The four month anniversary of living in my van is approaching, and I am very content with my life. It is my life, and I choose the path. It is a simple life… a life with less, but a life with much more.
The one thing I was not expecting is the amount of “full timers” out there. There are many other people living full time in their vans, RVs, and cars. This type of living is not limited to remote pieces of land, as I discovered after spending more than three weeks in San Diego.
I am hopeful that San Diego’s elected officials will do the right thing and continue to allow people to live in their vehicles. As it stands now, the mayor has proposed an ordinance that would block people from living in their vehicles within 500 feet of a school or residence, or on city streets between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The ordinance now moves to the city council for a vote.
I will be returning to Atlanta on May 1, but I will not be driving. Instead I have decided to park my van in Las Vegas and fly to Atlanta. I have not booked my return ticket to Vegas, but I expect to spend a month or two in Atlanta. Who knows? Maybe I will fly to another country during this time. Maybe I will book a cruise. Maybe I will grab my tent and head to the mountains. Life is an adventure. I will return to the van when I am ready.
Over 100 days on the road, and I have found the mecca for the van dweller auto dweller that wants to be near a large city.
I may be making this proclamation a bit prematurely since I have only been in SoCal for two weeks. Still, if the current court ruling sticks, San Diego may need to change its name to Van Diego.
In February 2019, the San Diego City cancel unanimously voted to repeal a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on any street with the city limits.
Before you pack up your apartment and head west, remember that this ruling is only a couple of months old. Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, has proposed an ordinance to make vehicle habitation illegal. He claims his propsal is in response to “hundreds of complaints” from residents on the “cleanliness and illegal activity related to people living out of vehicles.”
The two tidbits of advice I can offer if your are considering living in your vehicle in San Diego… read the street signs and chat with other auto dwellers that you encounter.
Mission Beach (where I have spent the past week) does a top-notch job of letting you know where you can and cannot park, so read all street and parking signs. Most streets are swept at least one day each week, usually in the early to mid-morning.
Public parking is usually free, but it is important to note when you can and cannot park. Most lots require you to move at least a couple of hours each night.
My routine is to spend my day in public parking, move to the street late at night, then return to the public lot before the traffic picks up.
By talking with other nomads, I have learned of spots where I do not need to move each day. Another wanderer told me of a free dump station near Mission Beach, while a third RVer introduced me to a technique for getting fresh water.
For many people, the response to this question is “I love to travel.”
I fall into this group, but my travel preference may be a bit different than yours. And that’s the way it should be… your travel should fit you.
If you enjoy travel, you should make it your own. Do it the way you want to do it. Don’t do it to impress anyone else.
When I travel I often like to blend in with the locals, enjoy the day-to-day in a new location. My travel is usually not about beaches, theme parks and endless partying. My travel is slow-paced, spontaneous, and reflective.
I am currently one month in to a road trip… a road trip that has me living in a van… a road trip with no destination in mind.
People often ask me where I am heading, and I usually don’t know.
If I decide to end the #sandybanff journey tomorrow, then so be it. I will put the van in storage or sell it and move on to the next adventure.
My travel is not glamourous. My travel is not the variety you’ll find in the pages of Departures (a magazine that American Express sends me regularly that I immediate chuck into the recycle pile). My travel is personal, and it is not for everyone.
After proclaiming my love for the Carado Banff yesterday, I was met with this snarky comment from a Facebook troll user.
Well… if I can buy two and half Banffs for the price of one Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL, sign me up and tell me where to pick up my hexagon assembly tool.
I can absolutely appreciate nice things, but I am also a practical person that doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles.
So… this brings me to the lavish purchase that I made about six months ago. Say hello to van experiment one…
I bought her six months for $800 somewhere in Tennessee. It was my intention to build out the inside and hit the road again with my trusty sidekick, Pat the Cat.
Oh… and the van was so fancy that you didn’t even need a key to start her. You just had to touch two wires together. 😀
So… what happened to the unnamed Dodge?
After six weeks of tinkering… removing seats, adding subfloor, insulating walls, and bloodying up myself on more than one occasion, I decide to send her own way. The new owner picked her up today. She sold for $400. 😐
It was a $400 loss (not including the additional items I purchased), but I learned in the process. I can do more “handy” stuff. So… well worth the expense. Now, I just need a tool belt. NOT! 😛
So… where am I going with this?
Well, if I was willing to make a 1994 Dodge Ram conversion van my home, then I definitely don’t need an induction cooktop and motorized awning. So… IKEA van… sign me up. Hmmm… what should I name her? HATTEFJÄLL?