AN INSIDE LOOK AT VANLIFE: Q&A
Living in a van isn't the most usual lifestyle. And with an unusual life comes many questions.
Few people will ever understand what living in a van for months on end entails. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. It's not the easiest or most comfortable way to live, but it is one hell of an adventure.
With that, I've decided to create a post answering some of the most common questions I get asked about life on the road:
Where do we shower?
I'll be the first to admit I don't shower nearly as much as I want to. I'm (kinda) gross sometimes, and taking a shower/bath whenever I want is one of the main things I am looking forward to after this adventure. Going 4, 5, or 6 days without a proper shower is all too common in this lifestyle.
My hair gets greasy after two days, so yeah, I'm sure I look disgusting 99% of my road life.
What we did is get a fitness membership at a national gym chain. So whenever we pass a decent-sized town or city, there's a good chance we are getting a shower. What's the bad part? Whenever you want to shower you have to work out. And when you're in the shower you have to leave and go back outside to your 40 degree van.
Is the van comfortable?
For the most part, yes. It's a lot more comfortable (and a lot easier) than living out of a backpack traveling around Europe. It's the perfect way to see the world without paying thousands of dollars for hotels or other accommodation. At the end of a long day hiking or exploring you get in the van, cook a meal you can eat in bed, and enjoy the evening without having to worry about driving home in traffic.
Where do you pee?
I would be lying if I said there aren't people in the world who've seen my white butt on the side of a road.
Truth is, peeing is probably the most complicated part of living in a van. When we are in an urban setting, it's not uncommon to sleep in a supermarket parking lot. This means going to the bathroom right before bed. However, I have to go again almost every morning right when I wake up. No, I can't stroll to my bathroom in slippers. Instead it's waking up and putting up a half-ass attempt at making it look like I didn't just roll out of a van in the parking lot with 3-day old grease in my hair.
But during the day just make a stop at a fast food joint, or a park with public restrooms. There are ways, but it's mainly the night that can cause issues. Like the time a cop told us to move in the night:
"You guys can't sleep here, you'll have to move."
*Shines flashlight in front of van*
"Ma'am, did you pee in that bush?"
START THE VAN. DRIVE. DRIIIIIIIIIIVE.
Can you cook?
Yes! And I love cooking in the van. I used to only be able to cook Mac N Cheese, spaghetti, and tacos. We have a single-burner stove that we cook most dinners on. It's fantastic and works really well. The only downside is that doing dishes can sometimes be tricky, but we always find a way to manage.
Is it a cheap way to travel?
Yes, living in a van has to be one of the most cost-effective ways to travel. Even though driving a huge van means paying quite a lot in gas, it still proves to be more efficient than other means of travel.
With our stove, we can cook meals and make eating out minimal. We don't have to pay for accommodation. We don't need to rent a vehicle or pay for transportation between locations. Everything we need is in our van home, and everything that isn't there we don't need.
The most expensive part of the life is the investment in the van. However, if you take good care of it, put time into a renovation, and keep up with maintenance, you should be able to sell it to another person looking to chase their dreams on the road when finished.
What's the best part of vanlife?
Freedom. There is nothing like waking up in the morning not knowing where you will go, where you will end up, and who you might meet along the way. It's driving into the sunset and stopping wherever you want. It's Monday's on the beach, Tuesday's in the mountains, and Wednesdays in the woods.
There's no time to be anywhere, no place you have to be, nowhere you have to stop. It's rare that we ever feel real freedom in life, but this is it. People always say we're living the dream. It may not always feel like it, but we are.