The (First) 28 Keys to Van Dwelling

I’ve been doing this van dwelling thing for almost a month now and here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Your home is never going to be as tidy as you want it to be.
  2. It will smell.
  3. You will smell.
  4. You have to make an executive decision between mosquitoes and sweating in your sleep–in other words: window open or  window closed.
  5. You get to sleep somewhere new each night, without moving your bed.
  6. A 2.2 liter diesel doesn’t hill well.
  7. Your most basic needs can occupy a full day.
  8. Prepare not to shower often, unless you are willing to pay for it.
  9. It’s O.K. to sleep in the same clothes you wore that day, then wear them again the next.
  10. No matter how wild your hair and beard look in the morning, no one in public really seems to care.
  11. In the bedding game, the thicker the better.
  12. Charge EVERYTHING before going off the grid.
  13. Be open to random strangers approaching you (really, your home) and trying to peddle drugs, buy cigarettes, see what your van looks like inside, or borrow a light.
  14. Be open to baby wipe showers.
  15. The city (Auckland) brings out the worst in you.
  16. Hand rolling cigarettes is a legitimate hobby.
  17. Life goes on without the internet.
  18. Far fewer people actually seem interested from back home.
  19. Don’t inflate your air mattress during the day, then expect to sleep soundly at night. Especially on the beach.
  20. McDonalds is still shit for food, but who can argue with four hours of free internet and people watching?
  21. If there is one thing the Navy taught you that applies now: Secure all gear. Trust me, the combination of learning to drive a manual van, stiff suspension, back roads, and that untethered bag chair, do not make for a fun drive.
  22. It’s a lonely experience, at times. No matter how bad you want to, leave past relationships in the past and realize this is all part of the process.
  23. Talking to yourself and laughing at your own jokes is not a sign of losing it.
  24. When in NZ, barefoot is more fashionable at times than shoes.
  25. Kingfisher “Strong” beer, water, and instant coffee will keep you going.
  26. Science (Google) has taught us that just because you eat Swiss cheese three times a day for a week straight doesn’t mean it gets to be the scapegoat for YOU smelling like Swiss cheese. (Gross I know. It’s the new deodorant.)
  27. Contrary to automatic thoughts as a result of 12 years of military conditioning; you do not need to have a plan for every second of your time.

2 thoughts on “The (First) 28 Keys to Van Dwelling

  1. Hi Drew! Wow, what an incredible journey and journal. I for one miss you as I’m sure others do as well. When will you check into a hotel and endulge in the finer things like a hot shower and cushy bed? Take some pics of your travels and as usual be safe.
    Love Dad


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