I think it’s pretty obvious that the best part of living in a van is the fact that your home is with you at all times. It’s like being a little turtle carrying your home on your back.
Up until this point thought, I haven’t really been taking full advantage of that convenience. I had taken a long weekend trip down to Zion which was a fun taste of that freedom. It almost felt wrong to just start the van and drive because I am so used to having to prepare and pack for everything.
Of course, I have to admit that I’m not the most typical #vanlife person out there. I have a nice, little driveway tucked away in the city that I pay a modest rent for, and the only reason I ever have to drive the van is to dump grey water or fill propane. I commute daily with my Honda Civic which is something I’m very thankful for. As much as I love my Eurovan, it’s not my favorite vehicle for busy highway traffic driving.
So when I was told to work from home full-time for the foreseeable future, I had two thoughts. One, I was worried about being lonely tucked away alone in my van. And two, that my home has wheels and there’s no reason why working from home has to mean that specific driveway. I originally thought that coronavirus would be a good chance to get out of town and get a real taste of van life. How much fun would it be to wake up in the desert, set up my table outside and get to work? That idea quickly came crashing down as parks, cities and entire states started shutting down. I was just not prepared to be off-grid living for extended periods of times like other rigs with solar, inverters, and giant water tanks.
I considered fostering a dog to live with me in the van while self isolating so that I wouldn’t be so lonely. If you have the means, I would highly suggest looking into it. A lot of animal shelters are starting to get worried about being able to remain open at all, let alone being able to care for the predicted increase in animals being surrendered. Ultimately though, I made the decision to make the 1,000 mile trek up to Washington state where my parents live.
Once again, I had that sinking feeling that I must have forgotten something as I pulled out of Salt Lake City. But I had my house on my back as I like to say, and after two days of driving, here I am, writing this from the comfort of my parents couch. So in a strange turn of events, coronavirus was both the end and the beginning of my real van life adventure. The beginning because for the first time, I’ve hit the road not knowing where I will pull over to sleep each night and not knowing when I’ll be back (if there even is such a thing as “back” anymore). And the end because for the next weeks/months (and hopefully not longer), I’m back in a big bedroom and under a traditional roof while my van sits empty in my parents driveway.
Best wishes to fellow van lifers out there, wherever you may be. I hope you’ve found a place to park, supplies to stock up, or family to crash with. I’m not worried for you all though; the van community is strong. Just please ask for help if/when you need it.