You may be wondering why I spent so much time building out the Ford and then not writing about it again. The Ford story was never completed here on the site because I had one last post to write. Actually, I had already written it on Patreon (since deleted), but had never posted it on this blog. It was a sad end to what was going to be.
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By now, if you are following me anywhere on the internet, you know that I’ve been living vanlife for over thirty-five years now, and you probably know that the new-to-me van that I spent four months building out and getting ready to hit the road in to start the FOUND SPACE/S project was stolen – the FOUND SPACE/S project was going to rely heavily on road travel and living in the van.
Not only that, when we found the van, it had been completely trashed and my build had been destroyed and almost everything inside was stolen as well. My coats, shoes, most of my clothes, all of my camping gear and camp kitchen – including my collection of well seasoned cast iron that took me years to get just right, and my cameras and photography gear, art supplies and artist tools that I’ve since art school 40-years ago, and drums. Too many things to mention, including sketchbooks, art supplies, and all of my Etsy stock.
I am heartbroken.
Things that I kept in my life for over thirty years were stolen or smashed. A sketchbook that I had been working in for over three years is gone, as are my dream journals. My drums, one of them handmade from a wooden Chinese soybean barrel. My vintage red winter coat. I keep thinking of things that I use on a daily basis that I now don’t have. Tools, my chopstick collection … the list keeps growing.
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I am sitting in my neighbor’s attic waiting for the cold snap to break.
I’m seriously a bit lost right now. Everything that was on my plate for at least the next year, if not longer, has just disappeared with a big cosmic swoosh.
The Ford was found by the Oakland Police Department on February 1, 2019.
It had been reported stolen in Berkeley to the Berkeley PD on January 5, 2019.
Hardware that was stripped from the van itself – a catalytic converter, the ignition, a lock on the driver’s side door, and paint was splattered in my once immaculate cab, on the seats and steering wheel. Bumpers were painted black and my parking permit removed. Black spray paint was used inside the van. The closet and one wall, along with its insulation was ripped out. It looks like they tried to rip out the other wall as well. The bed loft was broken away from the wall supports. The bed was covered in red wine. The police refused to take fingerprints and it was towed with an open can of gasoline in the front passenger area. There was a man in the van when it was found, he was arrested, but let go because he said he had no idea the van was stolen. The Oakland DA assured me that this is still an open case and is still under investigation.
My financial estimation for damages and stolen items is about $20,000. But many things were just not replaceable.
People keep asking me about insurance.
I tried for a few weeks to get insurance – something like RV/Camper insurance that would cover not only the vehicle but the contents of the vehicle. I asked extensive hypothetical questions to Geico and Progressive and both said they would not cover the vehicle AT ALL if I was living in it, and they wouldn’t cover it with RV/Camper insurance because I was (hypothetically) living in the vehicle full time and it was not a factory build. Meaning, because I built a higher quality build myself, with my own hands, it was uninsurable.
I did have liability insurance that is required by the state. Had I ever been in an accident it would have been questionable as to whether or not the insurance company would have paid out.
I was working on a deeper security system at the time it was stolen. Remember – this was a work in progress and I had only just moved into from the VW. I had listed the VW for sale and was waiting for that sale to happen so I could get to work on the next level of all of my projects.
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That was then.
Luckily I had not yet sold the VW, so I moved back into it. It’s been two years. There are still moments when I get livid over the theft. There are times when I wonder how I can attract something better, or new into my life if I am still so angry about it, if I still feel so defeated. I saved a lifetime of specific things for this next phase of vanlife – everything I owned had some deep connection to another person or experience. If I picked up a bowl, I could remember the person who made it when we were in university together. My fancy chopstick collection was given to me pair by pair by friends. I had a wardrobe for every season. I thought I wouldn’t have to go shopping again for at least ten years. I had prepped all my life for these next ten or so years. And I was prepared. I’m still devastated. Although I remain upbeat and work on having a positive attitude about the future and future projects on FOUND SPACE/S.