Van Life

Van Life

Written by: Jaclyn LaDue

Jaclyn and her family

Writing is not my strongest ability – it is one I have steered clear of since college maybe longer.  Rob asked me to write something about myself; I have worked on this for weeks wondering if I’m heading in the right direction.  I finally gave in.  Here we go!

People ask, “Why are we doing this?”

Well…… I want time with my family: Rob (my fiancé), my son, and the dog.  I want the long days in the woods on a bike, a hiking trail, or on/in the river.  Rob and I have been wanting a simpler life for quite some time, to see what is out there, what are we missing, what can we learn from new experiences. I had been a single mom for 10 years prior to my engagement, as I look back on that time I have realized not much time has been spent with my son.  This is not because I didn’t want to, it’s because I was working hard to provide us with what I thought was the American Dream: a nice home, great job, and fancy car.  This is what I thought we needed to be happy. Over the past few years I have learned so much more about myself and what I want out of life.  I want my son to grow up in a world of wonder, a world that he can enjoy, and without the influence of technology grabbing hold. I want him to enjoy it like we did as kids; running and playing outside until our parents called us in for dinner.

I am currently a Horticulturalist by college and career; I have been in the industry for 17 years now.  This has not been an easy career choice – I am a woman working in a man’s world.  I have spent years fighting my way to the top, and I am finally there.  I am the Director of Horticulture/Maintenance operations for a large landscape company in Asheville, North Carolina.  It was not easy getting up at 4:30am and getting home after dark for more years than I can remember.  It’s time for a change and what time is better than now?

We took a trip to Florida earlier this year, and on the way home we looked at one another and decided to take a leap of faith in to “van life”.  Rob pulled out the computer and started looking all over country for the right van.  This was on a Tuesday afternoon and by night fall we found a potential rolling home.  We turned around Friday morning and drove 6 hours into Tennessee. By night fall we were the proud owners of a 2005 Sprinter. Step one was complete!!

The next day we drove it home and began figuring out what to do with it and how to pay for it all. We are your normal lower middle-class family, we have some credit card debt, student loans, and a mortgage but somehow, we have to save. This means we have had to get creative. After some basic maintenance on the van (brakes, shocks, etc..) we deemed it worthy of daily use and sold our 2017 Subaru Forester, and used that money to pay off all our credit card debt, and the loan on the van!! I have also been selling clothes on app Poshmark to pick up extra cash and to help us clear out the closets. We will rent the house out when we leave to pay the mortgage and to help make money on the road.  Rob will take on all schooling for our son who will be going into 6th grade and I will be selling stuff in my Etsy shop to pick up extra cash.  All and all we don’t have it all figured out yet but nothing is perfect.  There will be endless adventure on the road, peppered with ups and downs, and we will be ready for it all!

Hitting the road August 2019!!!

You can follow Jaclyn’s van adventures on her instagram @3andshetravels

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