The Beard and I are so happy you have found our blog! We thought it only right to share with you our story so you know what we have been through and maybe you can relate.
I’m The Bohemian. I provide you with all the hilarious content and van life stories.
The Beard provides the laughs, the sexiness, and the brute force. Always a bonus when you marry a big sexy man!
Well, for starters we aren’t trust fund babies or leeches sucking off the government or our parents. The Beard used to have a VERY high stress job selling cars. He was pulling in six-figures before his first year was over. He happened to be EXTREMELY good at his job. Money was plentiful, while I was waitressing/bartending and raking in even more money during school. We didn’t have to worry about money for one thing.
The thing we had to worry about was all the shit we started to accumulate. At one point I remember counting 50 t-shirts just for myself. Apparently, I was planning on running a marathon every day for the next two months and not even having to worry about laundry.
It wasn’t even just the stuff we started to collect; it was everything everyone else was giving. They were like here — take this. We don’t want our trash so you can have it. Look, aren’t they so nice? Now, I know they didn’t mean it that way. But, I found out I needed to ‘grow a pair’ so-to-speak and learn to say, “NO!”
Seriously, I was way too nice of a person when it came to accepting things I didn’t even want. At the time, The Beard and I were living in a two bedroom apartment. Stuff was everywhere, especially in our second bedroom. It became my closet/storage room. Storage for what?! There were only two of us! My clothing never stayed on a hanger, usually ending up on the floor, the guest bed, or the chair. Well, we had a reality check when we bought our first 2 bedroom 700 sq ft home with a basement and a 2 1/2 car garage. We were in heaven! Until, we realized we had two days to move all the unnecessary shit from our apartment to our new home. The first night, I went through everything and tried to throw away or donate as much as possible. I took 2 SUV trips to Goodwill that night. The next day, it was like I was playing a game of pick up basketball with the dumpster. Only, I wasn’t shooting a basketball — it as all the crap we didn’t need that I was throwing in there. I was sick of taking trip after trip to our new home.
Needless to say, we still ended up with 3 homes worth of stuff when we moved into our new place. The changing moment was when I started getting into minimalism. The Beard has always been a frugalist, as was I. But I was hell bent on spending every penny in my pocket on deals! If it was a deal, how was I doing any wrong? Oh, how naive was I.
It was time for a change and I was sick of taking care of all this trash. However, I didn’t want to feel deprived and this is where minimalism really helped me. So, as we moved into our new home, I went through everything 4 or 5 more times. Anything and everything I could get rid of or donate, I did. The Beard would just get mad at me at first because he thought I was just going to donate everything and start buying new things.
After a few months, I had proved him wrong. While yes, I bought the occasional new item, I was really working on minimalism and trying to create experiences rather than things. I did however, wind up with a basement full of shit I couldn’t even walk around in. My goal was to have this HUGE garage sale in the spring because it was already winter by the time I finished going through everything.
Well, that became a problem when I got so sick of doing laundry and looking at all the stuff down there. So, off to Goodwill I went. I should have had my picture taken with all the car loads I donated. It must have taken 7 or 8 trips just to take it all there. Tax write off!
While I had a problem with accumulating things, The Beard was working 12 hour days 5-6 days a week. He was overworked, stressed out, and tired all the time. We didn’t have time for each other. It often caused tension and the job was literally killing him. In February of 2016, he walked away.
He worked his ass off to find connections so we could start flipping houses and being our own bosses. No more were we going to be working for someone else and making them rich while we slaved away and they took yacht vacations.
We cashed out ALL of The Beard’s retirement savings and bought a fixer upper. It didn’t take long for us to feel like we were in over our heads. However, we were surrounded by the right people to help. The in-laws good friend and the Beard’s aunt and uncle who have flipped numerous houses. In the end, we turned this hell of a house into the most beautiful house on the block. We sold it and saved everything we could from it.
Back when we first started getting into the minimalist and frugalist spirit, we came across the van life movement. I was quickly enthralled and ready to lift and roof rack that bitch before you could even say cash please! The Beard was not as easily convinced. It took a couple months for him to be completely willing and we bought a 1998 11 passenger van for $1800 and converted it into a camper van. BRING ON THE SHAG WAG!
This is our second Ford Club Wagon van. Our first we sold just after we bought our ‘new to us’ 1998 Ford Club Wagon. Before, we had a 1982 version that we took on countless camping trips and even took a 12 day spring break vacation down to Florida in it with no air conditioning. This trip inevitably set us on fire to be free from cares and stresses of the world. This was our inspiration for our year or more in van life across the West.
Now, if you ask us who is more excited about van life, you would be surprised because The Beard may be even more excited than me.
Before we could jump on the bandwagon completely, I still had one semester of student teaching to finish. When we sold the house we flipped, we moved into our van with our dog and cat.
The Beard took it pretty hard as first. There was nothing for him to do all day. And I was stuck getting up at 5 am to go shower at Planet Fitness before heading to school for the entire day. It was an adjustment for the both of us. I became the one that wasn’t home as often and he was the one with a lack of activities for the day.
We have always dabbled in a bit of wood working, ever since The Beard’s uncle helped me make two gorgeous tables for our wedding, almost two years ago. So, The Beard started making tables and refinishing furniture in his parent’s garage. We stayed in the van for two months before it got too cold from the windy and bitter Midwest winters.
We succumbed to the cold and are staying with The Beard’s parents just until after Christmas. With Christmas only being a few weeks away, we wanted to stay for the holidays. Especially, considering we are trying to find a forever home hopefully out in the Northwest somewhere.
And now, all of our belongings fit in our van and a 5’X 10′ storage unit. I know you’re asking, ‘Why the storage unit?’ But, we are planning on flipping more houses when we get settled down. Flipping houses takes a lot of tools and they are expensive so. For now, our storage unit holds all of our tools and that’s pretty much it, other than our bikes. We thought about taking them with us but we didn’t want to purchase a bike rack and we thought we would walk everywhere anyway.
This post has been obnoxiously long but we thought we would let you in on our little world. We hope you like us and keep reading because we are sure we will have interesting stories and spectacular places for you to see.
December 28th we will step foot in our van and be off to explore the Wild West. We aren’t even sure our first stop. I’m sure it will end up in frostbitten toes in a Walmart parking lot, but hey — we have the world at our frozen feet. We’ll see what the world brings us. And as we go, we hope to make the world a better place. Our goal is to donate to animal shelters, help impoverished children, better our environment, and help fund research facilities for the mentally impaired.
Stay with us as we bring you experiences of a lifetime, van life tips, funny stories, and spiritual happiness.
The Beard + The Bohemian