Interested in vanlife? Here’s what it’s like building your cozy camper van.
Vanlife. By now we’ve all heard of it. It was the hottest travel trend of 2020 and, likely, 2021. But unless you have the budget to burn on a ready-made camper van, getting your vehicle road-ready is a lot of work.
Vanlife had been a notion in the back of my mind ever since I scrolled past my first Westfalia pic on Instagram. I envisioned sleeping comfortably under the stars in national parks and the freedom of the open road. But finding the time (and space in my teeny-tiny neighborhood) to search for and convert a van seemed impossible.
“I had assumptions about which parts of the country are best and worst. But actually getting to see those places has shattered my ideas.”
It was after bedtime, but I couldn’t bring myself to call my daughters into our camper. Occasional bursts of giggles and beams from a flashlight told me they were fine. Our RV was parked at an alpaca ranch in Montana, and my girls were scaling hay bales and chasing barn cats with two Black sisters from Chicago and a gaggle of Mormon brothers who lived on the farm.
This moment — watching my kids explore new cultures, places and experiences — was exactly what I envisioned when, months earlier, I had decided to pack up my family and leave our rural New Hampshire home for an open-ended road trip around America.