Traveling the USA, Van Life

Why I chose a Minivan to travel in

Just before the 2020 Pandemic hit full force I sold my RV when an opportunity presented itself for my husband and I to lease a family member’s house where I could have a garden and a large craft room again. We had sold the house we owned years ago in order to move back to California when my mother needed me to be her caregiver.

Long story short, it was too expensive for us to purchase a house in California. We ended up renting in a 55+ community. My husband enjoyed being able to play golf anytime and it was nice living resort style, so to speak, with an abundance of activities available within walking distance for both me and my mother. When she passed away I bought an RV thinking my husband and I would do more traveling together. Turns out, he had settled into a different retirement routine. Let me put it this way…and this is his words not mine…”I have a PHD in TV and I need to keep my skills up.”

Anyway, back to the opportunity. We loved the house that was offered to use during the pandemic, but there was no where to store the RV. So I sold it. We lived very comfortably that year. But, once the lease was up, with the housing market booming, they decided to sell that house.

So back to the 55+ community we went. Once the world opens up again, I would like to do more world traveling. But in the meantime I needed to at least get a van to do some traveling within the US.

At first I thought getting a mid-roof Ford Transit Van would be perfect for me. But, after really considering what my travel style will be like from now on, since my husband is not interested in doing more traveling, a big van wasn’t what I really wanted. I just needed a car that I could comfortably sleep in and discretely park anywhere in. So I decided to purchase a minivan. I settled on a 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan mainly because I like the stow n’ go seating versatility it has.

At first I had it set up to take a cross country trip to spend the summer with some of my grandkids who live in Maine. Once there I rearranged things a little to accommodate passengers, especially little ones in car seats so I could take my grandkids out for an ice cream cone or to the zoo or even tent camping somewhere close by. You get the point. When it’s time to hit the road again I stowed the seats and reset it up to travel in.

This is how I set my minivan up first:

June 2021

My minivan has undergone several transformations since. It’s all documented on my Travel Grandma YouTube Channel.

Below is the second transformation with my son-in-law building me a bed.

August 2021

By the time I got to my friend’s house in Tennessee, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted my van to be like inside. In this next video, we created a template made out of reclaimed wood.

November 2021

I took that template, reworked a few things and came up with the following self-designed, self-built minivan camper.

January 2022

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