Practicing VanLife

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I anticipated a learning curve. I mean, of course, it would take a little adjusting to live in a van, but how long could it really take? Four months into our Ford Transit Van experience I feel like we are still practicing. “Practicing what?” you might ask. Well, how long did it take you to learn all the words to “Hit Me Baby One More Time”? Less than four months? Well good for you. I guess we’re slow learners.

The other day a guy came up to us in the grocery store parking lot and asked us if we knew there was a 20’ extension cord dragging behind the van. Did he think we were idiots? Obviously we didn’t know or we wouldn’t have been dragging it. I realize the poor guy was just trying to be helpful, but all it did was reinforce to us that in the big wide world of vanners, we are still wannabe-ers. 

How long did it take you to learn how to play chopsticks? Well times that by 72 and you’ll have an idea how we feel as we drive around with solar panels installed – but still not functioning, an electrical system that has the wires on the outside of the walls, and enough stuff to make any self-respecting minimalist give up?

Marty still hasn’t learned the art of dodging stationary cabinet corners and takes it personally every time he whacks his head on one. I’m still practicing how to appreciate it every time (daily) he reminds me that phone and computer cords left where they can be stepped on “isn’t a good idea.”

Marty is still trying to figure out where every squeak and rattle is coming from, and as we drive down the road expects me to know from which quadrant in the van the noise is coming from. Already hearing challenged, I can rarely even hear the rattle, let alone know if it’s fore or aft. As I stagger back and forth trying to keep my balance and decipher Marty’s comments, “Do you think it’s coming from the rear differential?” all I can think is, “When will this end?”

Then there are the hard times. Like when we’re both connected to the internet but he’s frantically (he debates that word) looking for the jet pack -- a mobile hotspot that lets us stay connected to the internet without using our phone data. “Did you move it?” he asks. “I couldn’t identify it in a line up and have never touched it,” I reply. “Well, it isn’t plugged in where I put it so it’s probably out of battery,” he persists. I pretend I don’t hear and keep streaming Netflix.

A few minutes later – I guess because I’ve shown so much interest – he lets me know, “We’re good. It’s right over here where I put it.” Whew.

I’ve heard that practice makes perfect. We’re definitely not on the path to perfection, but it would be nice if we weren’t obvious amateurs. People still ask us questions, such as, “When are you going to finish the cabinets, repair the lock, build the seat, get an outdoor shower, get an awning, organize your tools, get rid of more crap and stop stealing the covers?” Well, to be honest, no one except me is that rude. Poor Marty, his only response is “Good question.”


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