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So I'm at the point where I'm seriously considering this lifestyle, it seems perfect to me. I've been looking on ebay and craigslist at different vans and such but I'm still not sure what I'm looking for. I want something big enough to be able to stand up in, at least some of the time (so either a pop-up or conversion van) and I want to stay under 10k for price but I don't know what else to look for. Should I convert something myself (a little intimidating but possible) or is it better to get a camper van with all the built-ins already there? Those VW camper vans look awesome! Anyway, I would love any input or advice you have! Thanks for reading and your help.
Welcome to the site! It really depends on how comfortable you are with building your own. Do you have the skills to cut the roof of a van and add a raised top? I no you can now know you need to buy a hightop van. Can you use a screw gun and cut wood to build the bed and such in the van? If no you will need to look for one already done. $10K can buy a lot of van in my opinion
Yeah I probably couldn't do that much unfortunately, I'm hoping to find one already converted for sure. I just don't know what my best options are as far as the type of van to look for.
You can find the mid80s to mid 90s class B vans in the the $4k to $8k range: complete with stove, fridge, toilet, furnace and sit-down shower. Do you really need all that? Only you can answer the question. Or you can get a cargo van and use it as a metal tent, and use camping gear for cooking, sleeping, etc. You can buy a newer and nicer cargo van for the same price as an older B, and over time make it the way you want it; learning the skills as you go. The fully furnished B has higher maintenance, with all of the added conveniences.

DW and I have owned both types. Starting out with limited money, I would buy the cargo van, insulate it and sleep on a pad on the floor, while I planned and saved to upgrade it. Conversion vans are different: they're designed for travel, not for living in. You're paying for stuff you'll probably end up tearing out. Cargo vans can be found in varying lengths, and can be found with fiberglass hard tops - taller than conversion vans so you can stand up. Beats adding a high top later.

The basic skills are easy to acquire and the basic interior can be done with a minimum of tools.

Here's our old Class B, which we sold last spring for about 8k with 50k miles and very well maintained:

[Image: gyrfalcon.jpg]
Good for your homework and get something you can add too. I'd echo Serpahim on this. I'd get something bare bones and build it up as I go. I didn't get the right van to begin with and now regret it. I got a mini-van and it's small, small, small! but I'm stuck with it and will pay it off and go cargo van next. I'll build a bed and shelves. If I can do it anyone can. I can't measure or cut worth a darn! lol