Van Life: In The Beginning

“That was the captivation of it to me. If it had ever been meant to be lived in, I might have thought it small, or inconvenient, or lonely; but never having been designed for any such use, it became a perfect abode.” – David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)

I moved into my rolling home, affectionately nicknamed The Sylvan, a month ago. Now that my build is functionally complete, I have more time to focus on activities like writing. It would also be fair to say that it is because my build is at the liveable stage that I am writing in the first place.

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Van Life: Moving House

What if the house you built with your own two hands was capable of moving to any forest, lake, or city?” That is the question pondered in my first monthly van life column for The Selkirk Sentinel. This series of articles will cover the whys and hows of entering and living life in the ex-cargo box of my 1990 GMC Grumman Olson Step Van.

Already some interesting challenges have presented themselves. In my first few weeks, I had to get stitches in my thumb (I lost a knife fight with an avocado) and an attempt was made to break into the van while I was laying in bed. Those small moments of negativity may once have seemed more significant. But the sheer volume of greater experiences has already faded their memory. I’ve parked by streams and rivers with my kayak and rod ready to go when I wake, in moss covered forests, and at the base of hiking trails. Ok yes, there were a few parking lots but those don’t seem so strange any longer. The first month has gone very well. Looking forward, I am filled with excitement and anticipation.

Fear of Success

Does anyone else start procrastinating near the end of a large project? I’m so close to getting the van to a move-in-ready stage but I find myself staring at simple things and thinking they will never get done. Then I put them off instead of doing them or I start a small quick project instead of working on the essential to-do list. The last day I worked on the van I built a cabinet at the foot of the bed, a bookshelf, and a divider. Today I panelled 3/4 of the couch. That’s 11 identical boards screwed in a straight row. Not the best day’s work to be sure.
I’ve noticed this tendency before. When success is close, I start throwing obstacles in my own way. When there are no obstacles I start to feel helpless and despondently procrastinate. The conclusion which I have drawn is that I am afraid to succeed. Afraid to finish something and move on. I am comfortable with the routine of building my new home. A part of me doesn’t want to give that up. What will I do with myself when it comes time to put down the hammer and start living my life? What will that even look like? I don’t know.
What I do know is that the hammer needs to remain swinging for now.

Converting a Step Van into a TINY HOUSE!

I began this process a few weeks ago when I purchased a pre-converted 1990 Grumman Olson. The interior was not at all to my liking. Over the past week, I have torn out the interior, kept the appliances, and begun design on a new layout. The van came with a cosy wood stove which I will be keeping. That and the immoveable wheel wells have informed the design process. I’ve used Google Sketchup to create a few layouts. These two are the current winners.

Any advice is of course appreciated. I’ll be making more frequent video updates here: https://www.youtube.com/callumscornucopia