If you’ve found yourself wondering: “I thought this was a vanlife blog. Is she actually going to write about ‘vanlife’…??” then you’re in luck.
Here’s a strictly vanlife post:
There’s a commentary I read recently that for how often “stop drop & roll” was drilled into our heads as children – we all grew up pretty concerned (though prepared!) & with unrealistic expectations about the amount of times we’d find ourselves on fire. Though it’s good to be prepared, it’s also comforting to find out that your worries were for naught.
Similar to thinking that I’d be on fire at least a few times in my adult life, I also had some worries about vanlife that quickly became irrelevant (or at least not as big of a concern)…
I do love cruise control & used to use it basically anytime I could. It was a sad day when I realized that the van, alas, did not have cruise. (I didn’t have buyer’s remorse, per say – but I did have second thoughts…)
It’s not that my foot gets tired – it’s just that without cruise control, I need to constantly pay attention to my speed instead of zoning out or going down whatever rabbit hole my brain decides we’re going down today.
Though it’s a tough burden to bear – I’ve somehow learned to live without it. I think it helps that I usually limit my drive time to an hour or maybe 2 at a time; leaving me plenty of time to zone out during other parts of my day. (If I were driving like 4 hours at a time I think this would be more of an issue.) AND I try to take anything BUT the interstate as much as possible – which also helps in that there’s more variety in the terrain, speed limit, towns, etc. (I.e. I’m not just mindlessly zooming past exit signs.)
I still wish I had cruise control, but I’m here to tell you: life without cruise is indeed possible. (Still going to complain about it though 🙂 )
The van not having a toilet was/is more of a concern for others than it’s ever been for me. Gosh! the look of horror on some people’s faces when they learn I don’t have a toilet!!
(Disclaimer I do have 2 “emergency” toilets. Nalgene & Kemps – please sponsor me for the use of your products.)
I’m here to assure you that not having a bathroom has been JUST FINE! Gas stations & grocery stores are my usual go-to spots since they’re (usually) clean & open early/late hours & I don’t feel guilty about not purchasing anything while still using their restroom. (I’m nothing if not cheap…)
Pro: I never have to clean a toilet. Con: I’ve used some pretty questionable toilets…
Where to Sleep:
Finding a spot to sleep / park for the night was my #1 tangible concern before embarking.
(My intangible concerns were: being lonely, quitting, hating it but not quitting because I’m too prideful, etc.)
Before embarking on this long van trip: when I did short little weekend trips, or even longer 3-ish week long trips – I was usually able to find public land to camp on. However – my goal for this trip was to head east, and only about 4% of the US’s public land is east of the Mississippi River. That’s not a good stat for a vanlifer traveling east!!!
And that brings us to… Cracker Barrels. I really didn’t envision staying at Cracker Barrel’s as often as I do – but honestly I’ve become a huge fan. And it’s not like I hang out there when I’m not sleeping – it’s strictly a situation where I pull in about an hour or so before bedtime, wind down, sleep, wake up & immediately head out for a morning run/hike/bike/coffee/read.
They’re well lit, it feels safe, and I always have cell phone coverage (which isn’t something that can be said about most public land spots; and having cell coverage does a lot to make me feel safe! (Plus I mean – how am I supposed to fall asleep without my nightly 20 minutes of TikTok videos…?))
So, there ya have it: a bona fide vanlife post.
And proof that things just sort of work out.
(But if you think this is going to stop me from worrying about irrelevant things in the future – you’re wrong. You just never know when you could catch on fire!!)