Genesis and Ryloh's Van Life Rebuild After Fire

The Tragedy

On Saturday, October 3, 2020, the van that my husband and I planned to live in full-time suffered through an accidental fire. We had just finished the woodwork and only had the tiniest little bit of work left before it was complete. It was running wonderfully despite being a 2002, nearly everything in it having been replaced at this point. We would have been driving off into our new life, the one we have been working toward for the past 4+ years, within the next few weeks if not for this tragedy. We had just enough saved up to have our roadtrip vacation, settle, and find work wherever we ended up choosing to live.

Here are some pictures.

Us in the van

The van before
The van after burning 

The Story of Us

We met online playing a video-game called League of Legends. We lived on separate ends of the country. Our friendship was instant, and after a little over 7 months we became a couple. A few months later he pitched the idea of Van Life to me and ever since then that has been our dream. We toiled through over 2.5 years of only being able to communicate with each other through a screen before I turned 18 and was able to fly across the country to be with him. We have been together in person for another 2.5+ years now with all of our focus on this project to realize our dream.

Trial and Error

We worked and saved up money. We put so much of it into getting this horribly neglected van into better condition than we thought was possible. We built out the van the first time. We lived in it full-time for a few months, and we loved it... until it got too cold. We did it again once it became warm enough to do so. We were working a crazy amount of hours throughout all of this and still didn't have enough to move somewhere south before the next winter hit, so we continued working with a plan to optimize the van for living in a warmer climate. The new plan was to move in the Spring of 2020, which got pushed to the Summer of 2020, which got pushed to early Fall 2020, which then got pushed to before the 2020 Winter hit. Here we are at the cusp of too cold and it looks like we're going to be spending yet another winter here in Virginia.

Stuck Needing To Go South

This isn't where we belong. It never was. We always knew we were going to move somewhere south. We just had to make enough to be able to get the van how we wanted it and to have a nice little vacation as the start of the life we want to live. We have been stressed to the max, beyond that even, stuck in a place that isn't right for us.

More Than "Just A Vehicle"

That was our only vehicle, but he was more than that. He was more than just a van. He was Our van. He even had a name: Josh (husband picked it). We talk about him as if he is a sentient being because to us, he was alive. He was our baby, our friend, our protector, our home. We put our everything into him. He's all we had. Now he's gone, but the dream remains the same. We have to do it all over again, starting from scratch.

For A Better Future

We know we have to keep moving forward. We're continuing to look to the future like we always have. We need to come up with enough money to buy another van, recreate our build, and roadtrip into happiness. We hope there are people out there who will help us to realize our dream.
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