I’m standing on a hollow flake,
about 150 feet above the ground, and only 20 feet from the summit. Hidden Valley Campground is spread out below me, people are cooking around their campfires, chatting about the day and playing music. The pinyon pines and Juniper trees create shade in the late afternoon, while the orange white boulders create stools, tables and playgrounds for the park visitors. Normally I would be down there with them, enjoying the sunshine, stretching and talking, but right now I'm more focused on not dying. My palms are sweating.
I see more and more people with uterus’s moving in to vans and since I’m a uterus having person I thought I would dedicate some space to the period experience for van lifers.
So I have a really heavy period, that can last anywhere from 5-10 days and I get really bad cramps that make me nauseous and crabby. I’m all about low impact and minimalism so I don’t use pads or tampons, although they are great, I use the diva cup!
So I’ve lived in my van with a full-time partner, alone, and for short periods with other people.
And I have to say that living with two people full time in a van… is pretty difficult.
I do think it can be done, I know lots of people who do it really well, but I think it forces you and your partner to talk about things you wouldn’t otherwise confront because of the close proximity and space.
You both have to be really on top of your space management, and if you weren’t super close before then you are going to get SUPER close really quickly.
It’s pretty easy. You need a 13 mm socket wrench, an oil pan that can hold close to 3 gallons of oil, rubber gloves, paper towels or shop towels, a new oil filter, 12 quarts of oil, and an oil filter wrench.
"How do you just show up to a new town?"
"Where do you park?"
"How do you know where to shower?"
These are the first 5 things I do when I get to a new town!
I have, over the last year and a half or so, developed a method for arriving in a new town that helps me get settled into a new place.
I've lived in a Sprinter van for 1 year and 6 months as of the writing of this blog.
The highlights are: It has been the best decision I've ever made for myself, I really like working on my house and living in a small space and there are a few things I would do differently next time.
Have a loved one who lives in a van and have no idea what to get them for the Holiday season? LOOK NO FURTHER!
I've gathered my favorite vanlife gadgets that are under $50 that anyone living in a small space with limited resources would love to receive!
I’ve been living in my Sprinter Van for a little over a year now, and during that time I continue to be surprised by the little joys of living in a van, the ones I didn’t expect when I moved in. I expected the freedom and the flexibility and the beautiful scenery, but I didn’t expect the pure joy of a nice parking space or the giddy feeling I get when the wind blows through the curtains on my open door.
I think the term 'hiking' is used loosely in this context, at least for the actual canyoneering section of the hike. I like sliding better. Sliding down the Subway was more accurate.
But! On May 6th 2017 in the early morning light, I did The Subway with my dear friend Amanda (@Scatter_Cusion). This is how it happened.
I was driving up a hill on Highway 1 just outside of the tiny town of Rockport California when I completely lost power.
I heard no sound, no change in the handling of the car, I just couldn't accelerate any more. I had just gotten into the passing lane to pass this really slow Prius, and got some weird looks from the driver as well as the cars behind me when I suddenly slowed down to 50mph, and then 45, and then 40...
I've never worked on my car before.
But after googling some mechanical issues for 10 minutes I'm confident I can do most of it myself.
It forces you to give an elevator pitch of your entire life, and often when you can squash your occupation or passion down into 1 or 2 sentences it doesn't sound that great.
My answer to this question, Freelance Social Media Marketing, is usually met with blank stares and the follow-up question, "So, what does that mean?"
This blog post/video is dedicated to answering that question. Let me break it down for you.
Each day in the van is different. Like drastically different.
Some days I wake up at 6 am, knock on a friend's door, shower, slap on some makeup and drive to the nearest coffee shop for a work meeting. Then I spend all day on my computer getting shit done and finish up the day with a climb and sauna at my local (or sometimes local) climbing gym.
*Note* Something to consider is where you will dump your water tanks! As much as I can I dump mine in RV dump stations, camp bathrooms, or down the gutters. However, this isn't always possible and sometimes I dump my water in remote areas. It's important to note I only have 5 gallons of water so my impact is very low. However, if you have really big tanks I would not recommend dumping them on the ground. Do your best to deal with your greywater ethically!
I wake up every morning in a memory foam queen sized mattress, my down comforters wrapped around my legs to the sight of my small but tidy kitchen. My counter top is a beautiful slab of madrone with a live edge and gold paint inlaid into the knots in the wood. My coffee is ground by hand (by me) and typically from a local coffee roasting company. I cook my breakfast of organic (if I can get em!) hardboiled eggs and a grapefruit to the sound of my favorite music playing out of my iphone or laptop. Today it was 'Love Love Love' by the Mountain Goats.
Bringing the bike in the van was always a priority for me, but until recently I was just putting it on the ground inside the van. It would rattle around and I eventually broke my derailer when the bike fell over, so I decided it was time for a new bike rack solution.
My beer is cold at the end of the day because of the power of the sun.
I love that. I love that so much. Having a solar panel and running a battery bank off it is amazing. It saves a lot of money, it's quiet, and it's renewable! Getting the electrical set up in the van was the most expensive and difficult part about building out a van, but 100% worth it. I wouldn't recommend skimping on expenses during this stage. Having a system that is expensive and works is way better than having a system that is cheaper, but could break down/explode during your travels.
The wood paneling we did in the van is one of my favorite visual components of the van. It makes the van look and feel like a cabin in the woods. The color was really important to us when we were building it out, we had seen a lot of build outs that had dark wood and it really shrank the space. With the light wood it seems much more roomy and light, which is key for a small space like this! Another bonus is that when people first enter your van they can smell the cedar. My nose has long since adjusted to the scent, but I still get people who comment on it when they walk in.
Building out the bed frame and cabinets is so rewarding because you finally feel like it's starting to come together as a home. The bed frame especially makes it feel homey since you can start to imagine where you'll be sleeping! This step is also surprisingly expensive unless you have a lot of spare wood lying around. We were able to reuse some old wood, but needed to buy a lot of sturdy stuff for the cabinets.