Updated: Oct 4
Wow! You wouldn't believe the power of the internet if you didn't live it everyday.
I had put a few queries out to groups and, to be honest, didn't expect much of a response back. But, you could have knocked me down with a feathre!
On 4th April, Jon from Oxford sent me a message (which I didn't find until a week later) and on the 10th April, Steve from Hull sent me one too. Both had vans that they thought I might be interested in as they fitted the profile of my requirements.
JON: "Hi Kaye, just to let you know...having noticed your post on the self build group, there is a good chance my camper will be up for sale in about a month from now, still doing some finishing touches. 2007 Renault Master, 120,000 miles, mechanically excellent, MOT till December, solar etc. Will be in region of £12,500. Bit older than I think you were looking for, but a lovely freshly internally fitted out rustic van (camper dvla registered) Just thought I'd let you know. Best regards Jon"
I could hardly contain my excitement!
ME: "Hi Jon, I've looked at pics and it looks like a great van. If it's 120k miles, that's a bit high for me, but the price you're hoping to achieve might be ok to compensate for that. I could use it as a 'first' van to get used to the lifestyle. Let me know when you intend to sell it and I'll pay a visit. Are you located in Oxfordshire? That's easy enough for me to get to from Worcestershire."
JON: "Hi Kaye yes I'm in Oxfordshire. It's got higher mileage than I thought you were looking for but it's very sound mechanically, new clutch about 5000 miles ago, oil and filter to be done next week....170 w solar, propex heating and hot water, air con, reverse sensors etc etc. Just finishing internal wood refit, upholstery all great. Will let you know when I'm finished, if you're sorted by then no worries."
ME: "Thanks, really appreciate this. Sounds like a good van to begin with. I've been looking for ages and getting a bit despondent, but yours looks great. Please do send me more pics and keep me in the loop with progress, if you can."
Then a few days later (10th April), I got this from Steve on Facebook:
STEVE: The camper is in Hull east Yorkshire. Where are you based?
KAYE: Thanks Steve, I'm in the East side of the country at the mo. Going down to Dorset area in a couple of weeks. It is really beautifully done. Is the engine sound? I need to learn lots about the mechanical side of things you see.
STEVE: lol thanks just had a service it’s up for sale at at a dealer at the moment runs well but I’m like you don’t understand mechanics.
STEVE: Your welcome to view it if you’re interested
KAYE: Sorry, did you say it was a 2012 reg plate?
KAYE: And, has it got solar panels? Just need that for the leisure battery
STEVE: Yes solar panel 100 watt
It's odd, when you think you're talking or, as in this case, text chatting with someone, and it turns out to be someone else entirely. Really rather off-putting. But I found out in the next sentence that...
STEVE: Hello, this is Steve’s wife sending you the info . If you go on Preloved it’s listed on that with all the details and photos if that helps - it’s listed as New Campervan Conversion , the area is Hull , East Yorkshire
KAYE: Hi there, Thanks for getting back to me. What's it listed as? Could you send me the link?
STEVE: I’ll get Kirsty to e mail you
Ah, so now it was Steve?
KAYE: Found it. The price is way more though.
STEVE: Yes we have reduced it
KAYE: reduced it to £17950? Hi there Kirsty and Steve, could you tell me what that black box is behind the driver's seat? Also, could you tell me the size in feet of the bed from the back doors to middle of van?
STEVE: It’s just getting valeted have it back soon will measure it for you yes £17 950
Jon's was a Renault Master, which, as you know, was the van I had set my heart on, the right price, but the wrong age and mileage - way too high for me! While Steve's was a Citreon Relay, high on price but low on age and mileage. Both the same cabs/chasis, but vastly different in appearance - and where they were located.
At the time, family issues were raising their ugly heads and mum wasn't feeling too well, so I had to put the van search on hold until she felt better.
However, I had started on this journey and, even though I felt obligated to cease the search, my heart was hooked and I didn't want to stop - not when I felt so close to my goal.
Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
Feel free to visit her BewleyBooks.com site, where you can sign-up to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.