Living the Van Life in San Diego


I’m Danny from Los Bigotes and we
live in the Bigote bus. One of my good buddies was one of the first guys to get a van. When he first got it we were like, “what are you doing?” and then it turned out we
were always in the van going down to the beach, go surfing, what not. He was just using it to do a lot of cool stuff and slowly but surely we all kind
of started getting vans. A couple of my other buddies got Sprinters and two of
them moved into that and I kinda just got hooked on the idea. This van kind of popped up out of nowhere on Auto Trader and I just pulled the trigger on it. I was like, “that’s my van.” When I saw it I knew that was what I had to do. All right cool. Well this is the Bigote bus. It’s a 2016 Ford Transit 250 high roof has 27,000 miles on it. Up top we got a rack by Illuminate with a 50-inch rigid light bar on the front and then over here on the side we have a Sun Path
12-foot awning. Inside here basically this is kind of like a common area. I opted to
just go with making the bed permanent. We had a lot of talk doing kinda like a futon set up where I could have storage on one side or Murphy bed setup where we
dropped it in and out but with the two dogs I wanted to have like a dedicated
section that was comfortable for them. With the sleeping space I was really
nervous about how high we made it but it actually ended up working out perfectly
with the storage containers that we put in the back and the amount of room that
the dogs have. You were asking me if I get claustrophobic? Like it’s, it’s
honestly more cozy. And also if like Flynn is sleeping here
he can’t jump up there and bother me. I did this mattress myself right so like
you know you can get like a custom cut Tempur-Pedic mattress and they run
like four grand, an insane amount of money. I went to a fabric outlet. They
have like all these different high-density foam. 40 is your typical
like seat cushion density. What I did was I bought a one inch layer of 100
high-density foam and then on top of that I did two and a half inches of the
40 and then on top of that I did a two inch gel memory foam topper from Amazon and was able to do this whole mattress for like 140 bucks which is awesome
because I have like a memory foam mattress and it’s Los Bigotes brand, not Tempur-Pedic. I got my aunt’s quilt on top that I’ve taken everywhere
with me for like the past 12 years and you can’t just get a snowboard that
doesn’t match your van so we got the Arbor Wasteland and I think if I mounted
it on the wall I might lose it you know. On the roof there’s two 100 watt Goal Zero
solar panels and they go right down here to this Goal Zero 1250 Yeti. Will and I did
all the wiring ourselves which really isn’t that complicated. Right here we
we did a glass epoxy pour. Spent about a week doing. Took a bunch of
old vintage map did like a 4-day pour where we mixed like 50/50 hardener and
resin glass epoxy. It was probably like the hardest thing I’ve worked on in the
van actually. I wanted like one standalone piece in the van.
It’s actually alarmingly easy. Basically the processes is you gotta get like a
nice warm day, lay all the maps down, do your first seal coat and then you put the maps down and then you do a pour on top of that. Well like it all gets aerated so you got to like keep heating them out so it’s a like a
24 hour process if you want to do it right. I just went with clean water with
a gray water tank underneath and it works just fine. I think those things are
like seven gallon or something, right? It was actually like the hardest thing in
the world to find all the different fittings to get to the gray water tank.
It was like I felt like I was, I know it’s like the simplest thing in the world. It’s not even what like a foot. I was in Home Depot. I saw one of my buddies
and he was like, “you don’t look well”, and I was like, “ugh yeah I’ve been here for two hours trying to find the right fittings for this stupid gray water tank.” It doesn’t
even look good like I just I ended up just cutting like the like wrapped, I don’t even know what that is, it’s like a wrapped vinyl pipe. I just was like I was like you know
what *laughter* I got there I went from like noon to two looking for pieces and
parts and I came back here and I had like completely messed up the different
like angles and turns and the pipe and like my pipe was like going this way. I was like, “I gotta go back to Home Depot.” That was way harder than it should have been. Anyway,
yeah I got this Buddy Heater here which has been great. I spent about actually
two months insulating this whole thing. The layers are Rattletrap, Reflectix, two
inches of rigid foam on the floor, one inch on the top, two inch on the walls,
and it does a really nice job of keeping the temperature incredibly comfortable. All the finish wood is cedar. It’s Red Cedar on the walls which is Red Cedar
closet wood from Home Depot. It has a really really intense cedar smell.
You gotta oil it. You’ve got basically about three days to oil it and do a do
at least some element of a finishing coat on it before it goes gray on you. You’ll loose the red right off the bat. I’ve got my hat rack here with all my Bigote hats. Priorities. Jetboil which I really only
used for making yogi bedtime tea which I highly recommend. I got a carbon monoxide detector right here in the top next to my Amazon Alexa. She’s on now, but we don’t have Wi-Fi. Yeah, we’re good Alexa. Yeah we’re good. Alexa, we’re good. Thank you. Yeah, you have to be hooked up to Wi-Fi Alexa, but it’s a great
addition. Nobody sees it coming. Every time they’re in here I got Wi-Fi for the place. Play some nice music, gives the van, with the recessed lighting and the Alexa it ugh, I said Alexa again, she’s going to turn back on. I got plugin for like cell phone computer up here on the right side. I’m
sitting on my ARB fridge right now. This thing is the deal. You can get this
insulating cover for it which is essentially all it is is a layer of
Reflectix around around the fridge and you just stick like I’ve read a lot of
reviews where you just can stick some more Reflectix in there to hold the temp,
but the nice thing about this is it’s a freezer or fridge. So you can set it to
freeze or you can set it to fridge or you can even set it to freeze and the base
layer will freeze and you can put anything you want refrigerated on top
and it won’t freeze. Pretty rad. I just have another little rack set up
here for quick access to things. Got this sweet I found this horseshoe bottle
opener in North Carolina when I was visiting for a buddy’s wedding. Really
sad thing about right here is after like five cups of coffee at like 10:00 p.m. I
kind of like lost my temper about the fact that I forgot the roof lights were
underneath the ceiling and I just hacked at it with a jig saw and
now I have to live with it. That is part of what happens when you do your own van.
This flooring is pretty cool. Granted there’s a little you know gap
here but it’s just the it’s like the click and groove waterproof flooring so I
got that so that in the back if like the dogs spilled any water or what not
it wouldn’t seep into my subfloor and then maybe eventually mess up with the
bottom layer of wood. Moving on to the back this is kind of like where I
finished the project. Well I finished to the point of, “okay I’m just trying to move into this and get on with life”, so what I did back here was the dog space and the
storage space are just the same sizes. I put bungee cord up in the front so
that my storage wouldn’t shift while I’m driving. These Tupperware boxes they’re called HDX from Home Depot you can lock them
which is nice. I’ve got one bin for clothes so when I do
laundry I just take it in and out. I’ve got all my skydiving stuff for tomorrow in
this bin. I’ve got all my snowboarding stuff for after skydiving in this bin and
I’ve got wetsuits and dive weights in here for if we might go lobster diving, spear fishing, surfing, whatever. And then clothes this bin. And then down here I
just got these are all like rollers. I keep my Everest camping stove and a couple other things in here for cooking and then in here I’ve
got like spices, tea, bread, but we make some bomb grilled cheese.
I think the technical term is ‘spinny thing’ for taking the or for whatever
moving the awning on and off so you just click in here and you spin your awning right off. I
was cooking originally inside the van and the vent fan wasn’t pulling all the
smoke out and stuff. It was getting a little a little rough in there so I just
quickly did another glass epoxy pour and I hope to kind of clean this up down the
road but I picked out this cool celestial chart. Thought it was a nice little
addition with the antique maps in the front. Folds up for when I’m driving.
Drops down I put the Everest on here and just can cook out the back of the van. Yeah so
this is the Illuminous rack. Illuminous does this cool perforated aluminum top and
it’s awesome because you know you can do a lot of roof racks to put stuff up on
here but we’re standing up here comfortably. We can put some seats out. We
can have dinner up here. That’s kind of our ritual is we come up here and watch
the sunset because you have to watch the sunset from a higher vantage point, I
mean obviously everybody says, “just go do it.” I mean I think you have to be real with yourself. I think
there’s a lot of like portrayal of folks that have accomplished
that aspect of life or people that are in route to doing so but they’re obviously still
working in some way to maintain that so if your goal is to get there then how
are you going to maintain the process of getting there? If you have any sort of
kind of wild side to you where you want to be clever and you want to get in
touch with your creativity then yeah something like the van.
You know the van is really just a means to get out and meet different people. Get outside your comfort zone, you know? It’s so easy to kind of bunker down. I think
the thing I just really like the most is I was already doing a bunch of things
that I liked. Like I had hobbies and I I’ve like one of my best friends teases
me like, “Oh Danny’s on hobby number 23 now, we’ve got a new hobby.”
The van was like, “okay, you’ve got to choose a couple hobbies that you’re
really into and you got to stick with them.” And kind of in doing so I’ve
obviously simplified. I’ve gotten better at those hobbies but I’ve also made
those hobbies a very crucial part of what I do regularly. My favorite part about being in the van is
you know you start kind of like figuring out your spots it’s like if you’re
maintaining the whole work life you got to be kind of relatively close to that
right? I’ve got like these spots and I’d become
so much closer with friends and friends that are starting families and what not.
So now it’s like I’m either able to be there for them like maybe help them out with
something maybe grab them groceries in turn for their
hospitality of letting me sleep outside their house but I’ve become so much closer
with a bunch of friends that I already was close with but now it’s just it’s
much more just an organic, healthy, like love for those friends that I can spend even
more time with them and that’s what I love about it. If you enjoyed this week’s
episode be sure to LIKE comment and subscribe. If you want to find out more
about Danny or Los Bigotes you can follow them over @losbigotes on Instagram. Thank you to the Patrons who support the channel, I really appreciate
you. Today I am headed to Florida to begin the journey to the Mediterranean.
Stay tuned and follow along. If you want to become a Patron, support the page,
support the channel, become part of the team, I really appreciate it. Thanks, have a great week, go out and do something fun that challenges you. Bye!

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