Pro snowboarder Austin Smith has plenty of experience building out a living space in an unconventional or overlooked rig. Like, this 1953 GMC firetruck. And now a battered old box truck that he picked up in Mexico as a way to, well, he can tell the story…
So Carson Schubert invited me to Mexico for his 30th birthday. Tickets were cheap and tacos were in season. Bought my flight for $150 and headed for the fiesta, but got dung with a $225 surfboard baggage fee along the way. It was an epic week of surfing, sunshine, chips and salsa. I started thinking about paying another $225 to fly the surfboard back home, but that meant $450 for a surfboard I never planned on paying a dollar for (I stole it from Curtis Ciszek).
I loved my week here. So I started thinking: What if I came more often? I didn’t want to spend $450 on surfboards each trip. What if I had a storage unit where we could all leave stuff? What if it was mobile? My buddy Carson’s dad keeps his Subaru at the airport packed full like a clown car… One quick search on Craigslist and I saw it. It was one of the only “trucks” listed and it was listed a dozen times — desperate seller. What would the DMV be like in Mexico? Do I need a special license? Insurance? Mmmeehhhh I’ll figure that out later, so I bought it for $4,000 and we were camping in it that night. It was a little hot in there, everything was melting. We were going to need insulation, a fancy cooler, a rooftop deck, lights, floors, beds, and a dirt bike. Definitely a dirt bike. I thought the build would take 3 days, but it took 2 weeks once Tyler put down the camera and picked up a hammer.
Just eight more trips the truck will pay for itself in baggage fees. #vanlife has obviously trended but you only see or hear about people in their $100k sprinters. This truck isn’t anything special and I’m not a great surfer and maybe that will resonate and inspire others.