There were a lot of unknowns in this project for us. As we went, we kept discovering them. We knew we wanted something homely and alternative with a warm, welcoming feel to it. Not your typical campervan / motorhome deal. We liked the idea of having wood in there. We wanted something to travel in, but also something we could hang out in, and feel comfortable about doing so. As we write this, we feel we managed to achieve this, parked up on a little mountain road, just out of Styra in Greece, surrounded by farmlands with the sea in view from our back window.
There were countless questions that needed answering, and we soon began to realise that each question we answered, and each topic we focused on was another extensive project in itself.
What size van to get? What make and model? Did we want a newer van, with less mileage and most likely less problems, but with less ‘romance’ to it, or an older van, with less power, simpler mechanics, the awesome long gearstick in the middle and all the ‘romance’ to boot, but likely more mileage and with a high possibility it’ll be problematic down the line. After many viewings, we found ‘the one’, now known as Maddi, a 2006 Ford Transit, medium length and medium height.
We began by planning the layout of the van, talking about many options and alternatives of where to locate the different units with the very limited space we had, while trying to achieve both the most practical outcome, yet maintaining the end result of having a warm, cosy place to travel, live and hang out in.
Above are two images of different layouts we tossed up, the left one near the beginning and the right is not far from the final layout, although there are some minor changes that just happened, we didn’t bother to re-do the drawing.
We scoured ebay to find things we needed, aiming for second hand where we could to try and keep the cost down. A fridge, a navigation unit, a toilet, an amplifier and a pump to name a few.
Many of these subjects we knew very little about, so we now had a huge pile of reading and researching to do! A prime example is the image below – the contents of the package that contained our navigation unit, full of wires of all different colours and parts we’d never seen before.
The questions and the planning were endless, and each decision we made opened up a thousand more. We needed to research and think about the major topics as insulation, electrics, water, building, toilet, and the shower right down to the minor topics as having some form of connectivity to the outside world while travelling – and how each aspect would be specific to a moving vehicle. And right to the very end, our lists and planning didn’t stop. The picture below gives an idea what a day of ours looked like and how much eventually we managed to get done: