I love traveling by means of Couchsurfing, hostel hopping and Workaway gigs. But few compare to the times living out of my van.
For me, minimizing left all of life’s clutter behind in a box of things you couldn’t pay me to remember. This is when I began learning the art of collecting moments instead of work memos and replacing my prevailing comforts with mobility.
Last summer I packed up my life in Portland, Oregon and hit the road. With that I was saying goodbye to my long commutes, overtime work, rent, friends and family.
Darcie, my co-pilot and best fur friend and I now live in a wine colored, 1993 Toyota Previa van.
The dog and I started south, heading through Crater Lake, Tahoe, Yosemite and Bishop, California. Parking and free camping all along the Sierras. We then drove east to Moab and Zion in Utah, then headed over to Colorado. We discovered the beautiful and friendly Boulder, Colorado where we then pulled the e-brake.
Although I couldn’t complain about my very stable, average life in Portland… swapping the $650/month house rent for the $24/month van insurance made life a bit more freeing.
Want to try it out? Here are a 10 things I’ve jotted down for aspiring van-life members to consider:
1. Gym memberships are your new best friend. Mind you, finding the right gym to be a part of can actually make you some new best friends. These are popular spots for the van folk community.
2. You would have never thought finding a flat, shaded and low-traffic area could be so difficult.
3. Having that evening glass of wine can cost you a DUI in many parts. Do your research! Ask a local police officer what the applicable laws are in your municipality.
4. You have to have an address to get an address.
5. Your backyard is everywhere. Want to hit up a climb early in the AM before work? Park there the night before. Those sleep apps on your phone just not cutting it? Park down by a river or the woods for the all-natural.
6. Minimize and organize. Limited space can be a blessing in disguise. You find what things matter most to you. If you didn’t remember you owned it, you don’t need it.
7. There’s an awesome community of people doing the exact same thing. Check out these van families: Our Open Road & Poseidonsbeard
8. You have everything you own with you at all times. This meaning you’re ready for any situation. No more running home to grab gear or a different set of clothes. You can do whatever you want whenever you want to.
9. When all the fun wears you out, you can pull over and nap in your own bed anytime. And for expert nappers like myself, this is awesome.
10. Not ready to commit? If you’re ready to make the leap, try one out for yourself on a smaller scale. Take a road trip across The States or even South America in sweet rentals like Juicy and Wicked Vans.