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From RV Life To Van Life

Going from a Class C RV to a Van in less than a year!

Hi, I’m Art Van Grow. My names Amanda Marie and I live a minimalist lifestyle traveling the United States full time in my tiny house on wheels named Crystal! In November 2017, after several years of research, I finally purchased my first tiny home, a 26 foot class C Shasta Sprite RV. Less than a year later, September 2018 I bought my first van, a 2018 Ford Transit High Roof. I went from a tiny house the size of my NYC studio apartment to a van approximately half the size and I couldn’t be happier!

I spent 6 months gutting, re-building, and hand painting my Class C RV into my ArtV tiny house on wheels. This was my first taste of life on the road and living off the grid...it was awesome! But just like everything in life, everything has its ups and downs and the RV was no different. During the build, everything that could go wrong...went wrong. But I was determined to travel and live minimalistically, so I took each problem as they came and handled them all to the best I could. Before I departed for my trip in May 2018, I already knew I would eventually downsize. After 15 minutes out of NYC and my tire blowing and damaging the undercarriage of the ArtV, I knew I was up for quite the adventure!

My ArtV tiny house on wheels and I traveled through 20 states this summer and also participated in Colorado’s 2nd Annual Tiny House Festival. I am forever grateful for the fun and adventures that Crystal the ArtV has experienced with me, however, she was quite the drama queen the entire trip! It started with the tire, the swaying, the scrapping of her butt on every thing ever, the 15 mph hills, being too big for a lot of adventuring, the rattling, I could go on and on...but if you own an RV, you already know all of this. I grew up in NYC, so unless I was drunk tailgating a WVU football game in an RV, I knew absolutely nothing about RVs and what I was getting myself into when I decided on “RV Life”. My ArtV was completely off grid with 680 watts of solar, a tankless propane water heater, a composting toilet, and all the works. It was also hand painted on the exterior with a maze that had a hidden phrase. Crystal had everything I have ever wanted in a tiny house on wheel. But, after living in the ArtV for a little over three months, I knew for sure that RV Life was not for me and I for sure want to live an even tinier and more minimalist lifestyle indefinitely.

At this stage, I knew exactly what worked and didn’t work with the ArtV, and what things I would need and wouldn’t in the new van conversion (Check out my YouTube video on Rv Do’s and Don'ts if you are interested in exactly what I did and didn’t like about RV Life). I was excited to make the leap from approx. 23 feet of living space to about 12 feet and I was prepared for the planning and strategic floor plans to optimize the most space. How I got the van on complete accident is also a long story, so check that video out on my YouTube if you are interested in seeing how mysterious the Universe works. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it….” - Paulo Coelho. On September 7th 2018 I drove away with my new tiny house on wheels, Crystal 2.0!

Within two days of having Crystal 2.0, I started to load bins into the van because I planned to live in it during the entire conversion. If you are considering living in your van during your conversion, I highly recommend it and it was one of the better decisions I have made in a really long time (you guessed it...I have a YouTube video about that too). I am currently 22 days into my van conversion, but have been living in it now for three months and we have travelled over 3000 miles together and it has all been incredible! So far, not one issue that I had in the ArtV, I have came across yet in the van...it’s actually amazing! I have gone up dirt roads that I would never think twice about taking the ArtV to, my average speed up a hill is now 80 mph, and driving went from being stressful and intense to beautiful, fast, and so much fun!

I am a strong believer in everything happens for a reason. The ArtV was a major stepping stone for me to deciding that I want to travel full time, indefinitely, and in a minimalist way. RV Life was not for me, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not for everyone. We are all different and unique and we all have different ways we like to travel. I love being in Crystal 2.0, I can go anywhere, see anything, park in a city, go really fast, and not have to worry about everything rattling and breaking. I am hoping to finish my conversion in December so she is all ready for her first debut at Skooliepalooza and RTR in Arizona in January. I update Instagram regularly with photos of my travels and the van conversion, so if you want to stay updated follow me @ArtVanGrow. I am forever grateful for the ArtV, for the people I have met during my travels, the places I have gone, the opportunity for the van, and I am excited to see where the Art Van Grow adventures continue!

Stay Sexy & Keep Wandering

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