When my brother-in-law’s job moved him to Texas, my sister Gail became interested in getting an RV, primarily to use to visit family back home. She didn’t like the idea of having to stay in dirty motel rooms, possibly being exposed to bedbugs and foot fungi and who-knows-what-else that might encountered in a bedroom and bathroom used by the public.
Also, they would be traveling when Mike was on vacation, so she knew they would be putting in long hours at the wheel. And since they would be on a strict travel budget, they didn’t want to have to pay high campground fees just to park overnight. And they didn’t want to have to eat all their meals on the road — another expensive proposition. And finally, when they got to family’s homes, they didn’t want to have to move in on them, disrupting their household and sleeping arrangements.
So looking for an affordable RV became their priority. They considered a travel trailer (as used ones can be bought cheaply), but then they would have to buy a pickup truck, and they didn’t need a truck for anything except towing. It made more sense to buy an inexpensive used cargo van and convert it to their needs.
While Gail was researching ways to convert a cargo van to a camper van, she was stunned to discover that there are countless women all over the country who, through loss of their jobs or relationship breakups, were now homeless. With no place to live, many of them were fixing up old vans to live in.
She found many websites showing how to cheaply convert a van into a mini home on wheels. But most of them were depressingly ugly, consisting of bed frames made of 2 x 4 lumber with a mattress, and plastic drawers for storage. So not only were these women homeless, there was no beauty — nothing girly — left in their lives.
Even worse, many of the vans had no toilet or shower facilities, making the women completely dependent on public facilities.
She determined to convert her van into a pretty little space with all the comforts, like shower, toilet and kitchen. And then she would share what she learned with anyone who was interested — whether they are building their first camper or just downsizing from a larger RV. And maybe her ideas could be an inspiration to a homeless person somewhere, to help add a little beauty or functionality to their van.
To that end, I am working on building a page on this blog that will be permanently linked at the top, to serve as Gail’s guidelines for anyone who is interested in building an attractive, liveable, small RV in a cargo van. I’m hoping to have the article finished in a day or two.
[On edit – the article From Cargo to Camper Van has now been published.]