The adventure begins and so far, so good! Lizzy and I (Seth) have decided to alternate weeks for blog-duty, just in case you find yourself dazed by the roller-coaster of writing style.
We were overwhelmed by the response to our first post -we had nearly 800 visitors from 10+ countries within 24 hours- so we’re pumped for this weekly update!
First off, let me just say that neither Lizzy nor I have spoken to a soul this week without the van and our 100 day challenge entering the conversation. It’s been nuts. We’ve been bombarded with questions that seem to go in the same exact cycle with every new person that we see. “How’s the van thing going?” “Where are you guys keeping it?” “Is there enough space for you guys to sleep?” “Where on EARTH do you go to the bathroom!” We hope to answer all those basic questions…once…and…for…ALL!
Question #1 : “How’s the van thing going?”
This question will be gradually answered throughout the post but here’s what we started out with.
After buying the van for a smoking $900.00 from our new friends, Vickie and Merlin, we felt the need to finally unload our over-packed VW Rabbit.
At this stage, “the whole van thing” was making us doubt our capacity to downsize and be true minimalists. I mean, just look at that daunting suitcase. LOOK. AT. IT. If you were in your bedroom back home, you’d see this bag as a slight inconvenience. A small chore as payment for your week-long vacation. I would. But we don’t have a bedroom. If we open up this suitcase, it just means that now we have pants and shorts and toiletries all over the floor. As it was, we didn’t dare start unpacking until we figured out those darned captains chairs, and some serious storage.
Here’s our solution.
We pulled out the chairs and stored them in my sister Natalie’s backyard shed. Then we drove the van to DI (Deseret Industries) and picked out this winner of a dresser. It’s got some character around the edges, which we don’t mind at all!
One of our favorite generalized responses to the first question, is that the process of moving into a van makes you really think about what you need and don’t need.
Quesion #2: “Where are you guys keeping it?”
The answer to this question can change by the day.
It could be here.
Or even here.
The very first day that we started to seriously talk about van life for a semester, I called the Provo City Attorney’s Office, the Provo City Police Department, a local store manager for Walmart, and the land lord of that store. Basically, they all said the same thing. That we were within reasonable boundaries by parking our van, but that it’s kind of a legal gray area. Essentially, we can drive and park wherever we want as long as we’re not breaking other rules. (i.e. trespassing, becoming a public nuisance, etc.) This allows us some great flexibility, and we don’t feel the need to sneak around.
Currently, we’re parked at a local Walmart, but we’ll let you know about our ventures into the wild.
Question #3: “Is there enough space for you guys to sleep?”
Question #4: “Where on EARTH do you go to the bathroom!”
By far the most common question that seems to terrify and stupefy parent, coworker, and friend alike is where we are going to find a toilet. Each and every person would ask this as if they had discovered the loophole that we hadn’t considered. As if they were unearthing this insurmountable problem for the first time. “But guys! What about a bathroom?? What about those times in the middle of the night when you just have to go really REALLY bad! What about that?! Like, you can’t just go in your VAN.” It’s awesome how often this same rapid-fire disbelief comes to us.
I wish that we had a more dramatic answer, or that we could do a cool before and after style montage of us installing a deluxe toilet into the passenger seat, but the boring truth is that we go to school and public restrooms are everywhere. Also, neither of us in 4 months of marriage have ever awoken to use the bathroom. We do stay close to 24 hour businesses like Walmart for an insurance of sorts, but so far so clean.
All in all, Lizzy and I have been surprised by how generally normal it has been living out of a van while going to school. We are on campus all of the time, and our newly installed bed has allowed us to get 8 hours of relatively peaceful sleep. The exciting part is that there are many questions unanswered, and we have a lot of bridges to cross before the challenge ends. But 3 days in, we’re loving it!
P.S. To all of our Provo friends, we’re going to be having a very official van-warming party in a local park. Look for the event on Facebook in the next week or so!