It was the summer of 2020 and our holiday to Italy, along with all of our other summer plans, had
been canceled due to a pesky old virus called Covid19. There were much worse disasters than a canceled trip but nonetheless we needed a distraction, and a holiday, and so the campervan conversion idea was born.
After a few weeks of searching Facebook Marketplace we went to see an old builder named Shan who was selling off his son’s 2001 white Ford Transit van. We knew nothing about vans or how to build one out but we did know that we were on a tight budget. We haggled and got the van for £925. It was a long wheel base, medium height with two tinted windows in the back and a few rusty patches. We named him after the builder who sold him to us – Shan the Van. Phonetically ‘shan’ is ‘old’ in Irish so it really seemed very fitting.
Shan had been a builder’s work van in his previous life so luckily he already had a ply floor and walls which gave us a good starting point.
We begged and borrowed for old furniture, paint, carpet, basically any useful materials that we could get our hands on. We watched Youtube videos and wrote to Facebook van groups. Low and behold, within a few months, we had ourselves a campervan. In hindsight it was super basic but at the time we were so proud of what we had managed to achieve. Shan had no electrics installed (just the battery powered fairy lights for £15) or heater (which we really felt on the winter trip!) but he got us around Ireland without a fault and that’s all that really mattered. We loved it, we loved him and all he had to offer, and we realised that having a campervan was something we suddenly couldn’t be without.
After our trip (and a few too many instagram stories) our friends asked us if we would think about renting Shan out to them for a trip of their own, and although we loved Shan for all his quirks and flaws, we realised that he certainly had some quirks and flaws. Despite none of these flaws being serious we didn’t feel we could justify renting him out for the cost we would need to, in order to cover insurance, breakdown-cover and also simply the time and effort that had gone into creating him. However we were certain that we wanted to make sure that other people got to experience the trips that we had, and that incredible feeling of being on the road – it was just too good not to share around! So that’s when the cogs started turning, the money started saving, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree were redownloaded and we began to plan a new build, with ‘the next’ van, with electrics, a night heater, more storage, a dog kennel, a projector maybe? Ah sure, we’ll not spoil that story just yet….