Very nervous - deaf and trans trying to get my recently acquired van into good shape for vanlife

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Hello all 😊 I'm feeling quite nervous about all this. I'm a late 30's deaf transwoman in Colorado. I've always been interested in the idea of vanlife. It gives me a sense of security not having to be tied down to a single location around the country. Due to a situation that had a roommate in my last place having to move back to their family in a hurry and wanting to just get rid of their van plus many other stuff, I ended up getting it. So I now have a 1985 Chevy G30 that already comes with a roof rack (though wooden?) and some really nice swing away hitch cargo. There was a few other items already included in the van such as a diesel heater and a 12v electric cooler. So I'm already having a half of a blueprint to get the van ready for that lifestyle! I have quite a few thing that I would like to have done on the van and due to tight financial constraint, I'll likely have to do so much on my own. So I'll be learning all sort of skill in this journey toward being vanlife ready ^_^

The van does seem to run well enough, at least at under roughly 45mph. I suspect there's some issues with the sensors based on my research as the dash is also acting up. Hopefully it won't be too difficult for me to replace myself. I'm hoping to essentially replace the entire wiring harness by myself with custom additions for solar and more. Planning on salvaging a g20 from a local junkyard for a high roof, swivel seats, and the like hopefully. I will be insulating the van rather heavily with foam board insulation. I absolutely want to have the whole exterior repainted and I'm honestly kind of at a loss as how to go about that without spending $$$ at a paint shop.

Unfortunately, being on a limited fixed income, I'm unable to get the van all set up anytime soon. So I'm hoping to at least have a few trips for next year and then after that, attempt this lifestyle fulltime.

I have to admit, I am feeling extremely nervous due to how hostile some places have been becoming toward queer people, especially those of the trans variety like myself. Throw in being deaf and on a limited income, I'm even more vulnerable. So I'm hoping to learn from y'all how to stay safe and secure :) More details about myself, I'm quite interested in tech stuff. Like I'm looking into learning enough about robotic to maybe get into the fairy-weight league of combat robot (think battlebot but tiny), 3d printing, electronics, and more. I absolutely enjoy fixing up broken electronics. For example, I've picked up an expensive 38 inch ultrawide monitor and managed to get it fixed using just an utterly tiny strip of clear tape haha (a signaling issue with one of the ribbon cable). So I'm intending to see if I could make it a supplemental income thing for myself once I'm on the road.

I dunno, there are a whole lot of thing to learn and I'm hoping to find a community amongst y'all that I can join on the road 🤟
 
Welcome Willow and we hope you find this forum to be a comfortable place to spend some time...we have a lot of knowledgeable people here, so if you have questions about the van, setting it up for travel, or full time living, all you have to do is post the questions.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.
 
There are Rainbow groups who camp together in the winter at Quartzsite. So being trans will be just fine if you are concerned about having a safe group to hang out with. They even have a Rainbow gathering on the free dispersed camping area for a few weeks. But most of the winter they camp at La Posa South which is a long stay, paid but affordable BLM area. Not sure if they have a Facebook group but I can likely find out from friends who camp with them if there is such a Facebook group.
 
Welcome Willow! If you have the funds please plan on attending the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR and WRTR) in Quartzsite in January. The gatherings are LGBTQ+ friendly.
https://homesonwheelsalliance.org/2024RTRs/
There have been discussions about having someone signing at the seminars but I don't know if that will happen.
People go to Puerto Penasco, Mexico to get their vans and RVs painted. It's a lot cheaper than in the US and they do a good job. A friend of mine did that a few years ago and her paint job is beautiful.
https://www.puertopenascomexico.com/
 
Hello all 😊 I'm feeling quite nervous about all this. I'm a late 30's deaf transwoman in Colorado. I've always been interested in the idea of vanlife. It gives me a sense of security not having to be tied down to a single location around the country. Due to a situation that had a roommate in my last place having to move back to their family in a hurry and wanting to just get rid of their van plus many other stuff, I ended up getting it. So I now have a 1985 Chevy G30 that already comes with a roof rack (though wooden?) and some really nice swing away hitch cargo. There was a few other items already included in the van such as a diesel heater and a 12v electric cooler. So I'm already having a half of a blueprint to get the van ready for that lifestyle! I have quite a few thing that I would like to have done on the van and due to tight financial constraint, I'll likely have to do so much on my own. So I'll be learning all sort of skill in this journey toward being vanlife ready ^_^

The van does seem to run well enough, at least at under roughly 45mph. I suspect there's some issues with the sensors based on my research as the dash is also acting up. Hopefully it won't be too difficult for me to replace myself. I'm hoping to essentially replace the entire wiring harness by myself with custom additions for solar and more. Planning on salvaging a g20 from a local junkyard for a high roof, swivel seats, and the like hopefully. I will be insulating the van rather heavily with foam board insulation. I absolutely want to have the whole exterior repainted and I'm honestly kind of at a loss as how to go about that without spending $$$ at a paint shop.

Unfortunately, being on a limited fixed income, I'm unable to get the van all set up anytime soon. So I'm hoping to at least have a few trips for next year and then after that, attempt this lifestyle fulltime.

I have to admit, I am feeling extremely nervous due to how hostile some places have been becoming toward queer people, especially those of the trans variety like myself. Throw in being deaf and on a limited income, I'm even more vulnerable. So I'm hoping to learn from y'all how to stay safe and secure :) More details about myself, I'm quite interested in tech stuff. Like I'm looking into learning enough about robotic to maybe get into the fairy-weight league of combat robot (think battlebot but tiny), 3d printing, electronics, and more. I absolutely enjoy fixing up broken electronics. For example, I've picked up an expensive 38 inch ultrawide monitor and managed to get it fixed using just an utterly tiny strip of clear tape haha (a signaling issue with one of the ribbon cable). So I'm intending to see if I could make it a supplemental income thing for myself once I'm on the road.

I dunno, there are a whole lot of thing to learn and I'm hoping to find a community amongst y'all that I can join on the road 🤟
Hey Willow,
Welcome! Life is tough. Theee will always be a few knuckleheads in any group, but we realize how important community and supporting each other is.

It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are approaching van life, asking all the right questions. Lots of answers and support here. Plus there are lots of regional nomad groups, that seem to be very inclusive. We are all people who come to van life for various reasons and circumstances. Some financial, some relational, some just for the sense of adventure and connection with other like-minded folks. 1000 different people, 1000 different reasons they are embracing van life.

You have a story to tell. We’re here to listen and embrace who you are!

All the best to you Willow!🤗
 
'Ya know? I can almost feel your excitement from here! Lots and lots of potential... Can't wait to hear how things unfold!
 
Hello all 😊 I'm feeling quite nervous about all this. I'm a late 30's deaf transwoman in Colorado. I've always been interested in the idea of vanlife. It gives me a sense of security not having to be tied down to a single location around the country. Due to a situation that had a roommate in my last place having to move back to their family in a hurry and wanting to just get rid of their van plus many other stuff, I ended up getting it. So I now have a 1985 Chevy G30 that already comes with a roof rack (though wooden?) and some really nice swing away hitch cargo. There was a few other items already included in the van such as a diesel heater and a 12v electric cooler. So I'm already having a half of a blueprint to get the van ready for that lifestyle! I have quite a few thing that I would like to have done on the van and due to tight financial constraint, I'll likely have to do so much on my own. So I'll be learning all sort of skill in this journey toward being vanlife ready ^_^

WRITING IN CAPS TO DISTINGUISH YOUR WORDS FROM MINE LOL NOT YELLIN PLUS IT HELPS WIT MY SIGHT...
WELCOME AMD 🎊 CONGRATULATIONS IM SO JELLY LOL
The van does seem to run well enough, at least at under roughly 45mph. I suspect there's some issues with the sensors based on my research as the dash is also acting up. Hopefully it won't be too difficult for me to replace myself. I'm hoping to essentially replace the entire wiring harness by myself with custom additions for solar and more. Planning on salvaging a g20 from a local junkyard for a high roof, swivel seats, and the like hopefully. I will be insulating the van rather heavily with foam board insulation. I absolutely want to have the whole exterior repainted and I'm honestly kind of at a loss as how to go about that without spending $$$ at a paint shop.
HARD WORK AHEAD AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE SOON 2B NEWLY ACQUIRED SKILLS...I SAY GO RUSTOLIUM SPRAY PAINTS! NO SJOP NEEDED LOL
Unfortunately, being on a limited fixed income, I'm unable to get the van all set up anytime soon. YOU HAVE ALL YOUR JOURNEY TO GET HOM OR HER JUST AS YOU WISH 😊😊 So I'm hoping to at least have a few trips for next year and then after that, attempt this lifestyle fulltime.
JUMP IN FEET FIRST YHEN DO A SUMMERSAULT LOL IM EXCITED FOR YOU SORRY 😂
I have to admit, I am feeling extremely nervous due to how hostile some places have been becoming toward queer people, especially those of the trans variety like myself. DEFINITELY CAUTION FOLLOW GUT HEAD ON A SWIVEL AND CARRY SAFETY ITEMS....Throw in being deaf and on a limited income, I'm even more vulnerable. DO YOU HAVE A SERVUCE DOG? PLZ GET ONE BEFORE KEAVING. VERY LOVING HANDY COMPANION, GUARD AND WARNING SYSTEM!! CARRY BEAR SPRAY OR PERRPER LOL AND PERSONALLY I WEAR HIKING GLOVES WITH BRASS KNUCKLES EVERYWHERE...ESP AS I CANT C WELL....So I'm hoping to learn from y'all how to stay safe and secure :) More details about myself,
I'm quite interested in tech stuff. Like I'm looking into learning enough about robotic to maybe get into the fairy-weight league of combat robot (think battlebot but tiny), I LOVE BATTLE BOTS. MY DAUGHTER USED TO DO THAT AT 9 TO 11. SHE 13 NOW. 🏀🏀 IS HER THING LOL. 3d printing, electronics, and more. COOL.. I absolutely enjoy fixing up broken electronics. For example, I've picked up an expensive 38 inch ultrawide monitor and managed to get it fixed using just an utterly tiny strip of clear tape haha (a signaling issue with one of the ribbon cable). YOUD DO WELL NOMADICALLY SIMPLE AS A NOMAD IT AGENT FIR THE COMMUNITY LOL. TRULY....So I'm intending to see if I could make it a supplemental income thing for myself once I'm on the road. YES GO DO IT

I dunno, there are a whole lot of thing to learn and I'm hoping to find a community amongst y'all that I can join on the road 🤟

YOURE WELL AHEAD OF ME HERE LOL. AND YOU ARE AND WILL DO WELL GOING FORWARD. YOU HAVE GREAT SKILLS ALREADY TO OFFER AND MAKE INCOME. IM WAY BEHIND ON THAT LOL. I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO FROM HOME TO MAKE INCOME. ....SHUX YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS LOL. IM VERY CRESTIVE 🤷🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️🤣🤣🤣🤣🥰🥰

THE BEST IS ALREADY IN LINE FOR YOU LOVE. BELIEVE THAT
 
Welcome from a long time lurker!

Being born deaf I totally understand the deaf side of things. The biggest thing I've learned over 7 years of solo full-timing in a tiny camper is to trust my instincts (what I call my spidey-senses). If something feels off or vibes don't feel right, I go elsewhere. That spidey-sense has saved my arse many a time, including when it alerted me to a bear hunting me down from behind in the Canadian mountains.

Be cautious but don't live in fear. This kind of life brings a lot of uncertainty but it is *so* worth it if you embrace and roll with it.

Love the suggestions to find like folk at the RTRs, etc. They're out there and there's some organizations/tribes you can join to roam around together.

Happy future travels,
Ray
 
I'm a woman of color traveling solo in my minivan - an upgrade from my SUV - so I get the fear. I travel slow - I stay in one area for weeks - so my biggest safety tip is to always research the areas you're going into ahead of time. I ask about any area I'm visiting in Facebook groups for people of color and I also try to join a local group for people of color if I can find one. Any area that goes out of its way to be inclusive is generally a safer area for me. I also carry weapons I'm licensed and/or trained to use and I train on them regularly, I research sketchy areas and stay out of them (you can Google crime maps for an area), and I always listen to my instincts, no matter what. I highly suggest reading the book "The Gift of Fear" to learn the difference between anxiety/fear and instinct.
 
You're not the only one with these concerns.
I guess you're familiar with the term Sundown towns?
Back in the day they had ' The negro Green Books 'which would warn blacks about certain areas.
I think there's a similar modern version that's out now.
As far as your fire arms are concerned I read somewhere that some gun ranges are teaching people how to shoot from their vehicle.
Stay safe out there!
 
It is sad that we live in a world where ANY ethnicity has to feel any more unsafe than any other. But I know it's true. I have family that has to worry about this. So, I certainly understand your concerns and I don't want to start any gun debates, but...

I am more worried about being shot by an overly nervous or distrustful citizen than by a criminal type. I hope your "training" includes something about when and who NOT to shoot as well as how to hit what you aim at. I personally prefer non-lethal self-defense options, loud alarms, and trusting my gut when it comes to a question of staying or leaving a place. Mistakes are so much less permanent.
 
Hi Willow 😊
if our paths cross I would enjoy signing with you.
you will find your tribe - or visa versa - be safe and positive.
there is so much wisdom on these boards… This is a good place to get advice on getting your rig roadworthy.
 
It is sad that we live in a world where ANY ethnicity has to feel any more unsafe than any other. But I know it's true. I have family that has to worry about this. So, I certainly understand your concerns and I don't want to start any gun debates, but...

I am more worried about being shot by an overly nervous or distrustful citizen than by a criminal type. I hope your "training" includes something about when and who NOT to shoot as well as how to hit what you aim at. I personally prefer non-lethal self-defense options, loud alarms, and trusting my gut when it comes to a question of staying or leaving a place. Mistakes are so much less permanent.
I agree with you 💯 .
I think the young lady has more than adequate training..which is required when being licensed.
I rather retreat from a bad situation personally...but in today's world every one don't have a peaceful spirit.
 
I am more worried about being shot by an overly nervous or distrustful citizen than by a criminal type. I hope your "training" includes something about when and who NOT to shoot as well as how to hit what you aim at. I personally prefer non-lethal self-defense options, loud alarms, and trusting my gut when it comes to a question of staying or leaving a place. Mistakes are so much less permanent.
Hi Ron! In my experience, ”people” who are “worried” about me - a woman they don’t know - being able to defend myself - are generally people who should be worried, so your concern is valid and I feel no desire to address it or sidetrack the discussion further. Take care!
 
I am more worried about being shot by an overly nervous or distrustful citizen...
I was in a cafe recently, where a middle-aged man would have felt naked without a sidearm. Picking up a to-go order, I just hoped like anything the waitress wouldn't drop a tray!

Nice folks, decent food, but I don't think I'll be back.
 
Hi Ron! In my experience, ”people” who are “worried” about me - a woman they don’t know - being able to defend myself - are generally people who should be worried, so your concern is valid and I feel no desire to address it or sidetrack the discussion further. Take care!
SC72, That's fair. I don't criticize your needs or choices. I was just posting my preference and other options. Live long and prosper.
VF, I think I would pass on it too.
 
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