The Story: Buying a Sprinter Van

WANDERLUST – wän•der•lust – being in a continual state of exploration

We have a baby now, so obviously we’ll be needing a nice family van.  A nice large, responsible family van.  A nice blacked out, windowless, unmarked family van.  It is possible that we may have misinterpreted the statistic of “family van”.

Or maybe we did not.

A van could insure that the exploration continues.  A van would be big enough to hold all of baby’s gear.  This van could create a safe place for her to be out of the weather, no matter where we opt to wander.  It would always be packed, so it would never take hours to get out of the house.  A van could totally simplify this whole new world with baby.  It could keep this adventurous nomadic life alive!  We threw all our eggs into that basket, not knowing exactly where it would take us, or if it would even work out.

Existing in that moment, with all our thoughts hopeful, we could nearly tast the adventure to come.  A need to get out of this suburban lifestyle seemed to be making itself more prevalent every day that we stayed still.  We refused to fall into that comfort zone of 8-5, responsible car driving, garage full of stuff we don’t use, American Dream.  It wasn’t for us.

So the search for a van began.

The next months were filled with researching van conversions.  We read #vanlife blogs, watched DIY van YouTube, and scoured high and low for potential vans to become our van.  We made a few bids on eBay, constantly searched Craigslist, and then, “the one” finally appeared.  Awe perfection.  An older model, barren inside, with custom dings and excessive miles.  But at a realistic price that made the idea of building it, and the dream of endless travel and free spirit adventure seem possible.  This lifestyle that we only started really tapping into just over a year ago.  Not that either of us have any experience converting a van, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

As with any seemingly good deal, this one did have a small snag.  It was located a state away, in Arkansas. Wagering the cost of a flight, The Husband and a stack of cash boarded a plane 12 hours later, in route to Little Rock.  I stayed put with our newborn (lame) but the thing only came with 2 seats, so we were out of the adventure (for now).

“Make sure you look inside the van before you get in!”, I told him as we kissed good bye at the airport.

Getting picked up at the airport in another state, in a van, by someone you meet on craigslist, who knows you’re flying in with a stack of cash, eh…. just check the van before you get inside, k?

Waiting outside the Arkansas airport, The Husband surveyed the curbside pick-up area for a large white van.  No van was in site.  Shortly later two men in a beat up truck approached.  They asked if he was here to buy a van, and simple greetings were exchanged.  In broken English, one of the men explained that the van was not far, and they would take my husband there.

Sure, that sounds reasonable. (Ahhhh!)

The owner of the van spoke less English then his friend, and The Husband’s spanish is equally as poor, if not worse.  However, they were putting off seemingly good vibes, so he decided to go for it, and hopped in the truck.  They managed to find some common words, and filled in the remaining bits of conversation with huumms, haas and polite laughs.  The owner actually purchased the van in Austin, TX.   He brought the van to Arkansas for his family catering business.  His family were no longer pursuing the business, so they were letting the van go.

Exiting the main road, they pulled into a residential area, and there it was. A 2005 hightop 158 WB Mercedes Sprinter.

Front view of 158 WB Mercedes sprinter cargo van high top
Paper work and cash was exchanged.  The deal was done, and The Husband and The Van were on the road.  It was a full 8 hour return drive home in the heat of summer.  As the van did not come complete with working air conditioning, the return trip was a windows down, shoeless kind of trip.

Around 2am, a huge unmarked white van creeped into my driveway.

Plenty of room to create travel space for us, the baby and pup.  Can you feel the excitement?  Oh, baby she’s all ours!  We have plans already set in motion for a California beach front Christmas, and a nice wintery Oregon.  Which leaves us just about 3 and 1/2 months to fix it, build it, pack it, and get out of the Texas.

This is for you Fynlie baby, you’ll see the ocean and snow before your first year!

Adventures here we come….

February 2017 Sprinter Van UPDATE  

Check out the build out process on Thinsulate insulation, the floating dry goods shelf, headboard with nightstand, Dickinson Marine Fireplace, and the rest of our Sprinter Van Conversion Project here.  New pictures and tutorials will always be there first!

If you see any ideas that interest you, it would be super awesome of you to pin it to your Pinterest. 🙂

Thanks for following our scenic route!

1 Comment

  1. Alyssa

    July 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Haha, this is the coolest family van I’ve ever seen. I’m really enjoying reading your blog.

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