A Van Named Dusty

I’m officially a camper van owner! I closed on the van on Tuesday of this week and here’s the lead up storyline…

For many months I have been motivated to increase quality of life so what better way than to enter the van life culture?! A slue of influences like following many van lifers on Instagram, a visit to New Zealand, and other inspiring factors, had driven me to begin the research which lasted months. The search included van model possibilities, conversion materials and costs, as well as the time to build my prototype diagrams of configurations. Due to my confidence that a camper van was in the not so distant future coupled with impatience to live the best life possible I had prepared myself for immediate purchase should THE van present itself. I thought I found the gem a couple weeks ago. It was a used 2011 Freightliner 140 HR with 3000 miles for $32K. Best of all it was an extremely rare conversion with a built in office workstation which I would need to build if my employer approves my proposal to work remotely for an indefinite period of time. Long story short, the deal fell through because the dealer failed to disclose that the recall created a stop sale and the wait for a replacement airbag was 10 months! Ugh! I was so disgruntled but it unknowingly became a blessing in disguise. The trial run to own a Freightliner prepared me with having processes and math in place to make an immediate purchase. Days later my friend had notified me of a converted camper van on the market. It was a local 2014 Nissan NV 2500 cargo van with a high roof, V8 Titan engine, and converted by the then owner who was also a mountain biker interested in the backcountry trail experience. The more I researched the vehicle, the more interest developed and soon found myself taking a tour of the vehicle and getting an idea of the person behind the build. Like myself, the builder is very analytical but had the experience of previous conversion builds that I don’t possess. He stated he put X amount into the conversion and spent 14 months doing so, driving it less than 5,000 miles in the 14 months of ownership traveling to and from the hardware store for the build out. The owner seemed like a standup guy and unquestionably took pride in the build but he couldn’t justify maintaining ownership of a vehicle he was using less than anticipated. Fortunately, we settled on a price on site and began the process of transferring ownership. I had never closed a private sale before so I was surprised at the numerous and frequent challenges that were presented. Both the seller and I were motivated to close so it was motivating to have the bill of sale signed as soon as possible. I am a very emotionally charged and energetic guy so I had to continually keep myself in check to avoid a big time buzzkill in case the deal didn’t go through. Keep in mind that it’s not just a van, it’s an investment into a lifestyle. Once, the last signature was inked, I had a mental exhalation that my unknown but adventurous future was secure. I walked out of the credit union to where the vehicle was parked, looking at my future, and that I was living up to my friend’s motto that I’ve adopted, “Take what’s yours.”

For a photo tour of the camper van, see “VAN BUILD OUT” in the “VAN LIFE” menu.