Well, it’s been a month, or just past a month in the van, and to be honest it is great, fantastic etc… So this is a short review of life so far; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly-ish!
The posts that I see on van life are more often than not are filled with Instagram style photos of how luxury this life is, the freedom to park and live where you want, without the confines of rent and normality. This is true, we have parked in some amazing places, with the views of mountains, cliffs, rolling fields, forests and rivers and so on, and it is amazing, and I have taken some photos of these moments, although I have committed van life sin by not capturing every perfect van life scene (which I will make sure I take more). However, we have also parked in car parks, or at the back of gyms and so on, although there are fewer photos of these not so beautiful places. That said its all part of the lifestyle!
I have also read that van life removes some of the creature comforts that we have become used to in normal society, and that living in a van requires sacrifice. Now, I might sound hardy here, and say that so far I have not really noticed this? I think it is truly comfortable, it’s a small space, however I have everything I need and lots more!
Before leaving I spoke to some cynical people who could not live without a washing machine, ‘how will you wash your clothes?’, it seems that some people are so wrapped up in modern living, with modern comforts and to them, the necessities, that they have forgot that you can wash clothes by hand? I know, barbaric, washing clothes by hand!
I mentioned earlier that I have lots more than I need, and it’s so true. Time and again, I have used my oven and thought how posh it is to have an oven! When I turn on the water heater and wait for an hour or two for the water to heat, so I can have a shower, again more than I truly need, and a definitive luxury. Having a toilet, so that I can do my business when I please in privacy, again, not needed, believe it or not, and it is a luxury. Does an ‘Ant shit in the woods?’ You bet he does, more times than I can recollect with years of military service and climbing, its inevitable, so a toilet is a luxury.
We nearly have a double bed, and with a memory foam mattress? I’ve never had a memory foam mattress, always a shit one with springs that would move and fire into your spine as you turned in bed, waking you up every morning like you had aged fifty plus years overnight, with a hunched back and a groan to stand!
I have solar panels that give free power everyday, it feeds my fridge so I can have a nice bowl of cereal in the morning and a cold coke at the end of an awesome day climbing. A fridge! That’s right a fridge! I have a hob to cook on, a kettle to boil water, cupboards for food and clothes and masses of storage for climbing gear… You get the point I’m sure, I have everything I need…and more.
I would like to claim that I am ‘dirtbag climber’, something that I have, for a long while, aspired to be. However, I believe that all the luxury described here, will not allow me to coin the phrase when describing this adventure, or me, it’s just all too comfortable. I really like that fact that I fit in a middle ground, between society as a norm and the dirtbag lifestyle. My van has all the necessities for a comfortable life, with the tinge that I am bucking the trends of society, and living with a freedom I have rarely felt.
Its not all gravy though, emptying a pot full of your own waste is rarely covered when discussing van life, although I am aware of a #nofilter thing becoming more popular, but this is shit, literally! Also the moment when your wastewater outlet becomes blocked and then exits through the only available orifice, your shower and stinks out the van, again, not often covered. Plus the smell of your hands when you clear the blockage, if this post was scratch and sniff, you would scratch and gag!
That said, this has been amazing, from day one to now, I have not regretted my decision one little bit, and I believe this will continue long into the future. I have a home, not in the common way of tying myself down to a mortgage, living in a cage from which I can never escape, even if I wished to, but a home that was built of my hand and that is free of ties to normality.
Long may this be my life and my home!