There are a lot of people out there who totally don't get what vandwelling is about, who vandwells, why they chose this way of life.
Truthfully there are almost as many reasons as there are vandweller and many types of vandweller.
I'll tell you about me first. I've never felt comfortable in a house, apartment, or traditional living situation.
I've recently found out I'm autistic. The hypersensitivity to noises, smells, and lights makes me uncomfortable around others.
I'm disabled and my social security disability is minimal. The places i can afford to live or those with subsidized rent are uncomfortable for me. I have had to deal with those who drink or use drugs. I remember not feeling safe getting in the keycard door, the elevator, or the hall to my apartment. And often you deal with the mentally unstable.
When I'm in my van out my travel trailer, even in a dark forest at night or in the desert alone, I'm comfortable, safe, and confident in my ability to handle anything. I can see all around me easily.
Another reason i choose this lifestyle is that living smaller, it's easier to be independent. I can clean, take care of me and my needs. It takes much less physical energy to take care of me and my house on wheels.
People equate living in a vehicle as free or very cheap. While it costs less than traditional housing, I've still got more bills than i want.
You need to keep your vehicle legal and on good repair. You need an address to register your vehicle, plate your vehicle, and insure it.
I pay my land payment every month. I'm buying little over an acre. I have my insurance for my vehicle. I've recently changed vans. Both the old van and the new hightop van have needed repairs. My travel trailer is currently in storage. It's just one thing after another like anyone else.
Even though I'm nomadic, i am part of the local community wherever i am. I might be the only person they see camping in my vehicle.
That means I'm strict with myself about how i present myself. No trash around me. If there's trash when i pull in, i clean it up. Human waste is handled safely for me and wherever i am. No poop in trash bags or urine filled bottles. I've probably got more education about safely handling human waste than most.
Regular trash...i live with less of an impact on the environment. Don't assume you can put bunches of trash in a businesses dumpster. They pay for their trash to be removed.
Gray water...it stinks when it is stored in on board tanks. I prefer to use the bucket method. Little to no chemical at all. I've learned to clean with vinegar or baking soda. Both are very earth friendly.
I've had people come up to me thinking I'm homeless. They offer many things. I try to nicely explain I'm not. That one you take each incident on case by case basis.
Don't get me wrong, right now I'm broke and in debt. Like anyone else. You don't go out to eat or buy that impulse buy, or buy things that aren't necessities. I pay my bills first. I fill my gas and propane.
I buy my Chihuahua her good dog food and milkbones. My dog loves the van. She can see all around her. She's with me all day every day. She gets walked and goes to parks. Dogs best life in her opinion. I make sure that I've heat for cold times and fans for hot days. She comes first.
So that person living in their vehicle, may be there by choice. It's a different lifestyle. It could be the millennial who values experience and travel over possessions. It could be that disabled person who prefers travel and quiet. Some are retired. Some work on the road. Some commute digitally. There are so many different types of people.
Being in a van gives me the time and privacy i need to write. I like writing.
So, the next time you see that vintage hightop van...it's very comfortable and has all i need or want.
See ya down the road
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