Winter decided to show up way too early and it’s rendered the outside air too cold to be enjoyable.
So… I sit here (indoors) reminiscing about my first couple years on the road (before becoming Dad’s Caregiver).
I look forward to hitting the road again someday but, as I ponder my life on the road, I realize this is a good time to clarify a few perceptions (or myths and misconceptions) about the Van RV Life.
As you read my musings, keep in mind that everyone who lives the Van RV Life does it on their own terms and I only speak from my own experience.
Myth #1 → Van Life Is A Perpetual Vacation
“It must be nice to be on a perpetual vacation!”.
I hear this quite often.
A big pet peeve of mine is when people assume van life is just one big, long, perpetual vacation… because it’s not!
Here are a few facts:
- I get to do new things.
- I get to see new things.
- It may appear to be a vacation.
- Appearances are often deceiving.
- This is not how I live day in and day out.
- The only difference is my house is on wheels.
If this were a perpetual vacation I would burn out quickly.
The plain and simple fact is → Van life is a lifestyle… not a vacation.
Let’s Compare My Stationary Life with Van Life
When I lived in a stationary house…
I worked my regular job during the week, did the chores and completed all the regular activities of running a household (as a single parent).
On weekends or holidays, Nikki, Cookie and I hopped in the van and had little adventures.
We also had a few real vacations but most of our excursions happened on weekends and holidays.
In my Cozy Little Home On Wheels…
I work on building my online businesses and completing the regular activities of running a little household (as an empty-nester).
My schedule is flexible now but I still have to earn a living, run a small household and do all the regular, everyday things that need to be done.
There’s not time to be on a continuous vacation.
Occasionally, I get out on some adventures (just like I did in my stationary life).
→ Related Post: How I Earn Money On The Road – Fails & Successes.
Flashback to mid-2017…
There was a point (in Van Life) when I was constantly working and there were times I didn’t leave the van.
I realized this wasn’t a good practice and decided to seek out a weekly adventure. That’s when I started this blog and decided to write about my adventures.
I figured if I set a goal to to write about my adventures I’d actually have to get out there and have a few! It was also a good way to balance things out.
My Van Life vacations…
I still plan my vacations. My last vacation was January 2017 when Nikki, her boyfriend and I spent a week in St Augustine, Florida.
Unfortunately, since I only blog about my fun adventures, people may have the perception that my entire life is one big, long vacation.
It’s true, this lifestyle gives me more opportunities for adventure but Van Life is not a perpetual vacation.
Myth #2 → There Are Bad People Out There
Let’s be realistic… there are bad people everywhere!
To be honest, I feel safer in my van than I ever did in a house.
This perception probably stems from the Nightly News (or the news, in general). Many people who regularly watch the news may think that’s how it is everywhere in the world.
In reality, what’s shown on the news is a very small, highly publicized part of what’s happening in the world while the remaining 99% gets no credit whatsoever.
Let’s Compare My Stationary Life with Van Life (again)
In a stationary house…
Thankfully it’s never happened but, if there were bad people trying to get into my stationary house it’s not an option to pick my house up and move it somewhere else.
I’d have to hide in a closet, sneak out a window or bend over and kiss my @$$ goodbye 😮
In a home on wheels…
If there are bad people around, I can hop in the driver’s seat and drive away.
Better yet, if the area doesn’t feel right, I don’t even park my home there to begin with.
My experience on the road is…
People on the road are much more helpful and friendly than most stationary neighborhoods I’ve lived in.
I’ve lived in many stationary houses and apartments where I never knew the neighbors. This wasn’t because I didn’t try… they just didn’t want to be bothered (even when I smiled and said “hi”).
We each need to choose our weapons of choice and my personal weapons of defense are Common Sense and Intuition – both of whom have never failed me.
The only time I’ve had any trouble was when I failed to listen to Common Sense and Intuition.
Myth #3 → It’s Not Safe For A Woman To Travel Alone
Oh for Pete’s sake!!
Women aren’t fragile little creatures who can’t survive on their own.
It’s certainly nice to have a special someone in our lives but, for those of us who live life solo, we are certainly capable of traveling by ourselves and following our dreams on our own.
When it comes to living in a van or RV:
- We (women) can drive a big vehicle and, sometimes, do better at it than a man.
- We can read a map, fix things, support ourselves and take care of our daily needs.
- We can defend ourselves, if needed.
- We also know how to ask for help – in the rare event that we need it.
- We can get ourselves out of sticky situations (like having to back a big cargo van several miles on a narrow dirt road because the road ended up going nowhere and there was no where to turn around because the deep ditch on either side of the narrow little road was filled with water!).
There’s much more but I’m sure you get the gist.
We, as women, often have to dig deep, find our inner strength and stand strong in order to overcome this stereotype… but we are women, hear us roar!
Myth #4 → You Spend Lots Of Money On Gas If You Live In A Van
“You must spend a lot of money on gas!”.
I get asked (or told) this a lot and I have to wonder why people think all I do is drive around all day.
I’ll admit, my first year on the road I drove a LOT. I didn’t stay in one place more than a few days. Then, I started slowing down (as I knew I would).
The great thing about van life is you can drive as much or as little as you like.
My $500 A Month Budget Story…
My last 10 or so months on the road I lived on $500 a month (and still do).
$500 doesn’t allow a lot for gas money, grocery money, camping money or anything extra money but it’s regular income and surely beats nothing.
My gas budget was $30 a week and $30 a week isn’t conducive to driving all the time.
I’ve been able to live this lifestyle on $500 a month. It’s not my preferred budget (and I’m working on increasing it) but at least I know I can do it, if needed.
Myth #5 → It’s Expensive Eating Out All The Time
Every Van Dweller makes their own choices. Some don’t cook in their van, other’s cook in their van or they cook outside.
If you’ve read my post titled My Van Kitchen – How I Eat While Living In A Van you’ll know that I rarely eat out.
I have a fridge, stove and full kitchen setup in my van.
With my food allergies, eating at fast food joints and restaurants can be tricky and it’s one of the reasons I don’t eat out much.
I can understand why people have some of these perceptions or misunderstandings about the Van Life lifestyle.
The only way to resolve misunderstandings is to talk about them and, hopefully, I’ve cleared some of that up!