Day 1 of our newest project was to put it lightly…difficult.
When I returned home from a day long expedition to purchase our Van I could tell C. was unimpressed. You see in the weeks of research we had been doing I had spent much of my time trying to explain to C. exactly how much room we would have inside, but when I jumped down from the Captains chair I could tell straight away she hated it.
“What do you think babe?”
“I hate it.”
Just as I suspected.
The children on the other had were madly in love from the start. The next 30 minutes was filled with, ‘What’s that Daddy?’ and ‘Can I open this Daddy?’
You see the Van we bought was full of a traveller’s belongings that he didn’t want to take with him on his return to Europe. He’d built a few makeshift compartments each one filled with clothes, motor fluids, petrol cans, kitchen items and even Lazer-tag guns. Basically a pick and mix on horrors for children.
After the initial disappointment C. and I decided to record our first podcast together documenting our journey from minimalism to van life and where we were headed from here.
The next night C and I decided to start pulling piles of things out of the assorted compartments in the van.
After about an hour we had a loungeroom full of gear.
To call what happened next a heated discussion would be an understatement. They say renovating a home is one of the most difficult things a couple can do together. Well people who say that have never bought a van home to a wife with no special awareness.
After a gruff exchange we both retired to our corners. I, to the pile of junk in our lounge and C to bed with our newborn.
I worked late into the night sorting through the hogwash. One pile for landfill (Sorry people but getting rid of it with the intention of never participating in that mindless consumption again has to count for something), one for donation and the other for repurposing.
Ultimately the piles looked something like this.
|Old underwear||Clothes||Lazer guns|
|Mouldy drink bottles.||Blankets||4×4 equipment|
|Broken kitchenware||Sheets||Fuel containers/ fluids|
|Torn tarps||Pillows||Blow up boat|
|Blow up mattress|
After hours of sorting I sat and stared in awe.
The people who had used this van before us had been prepared, very prepared. They had maintained the vehicle very and had all of the tools, parts and fluids to do it. But the thing that struck me was how willing they had been to pass it all on once they were finished with it. It was truly wonderful now to see in my living room piles of belongings that had been freely and willingly handed over once they had served their purpose, with seemingly no attachment.
The next morning C let me sleep a while.
Once we made up after the previous night’s tiff we decided to gut the rest of the van, ripping out the timber compartments, bed and kitchen to leave nothing but an empty shell. The kids jumped in on the action with our son grabbing his timber hammer from his play set and banging on the timber while I took the screws out. Our daughter collected all of the brackets and helped me move timber through the van.
Once there was nothing left but an empty shell C. and I took out some tape and started mapping out on the floor and walls our potential designs…this time without fighting.
In the end we decided on a design that;
-Transport 6 people safely and legally.
-Had a kitchen
-And a toilet.
We are both excited about the work to come and taking this first step into the newest chapter of our lives. Hopefully without killing each other.