butcher block conditioner semi-reguarly to the counters to seal them, and it really makes the color of the wood pop! I also built a wooden window frame for the inside of the window by the bench seat. The box around the AC unit on the ceiling has been painted white (to flow with the walls a bit more). The stove and refrigerator have been installed, along with the sink/faucet and water pump. We decided to go with black hardware for the cabinets. After being in the van for three weeks full-time, we realized that lifting the bed, fridge access, and bench seat were getting a bit annoying to have to hold up while you were getting things out of the compartments. So we picked up shocks for the storage areas, which have been a HUGE game changer for comfort! While we were in Iowa for Christmas, my (Ty’s) mom sewed us some insulated window covers and a cushion for the bench seat. The window covers have one inch of Thinsulate and Reflectix in them, and make a huge difference when the temps drop. We have slept in the van through a handful of zero degree nights already and have stayed totally comfortable. There are still a handful of things we’d like to update in the future (non-urgent things, such as upgrading to leather, swivel seats for driver and passenger, painting the outside of the van, fixing a few exposed spots in the interior, plus a few more) but for the time being, we are just super happy with the way everything turned out and how functional it has already been.

We ended up being completely moved in the day before we left for Iowa (December 16th, 2018). So obviously, a little bit later than we initially projected- but better late than never! We bought a few super handy items from Target before we left (baskets + totes for the inside of cabinets to help organize and a towel rack/storage compartment that hangs over a cabinet door). We ordered a super cute fruit hammock from Amazon as well (that has since fallen apart just a bit…) It definitely serves its purpose, but we learned that it doesn’t handle holding a ton of fruit at once. We were able to kinda fix it (it still looks cute and works, so that’s all that matters). There are still a few things we are needing to purchase (such as a paper towel rack, some kind of small-ish hanging shatter-proof mirror, something for holding/organizing shoes, and a few others things). All things that aren’t 100% NECESSARY, but all things that would be nice to have at some point. It’s honestly amazing how living in a space (for just about month) without a ton of “luxury” items makes you realize how much less you actually NEED.

Many of you have asked,

“Did you need to get rid of a ton of your belongings in order to move into the van?”

The answer is, we truly did need to get rid of A LOT. We both got rid of a bunch of clothes, little knickknacks, etc. We initially thought we could store a small container of important items at my parent’s place in the Denver area, but have since decided we just want to go ahead and rent a small storage unit instead. There are multiple reasons why we went this route, but the biggest being that there are simply things we don’t want to get rid of, and that we have a lot of seasonal items that we will be flipping in and out of the van with the seasons. Plus, it has taken a lot of the stress out of trying to fit EVERYTHING in the van. Our storage unit is in the Denver area, which we figure is a good “midway” place to stop if we ever need to swap anything out before traveling to another location.

Our first trip in the van was extremely successful. All of our animals did GREAT (including Jax, our kitty)! He was a little vocal while the van was in motion (for only about the first hour of any stretch), but while we were stopped, it was no big thang. It was as if he’s been doing this van living thing his whole life! As Ty mentioned above, we stayed toasty on the cold nights (thanks to our super BA propane heater). We did have a few “gray days” (AKA, not much solar power) but it never caused any issues. The van ran beautifully, and we didn’t have any issues whatsoever. We ran into a bit of questionable drive (due to weather) on our drive back to Colorado from Iowa- so we decided to stay a night in Kearny, Nebraska at a rest stop.

Full-time van living has been great! Obviously, we are still adjusting a bit to the change of space and are still dialing in the new routines. But all in all, it really is going well for everyone and we are just so, so excited.

We get a ton of questions about where we are going to go first, and when. And now that the van is done, it’s something we are beginning to talk a lot about and figure out our timeline. We are going to be home-basing in the Denver area until the baby is born (only two more months… how is that possible?!) + an extra month or so- so that my family will get to spend some quality time with her. After that, we hope to head to Iowa again around the end of April/early May, so that Ty’s family will get to spend time with her as well. As of now, after our Iowa trip, we are not 100% sure what our plan is at this time. We are itching to get back down to Durango for a bit (see friends, soak in some hot springs, eat some freaking delicious food), and have also talked about wanting to try to get over to Moab, Utah before it gets too hot (and to grab some of my favvvvvvorite chai tea at a restaurant in downtown Moab). So we will see. There are a few other factors in the mix that will help us make our decision, and it’s a bit of a “waiting game” sort of thing at this point in time. I am personally super excited to hit the PNW and would love to travel up the coast, and this will probably happen a bit closer to fall or early winter time if all things line up. If not then, it will definitely happen at some point in the future. So stay tuned! We should know more about our timeline very, very soon.

At some point in the near future, we are going to do a highly requested “Van Tour” video to show a bit more of the details, and explain where + how we are able to store everything we have. But for now, enjoy some photos of the finished product and stay tuned for our tour video!

Thanks for your patience, everyone. We are trying to get better at this whole documenting thing. ;)

Ty + Amanda

Tyler Till