Some friends and family - mostly forlorn souls without Instagram accounts - have asked me to share some of my progress on my latest and greatest project; self-building a adventure mobile from scratch, with the goal of touring Europe from March to October next year.
Here's how it started.
At the end of August I bought a big-ass Mercedes Sprinter. It's in pretty great condition, considering its mileage (155k) and its build year ('07). This wasn't an impulse buy, I'd been thinking about doing something similar for a few years now. It started off as a crazy notion, sometimes building up in intensity and urgency only to slowly ebb away back into some dark crevice of my mind afterwards. But every now and then, there it was again. But as with any thought that continues to linger in your mind, it warrants further investigating.
Around May I started doing just that. Me and my business partners just went our separate ways after a great run. Here I was, nearly thirty, wife-less, childless, soulless, and with a yearning to not end up in corporateville. I'd initially set my mind upon migrating to Barcelona (sorry, Peter. One day...), and possibly spend some time somewhere in Asia as well. But shortly after deciding so, that damned notion started to make its way to the forefront of my thoughts again. And this time I had the cash, the time, and no one depended on me.
The choice was easy. When in doubt, always pick adventure over comfort. Always, most of the time.
And thus began the deep dive into #vanlife.
And after procrastinating on it for a while - interspersed by a few weeks ofhouse sitting on a stellar apartment of some friends in Amsterdam - I pulled the trigger and bought my first Benz. I'd just turned 30 and I already own a Benz, what up. Can't wait for the next high school reunion.
I had to get used to driving the thing. It didn't drive quite as smooth as my parents' Toyota Auris hybrid with automatic transmission, it has to be said.
Not as smooth, but thrice as brute. And way more fun. Also way hotter, given the absence of anything resembling an airco.
Having parked it at my parents' place, first up was removing the shitty fixtures that the previous owner had built in. I figured this would take about an afternoon. This marked the start of a trend of me underestimating how much time things take, especially for a DIY-noob like me.
By the way, I should really get Spotify premium. I have this thing against Spotify because they still don't pay the artists as they should, and therefore I don't want to pay them, but every 20 minutes or so the most god awful set of commercials kicks in, totally kicking me out of my writing bliss. This was such a moment. Let's continue..
This was the inside when I bought it. We'd already removed some stuff by this point. Just look at all this shit. I think removing the cabin divider alone cost me a day or so. It was so stuck I had to saw through parts of it with a grinder (slijptol for the Dutchies).
And yes, there were a few 'what the fuck have I gotten myself into'-moments. As it should be.
Ever since I decided to do this I had been stretching my limited drawing skills by sketching possible layouts of the interior. The interior will always be a compromise, given the lack of space (and the abundance of space I personally occupy, being 6 feet 3 and a quarter). I spent a good few weeks researching other setups and making a few dozen detailed drawings of possible layouts. Some of them are found the gallery below.
The next post will show some more progress, but I don't want these things to be too long. To be continued..
Meanwhile, you can follow my progress on an Instagram account, which is a visual chronicle for just this project. The handle is @theslowlanes
I will also be continuing to update the buildout and the coming trips and adventures on a Facebook page, also named The Slow Lanes. Also, and I hate doing this, but can you please like the FB Page? If I get >25 Likes I can claim my custom URL, instead of something like https://www.facebook.com/The-Slow-Lanes-280884625626257 , which just looks plain ugly. Thanks!