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WEEK 12 & A BAG FULL OF LESSONS

This week marked a huge moment, in my “van life” and my “life life”. Whoever thinks living and traveling in a van is all fun and games, well it’s not. It’s life, it’s normal life with the ups and downs, the amazing days and the really shitty ones too.

The week started with a campground recommendation, a good friend was at a spot he knew I’d love (Poza Blanca Lodge in the town of San Mateo). I had no plans and it was just a 90 minute drive. A new location, a hotel just outside the city that created a nice campground next to a river with amazing pools and a white clay pit. And, the winner, a bar with Wi-Fi. Not sure if they had me at bar or Wi-Fi but the thought of hanging out next to a river with margaritas was very tempting. The place was amazing, and I say “was” because come the weekend, the river and the pools were so packed with people I had to move to the other side of the property. 

So many mixed feelings. I’m really learning to be more relaxed about camping in busy campsites, there’s no real option on weekends to be honest. I figured this would be the same situation, but it was worse. I found out this was the local watering hole for the area, so the music, the people, the crowds, the noise, was unbearable. Music booming until 5am, drunk people fighting and not the slightest chance of even getting near that nice white clay pool for a little facial.  Add to that, I lived with a migraine for 2 days with no meds because I didn’t want to lose my spot at camp. Sigh! 

And then Monday arrived. Finally it was my time, to go park next to the river again, have breakfast with my feet in the water. Walk down to the pools with my morning coffee and cover myself with nice white clay. It was stunning, there are no words, the pics speak for themselves. What a contrast to the weekend… I finally had my space to chill, work and really enjoy the waiter bringing over those margaritas to the van door.

It was a great few days with a ton of random stuff. Clearly, van life is never boring:

  1. Setting up the window covers in the cabin of the van I bumped my ass into the passenger door forgetting the fire extinguisher was there and had lost its safety pin. One boom away and a complete white-out, my legs and the van cabin were covered in white powder.
  2. Friday night so many people were walking around the river with flashlights, Taco lost his shit and pissed on my bed. Never happened before, so day 2 was about doing my best to clean sheets & lay them in the sun without looking like some van-dwelling bum.
  3. The next day, clearly so distracted with life and work, I set a full mug of coffee on my bed and it tipped over. Yes, right were Taco took a piss. Now I have a bed full of dog piss and coffee.
  4. My Chaco sandals were so old and gross, I threw them in the bin, figured someone would make better use of them than me. Monday arrives and I realize I have no shoes to walk in the river, go looking for my Chacos and they’re gone. Onto Amazon for a new pair. 
  5. I took a Chaco-less walk down to the river in flip-flops, Voited blanket in one arm with coffee in hand, cel phone in the other. Slipped on my wet flip-flops (figures) and fall on my ass. I’m now sporting one amazing black & blue bruise. 
  6. Last but not least, a bird flew into the van, so cute! Until he freaks out and continues to fly back & forth over my pillows dropping poop everywhere. Now I have a bed full of dog piss, coffee and bird shit. 

It was time to go back into the city. 

There’s currently a lot of personal stuff going on in my life, clearly not anything I’d like to write about. But this brings me to the second part of my week. A distracted mind plus a week full of random stuff and sleepless nights took me to a nice swanky hotel room in San José. Why not? This can also be part of van life, a break to have all the creature comforts most people take for granted. Like a flushing toilet just a few steps away from your bed, a full-size bed, ongoing dependable Wi-Fi and the fact that you’re not stressing out with your electrical system checking battery percentage or wandering if you have enough juice to charge all your devices or keep your fan going all night. 

This is also the reality of “van life”.

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