#Vanlife. A lifestyle like many others portrayed in the media, social or otherwise. There’s the freedom to roam, to experience not before seen destinations, to commune more intimately with Nature, to experience newness. Living in a van, RV, car, trailer, offers flexibility of mobility, lower overhead (if you’re doing it right), and allows one to live a simpler existence. For the most part, I’ve whittled my possessions and tasks down to the essential in order to embark on this journey, this phase of change in my life. I had a realistic view from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be all “hearts and likes”, panoramic morning views, and fireside chats. There actually has been a healthy amount of that, though high fire hazards in Oregon, Idaho, and California have limited the number of fires to just two thus far.

That said, the evening moonlight glow outside the window has often enough been a Walmart sign or street lamp, the morning mountain ranges a sea of semi-trucks, and occasionally the fresh air has been dense and smoke-laden.

There have been helpful and hospitable people we’ve met doing something similar, or having had done something similar, or having the desire to do something similar. There has also been the grumpy camp host with a grudge against dispersed campers (likely warranted). There has been the mouse, the mice, persistent and well fed. There’s been some beautifully kept and clean camp sites, and some spots in which the past occupants seemed to have little respect for the environment. When lucky, the small towns we pass through have clean restrooms open to the public, but mostly we take a shovel to the woods and squat. Which have been some great shits, btw. We should all be squatting.

Tight quarters, the newness of living together, and the uncertainty of daily tasks and work has us irritable at times but we try to talk it out and are determined to improve the communication. It doesn’t help that we are both mumblers, but it does that we are equally committed to this journey we’ve embarked on together.

Showers once taken for granted are now sought after with diligence, but are as rare to come upon as a Big Horn Sheep in the John Muir Wilderness. I’m told it’s been 10 days since our last full body scrub. Thankfully neither of us smell too poorly, yet.

So, #vanlife — eh, it’s okay. However, living more essentially and closer to Nature, that is worth the sacrifice of common comforts.

But, as for that damn mouse…