Vanlife Exposed!

Vanlife Exposed!

So here we are, almost 9 months on the road, with van, in foreign countries, living with ourselves and each other in the most unfiltered way either of us have even experienced.  Let me tell you, it’s not all epic sunsets, Corona in hand.  Do we regret our newest life choice? Hell no!  We’re living our lives fully, and in ways we’d never dreamed of, yet the harsh realities should be shared just as much as the dreamy photos and fun stories.Let’s begin with how we feel about living in a small space full of everything we need for life.  As idyllic as it sounds to be compact with all the bare necessities, 60 shared square feet can be quite tight. Messes are created in mere milliseconds that need tending quickly if we want van sanity.The constant attempts at entering the van in a clean state, especially at the beach, can get frustrating and just dang difficult now that it’s rainy season.  That brings up the idea of dryness, ha!  You can forget about staying dry or keeping the van dry and mold-free in this climate with 2 sweaty bodies always in there just foggin’ it up, especially during heated card games.The heat, oh man the heat.  Prior to the rains coming in and cooling us down, we were falling asleep at temps between 82-85 F, and dealing with daily temps hovering around 100 F with humidity.  Oh, and no AC, just the hardest working fan you’ve ever met.Have we mentioned travelling in foreign countries with a vehicle feels like lugging a 6000 pound baby around that you’re always worried about.  Is he sick? He’s noisy today. Is he going to be safe over there for a while?  It’s difficult to maintain a relaxed and care-free attitude while traveling like this unless you know your home is safe.  The choice to bring a vehicle that doubles as our house and contains all of our gear for life has led us to worry about his livelihood and well-being on top of our own.  There’s been no shortage of mechanical work, small fixes, and just old fashioned TLC throughout this journey. We’re all just trying to stay healthy together.Is vanlife healthy?  We do our best to eat healthy and stay aware of our food options.  This has proven difficult and amazing depending on the location and persistence.  In the US, it is simply remarkable how easy it is to find healthy food easily in one, maybe 2 stores, or go out to one of many restaurants to get your quality food fix.  Normally, we track down fruits and veggies in different places than the dry goods, and sometimes it can be tricky and time consuming. Now, as the food exploration has been one of our favorite parts of the trip, we cannot simply eat out regularly or score good restaurants every time. We cook meals very very regularly to stay within our budget and due to limited resources cooking in a small van. Although we can be very creative and have fun with it, after weeks and months, it’s easy to dream about spacious full kitchens with ovens. Our oven thoughts have been stimulated by our friends from Switzerland who have a gas oven in their van to make delicious bread.  Can we say jealous?Mental health?  Some of you might wonder how we do as a couple living day-in, day-out constantly together in a small box while making countless decisions together every day.  Well, just think about that previous sentence for a second if you are in, or have been in a serious relationship. Not easy.Although we love each other dearly and are both happy we found partners in adventure, these times can be very trying.  The natural space created when we had separate jobs and regularity in our schedules is no longer available.  We are faced with difficult internal decisions to make things work and flow as smoothly as possible. Living the ‘vanlife’ with a partner definitely has a way of bringing EVERYTHING front and center whether you like it or not, and guess what, there’s no where to hideout for a while. Let’s be honest, we bicker and fight more often than we’re proud to say and sometimes loudly. These are reasons why we’ve become fond of small breaks where we work or volunteer somewhere to obtain lodging other than the van.Despite the hardships mentioned in this post, we must remind everyone that the freedom gained by having a 4×4 vehicle is priceless and not experienced by other types of travel. Despite the hard times that we face, the good times are as good as you can imagine and more. We spend most of our time living outside with zero TV and minimal internet, really experiencing the elements and people of the world without the seemingly endless number of filters we create for ourselves.  This van journey, and in the literal sense, van life has engaged us in so many more ways than we ever would’ve thought. We wouldn’t change anything for the world, and we encourage others to partake in this type of lifestyle, but do keep in mind, it’s not to be taken lightly.  And on a final note; take it from this frog on a surfboard, go surfing when you get the chance, otherwise you might miss the wave of your life!


22 thoughts on “Vanlife Exposed!

  1. Excellent writing! Who’s the photographer? the writer? the editor? I’m impressed, amazed, and thankful you two are together. But too much togetherness can be, well, too much. I’m prepping our VW van for our yearly trek to Maine. We depart in about 10 days. This year we’re going to Prince Edward Island in mid-July. We travel in our van with Calhoun the cat, but he won’t be going up to Canada. We need a cat sitter… interested? It’s only 9000 miles out of your way and we have a oven you can use (but not in our van). I understand a couple of astronauts are flying in to re supply your vessel and your spirits. Keep On Truckin’!!!

    1. Thanks Steve! Team effort here on all the blogging/photos and thanks for the kind words. We’ll keep our eyes out for the astronaut 🙂 Buen viaje a Maine!

    2. Thanks for the kind words Steve. Definitely a joint effort on all things blog. We’ll keep our eyes out for that astronaut 🙂 Buen viaje a Maine!

  2. You’ve certainly packed more in that van than I ever thought possible! But then it’s probably more manageable than two Australian Shepherds. ?

    1. I know we have way too much crap lol! Might be ditching the bikes before Columbia though to reduce weight.

  3. You have described life travels together beautifully! We only just returned from a 7 week road trip and agree 100% that the value of the togetherness, the experiences, the sites, the adventures, far outweigh the troubled times! We are still so excited that you are doing a trip of this magnitude–our travels only involve a tire repair, oil changes and sleeping in motels but like you, always together! I do so hope that the rest of your travels will continue to be beautiful, different, unusual, unique and that you learn so much about other people, customs, and countries. Yours is a special adventure! Many hugs and lots of love to both of you in your continued adventures!!!!

  4. Ah yes, the bad comes with the good, just as it does in all things in life. You will be amazed at the way the good times linger in your memory banks, while the bad ones fade into oblivion. In the meantime, you have built a strong foundation and loaded up your “bank account” of life experiences with such a wide and diverse variety of great experiences. The frog has the right idea…

    1. Thanks papa Scott. We’re loving our experiences despite the expected negatives. Just gotta follow nature’s lead like what the frog said 🙂

  5. Thanks, as always, for sharing you two. Appreciate hearing from you, and about your travels, so much — The Good the Bad and the Ugly! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the behind the scenes peak at your daily life. Far too many adventure blogs, including my own, highlight only the positives. Though travel is usually glorious, it’s not exclusively so. From my brief Nicaraguan encounter with you, and from reading your blog, you guys seem to manage it well. I remain envious and wish you a continuing safe and rewarding journey. Be well.

    1. Thanks for the kind words George. We feel the same way about most blogs but when we meet other travelers, it’s obvious everything isn’t always dandy.

  7. Really love your honesty in this post, and happy you two haven’t killed eachother yet 😉 Wishing I could be there to COOK in your tiny kitchen with you.

    1. Thanks Angie. We’re doing our best to stay alive and sane lol! It helps staying in touch with friends and family for sure. Meeting other travelers helped us create this post because insta, FB, and blogs rarely paint the whole picture. Miss you guys!!

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