Vanlife has been nothing short of a humbling yet super gratifying experience. Saturday, July 1 was exactly 1 year in the van! It’s gone by so quick, and the thought of going back to “real life” totally freaks me out. We’ve decided to make our #365daysoftravel into a little bit longer 🙂 we’re extending until October. With every big adventure or chapter in life, we all learn new things about ourselves and grow from our experiences. I’ve had to let go of a lot living in a van, and by letting go I don’t just mean getting rid of a 3rd of my closet.
1.FORGET ABOUT THE LATEST TRENDS
I’ve always been into fashion, I love snooping around Instagram looking for new outfit ideas or pinning things to my “style” section on Pinterest, but let’s get real, I do laundry MAYBE twice a week and I simply don’t have room for all the latest trends. I’d love to buy a pair of those tiny sunglasses Kourtney Kardashian keeps sporting or those white culottes with a little bralette but that just doesn’t happen in the van. I’ve packed clothes from Key West to Canada and I haven’t needed to buy anything. I have a uniform now that consists of leggings or other comfy pants, t-shirts and my go-to denim jacket, or loud purple puffy that was given to me before hitting the donation box. I see new people every day so I often wear the same things days in a row. Trends don’t work for the van because for the most part, it’s hard to make them multifunctional. I go for high quality basic 10/10 times and the best place for them is by far shoplola.com (pricey but I promise the clothes will last forever, basic and quality, im telling you!)
2.Van not Vanity
I don’t have a toilet, bathtub, or a full-length mirror, which is really just my secret to getting ready in less than 5 minutes. I don’t have those days of “nothing looks good on me” because I’m simply oblivious of how I look 99% of the time. I feel like I’ve finally turned into the earth mama that I always was deep down. My skin can finally breathe, and my hair is starting to become its actual color. of course, I want to impress Mo and still want him to think I’m beautiful but I think we’ve both started to find beauty in being more natural, what an empowering feeling! nothing makes me feel more beautiful than when he thinks I look good, and I haven’t tried. don’t get me wrong, not all people think I look good that way. I was asked by a lady at a restaurant if I was hungover 3 times! ” are you sure you don’t want the breakfast sandwich, sweetie, It’s a must when I’m hungover” HA!!
yes, I pee outside EVERY SINGLE DAY. sorry to the trucker that drove by me the other day or the 3 girls that walked passed the van last night while I was squatting like the lady that I am 🙂 (i know you’re cringing, especially you mom, sorry!). sometimes I resent our dog, Olive for being able to just go anywhere. have you ever had to pee in the middle of the night, walk to your bathroom half way asleep? next time think of me, putting my shoes on, waking up Olive to scare off any night creatures, squatting in sometimes the rain, or simultaneously being attacked by mosquitos all while making sure a bear isn’t going to eat me. (okay I’m being a bit dramatic). I did have a rodent scurry past my feet before though! not cool.
Another form of privacy I’ve given up: “Knock knock knock, Hey! cool van, do you mind if I check it out??” we actually did this for a year before we built our van, anyone that lives in a van or is building one out loves a good build out! I won’t lie, we completely twisted our necks yesterday looking into a couple’s van because their slider door was open. Its fun to see everyone’s creative ideas, but could you imagine if someone knocked on your front door every day and asked to look inside? ” of course, but I haven’t made the bed yet” or “sorry for the dog hair!”. My favorite is when people don’t realize were in the van and they put their eyes up to our windows and I’m getting dressed, ” Oh hi! Sorry, I just wanted to check out your van!”
I think all that just comes with the territory of having such a cool looking adventure rig that I’m beyond thankful to be able to live in and experience!
4.Drop the Plans and Expectations
I WAS a planner, I loved making lists and figuring out the best routes with the coolest spots to hit up but I had to drop all the expectations and planning very quickly on this trip. I’ve learned that part of the beauty of traveling like we are is finding the unexpected and adventure in everything. We actually planned all spring and early summer to start heading to Alaska so we could get there before the weather turned. We got to mile 1 of the Alaskan Highway and decided to turn around. We had our reasons and I’m happy with the outcome. We’re hanging out in Whistler and enjoying every bit of not driving right now. (We’ll totally be going to Alaska in the future) . I think a big part of traveling or really just being a good traveler is being able to go with the flow. You’ll get a flat tire, something will break, you’ll leave or lose something somewhere, knowing that most things in life are out of your control is step 1 and step 2 is knowing how to handle yourself when things don’t go as planned.
A lot of the latest trends, material things don’t go with living in a van. I lOVE a good deal, driving by flea markets, TJ Maxx, and antique stores kill me. I’ve found SO many awesome deals and unique items on this trip that I walked around the store with then eventually sat back down and walked out. I still think about that Japanese pottery in the outer banks, and the awesome vintage clothes in Bisbee, Arizona. I often think it would be so cool to have something from each place we’ve been to for our future home but we literally have NO room. glass will most likely break, and the hat that I HAD to have from the Santa Fe flea market is so bent out of shape. we have everything we NEED. our culture is so addicted to buying things, it’s almost been like detoxing on this trip. I admire the minimalist mindset and I try every day to work towards it. We’ve stopped going to bigger cities because it seems like the consumerism takes over us.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve learned a lot on this adventure. My mom said the other day “you definitely aren’t as high maintenance as you used to be”, and to defend myself here, I don’t think I’ve ever been that high maintenance. I just cared about different things before I left on this trip 🙂 Also, this isn’t me encouraging anyone to pee outside, not care about the way you dress or to shame anyone from shopping(I’m really jealous of you), this is just simply what I had to give up to live this dream of living in a van and traveling with my man and pup.