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Van-dwelling…Our Journey

23 Jan

The First Try

Years before we took the plunge and bought a van to live in, we started talking about it. Atfirst, I laughed at the idea! Who could live in a van?! After a while, the idea began to grow on us, at different rates, of course. I think it was me who decided we could put a camper on the back of our truck. We found a free one on Craigslist and picked it up. Hahaha. The poor thing was dilapidated, water logged, and twice as large as our truck could carry. So we bought new springs for the truck. We were living in a large three bedroom apartment and had way too much stuff. When moving day came, we loaded the camper on the truck, loaded the “essentials” into the camper, and promptly realized we weren’t going to be able to take the camper. So out and off it all came, and we put what we could in the back of the truck, the rest into storage, and moved across the state firmly convinced that small mobile living could not be done with two little ones ( a newborn and a two year old at the time)…this was something we would have to put off until we had no more little ones.

Another Shot…

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A couple of years later we found ourselves in a similar predicament, facing homelessness and wondering what we should do this time. I had learned a lot about living with less, and felt more emboldened in thinking we could possibly pull it off for a time. An online friend of mine that had lived in an RV with three young children helped me see that it COULD be done, and the need to get rid of our house spurred us on.

My husband this time was the leading force, driving the concept to fruition. Scared by some of the vehicles he was finding (haha) I drew a firm line. It had to be in good condition. Period. We ended up finding a kid who was willing to take on the debt we had left with the house, and trade straight across for a van. The van LOOKED pretty. It looked real pretty, and with no seats in it was spacious and roomy. By the time we loaded it up to leave, however…
It MIGHT have been a tiny bit tight. The picture below shows a good representation of what it was the majority of our time living in it. We had plastic drawers lined up all along one side, a “kitchen” area behind the seat in the back, and we slept very creatively. It was tight. I cried a lot. I was frustrated by not being able to stand, and we found out we were expecting a surprise baby about a week after moving in, so my hormones were on a lovely roller-coaster. The first three weeks our boys stayed with family…we were afraid not knowing if living like we were with children was legal or not. Finally we went into DHS and asked them. Guess what? It’s perfectly legal.
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ur van looked nice, but there were issues. One of the problems we had was the van randomly dying when we were driving it. :/

One day we decided this was it. We needed something else. I prayed that the Lord would show me our new vehicle, and we found it. The Beast, on Craigslist…hours away and listed for $900. We talked them down to $700, cash. The boys were dropped off with family for the day and a good friend agreed to help us in exchange for money. It was like God opened the doors everywhere that day. We paid for a storage unit and ended up selling our van as it was to the managers of the units. We went and picked up the new van (HA! when we saw it we almost passed it up…it was SOOO dirty and gross) but of course we had to sleep somewhere! Sadly, I never got any pictures of it in the condition it was in. I thought this was the worst mistake we had made to date. After we got back and collected our children we went to an all-you-can-eat. On the way back to our new home, we could not stop laughing. The thing was ugly. Beyond ugly. The rest of the weekend was dedicated to cleaning it.

Third Time’s the Charm

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Today, I am so happy, and know that of course, God was working in our lives very strongly that day. I love this van. It is shorter than our last one, but has an extended top on it and a cab over for little ones to sleep in. It has a fridge, an oven and stove, a sink with a 30 gallon water tank, and even a furnace. It needs a LOT of cosmetic work done, which is slow in coming, but the engine is great and has never caused us a single problem.

I don’t cry out of frustration anymore.

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