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2+ months van living & what I’ve learned

You know that feeling you get when you’re home from a long trip? Or maybe from international travel and you step into your house & get to sleep in your bed? That’s the feeling I get from my van. There is currently no place in my life that makes me feel more like home than this big blue metal box on wheels.

I write this as I sit in my daughter’s apartment while she’s away at the beach and my van is in the shop. I had to drop off my home and walk away with a cooler full of food, a bag full of dirty laundry and a backpack with my personal items. 5 days without my van and I’m sitting here worried where I’ll stay for the next days until I have it back. This is certainly a down side, I miss my home, it’s my safe place.

It’s been 2 months and a bit since I decided to live full-time in the van and it seems like it’s been longer. At this point in my life it’s possibly one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time, among others. There’s so much peace in my life and all those anxieties about family, bills, relationships & finding my place in the world have vanished. There’s so much I’ve learned, about myself and about the lifestyle. So here it goes:

  1. I always need way less than I pack. I filled the van with so much stuff, things I didn’t want to let go of, things I thought I needed – far from it.
  2. So far I have purged the van twice from things I don’t need and don’t use. Pots and pans, extra plates, clothes, shoes, ceramic cups & personals.
  3. I have become way more organized and I don’t forget anything! The perks of living so small, everything is at reach and there’s no excuse not to wash your face every night or leave the dishes until tomorrow.
  4. It’s ok to move along when camp company makes you uncomfortable. It’s the raw truth and that’s ok.
  5. Alone time is good time. I really do appreciate the time by myself, and I use it wisely to catch up on my writing, reading, meditating and time outside.
  6. I have opened up more to being around busy campgrounds. I always avoided “camping” on weekends as I didn’t like being around too many people, I have embraced sharing spaces and getting to meet new people, make new friends.
  7. When you live in a van you make amazing connections. Campground owners are always happy to see you drive up, embrace you into their home and treat you like family – this is happening way more often and I love it.
  8. I rarely wear makeup but some days, I want to make that extra effort to feel pretty, even if it’s for myself. So I’ve learned that it’s ok to glam up a bit even if nobody’s watching.
  9. This one’s a given, no matter where or how you live, people’s actions will always speak louder than words.
  10. Sometimes I need a little more of a plan. Although I love to adventure, work makes it hard to just go out and explore, and that’s ok.
  11. Costa Rica is an amazing place to adventure, I’ve learned not to carry too much food and rely on small town shops to buy fresh and support locals no matter where I go.
  12. Rainy days are ok, I need to embrace them and enjoy my indoor space.
  13. Rainy days are also ok to put on a rain jacket and go for a walk, deal with the wet stuff later.
  14. Dating options are close to zero, but I’m ok with that. If someone cannot accept me for who I am and the things that make me happy, they do not deserve a second of my time.
  15. It’s ok to feel afraid. I learned this camping at the foot of an active volcano all by myself, it was both scary but empowering. Our mind sometimes gets the best of us.
  16. I love camping with friends, the laughs, the campfires, the hugs, sharing the things we have in common. But when I’m back to myself I like that too, and I’ve learned that it’s a very healthy feeling.
  17. On the topic of friends, I’m also learning that those who really love and support you will be the ones who will reach out to see you.
  18. There’s no good days without the bad ones. You can’t really enjoy those perfect days on the beach or on the mountains if you don’t have shitty days to compare them to.
  19. Since I moved into the van, so many amazing people have reached out to me offering their homes, their farm, their parking spaces. I’ve learned to be more open to this.
  20. Bad nights, the sleepless, lonely or long nights pass the moment the sun rises the next morning.
  21. Not van related but then again, related to my overall happiness. I removed myself from an unhappy work situation and immediately windows and doors opened. I now have the most amazing jobs with people who support me as a person, my lifestyle and have my back every-single-day.
  22. Last but not least, and it feels weird to say… So many people write me to say how much they admire me as a person, my choices, my lifestyle, it’s all very strange. I guess this was a natural process for me, but if it helps others not settle in life, and choose a path that really makes them happy, then every bad day is worth it.

MY NEW FAVORITE QUOTE
“Your mental health is more important than your career, money, other people’s opinions, that event you said you would attend, you partner’s mood and your families wishes, combined.
If taking care of yourself means letting someone down, then let someone down.”

~Unknown

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