November 20, 2018
by Jenny Hohner
Van life is full of surprises and compromises. I have ring-around-the-collar on my bright yellow winter coat and ring-around-the-cuffs. It’s embarrassing. I did buy a small bottle of stain remover to spray on just before washing – it’s possible my coat might need the whole bottle. If I wasn’t wearing my favorite coat 8-10 hours a day, I might hunt up a laundry mat and wash it a time or two. I’m thinking about buying a second down coat, but I’m not sure if I can stuff one more item into my clothing cupboard. We are headed to southern Arizona next month. Maybe it will be warm enough during the day to go coatless for a few hours?
My coat isn’t suffering solo. So far our trip souvenirs have been limited to the dirt, mud and gravel we tracked into the van from our campsites in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico and Utah. At a truck stop in Oklahoma I noticed cow pies in the parking lot, but managed to step around them. We have a small whisk broom, so once a day I fill the dustpan when Joe’s not looking. He’s fond of saying, “Give it up! It’s a lost cause.” I’m afraid I might sell my soul for daily access to a vacuum — an appliance that would overload our van’s electrical system.
Van camping is living indoors in the out-of-doors. Every night we create a cocoon by drawing our blinds and putting up our curtains. On colder evenings we cook in the van. As we pull out our camp stove and start our dinner preparations, Joe puts smooth jazz on the stereo — we could be anywhere. Some nights I do forgot where we are, until I step outside and see the stars. The sky is darker and the stars are brighter and somehow seem to be in the wrong place. We are out here to explore and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our son Josh and the Christmas holiday season with time with both our sons. I hope I can adjust.
P.S. While staying in Mesa, Arizona I washed my coat three times. Oh, and I didn’t need to sell my soul, I ordered a Dyson handheld vacuum and Amazon delivered. With an adapter the Dyson can charge while we’re driving.