My lovely wife and I got really good at van life. The converted ambulance was working really well for us. Sadly, it needed expensive repairs we could not afford so we sold it. Then there’s sailing, the other thing we love to do. We could not afford a bigger sailboat this year. In fact, I refused a free sailboat just because we couldn’t pay the dockage fees.
Instead of a van, we’ll be camping in a tent this winter. To a lot of people that may seem like a big step backwards. It’s not for us, as we never completely gave up tenting. Last year we picked up a really nice L. L. Bean Alpine 6 tent at a half price sale. We tented instead of renting a hotel in Rhode Island last fall and the cost savings paid for the tent already.
Instead of buying another sailboat we are hauling our Oday 19 trailer sailer with us. The upgrades to the boat and trailer haven’t been very expensive. The Oday gets along just fine using free wind and the sun. The gas motor was replaced with an electric on charged by solar panels. It’s super cheap to run.
The one thing we did buy was a 2004 Chevy Blazer to tow the boat. We don’t have a lot money into that vehicle, but so far it does the job.
I was able to salvage a lot of stuff off the van before selling it, like the solar electric system, small fridge, inverters, 12 volt fan, and other odds and ends. We will be able to camp in cheap National Park sites that lack electricity and be very comfortable.
People ask me what we’ll do if it rains all the time while we are tenting. First of all, it’s a really good tent and can handle a certain amount of rain. However, if the rain goes on long enough it stops being fun. At that point we can always spend a few nights in a hotel. We save enough money tenting that we can afford a hotel now and then if we want to.
A winter of camping and sailing is cheaper than spending the winter in our house. We are turning the heat and electricity off. The Internet is being suspended until we return. More importantly, it’s a lot healthier for us.
In a year or two, if all goes well, we’ll look for a bigger boat. If that doesn’t happen we’ll figure something out. We always do.