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 a true aire 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 fucking 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 camper van. There are the ones 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 bad ass 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)

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…”

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 trails. When I saw 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, smiling at her husband. They passed by, then I spotted them again through open sliding door, as she slowed down to glance in. I spoke up, telling her she’s 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 in needed. Interesting that “creepy van” thing never seemed to cross her mind.

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