Think big, live small

We’ve made a transition in our lives. Another one. It was Karen’s idea, but it didn’t take me long to get on board.

We’ve downsized again. This time into a van. And his name is Vinny. (Go ahead and play with that for a while…and if you can correctly guess the reasoning behind Vinny’s name in the comments below, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free signed copy of Portraits of Peace.)

We are four days into it…317 miles down the road…and so far, it seems like it was a good idea.

We’d been looking at vans online and of course that means social media went into overdrive feeding us ads of every sort of van. While we were in California before the new year, Karen got an ad from a company called Dave &Matt Vans, a small little shop in Gypsum, Colorado that builds out Dodge Ram Promasters into campers. They aren’t luxury vans, but then, we are not luxury people. Their motto is, “Everything you need and nothing you don’t.”

It sounded like a good fit. “We go right past their shop on the drive home,” I said. So we stopped. We looked. And we liked.

Long story short, we flew to Colorado with four big duffel bags on Friday and picked up Vinny at the shop Saturday morning.

The past few months have been full, navigating the broken trailer, leading programming in a half dozen states, staying with friends (amazing and generous friends) and shedding stuff.

This timing coincided with a pause in our schedule, so now, it’s time to breathe. It’s time to step away and recalibrate.

We’ve headed southwest to the desert to get used to life in a van. To get warm. And to do a little reflecting and visioning about how A Peace of My Mind has developed over the past twelve years and how we will continue to grow and increase our impact going forward.

It’s exciting to settle into life with Vinny. We have a lot of learning to do and we have questions about how it’s all going to work. I imagine you have questions, too. I’ll try to answer some of the most obvious ones below, but if you have others, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll respond the best I can.

Vinny started as a new 2021 Dodge Ram Promaster 3500 with a v6 engine and a 159’ wheelbase.

Dave & Matt Vans in Gypsum, Colorado, did their standard “Everything you need and nothing you don’t” build out, and then added a few of their custom features that we chose to make it just right for us.

We’ve got 320 watts of solar on the roof and an upgraded lithium battery to power the living quarters.

We added a cabin heater that runs off our fuel tank and vents outside for safety (plus a carbon monoxide detector because…well…more safety.)

Our front driver and passenger seats swivel 180 degrees to be used for cabin seating, plus we have a small dinette with two benches that double as storage and a tiny little table that can mount in three different places, depending on our mood for the day.

There’s a dorm sized fridge, a sink and a few drawers and cabinets for all the things that traveled with us in the duffel bags to help stock the van.

Toilet? Yes, a little sorta potty.

Stove? No. We have a propane stove we can use to cook outside. We’ll buy an induction burner as well to cook inside with electric.

Shower? Nope. Stand by on how that goes, but plenty of campgrounds have showers, and I guess truck stops do, too.

Right now, it feels good to be nimble. To have less stuff. To slow down. In the end, it’s going to allow us to focus more on the work that we are doing.

Stay tuned as we move through the transition and continue the journey. We’ll do a Facebook Live or some such thing in the next week or so with more updates and to answer more questions. Keep an eye out for that.

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