One of my most asked questions!
My answer…You know those pictures on Instagram? Ya That’s not it!! Lol! Oh yea sure you have days like that but for people like me, still working towards retirement it’s a little different.
If I had to describe my vanlife in one word, it would be fluid! I do not spend long in one place. I may or may not know where I am spending the night. I seem to be always moving. Even if I am working in one place for a 6 week assignment I am still always moving!
That was a little hard to get used to. When you own a house which I have for the last 30 years, you are grounded. There is always some place to go back to. Living in a van there is a place to go but its location changes. Do I miss my house? Yes sometimes! I loved the little house I had by the lake. But my work and my wandering habits really made it more like a job than a home!
I have always been a bit of a wanderer. I lived in the same house for 24 years, raised 2 kids, worked full time, was on town and school committees, even ran for public office a couple of times but on the weekends the kids would never know where we would end up. I would come home from work and say pack your bags we are going camping! Off we would go. In my 1974 Ford Econoline! Sometimes I would have a plan, sometimes not but all I knew is an adventure was about to happen. Lol! Our lives were very spontaneous. I think probably when I first started out vanlife. My children of anybody was not surprised. My oldest daughter looked at me and told me I was never meant to live in 1 place! She was right!
So what has changed about owning a house and vanlife. Well not a whole lot. No grass to cut!! Haha! Woohoo! I still get up for work every weekday, get washed and dressed and make myself a coffee. The difference, instead of standing in my kitchen looking at the same scenery out the window Its different most days. Whether I am in a Walmart parking lot, municipal car parks, a roadside picnic area or the side of a back road it is still the same routine just a different surrounding. After work it is run errands, find a park, a place to cook dinner then to wherever I am parked for the night. An evening with Netflix, or writing a blog drinking tea and relaxing at home. If I am working in the same area as my kids and my friends I have a lot more opportunity to see them then when I owned a house! Any house work is minimal and can be done on the run!! Lol!
I am fortunate my van is a Class B RV. I like my comforts even if some people do not understand I am comfortable. How many times I go to people’s houses and they ask me if I would like to sleep in the guest room. Ummm no I will just go home! But thanks. Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand that this is not a vehicle, its home. Yes I do driveway surf. Mostly because it makes my girlfriends and their husbands more comfortable! Haha! But living in someone else’s driveway is not really an option for me. I am a very independent woman. Asking for help is HARD!!! Lol! I can do most things but super woman I am not. I have also grown to like my own company and my friends love me and I love them and I would like to keep it that way.
Public showers and Public restrooms!! Ohhh boy that took some getting used to! Before vanlife I could not poop in a public restroom…now I can poop anywhere!! Haha! Yes I have a bathroom but I use bags not the black water tank so it’s just easier if I go in someplace! Public showers was another hurdle. I am a very private person so strutting around a locker room in the nude is just not my thing. One of the best things about Anytime fitness is the shower facilities are 1 person enclosed and cleaned very regularly! It is a great facility anywhere I have gone. They are world wide so when I cruse the US I can also use them there. Options are good. When the parks are open I love going to a park, have a shower, do some laundry, and go for a walk. It’s getting fall so those options will be gone soon. I have also used truck stop showers and found the majority to be clean and individual. I am amazed I am now comfortable packing a shower bag and going in anywhere to have a shower!
Funny how you adapt eh! But you have to want to adapt. Living in a van requires you to be open to constant change. Where you are parked at night, where you are showering, or where you are having your constitutional! People say to me I could not do it. My answer…Yes you could, you do not want to do it. There is nothing special about me. Only that I have an open mind and am open to new possibilities. And nothing is forever if you do not want it to be. If it was horrible I could go rent an apartment. I have a good job but that would be too peopley and I have an aversion to paying other people’s mortgages! Hahaha!
Are you scared?? Probably my 2nd most asked question. The answer frankly is no. I lock my doors no matter where I am. When I owned a house I never locked my doors! Lol! Have I pulled in some place to sleep and felt uncomfortable? Yes a few times but if I get that feeling then I just leave. There will be another place down the road. I think the best advice I can give about staying safe is listen to your gut! Your instinct and intuition are your best friend! Do not over think it! Sometimes we look for something that is not there and convince ourselves it is. Your first gut feeling is the one to go on. Leave or stay but be comfortable in whatever you do. It took me a little while to feel comfortable doing this. But it takes time to adjust.
The Naysayers! You know them. Those that are either scared for you because the thought of being out on their own, living in a van is terrifying to them. You have to say Thank you for your caring thoughts but trust I know what I am doing! Those that are jealous or envious that you have the balls to do it! Oh yup there are people out there like that! Waiting for you to fall and say I can’t do it. Lol! Those people are on my never mind list! They do not have my best interest at heart so their opinion does not count! Those that love you but think your wacked but support you anyway are the best! ( the girlfriends who prefer that I sleep in the driveway Lol) It is just another challenge of choosing a different way to live.
Tradition and for what always was, is difficult to go against.
But I am me. I have always been a not follow the crowd kind of girl. Look at things not through rose coloured glasses but as whole with optimism but seeing the reality. I have always believed everything is figureoutable and with strength and determination anything is possible! Live life your way and never give them what they want! If it feels good do it! Vanlife! Lovin it!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure! See you next time!