Hi, and welcome to Kitty Kitty Bang Bang! We’re two humans and a cat who are doing vanlife in our converted U-Haul box. With vanlife becoming more popular than it’s ever been, there certainly are plenty of resources and websites out there to help you get started. But when we began our build, we noticed that there wasn’t a whole lot of guidance coming from people with a professional construction background. This was on our minds because Shane’s a Red Seal-certified electrician with a background in commercial construction, and he pretty much figured out our whole build as he went. In addition to his electrical know-how, he became a plumber, mechanic and HVAC expert through this whole experience, and Vanessa became a full-fledged apprentice.
So for you aspiring vanlifers and DIY types, we can share with you how we did it, how we maintain, and our hacks and workarounds for all of the weird and unexpected things that have come up as our wheels go round and round. Don’t worry if you don’t have a background in the trades! We’ll give you the guidance and tools to create the infrastructure for your very own home on wheels, be it van, bus or box. For you dreamers and travel junkies, we’ve got you covered as well. You can follow our journey through our travel blog and enjoy the pics and stories of all the places we’ve been, and well as true stories of the ups and downs of life on the road and what to expect.
So why vanlife?
Well for starters, we were both becoming worn down by the daily grind of city living — sky-high rents, lack of authentic human connection due to everyone being so distracted and stressed out all the time, the constant towers going up in every corner and crevice, and having to trade our time for money to keep up with it all. Instead of becoming our best versions of ourselves, we found that we were kind of retreating from life instead. We knew that we wanted a change but we also weren’t sure where our new home potentially could be. If only we could have the chance to explore…
We started talking about our love of Airstreams and the open road. At first there were a lot of “What if?” and “One day…” conversations. But then “one day” quickly manifested when Shane came home with a truck with a U-Haul box attached to it that he found for a steal on Craigslist and bought with Bitcoin. We suddenly had our very own silver bullet for life on the road. We ponied up the funds and got to work on converting our aluminum box into our tiny home on wheels, gutting it and starting from ground zero. We moved in on March 1 2020 (with still a lot of construction left to do – that was fun!), hit the road by June, and haven’t looked back since.
This isn’t just a fad, a rite of passage or a sowing of oats for us. This is our chosen way of life. We’ve certainly had a lot of trial and error as we’ve been figuring out this thing called vanlife – the first year alone was truly a trial by fire, with more lessons learned than we can count. But it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. We get to live life more or less on our own terms and timeline, fully engaged. Ironically, our nomadic lifestyle gives us a deeper sense of connection as we interact with and give back to the people and communities we visit. And it’s also plenty of hard work, with constant repairs, upgrades and hunting for things like water, propane, parts and places to dump our toilet. Ultimately, vanlife’s a lot like surfing waves: there’s always something but you adapt, adjust and find your own silver linings. And most importantly, you gain back time.
We can’t wait to bring you along on our journey. Hopefully our site can help you both benefit from the wisdom of our experience and draw some inspiration for your own vanlife project. So grab some Meow Mix and dive in. We’re all in this wild, beautiful life together.
Shane, Vanessa and Xiaozhang