First Week of Van Life

The dream spot we found in Arkansas

So it’s been a week living in the van. It started off a little rocky with The Beard being sick. Always needing to be near a bathroom left us snoozing under buzzing lights and listening to the teenage kids in jacked up trucks using the Walmart parking lot as a race track. Sounds like a dream, right?

I’ll tell you this. You need to have the right mindset and be extremely patient when you first move into your van. Hence, I created a list for you all wanting to dig your tires into the dirt roads. 

The first few days were a total adjustment period. Like totally, dude. We were racing to somewhere we didn’t even know where we were going. Everything seemed hard and took 4x as long. We kind of had the oh-shit moment. You know — the one where you look at each other and think you bit off more than you could chew. 

The van is constantly a hot mess, but at least we have food.

Don’t worry! We totally got over that in the next couple of days. This is a lifestyle change NOT a beach vacation. 

So onto this list I mentioned. 

1. Learn to tap the brakes. I already told you that we spent the first few days staying in Walmart parking lots to get to warmer weather. Well, we pulled into the dreamy spot (the first picture in this post) and ran out of the van screaming and dancing on our own little private beach. Hell ya we could do this! Fast forward to the next morning where it was cold and we were like let’s get the hell out of here. We need warm weather. After a long discussion and looking at the weather all over the country, we decided we were being greedy bastards. I mean look at this place! And it’s 50 degrees compared to Iowa’s -30 degrees. 


Since then, we have committed to slowing down and staying! It’s the best decision we have made. Last night — the stars were so clear you could almost touch them. So naturally, we headed down to the beach held each other, kissed, and danced a little, appreciating how lucky we’re were and how hard we worked for this. 

2. Have a system for EVERYTHING! Like I said — things will take you 57 billion times longer than before. Who cares? Do you have a morning work meeting? A deadline to meet? Errands to run? Hell no!


Like this laundry The Beard did. I frickin love him. It took him at least an hour but we’re fresh as f*ck. Even our morning coffee routine — pop the van hood, use ice pick to keep hood up, connect inverter to battery, fill up coffee water and grounds, connect to inverter, turn switch on, and vuala you have coffee. But seriously, you need a system for anything and everything from how you keep you ass clean to how you brush your teeth. Once you get these in place, it’s just how you do things. You don’t think of how hard it is or how long it takes. 

3. When you go into town, you go into town and get the hell out of there. So we made our first trip in to town. First tip is to go to a big town with Walmarts and big box stores. This way you can get everything you need done. Grocery shopping, showering, sight seeing, beer drinking, and thrift store shopping. If you go to small grocery stores in little towns, they hike those prices up that you end up paying 2-3x as much. Not in the budget. Plan to spend all day there and make it fun. The more you remove yourself from mainstream society, the less you like overcrowded towns with cars and angry people everywhere trying to nickel and dime you any way they can. So get out!

Scored this throwback zip at Goodwill on our trip into town.
Did someone say food? Can’t stop– won’t stop. Nom-nom-nom
I felt so fancy looking at these luxurious bathhouses. Not sure how I felt about someone rubbing me down in the bathtub that wasn’t my hubs. (Awkward)
Stocked up on 25 free gallons of hot spring water. You know we would have taken more if we could fit it. #cheapass
Had a little lunch and colored water at Superior Bathhouse Brewery.

Okay so these are my top 3 tips for the first week of van life. Don’t worry I have way more but I can’t give you all our secrets in one post.  Until next week, fellow van lifers share your tips for being successful in a van. 


With love,

The BEARD and The BOHEMIAN 

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