VanLife : new to us

Part-Time Vanlifers

Once upon a time young Brian and young Marisha were driving to Breckenridge to go snowboarding for the day. Along the way they spotted a Sportsmobile Van for sale on the side of the road.  They marveled at its coolness and vowed to someday have one. So they stopped to have look and said, "Wow - that's expensive",  and kept right on driving.  

Meanwhile.... seventeen years later here we are.  Once we made the decision to get something, it took about a year to pick a van and pull the trigger. We mapped out what we wanted and what was important to us. Here are the elements we were looking for.


Must haves:

  • 4 Season (so we could snowboard with it)
  • 4x4 (because we like remote and free BLM areas and are not so much into campgrounds)
  • Solar (off-grid power + heat)
  • Lots of fresh water capacity
  • Outdoor shower
  • Refrigerator, Cooktop, Sink
  • Sitting area
  • Gear storage


Things we wanted that were not as important to us:

  • Pooper
  • Shower (inside)
  • Couch/Lounge area
  • More storage
  • Outside Gear boxes and Bike racks
  • Cute house-like interior


Well, Meet Chewie. He's a 2019 Revel build-out on a 2017 Mercedes 4x4 chassis. The Revel comes with a few options to choose from: we opted-out of the graphics (sorry Winnebago those are brutal). We-opted out of the top mount a/c unit because we don't ever plan on being at a campground to actually use it. And We opted-out of the upgraded tire/rim package because Brian is picky.

Since picking him up we made a few alterations on our own and plan on more. We added LOADS of insulation because the Revel's 4-season build-out was kind of a joke after camping in cold weather (we will do a video on all of those adjustments later). Cargo nets were added all over the interior for additional storage and some extra tie-downs in back. We plan on adding a winter water line sometime in the future because in anything under 20 degrees - the water lines freeze.

This is Chewie on his inaugural drive home from the factory in Iowa to Seattle.
Aside from the journey home, Our very first night sleeping in Chewie. At a ski resort in Washington. This is when we knew he needed more insulation.
Jack-o-lope. I picked this little bastard up at Wall Drug In S Dakota. I accidentally grabbed the angriest little one on the shelf. We are convinced he hates everyone including us.
Adding the matte black hood wrap.
Marisha's boho-hippy love nest contribution. You're welcome, Brian, you're welcome.

Why the Revel?

We originally wanted to design our own van and have it built out by pro's. In a perfect world we'd actually build it out ourselves. There is an allure to saying you built it yourself and more importantly when you do so, you know every piece of equipment and part, you know where it is and how it works. This comes in handy when you are out on the road or trail and something breaks down. It's also cheaper. For us, however, it made more sense to have someone else do it ... Brian travels a ton for work so the timeline would double and we plan on doing  lot of off road travel - so it needed to be solid.  We had it priced through Outside Van, Sportsmobile, some guy in Canada, the 4x4 Winnebago Revel and maybe 1 other small outfit.  Based on factors such as cost, time and ,uhhh, cost - the Revel won. We found a great pre-order deal and only had to wait about 6 months rather than the other build-out's hefty 1.5 year timelines.


Are we 40+ year old YouTubers?

Long gone are the days when we carried blank cd's in our backpack to store downloaded picture files as we traveled. I use to get up at 6am and hustle down to the Hostel duJour's lobby to use the lone ancient computer and hope I was the first one there.  I'd sit for sometimes hours a day uploading and typing blog posts to sites like "my trip journal" so family and people at home could follow along.... This was pre-facebook and instagram. Throughout the years our international trip documentation has been changing. As you look back through the blog evolution there are more and more video clips due to better technology and more storage space. Videos just tell the story better and give a truer version of the sights,  sounds and culture. With GoPro's and digital cameras, videos are the way to go - and more fun to make.  So the future of this blog if primarily Video. We are not doing this to be "YouTubers" and have to worry about content, production, sponsors and the like. We are doing this for Us - and anyone that enjoys watching. Anyone with a travel bug. Anyone interested in VaLife - full or part time. We are hoping to portray real travel, experiences and interactions with us.  Good and Bad. So as much as we love making these videos - production will never take over the experience. And if it ever interferes with the experience as a whole or even in part - we probably won't film it.  Our videos are a little raw - but we like them that way - they feel authentic to us and we will try and keep production to a minimum just to make them enjoyable to make and watch.  So - anyone with bad vibes - negative comments - judgment - or trolling - we will not engage. (I'm sad I even have to add that).  For everyone else - we hope you enjoy and feel like you are traveling along with us. Big trips or small. We absolutely love experiencing new and sometimes uncomfortable things (see India).

Love Marisha, Brian and Klaus

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