Wayne: I’m loving the van series—feel like I’m right there with you.
I’m keenly interested to know if you feel the sense of freedom that you anticipated by having greater stealth. I’ve read that the holy men of India who wander aimlessly about experiencing “her” hardly give a thought to where they will spend the night. Instead–they just look at where they are at nightfall—select a reasonable spot and lie down. An Americanized version of this could be achieved with a van and I assume that is approximately your vision.
I share that vision and am looking for a van myself—don’t have the guts to risk 25k, however.
Hope you will share mpg figures with us.
I particularly want to know if the switch from trailer to van seems worth the effort.
My trailer is very comfortable but I sometimes look longingly at the vast landscapes I have denied myself.
The vast landscapes I have denied myself. That really sums up why I’ve chosen this van dwelling lifestyle: The ability to go and stay anywhere without planning or forethought.
That’s the goal at least. So far I’ve been failing at the “without forethought” clause miserably. It’s only Day Two though, so I’ve been forgiving myself.
Like Randy infers, I want to be able to wander wherever She tells me to go, without thinking about it, but right now, my mind keeps raising its voice/fears: Where will we stay tonight? Where are we going? How are we going to get any work done if you keep moving around like this? …
I know I’ll find a zone, a pattern of work and relaxation and meandering and exploring. I know I’ll grow more comfortable with sleeping in the rig without feeling that I am doing something wrong or will be “caught,” but right now, it’s all a mess. Pretty much every van dweller says it takes a couple months to get used to this lifestyle, so I’m not worried.
But back to Randy’s questions: Is it worth the effort? Frankly, the build was no big deal, since I basically used pre-built items (four small dressers and an end table) to outfit the van. The hardest part was the roof rack and solar panels, something I doubt I could have done by myself. So yes, to give yourself the opportunity to experience this freedom, it is definitely worth the effort. Anyone can buy a $2000 van and do the same thing as a cheap test and if you like living that way, move your stuff (dressers, solar) into a newer, more reliable van.
Serenity is only getting about 14 mpg (so far this trip), but that is better than I was getting while towing my trailer with the old Ford and twice what I used to get with my class C. Her high roof and all around windows are wonderful in terms of comfort and visibility (both driving and lounging) and are well worth the extra cost in MPG (high roof) and heat loss/retention (windows).
Another key point is that if you already have a travel trailer (as both I and Randy do), then you can live in the trailer while outfitting the van (just use your van as your tow vehicle), and even keep the trailer as a “winter base” while traveling seasonally and exploring in the van during the rest of the year.
But Randy really nailed it when it comes to me personally. Though I discourage taking on roles or personas (just more ego-baggage to lose), the American Sadhu (wandering holy man) is really quite appropriate for what I am—and the van dwelling lifestyle is probably the only realistic and feasible option for living as a “Sadhu” in such a Mystic-unfriendly country (as compared to Sadhu-friendly India).
(As I re-read the above paragraph it struck me that many (most?) Mystics throughout history were wanderers. (And “no,” I don’t think it was just about spreading their message (but that’s another post))).