We’re getting better at this van living and stealth camping. Realizing showers will be few and far between, we have become quite familiar with baby wipes. They do their job and at least we don’t feel like we’re going to bed dirty. I’ve already tried the sponge bath idea with our wash basin and a bar of soap, made me feel like a brand new woman!
Sleeping in the van is actually pretty cozy, we’ve been finding ourselves sleeping 9-10 hours. Now finding spots to park the van for sleep is the fun part. We have been able to park it a couple times on pull outs or ATV roads when we were visiting Zion, but finding ‘camping’ spots elsewhere has been tricky. Coming from Idaho we’re use to our mountains and easy access to camp sites. So, what’s the next best thing? Walmart parking lots! Yep, you know you’ve seen a RV or two parked at your local Walmart. Most Walmarts allow it, it’s usually a city ordinance code if they don’t. We have found ourselves parking and sleeping at Walmart a few times and just recently we parked at a Flying J Rest / Gas Stop. We just park close to but not right next to other vans or RVs to blend in and we go on with our night. I purchased a Go Girl for nights like those and it’s come in quite handy.
Living this tightly you really get to learn more about each other and yourself too. No showers for days, sleeping in odd places and using public restrooms not only for the bathroom but to occasionally rinse out a dirty bowl or cup pushes you to uncomfortable edges. Jeff and I have been together for over 8 years and quickly moved in together so we know a lot about each others quirks. But when you can take a sponge bath in front of the other inside the van, you know you’re comfortable with each other.
We’re living on a tight budget too. Obviously gas is going to be the biggest expense for this journey and when we calculated our budget, we estimated gas to be about $2.5/gallon and right now gas prices are averaging $1.9/gallon. We can only spend about $11 a day on food and that’s if we buy anything. Currently we are nicely stocked with food, easy to eat food like almonds, fruit, protein for shakes, sandwich stuff, oatmeal, etc. Jeff has been craving a hamburger the last few days and every town we go into smells so good of fast food. I’m vegetarian so eating cheaply at fast food means french fries, there’s no $1 veggie burger that I know of and a person cam’t live off of french fries. So, we’ve been sticking to the store bought food we have and making things as needed. Last night all we had for dinner for black beans and tortillas. It wasn’t much but it tasted good and filled our bellies.
Van life isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be tough and willing to experience life in a whole new way. We have only been on the road and living in Vanna for a week but I’m very glad we took this journey together. This will be crazy and wonderful experience for us to share.
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