TheGoodVanLife.com & the Conch

Our Sprinter Van - the ConchOur story starts with my interest in tiny homes going back over a decade when I discovered Jay Shafer and his Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.  I loved the idea of a small home that would cost less for the home itself as well as less to maintain, require less housework, be able to move with my home and keep possessions to a minimum since space would naturally require it.

Fast forward to last year and my wife and I decided we would work towards living in a van and began to save for one.  In January of 2017 we actually found what we wanted, a 2006 mid sized Sprinter van with reasonably low mileage.

We chose TheGoodVanLife.com as our website from my love of the Britcom “The Good Life” which ran from 1975-1978.  In the US it was called “Good Neighbors.”  This show is about a couple who decide to go back to the basics of life and become self sufficient while staying in their home in an affluent neighborhood .  The show really starts with Tom Good (played by Richard Briers) feeling that something is missing.  He has just turned 40 and knows he needs to figure it out and then he does.  He declares he needs to break the circle – where you go to work to earn money, go out and buy things, and then you need to go back to work again to earn money.  The cast is excellent with Richard Briers as well as Felicity Kendal playing Barbara Good, Paul Eddington playing Jerry Leadbetter and Penelope Keith playing Margo Leadbetter.  I highly recommend seeing it!  So, we too are looking to break the circle; however, we want to be travelling in a van versus urban homesteading.

My wish for turning 50 was to wake up in our van on the eastern shore with my wife and long hair in a pony tail.  I know, big dreams I have, but it did come true and it also became the source of the story of how we named our van.

One of my favorite things to do on the eastern shore is to go out to the sandbar off of Smith Beach.  Shortly after we pulled up and secured the boat I found a beautiful and large conch shell.  I put it on the sand next to my sandals as we took a walk.  During our walk I did find a few more smaller shells and put them in my pockets.  After a good long walk around the perimeter of the sandbar we came back to the boat and the conch by my sandals was not there.  It was a good distance from the water and I looked all around and it was nowhere to be seen.  Of course I then asked my wife where it was as I assumed she was messing with me.  In all fairness it was perfectly reasonable for me to think that, at least in my mind, as we do like to mess with each other.  She maintained that it must have walked away and I was still sure she was messing with me.  It did not seem possible that even if there were anything in the shell that it could have walked that far that fast, and after all, I had checked it pretty carefully to make sure it was empty in the first place.  During our walk I came across so many of them, but almost all were occupied.  So, we then decided to do an experiment and find one we knew was occupied and watch it to see how fast it moved.  They actually do move incredibly fast and therefore we now knew for sure what happened and she wasn’t messing with me after all.  Eventually I did have a few shells that we both looked at to make sure they were not occupied and it was time to head back.

As I was sitting at the bow of the boat and had the shells next to me we were cruising along and I felt something pushing into my leg.  The hermit crab was pushing into me and it was unexpected and slightly startling.  Oh well, I put it back into the water.  We were most of the way back when another of the shells started to move.  Another one to set free.  By the time we got back I had only 2 shells left and had to keep an eye on them for awhile to make sure they were not occupied.  They weren’t.

Couple this amusing conch story along with my wife teasing me about being her hermit in the van and she came up with naming our van “the Conch” which comes with its very own hermit (me).  We have kept the best of the conchs to live in our van and was used to make the header image as well as the logo image of our blog.

Hopefully you found our origin story of some interest and we will be blogging many items as our journey continues with information we think helpful or at least spark some debate.

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