My book Camp Like a Girl: Finding Health and Wellness in Nature, a cargo van conversion story is FREE this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday on Kindle!
In this humorous memoir and technical guide, Sara Riley Mattson shares the story of converting her cargo van into a mold-resistant camper in order to pursue a full recovery from mold toxicity and biotoxin illness. Along the way, she charms with her intimate writing style and dedication to helping others live well, be healthy, and explore our beautiful world.
I also needed to feel safe, and I didn’t feel safe at all in a home made from drywall and particle board cabinetry. With the exception of high-quality hardwood, whenever I looked at the way houses were made now, it was like looking at mold restaurants.
“Welcome to our new restaurant, Mr. and Mrs. Mold. On the menu tonight we have some damp drywall, a nice assortment of ply woods and particle boards, and some fantastic dusts we have been letting age in the duct work. If you’d like to stay for a while, we have some special dust-filled insulation and carpet I think you will find quite cozy. Oh, and of course, for the benefit of any little mold children that might come along, we have the full assortment of anti-fungal paint and fungicide-resistant genes already in full complement in our facilities. All mold offspring from this establishment have shown full resistance to these rather pitiful human attempts to control our numbers.”
Praise for Camp Like a Girl:
“The authenticity is warm & palpable. I feel like I sat around a campfire with a new friend who somehow already knew me and from whom I learned much, not just about conversions and overcoming illness, but about life, especially about resilience and how tenacity, when tempered with gratitude and optimism and sprinkled with creativity, doesn’t strain your forearms or leave your fingers permanently clenched. It gives you freedom to let go of fear and lay hold of peace and joy.” – Brooke Young
“If you’re environmentally sensitive, you need this book.
If you’re looking for advice for a simple, manageable van conversion, you need this book.
And if you happen to fall in both categories, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Sara’s matter-of-factness in discussing the essential strategies for dealing with biotoxin illness is so refreshing. Because so few doctors understand it, patients are often left on their own in figuring out how to manage it. But this book will leave them a lot less on their own. Reading it, you feel like you have a warm, smart, practical friend who has already trodden this path. The book is a gift to anyone dealing with this disease.
And she spells out her strategies in her own conversion in helpful detail, explaining the exact materials she used and her reasoning for choosing them. Regardless of whether you choose to follow her exact approach, you’ll get to root through her treasure trove of great ideas.” – Julie Rehmeyer author of Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand
“My wife and I have been on the road, staying in hotels, crashing with friends and “car camping” for the better part of two years in an attempt to escape the effects of toxic mold. This lifestyle is not really sustainable, either emotionally or monetarily. That is why for some time now, we have been bouncing around the idea of converting a van into an at hoc RV. I habitually “bite off more than I can chew” when it comes to taking on projects. For this potential project, searching the Internet for advice seemed fruitless. There are lots of sites, blogs and videos out there by people who have converted their vans, but when you start digging into the fine print, all of them seem to be done by highly skilled professionals of one type or another. Carpenters, electricians and engineers can make much of the work look ridiculously simple, when, in fact, it is not. Much of the time, it appears, at least to me, that these people are simply doing a hobby build to show off their skill and knowledge. Part of this supposed ease might also be explained by the fact that these conversions are usually done in a driveway, with a garage full of tool ready and waiting.
Enter Sara’s book. This is a real-world account of a van-to-RV conversion done by a real person like you and me. She has not done this conversion as a hobby or to make a weekend toy, but to live in to escape toxic mold just like us. The RV she has built is not a showpiece of the latest technology. She has instead built a usable, workable and, most importantly, budget friendly home on wheels.
The book starts with the reason that Sara is going on the road, moves on to the vehicle choices, and then on to the conversion itself. All the while, the reader is provided with fun and humorous insight into much if the thought process involved in doing a conversion. I thought I had thought my way through most of the potential pitfalls, but in reading this book, found that I had not yet begun to scratch the surface. Taking into account that she lived in her van on the road throughout the conversion leads one to understand what a Herculean undertaking Sara has tackled.
The rest of the book is filled with the kind of sage advice that one only learns from experience. Sara offers tips and tricks for full-time RV living from the point of view of a health challenged individual, but most of these tips and tricks could (should?) be followed by everyone.
Whether you are thinking about doing a RV conversion yourself for full-time living or for a weekend toy, Sara gives strong and steady advice that will help you through your build and your travels. I am looking forward to starting ours.” – Mark Lafond
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