Part 0: Introduction
Growing up every year we had to buy these black and white comp journals to be used during our science labs. I used to hate the fact that we had to write down all the gory details of our experiments in them and turn them in for a grade. I was certainly not one for documentation as a kid - I just wanted to do, do, do.
Well, after a few years at Deloitte of doing more documentation in a week than I probably ever did in a single semester of classes, I actually grew to like it a bit. For one, I think you just get better at it over time and so it goes faster and is far more painless. Secondly, it can always be used as a way to look back on what you did, and understand how you can get better and what went well that could potentially be used again. And thirdly, the older I get the more I just want to have things documented for myself and to share with others.
So, as an introduction to this blog, my aim with it is to distill the months of research, planning, and building that came along with creating my van, into a digestible format to help others who are interested, or already apart of the community. There is so much that goes into making a van to live in for the first time. There are so many small details and large overarching decisions to make that emotions can vary from complete, utter excitement to absolute confusion and worry in a matter of hours. I’ve experienced the entire spectrum with mine and so hopefully some of what I have to say can help someone, even just a little.
Like a lab notebook, my aim is to make things very structured, logical, and detail oriented. If you love getting into the weeds and nerding out on every tiny detail - such as cabinet door types, wood finishes, or the amount of energy draw on a solar setup - then this is the place for you.
Each post will cover a major component of the build, such as flooring, electrical, plumbing, etc. Within each component, to keep it consistent and easy to follow I’ll lean on the following structure to lay out information:
What I did, what I used, how long it took, and how much it cost?
Why I did it (including counterpoints)
What went well
What didn't go well/What I might’ve done differently
My hope is that this structure helps me keep things consistent and easy to follow while still really getting into the details. Like anything worth its salt, this structure will be flexible and may change over time, or from component to component, but generally I’ll aim to follow the structure above.
I think that’s just about it for now, but first a quick disclosure. I have literally no idea what I’m doing. I have a degree in (computer) engineering and generally feel comfortable around power tools and woodworking through a few projects here and there, but I am by no means an expert. For the most part I’ve just watched a ton of videos, done a large amount of research, and probably have a delusional amount of confidence when it comes working with my hands and solving problems I know nothing about. A healthy mix of growing up playing sports and being a consultant :)
If you have any ideas or comments please leave them below, otherwise next up I’ll cover how and why I chose the van I did!