Let me take you on a quick introduction to vanlife. I will tell you how I discovered what on earth Vanlife is and why I decided to take the leap 🙂
Early 2017, I decided it was time for a change (once again). Everything seemed to be going strong. I had just sold my house, was making solid money as a freelancer, moved into a lovely furnished apartment, had just made a surfing trip to Tenerife.. but I realized I had not met any inspiring people over the past few months, the Dutch weather was driving me crazy, my love life was on the rocks, I had a startup that didn’t take off, I was spending my time in a job that I like but not love to pay the bills… Life is too short for all this stuff!
I considered just packing my bags and take a plane to Asia, New Zealand or Central America. But I didn’t want to spend my money just travelling around, I wanted to build something that would potentially create a passive income in the long term. I looked at buying French B&B’s, old Spanish finca’s and even at opportunities to start a co-working space abroad. But when doing the math, I realized it was definitely not the right time yet, I was a couple of 0’s short! Hmm..
Introduction to Vanlife
And there it was: #vanlife !! While browsing for inspiration online, I came across the hashtag 🙂 People living in vans, travelling and working the globe. YES! An investment that won’t lose much value, that has rental potential in the future.. I love it!
So I started orientating myself in the whole buying-building-a-van area, because I didn’t know anything about it! I spent a full day with my dad exploring Volkswagen vans. First, we went to a dealer in old Volkwagen vans and it was amazing! They are just so stunningly beautiful and romantic.. Just the thought of driving towards the horizon in one of them… awesome 🙂 The owner of Old Volks spent 2 hours telling us all about the vans, the things to look out for, the risks and everything else I needed to know. After that we paid a visit to the Camper Centrum Nederland for some new vans.
I will write a blogpost soon about the whole decision process 🙂 But I decided that either an old or new Volkswagen van was not for me, mainly because of the interior. I want to work on the road and would need a lot of space to sit, I wanted a fixed high-top. Also, big campers were not for me, because they are just too expensive and too big for just me.
But then I found out that there is another important hashtag: #vanconversion !! Buying a regular van for a good price and then converting it into a campervan!! I looked for an introduction to vanlife and got totally inspired by people like BearFootTheory , Sprinterlife and VandogTraveller. So I started the search for a van and reading up on all that needed to be done.
Because I’m not a great driver yet (not much experience), a super large Mercedes sprint was not for me. I also preferred an automat as opposed to a manual. After two days of full-time search, driving by dealerships, meeting great and not so great people, there she was! An almost brand new, 5 year old, 50.000 kilomters, shiny, small, high-top roof, windows already in BEAUTY .. ♥ 30 minutes later she was mine 🙂
So that’s a short summary of my introduction to vanlife and how I got to the purchase of my van 🙂 I’m well on my way with the build at the moment and cannot wait to start travelling with my van!
Check out my Instagram and Facebook for full picture coverage of the vanconversion!
So AMAZING! I love that you just decided that you needed a change and you figured out what you that change would look like and then BAM…made it happen. So often we seek and search and sometimes figure it out but are to afraid to put the plan in motion. Congrats! Safe and happy travel to you!
Thanks for your nice words Kim!! 🙂
Hi Sabrina, I’m reading your website with great joy 🙂 One of the questions that remain, and I haven’t found any Dutch vanlifer who wrote about it, is what the monthly expenses/costs are on the van itself. So not for fuel which obviously is different for everyone, but I mean for taxes and insurance and stuff?! I’m considering buying a van to convert, but can’t figure out what a Berlingo, Transit Connect or a Sprinter would cost (comparing 3 different sizes). Hope you can and would like to answer! Thanks! 🙂
Hi Anne, thanks for your message!
Assuming you’re Dutch, this may help:
My road taxes are 169 euro’s per quarter (which is the reduced camper tariff. I think the taxrate depends on building year and type of motor (mine is Diesel)
My insurance currently is 369 euro’s per quarter because I don’t have “damage-free” year (schade vrije jaren). If you do have that, it becomes significantly less 🙂 I’m insured Full Casco. Hope this helps and feel free to post any other questions!