Meet Viva the Van. She’s a 2000 GMC Safari, with just over 125,000 miles… a little old, but certainly not past her prime. We bought her on Craigslist from a lovely Australian couple who took her on her maiden voyage around the states as a camper van.
She came pre-equipped a VERY minimal build. The bed frame is made out 2x4s, and there are a few plastic boxes for storage underneath. There’s also a small fold up table, a couple collapsible chairs, and a five gallon jug for water. We added a Yeti cooler (cooking is a must), a memory foam mattress topper (zzzzzzzzz), and a brand spankin’ new stereo system (cause TUNES!).
Initially, our intention was to stick with this build over the summer, then clean her out and start fresh with a new build this winter. We’d seen so many cool builds on YouTube, and we figured this one was just too stripped down to meet our needs.
We were wrong. It turns out, we don’t really need that many frills to be comfortable. We had plans to add solar planels, deep cycle batteries, a fridge, and new flooring… but really, we’re quite comfortable as it is. The YETI keeps ice cold for days (even more when you use dry ice). We have a couple inverters to charge our devices. Anything else feels like it would be excessive.
We’re about to park Viva in Colorado for the winter and head to Southern Europe to escape the cold. We’ll need to find a new (affordable) vehicle and do a fresh build – ALL IN 7 DAYS!! We’ll be sharing are whole process in the several episodes of Vanlifers Podcast. Any recommendations for vehicles in Europe welcome – we’re thinking about maybe a Toyota Land Cruiser or or Isuzu Trooper.