Let’s Talk about Living in a Van!

Living a nomadic lifestyle is definitely different and took some getting used to. I have always been a “roamer’ as my daughter calls me but have always had a stable base to come back to. Living through all 4 seasons in what is basically an insulated tin can (insulated on 3 sides..LOL) has taken some ingenuity on what works and what does not. And where I am sleeping at night is not really my biggest worry.

Nothing like the warmth of a candle to take the dampness away!

In Ontario Fall is in the air. Yesterday it was 90 degrees and today it is 55…LOL! On those 90 degrees nights I have a small clip on 12 volt fan. I am a HOT woman and HOT weather makes me hotter…LOL! That small fan will run all night and not draw enough power to run my house battery down. With Fall brings the dampness. I love to hear the rain on the roof at night and I LOVE thunderstorms. But I do not like waking up to condensation everywhere. There is that dampness as the air cools and the winds shift. I could put on the furnace but it is still to warm for that and it runs down my house battery. The answer…A candle..Yup. I buy a large good quality candle and set it on the stove area and light it. Within about 20 minutes it will take the damp feeling in the air and that adds just a little bit of warmth. Now do not lose your minds on me. Yes burning a candle is dangerous especially while you sleep. But it is in a “fire” area and on a pan. I buy good quality candles so they will burn slower and prefer them to have a fire proof wrap. There is also almost no smoke residue.

I also put bath mats on the floor along the hallway. The floor has no insulation and also gets damp and cold. I like bath mats because of the rubber backing so they do not slip and they also dry quickly if they get wet. Like when you leave the roof vent open and it starts to rain in the middle of the night. I stretch my feet off the end of the bed and feel a drip. Dam!! That wakes you up quick!! LOL! They also fit perfectly. Still they get worn and faded from washing them. I replace them about 2 times a year. Picking a color that is not trending that year is a problem. I had the hardest time finding the mats in the same color as my curtains, but buying in multiples is not really an option. Where do you put the extras??? I also have a small mat that sits by the door. Try as you might you will not be able to keep the mud and leaves out of the van. It is one of those small kitchen mats again with a rubber back. I buy them at the dollar store and probably go through 3 or 4 a year.
Just like owning a house there are things I have to do to prepare for winter. Once the real cold weather hits I have to winterize my fresh water tanks. Going without running water is a pain in the butt!! But having a broken tank is a bigger pain. It is an inconvenience. One thing is more bottles of water on the floor. When you live in such a small space the space of a water jug is important. Now instead of 1 or 2, I have 3 or 4. Doing dishes, getting washed and ready for work all requires water whether it is running or not. I have a gym membership for showers but there are also truck stops along the way as well. I also will utilize campgrounds and parks with facilities. Some are open all year round and for a day pass I can do laundry, shower and go for a nice walk.

Getting my furnace ready is also a fall chore. Last year a spider blew out the control board of the furnace. Yup you heard right!! He fried himself in an obvious hold my beer moment that went horribly wrong. Spiders love propane and as the weather gets colder they also look for cover. I take peppermint extract and mix it with water. I take the faceplate off the furnace and vacuum and spray the peppermint water near and around the edges and propane area. Spiders hate the peppermint and will avoid it. I also spray it in my fridge vent. I am not soaking it. It only takes a little. The peppermint smell in the van is nice also!
Now you know some of the things I do to adapt for fall. Lets move on to broader questions.
One of the most asked questions is where do you sleep? In my van!! HAHAHA! No seriously..I honestly thought that would be my biggest concern. It is not…. Power is my biggest concern. LOL!! Depending on where I am working there are a number of places to park. One of my favorites is MTO carpool parking areas on the highways. They allow up to 180 hours of consecutive parking are usually well lit for safety. I will also park at Walmarts and truck stops. Some of the little parketes on the side of the road also. It really is amazing the number of places that will allow you to park. Park not camp. Walmart is generous enough to allow us to park there over night but it is a parking lot not a campground. It annoys me when I see people taking advantage. We have 4 wheels under us. Want to sit in a lawn chair go to a park. Most time I will not get to the place I am parking for the night until night. I will go to a park or visit friends then arrive before or just after dark. I am parked for the night then leave in the morning. I do not want to over stay my welcome. I very rarely will pay for a campsite. When I am working locally I do have friends I can also stay with but I do not do that often as I love them and they love me and I want to keep it that way!! LOL!!

The second most frequently asked question is Where do you shower. I have answered that above but I will tell you my van is equipped with both an indoor and outdoor shower. I have and will take showers in my van but I have no hot water tank or a holy one anyway. LOL! Some days a cold shower is welcome but most days not so much!! LOL!
The last question I would like to cover today is Are you scared??? Sometimes I get uneasy. But again I have 4 wheels under me and I am not afraid to make them turn. Does it scare me that unlike others I am living a nomadic life? I will not lie. At first YES! I was terrified but more of the unknown than actually living in a van. I also go out to some remote areas. I love to hear the wolves howl! If I could I would spend the rest of my days in a forest. When an animal learns how to open a door then I may be a little frightened. City boondocking scares me more than remote boondocking does. Yes I am alone in the van. But just as I was alone in my house. There really is no difference. My house was very isolated and I never locked my doors. In my van I always do. I park and lock it down.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you my Chipmunk Adventures. Look for my next blog on dealing with the social and personal aspects of Living in a van!

See you next time!!!


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