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Hey there. I'm Josh, and I love vanlife.
Seriously. I love vanlife.
In fact, I’ve lived in three different vans over the past four years. I started with a classic maroon Volkswagen Westfalia, took diligent mental notes on which aspects I loved and those I’d do without, and then subsequently built out my dream rig: a Dodge Promaster 2500. However, I made a few little mistakes. I lived in that for a while, took a few more mental notes, and finally settled on my current palace on wheels: my second Dodge Promaster 2500: Dream Rig 2.0.
I probably could’ve lived in Dream Rig 1.0 for years—it was great, well-built, and earned compliments everywhere I went. It baffled friends and family when I mentioned that I wanted to build a second rendition. But there were a few things to improve—the table was a touch too small, the closet could’ve been bigger—and so I decided to sell it, buy a new van, and rebuild.
This process—call it perfectionism, if you must—gave birth to Stinson Vans in a quiet explosion of saw dust.
See, for me, it’s a mix: a carpenter by trade, I love the building aspect of it all—I get lost in the sauce of saw blades, enthralled by the character of wood. But vans are not just about how comfortable or cool they are. To borrow a page from Doctor Seuss’s book, they’re about the places you’ll go.
My vans have taken me across the nation, from coastal bluffs of Oregon to the mountain ranges of Wyoming and the desert crags of the southwest and back again. They’ve allowed me to see things I never would have seen, but more than that, meet people I never would have met. Not to mention, they’ve allowed me to avoid paying rent. Many of my lifelong friendships have been formed in crag parking lots and around campfires.
Throughout my life, whether or not I was living in a van, I’ve always been a traveler. I’ve trekked the highlands of Bolivia and backpacked to overhanging seaside cliffs of Thailand. But there’s one thing that a life of international adventure has led me to realize:
Adventure is best when you can bring your toys along for the ride.
While I’ll continue to travel the world—there are rocks I’ve never climbed and rivers I’ve never paddled, after all—I’ve come to find that van travel is the best travel. I have my own tiny home; it goes where I do. And inside it, I have all the luxuries I need (and a few I really don’t). I have all my toys: the backpacking gear, the mountaineering gear, the rafting gear, the snowboarding gear, the climbing gear and the mountain bikes all tucked neatly away in my garage on wheels.
My love of vans stemmed from a love of travel. My love of building them originated from a nomadic inkling that I might be able to upgrade my caravan. Like a hermit crab, I built a new home, and when I did, I fell head over heels for the process.
This ain’t your average about page. But I’m not your average van builder. And I don’t aim to build average vans.
See you on the road,
Chief Van Builder