What I’ve Learned From Living in a Van: Part I

To be honest, at first when I met Dave I had a lot of preconceived notions about people who lived in vans and I made my fair share of judgements; I hesitated to tell people right off the bat that Dave lived in a van in fear of what they would think. I am not proud of this but it’s the truth. Since then I have not only come to be comfortable with the fact that my boyfriend lives in a van, but I am living in it too for the duration of this run, and I can honestly say I have come to be rather fond of it.

I’ve learned a lot of things from the 3 weeks I’ve lived in the van and here are some of them:

  1. I use way more water at home than I need to on a day-to-day basis.

In the van I do the dishes and laundry by hand. Since we don’t have an unlimited supply of water I am very aware of the amount of water I use as I try to ration it according to what I have to do that day. We have a solar shower  which we fill up when we can and we use this water for dishes, laundry, and, you guessed it, to shower. When I see how much I am able to do here with so little water it is interesting, and scary, to think of how much I overuse this precious resource at home.

  1. It’s important, and it feels good, to be proactive.

There are many times when we will go a day or two without really being close to a town so I have quickly learned to be more proactive. I need to get rid of the garbage, find somewhere to recycle, get water and gas and make sure that we have enough food until we hit another town. It is easy when you live in the city to do everything last minute because everything is so accessible but I find that my worry about things decreases when I am on top of things and I am better able to focus on blogging, etc when I do things ahead of time.

  1. I can, in fact, live without Neflix.

Who knew?! Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that I don’t miss Neflix and that I don’t every so often wonder what Harvey is up to on Suits or if Meredith is dating again on Grey’s Anatomy because I do. I’m excited to catch up when I get home but being forced to unplug has given me the ability to focus on what we are trying to accomplish here and to think about all the things I am excited to do in the future.

  1. I can be a morning person.

I’ve had to get up early almost every day except for the odd rest day because it is important we get early starts. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not inherently a morning person and that it’s quite the struggle for me to get up and at it too early in the day. Something about waking up to the sunrise and the sounds of crashing waves with a clear goal in mind and list of things to do has made being a morning person a possibility for me. I by no means am a morning person convert now, and I won’t lie and say that I’m not at all grumpy first thing but be involved in a project like this with such clear goals has invigorated me.

  1. I’m a lot more resourceful that I thought.

I’ve learned a bunch of things while being on this trip that I should’ve learned a long time ago! I’m kind of embarrassed to say that checking oil and tire pressure was not something I learned to do before even though I had a car for years… I am happy to say that now I can do these things. Figuring out solutions to little problems when I don’t always have internet or another person right at my fingertips has forced me to be creative and although the things I’ve had to do aren’t big or complicated by any means it still feels good!

  1. A lot of things that I previously classified as necessities have now been moved in to the nice-to-have category.

For example: hot showers, coffee, internet, etc. I have come to take a lot of things for granted back home and living without these things was a bit of an adjustment. I am very spoiled in the way that I live and I came to rely on certain things as being a part of my everyday routine. Living in the van has taught me that there are a lot of things I don’t really need. Of course when offered a hot shower, piping hot coffee, or free wifi you won’t find me turning it down!

Stay tuned for Part II!

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