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Driving across the country in a camper van whilst also being a digital nomad? Here's the place to learn how to and discuss the lifestyle! Moderated by Armando Costantino & Melony Candea, co-founders of Westfalia Digital Nomads, a lifestyle blog dedicated to #vanlife while being a digital nomad. They've been on the road 4+ years!
#5253
Hey everyone, I'm so excited to be writing this... My husband and I are going to take up vanlife and digital nomadism in a few short months! YAY ;D We wanted to convert ouselves but we have a bit of a time crunch this year, due to Boom festival tickets. So a full conversion will have to wait and we are looking at ready converted vans. We're down to a top 2 and I want to know your opinions here, as we've arrived at a bit of a head/heart stalemate.

Important factors
Time & money: as always, we need as much ready to go as possibe.
Space: My husband is 2 meters or 6ft8 tall!

The vans -

A 2012 transit xlwb conversion for about £13,500- Positives: much newer, better MPG, emissions etc. 500w solar system already installed + 4 batteries. Comes with many extras (awning, toilet, cooker), is more stealth
Negatives: Couldnt test drive, Higher mileage, rust in doorways, ex delivery van (not treated so well poss) Shoddy conversion, no passenger seats in the back, very dark and cramped inside, benches very low to floor, less rapport or trust with seller,

A 2003 transit minibus conversion for about £8,500 - Positives: feels much larger inside, lighter, better dimensions for a big guy, converted using marine industry products and tricks, top spec rust treatments etc, marine issue large 12v fridgefreezer, engine mint, drives beautifully, ex-hospital transport so low mileage (55k) and well cared for, 2 passenger seats in back, new diesel heater unit/system, intelligent mastervolt charging systems + 4 batteries
Negatives: Older vehicle, way worse on MPG and emissions, Way less extras (more to buy), No solar, awning, toilet or cooker, much less stealth would need tint windows.

Brain says GET THE NEW VAN AND SPEND LESS ON FUEL! Heart says GET THE SPACIOUS VAN AND AVOID DIVORCE FROM CRAMPED FRUSTRATION!

So I want to know other expert opinions! We have talked ourselves into the 2003 older transit, currently. I think weighing it up we're inclined to think that living space trumps fuel efficiency in the long run (they are BOTH so important in the long run!) and the 2003 is not exactly a heap of shit either... Are we letting sentimentality get in the way of logic? Will we kick ourselves down the line? Or does it sound like a good/fair decision?

Thanks in advance to any 10cents you have to offer!!! :)
Buff
#5255
Well definitely not the 2012 without a test drive first. Also how bad is the rust? Can it be dealt with now? With such a high budget I would think you guys would have other options too.

Based on what you just shared here I would lean to the 2003 but would likely keep shopping personally.
#5256
That's reassuring though! Thank you!
We'd been searching extensively and these are by far the best options within our budget. Some sellers are a bit deluded, and some vehicles are just not for us. Also, we have a lonnnng list of items still to buy, so am thinking that the money saved on the 2003 will certainly compensate that.
The rust wasn't so bad, but a clear sign that van hasn't been quite so well cared for. I think we're ready to make a deal on the 03! Wish us luck!
#5258
Hi Buffence, it's Mel from Westfalia Digital Nomads. I agree with Robert - no way should you buy without a test drive. Many owners let you take it for a short overnighter, even, to check it out. Also rust. We thought* we had a few rust issues, but the rust wasn't fully visible and it took a long time (several months) and a lot of money to get rid of it.

I think the 2003, while it may not have creature comforts, can be converted to your needs. It'll feel more like a home and it sounds like a better deal altogether for long-term. But again, not having seen either in person and not knowing what y'all want from your van it's quite difficult to tell you which to buy - it's the same as 'which house...?' :)

Good luck on getting whichever van you choose road ready and personalized, guys. Wishing you the best of luck and keep us posted on your progress, eh?

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