Nearly four months ago I invested $400 in the gambit of buying an old 1997 Dodge 3500 passenger van. I was told that the van's previous owner used it as a work vehicle. Mostly for hauling scrap and salvage and I could tell that it might not have been taken care of very well. The van had some rusty spots. It didn't start and nobody really knew why.
It was a crazy idea but where everyone else saw a big project and a bad investment I saw a diamond in the rough. I thought maybe all it needed was a fuel pump or maybe some new spark plugs at first. After all I had a decent amount of mechanical sense and I was confident I could fix it up easily. That wasn't the case and it turned out to be quite frustrating to pinpoint the actual problem. In the end I still came out on top! I have to thank my step dad Michael for this. I'm not sure if I could have gotten this far without his mechanical knowledge and all the time he spent working on it. After alot of head scratching and time waiting for ordered parts the van finally runs! And let me just say she purs quite nicely.
The Van Starts!
So today May 13, 2018 a van was brought back to life! I paid $400 cash and with all the parts right now I'm in at about 1,100 dollars. Thats a pretty good deal to me! You might think all of those parts and all that work was a waste when I could have found a fully functional van for that price. That's a valid point but troubleshooting and replacing those parts forced me to learn how to fix just about everything in the van. If I ever break down somewhere theres a good chance I will be able to fix it myself. More money saved rather then spent on a mechanic and the peace of mind knowing I won't be stranded. Plus almost everything has been replaced, barring the more expensive parts, so I know this van will be reliable. Most importantly, I am much more proud of something that has been repurposed or reclaimed and refurbished.
What was once a salvage work van that would have certainly spent it's life in that lot rusting away into nothing will now get a second chance at life. It will be a comfortable nomadic home and spend it's days traveling and exploring the vast outdoor world. The bare bones shell that it was before will now be infused and built with personality. A fire place, bed, wood panel walls, hardwood floor, appliances, solar power, new paint job, roof extension and rack, and kayak mount are what this van now has in store for it. I coulnd't be happier with my choice. However, now that she runs my van needs a name!
How I Chose the Name
I actually put a lot of thought into naming things. To me a name is much more than something that sounds nice or cool. In the old times names indicated a trait about you specifically or what your family is known for. I find Nordic and Viking culture to be particularly interesting myself. Partly because some of my ancestry is tied to it and because those peoples were known for their nomadic culture much like the modern van nomads. Except instead of a viking ship we have vehicles. So I did some research and found a host of ancient norse names. Out of all that I sorted through none fit better than Dagný.
"From the Old Norse name Dagný, which was derived from the elements dagr "day" and ný "new"" - Behind The Name
Taking the simple words "New Day" a bit further the name symbolizes rebirth or reforge. To me this is perfect! What was once a dead rusty old van is being reborn and reforged into something new and brilliant. It was dead and now it lives. And so I shall name her Dagný.
The "Nomadic Van Life" journey is still just beginning for me. There is still so much to learn, alot of work to do, and plenty of stories that lay ahead. So you can be sure to find more articles like this very soon. And if you read this all the way to the end I am both impressed and grateful! Thanks and stay tuned.