The past 30 years I have been a part of this nonstop repetitive process called life. There’s a fixed cycle on the way things are done: go to college, get a job, start a family, and then retire at the 60 and maybe your health is good enough to travel the world. This cycle is not for me so I moved into a tiny house on wheels where I can escape at anytime.
Being a woman in a van can be a struggle sometimes. Where can I use the bathroom? When will my next shower be? What’s that terrifying noise outside? How do I binge watch The Bachelor with no WiFi? Where is the pizza? These are many questions I have asked myself more than once this year. I’ll go ahead and dive in.
The bathroom issue is a good start. My wonderful boyfriend made a super cool compost toilet for the van. It works excellent, but not when it’s that time of the month. The toilet can’t hold that kind of thing so I get my little shovel and dig a little hole for all of that (away from everything of course). Otherwise I have to stop a million times at rest areas or any public restrooms along the way. I love being a woman, but dang I wish there was another alternative to periods. Maybe we could like get it all out in one day and be done with it? Anyways, sorry for the TMI, but that’s a big challenge that needed to be mentioned.
Showers… What are those again? There is no shower in the van so mostly I depend on gyms and my 6 gallon water jugs to do the trick. I am in the Everglades as I am writing this and I literally just took a water bottle shower outside. A water bottle shower is when you use your water bottle to pour water on yourself, shampoo your hair, then rinse. This is all while getting bit by millions of mosquitoes and inviting about 5000 other bugs into the van because you forgot to shut the door while you showered outside. It’s fine though, my hair feels great and it only took all night to murder all the bugs that got in.
Now let’s talk terrifying noises outside. I am pretty much scared of any noise I’ve never heard before. My mind constantly tells me that every noise is a threat to my life. Bird chirping, Is that a man whistling in the woods before he kills me? Car passing, Is that someone stopping to murder me? Yea, it’s quite annoying how my mind works. With that being said, I do have a machete I keep with me in case anything crazy goes down. Why not a gun? I don’t really want to kill anyone and there are way too many different gun laws in each state. It becomes a headache to study each one and I plan on visiting Canada, which does not allow guns. No one questions a machete right? Totally normal!
Most important question of all: How do I watch The Bachelor? My phone thankfully gives me a good amount of data to use so I can watch Netflix. If it’s a really good season of The Bachelor I’ll find a store with WiFi and sit in their parking lot just to see what happens. Bonus if there’s a grocery store nearby to get the best bottle of wine before the show. I can’t wait for the next season!
Oh yea, and one more question you might have: How do I make pizza or brownies? I can’t and I’m really sad about that. I have an InstantPot that I use to cook literally everything. Pizza doesn’t really work well in it (not that I’ve tried, but I can imagine). Brownies I might be able to make, but they would probably be soggy (ew). So pretty much when I have cravings I get really grumpy until I drive to the nearest bakery or Pizza Hut to get what I want.
All these things may seem scary or turn you off to the idea of Vanlife, but I love it all. The fact that I could only list about four challenges I have is saying a lot. Vanlife has taught me to be courageous and fierce. If you asked me 10 years ago if I wanted to live in a tiny van with no shower I would have laughed and said “Absolutely Not”. I have become open-minded to everything the world throws at me and I wish every girl could experience this way of life. All you women out there, you are so much stronger than you think you are. I hope you never settle and always push yourself into uncomfortable situations to build your strength and confidence. Never underestimate yourself!