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Vanlife Diary: My Van Is Only As Creepy As You Make It

Turns Out There Are A Lot Of People That Think I’ve Never Heard A Creepy Van Joke

They think they’re the first one to drop that old “down by the river” on me. I’m not stupid, I knew it was coming. I would have been naive to think this giant-ass blue beast was going to go under the radar. And vanlife wouldn’t be vanlife without a friendly jab here or there. And truth be told, I sometimes enjoy it. The interesting thing is that there are two types of people or friends telling that type of joke, and it’s actually pretty obvious most of the time which is which.

There’s the one that’s telling a joke with an undertone of “what the f*ck dude, I don’t get this at all and I can’t really support you here,” and the one that tells a joke with a “that thing’s f*cking atrocious, but I respect you and I support you in whatever path you’re on, whether I get it or not.” To each their own, but I prefer the latter.

I digress.

I find it fascinating that I haven’t noticed a lot in between, but maybe that’s just because those are harder to notice due to their lack of polarized opinion.

The Vanlife Opinions Are Definitely…Polarized

The really interesting thing is that there are two very distinct groups of folks when it comes to my recent reactions with the big blue lip herpe that is my new creeper camper van. There are the ones who seem to have a monumentally irrational fear of the creepy van and by association, the guy (it’s always a guy…) who owns/drives it, and then there are the ones that are genuinely overcome with enthusiasm, interest, and even jealousy over my beautiful blue behemoth.

I’ve Only Owned My Camper Van For Three Weeks…

So as of this writing, I’ve only owned my 1985 Chevy G10 Sportvan with badass camper top for just over three weeks, and I’m currently on my maiden voyage of a week or two on the road. Here are some of the people and reactions I’ve had so far, including some of the friends and family takes. This is kind of just for fun so that you can see the spectrum, but I’ll also leave some parting thoughts at the end that you might be interested in.

Quotes And Opinions From My First Weeks Of Vanlife

My Dad—God love him and bless his heart (that’s southern talk) over the phone: 

Me — “I finally bought a van.”
Dad — “…(heavy sigh)…

My artsy, hippie, gardener, salt-of-the-earth friends (you know who you are): 

“That thing’s fucking awesome. Can I drive it?”
“Holy Shit! Dude, I’m fucking jealous.”

One of my best friends—who has waded through all of my life-change shenanigans for a couple of years now:

“Dude…what did you do?” Then we had a beer sitting in the cushy-ass, quilted blue front seats. He thanked me for, in an instant, adding many years of jokes to his arsenal, regardless of whether I kept the van.

“Dude, remember that time you bought the ice cream truck…”

First beer in my new van the day I brought it home

The AT hiker, Bayou (his trail name), that I met yesterday:

I was eating an orange, sitting in the side door opening of my van at the camp store and shower area (…they’re separate…). He dropped his bag, and with wide eyes and enthusiasm, was all “dude, are you living in that thing!?” I responded “Well, I might be soon”, tossed him an orange, and then we sat and talked for 30 minutes about life, the man, the machine, trail love, freedom to wander, and many things in between.

He’s wise beyond his 25 years and will do well once he finishes this path.

The solo female traveler from California and DC I helped with my map, directions, and thoughts on a couple of trails. When I saw her again later in the evening at the sunset spot while I shot some photos

Chat, chat, chat, how was the trail, chat, chat, chat, the California coast is awesome, chat, chat, chat, you’re camping tonight?
Me — “Feel free to drop by for a beer.”
Her — “You’re in the creepy van?”
Me — “I prefer to call it an RV, haha.”
Her — “It’s creepy. That’s the kind of van women get abducted in.”

The Asian-American couple walking by today while I sat and worked from the bed in the back, doors open, music playing, and computer on my lap:

She was obviously intrigued, looking, talking, and smiling at her husband. They passed by, then I spotted them again through the open sliding door, as she slowed down to glance in. I spoke up, telling her she was welcome to come over and check it out. She immediately did, then the three of us talked for about 15 minutes. She loved it and thought it made so much sense because it had everything it needed. Interesting that the “creepy van” thing never seemed to cross her mind.

There You Have It, My First Three Weeks Of Vanlife In A Nutshell

So there you go. Some interesting interactions from my first few weeks. Am I offended or off-put by some of those less-than-positive reactions? Well, I would be lying if I said they didn’t start to grind on me. Do I hold it against anyone that has those reactions? Absolutely not, since we all come from different backgrounds,and upbringings, and simply have different paths in life.

I do fault some of our dependency on believing and exploiting every little thing we see on TV, the news, and social media and the way it’s skewing our outlook on things.

Do I appreciate the ones that are able to put mostly false stereotypes aside and see my tenement on wheels as exactly what it is; a utilitarian mechanism that will allow me to see more of this beautiful, vast country while still making a living and not skipping a beat? Well, of course. That’s exactly what it is to me.

It may not be sexy to everyone, but it’s helping me fullfil a dream at the moment, or at least fending off that “if only I had…” regret down the road.

And I would hate to look back and say “what if” should I had not chosen to take this chance.

blue bomber 1985 Chevy G10 van
Whatever. You’re jealous. 😉

Here’s My Takeaway On These Vanlife Comments

Here’s my takeaway and what I want you to consider. Sometimes we need to put ourselves and our knee-jerk reactions on the back burner and view the situation a bit differently, for our own good and likely for the good of the ones on the other end of the conversation.

I often admire children for their youthful exuberance and inability to have prejudices or preconceived notions. They look at people and things differently than we do as adults.

Race, creed, stereotypes, or learned prejudices aren’t even a thing to them, they just look for the positives and fun in the situation and go with it. I think we would all be a little better off if we could approach things a little more like that…

Peace yo.

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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