Matthes Crest is a mile and a half long fin of rock that juts out of the earth like the spine of a sleeping, long buried dragon. It looks almost sinister in the distance. A wall of impenetrable granite with only one cleft down the middle, an ominous gateway.
Today I’m talking about a basic set of tools you will need for doing basic repairs and maintenance on your T1N Sprinter Van. This is the vans for the years 1995-2006.
The Squamish sand lot. It’s a parking lot on the side of the sky to sea highway in Canada. It can hold maybe 8-10 cars if you pack em in real tight. Less if its the weekend and we’re trying to keep the tourists out. Many nights we realize there’s no room for one of the regulars, so we frantically re-shuffle the cars and make just enough space for one more econoline.
It’s 70 degrees outside. My air conditioner isn’t working and hot dry air comes blasting out of the vents. The check engine light is on, had been for the last 1,000 miles.
I glance at the dashboard clock, 7:49am.
The water we were standing in was hot now, and would have been too hot to hang out in for long. The steam was denser, and the claustrophobic feeling more intense. I closed my eyes and imagined for a moment that I was in the throat of a giant dragon, walking toward its fiery belly.
I can’t overestimate the importance of women having control over the little things in their lives. It sounds so small, like ‘I want to listen to this song on repeat for the next 3 hours.’ Or, ‘I will be stopping to pee right now at this gas station.’
I drove my van into the desert, and I didn’t drink. I spent nights alone in my van listening to the sounds of people slurring their words and signing late into the night around a campfire. I met a mormon girl with a German Shepard and we woke up at 6am to watch the pink sunrise with mugs of tea. The startling clarity of the morning sunk in through my eyes, my ears and my mouth, and it woke me up better than any cup of coffee.
I’ve been living in the van for over two years now, and when I started making these videos and answering questions people had, I kept seeing the question ‘How are you not alone?’ Or ‘how do you make friends on the road?’ And at first I was like ‘psh thats not a real problem people have, don’t worry about it!’
And then I started to think about it, and I thought back to the very first week I spent in my van alone.
To be a steward of climbing, to take care of and preserve a sport is a strange concept. The sport is alive and well and does not need caring for. What needs tending to is the natural spaces this sport inhabits. To be a climbing steward in Yosemite is to protect the rocks, the trails, the vegetation, and the trees.
The truth is, solo female travel is the schrodingers cat of safety.
You both are, and are not safe the entire time you are traveling, and you only know which one it ends up being at the end of your trip. The risk being, you’ll either be totally fine, or you’ll be dead.
The best day of climbing I ever had, the air was on fire.
It was summertime in Squamish, a small town just north of Vancouver in British Columbia Canada. This town, up until recently had been known as a sleepy kiteboarding destination and—to those who cared— a place where you could find some of the best bouldering in the world.
We see two people soloing intersection rock in the distance, one is possibly naked and the other is wearing a pair of hot pink booty shorts.
Mike grabs the binoculars, “Yep. He’s definitely naked.”
5 minutes later the naked guy rides by on a bike. There’s a chalk bag clipped to his waist that is almost covering his junk, and he hollers loudly as he wizzes past. “ANARCHY!”
“Well,” Mike puts his hands on his hips, “that happened quickly.”
Last year I came up with a ‘Best gifts for Vanlifers under $50’ blog post.
It did pretty well, but I looked at it again this year and I have a lot more useful things to add to that list, so here is my Christmas gifts for Vanlifers 2018! Enjoy and make a vanlifer in your world happy this holiday season.
I’m a digital nomad!
I’ve been working as a freelancer since 2014 doing social media marketing, which you can learn more about here and one of the things I get asked a lot is ‘what about internet?’
So, this is pretty easy to answer. When I’m in town or a city I go to coffee shops, libraries, laundromats or just friends houses for wifi.
Vanlife isn't always a vacation, sometimes it's just a financial reality.
The first thing you should do if you know you are going to be in a city full time for a while is get a PO box! This is essential because you can have an address in the city for all your important documents to get delivered to. Post office boxes can cost between $19-$75 a month depending on the size and location of the box.
The first thing you should do is lock your door every time you leave your van, put up your blinds and hide your valuables. Fortunately for me my van kind of looks like a piece of shit from the outside and I’ve never had anyone try to break into it, but I do know a few girls who have been sleeping in their cars/vans and woken up to the sound of someone trying to break in!
Livin' in a van in a city actually kinda sucks.
There are a lot of benefits to living in a van, and I know many people who chose to do the vanlife thing in a city. It's great for them! But in my experience, it kinda sucks. That's why, after getting stuck in Grand Junction Colorado for a week and then getting even more stranded back in Santa Cruz for a few weeks, I decided to put together a little guide for staying happy and sane in the van in a city/town. Hopefully this will help y'all out if you have to hang out in a mechanics shop for a bit longer than you would have liked.
If you've been following me for a long time you KNOW I have been meaning to do this for a while. If you haven't been following me for a long time, then welcome! This is the DIY hangboard set up for my 2006 Dodge Sprinter Van.
I get this question ALL THE TIME. So I decided to start tracking all of my expenses.
I’ve also compared my expenses to the national average because I like data and numbers.
Average Rent in America: $959
My Average Rent: $198.49-$378.49
Car Insurance: $128.49