Greetings & Welcome!
Lot’s of good people here to answer questions and offer advice.
If your Astro is in good shape and capable of towing what you want, I’d probably stick with it and just make it into a more complete camper. Quite often the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Even brand new vehicles often turn out to be lemons.
Please keep in mind that the dream most promoters are pushing is more fiction than fact, and a very tiny percentage of those who try it make it longer than a year or two, and a huge majority of them wind up broke, broken, homeless, & jobless, and severely regret having been sucked into it. It’s not all rainbows and roses like the promoters would have you believe. They’re in it for the MONEY first and foremost. Their advice is typically centered around them making money, not what’s actually best for you.
Done right, vandwelling can be a beautiful lifestyle. I’ve been living on wheels since 1973, happily and successfully, but I’ve always worked full time as well. Jobs and/or money is the biggest failure point in this lifestyle. Vandwelling is far from free, and for many it is even more expensive than their previous lifestyle. Jobs that fit a mobile lifestyle can be hard to come by. Loneliness is another frequent failure point, and so is deep depression for those trying to live in cargo vans. Deep depression, stress, and anxiety hit me very hard when I tried a cargo van, something I had never experienced in campers with lots of windows, and not having to constantly worry about hiding or what others might think of me or call the cops on me. Cargo vans carry a very bad stigma in the eyes of the public, and in the eyes of the authorities.
For 30 years I worked as a traveling construction worker, a good job with decent pay. Today I make my money doing computer maintenance and repairs both online, and in person if it’s local and the weather is agreeable. Otherwise I do it remotely from the comfort of my van. I choose to live in my van rather than out of it, so I have a good kitchen, a toilet, and a shower. I have both heating and cooling to keep me comfortable regardless of extreme outside temperatures. I have a house battery that is charged mainly while driving, and a generator as a backup plan. I don’t have solar, roof vents, or 12v fridges, and I designed my van to allow me to live comfortably without any power if the need arises, just like if I was tent camping in the wilderness. It is important to be prepared for anything that may happen, so you can at the very least survive it. I learned that when I was relying on solar and spent the majority of my time without any power. Charging while driving totally solved that problem later.
While I generally go shopping every week, I try to keep a months worth of emergency rations on board at all times. My theory is that if I can stay reasonably comfortable, with food and water for at least a month, that should buy me plenty of time to recover from whatever situation I’ve gotten myself into.
If you start with your eyes open and prepared, with multiple plans and backup plans, your chances for success are far greater. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose. Jobs and money get harder the older we get. The best time to work the longest and hardest is while we’re young, banking everything possible. The road will always be there, and the more money and security we can have before embarking the better. #Vanlife is not enjoyable if you’re just surviving. The difference between being homeless, and being on an adventure all boils down to money.
"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller