Video: Smokey’s on CheapRVLiving

Brian from CheapRVLiving was buzzing around the van open house at the RTR, shooting footage for a future video. This is that video. Starting at 5:00, I have 37 seconds of fame.

There was more to our talk that hit the cutting room floor, but they kept the part I most wanted to share: our “Erector Set” construction technique and how strong the final product is, including shaking the whole van by pushing on a cabinet. That’s the standard and the test that Trisha set out to accomplish at the beginning of this build. It still works, which is a testament both to her idea and to how well it’s held up over the past year since construction began.

Back when I was unhappy in my marriage and retreating to YouTube videos to briefly escape, the YouTube algorithm started suggesting Bob Wells CheapRVLiving videos among the train hopping ones I watched for a while. I’m not crazy enough to train hop myself, but I enjoyed watching others do it. Bob, on the other hand, showed me an alternative way of living that I actually could do. I seriously considered running away from my marriage in a van.

I didn’t.

The logistics of buying and building a van somewhere besides my home (I’d have to keep it a secret for it to work) were difficult, to say the least. The house was sucking away so much money with its routine emergencies I didn’t really have extra to spare to buy a van. Plus, leaving her in that way would likely have had dire legal consequences for me down the road. So I didn’t do it.

But, the idea of running away in a van always stuck in my mind. Once I had my own apartment and had sold our house, I soon bought my first van, the no-build van build. I tried it. I loved it. Trisha and I decided to build another van to live in full-time. The fire happened, then the breakup. Life didn’t exactly go according to plan. But here I am, living this life, and attending the RTR. And now, I’m on the CheapRVLiving channel for 37 seconds showing off my van build. It’s a nice full-circle sort of feeling. Maybe my brief segment will be the spark someone watching it needed to realize they can do this, too, despite not being a woodworker, and to pursue making that dream a reality.

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