Coming up on almost 4 months of road life. Specifically, it’s been 120 days of constant travel: rad adventures, new faces, new places, good days, bad days, and more- all mixed together over a span of 17,000 miles.
Am I still in love with this whole vanlife adventure? Overall, yes, but that’s becoming a bit more complicated to answer with full honesty.
I think the ‘glamour’ of nonstop road tripping is beginning to wear off slightly, and the daily stresses of the lifestyle are beginning to wear on me a bit heavier. To be clear: I am very thankful I have this opportunity and freedom at the moment, and it’s not a decision I regret… but DANG, it can be draining. To try and lend some perspective, I’m going to share an experience with you from last week:
At the end of a long day spent hiking in Utah’s Wasatch mountains, I’m making my way back to my van at the trailhead. After hitting two separate peaks, scrambling over ridges and steep rocks for most of the day, I’m totally exhausted: all I want in life is a hot shower, real food, and to relax. I settle for blasting my little propane heater to warm up the van and cooking some sorta creatively satisfying concoction on my single burner stove. Too tired to really drive anywhere, I decide to stay there for the night- as I did the evening prior, having verified there was no signage indicating that it was illegal to do so. I pass out… only to be woken up near midnight by a banging on my door. A police officer (politely) letting me know it was NOT in fact okay to park there, thus requiring my half asleep and thoroughly shaken up self to drive around Salt Lake City at about 1:00 am looking for somewhere to safely spend the remainder of my night.
Where can I park overnight? Is it a safe area? Is there a Planet Fitness nearby to grab a shower? Do I need to fill up my water supply? Are my solar panels generating sufficient charge? Do I have enough gas for where I want to go next? Have I downloaded maps so that when I (inevitably) lose service I’m not completely SOL?
Questions like these have become almost a daily mantra for me. It feels like I’m always on my toes: constantly having to be prepared, worrying about an array of little details, figuring stuff out all the time… and although this probably comes with certain character developing benefits, it’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun.
Sometimes it would be cool if daily living didn’t take so much effort- but I guess I chose this existence, right? If this is the price I have to pay for the freedom and adventures enjoyed thus far, I’ll gladly pay it. Okay, maybe not gladly- there’s definitely been some days as of late where I’d almost trade it in for a safe, warm, cozy apartment to come home to at the end of a long day.
*This is just one aspect of the whole “things that aren’t so perfect about #vanlife” topic, but it’s a significant one. As much as I prefer to be a positive person, I also believe in being an honest one. Plus, what good is it to share only the highlight reel of this journey? Full transparency here!
2 thoughts on “Wear & Tear”
Huzzah for full VANsparency! Of course it’s not all unicorns and ice cream—traveling comes with a crap ton of work and research, and in your case, prep. (For the record, we prep with real maps before we go anywhere, and we take real maps along with us, too. My husband is very old school and never relies on GPS!) But you’re also right, that this is a great education and character-builder for you, one a lot of young people miss out on! Rock on, Jess!
Reading this immediately made me want ice cream… because who doesn’t need MORE unicorns and ice cream in their life?? Haha. Thank you so much!