DISCLAIMER: This post was written on the road, that’s why it is in the “wrong” time.
Interested in the vanlife, but not really sure what to expect and how to act on the ‘’normal’’ things? Of course you will figure it out yourself, but some things are cool to read and maybe you find something you can use!
Anyway everything in this post is about the way we do things, if they’re helpful and give you some inside info, great, if not, then it’s maybe still nice and funny to read how we handle the vanlife.
Let’s start with sleeping on the road. Something we all do daily, but then in a small space. We don’t have a fixed bed. We have to install it every night and put everything back every morning. Our benches have a turning mechanism. When we put the table in the closet and then turn two benches we have a full length bed. We do have to pull the same two benches to get a an almost full width bed. Michèle is sleeping on the ‘’wall’’ side, while I sleep next to the door. We both have one pillow and a double blanket & sheets. When we wake up we normally get dressed and roll the sheets, blanket and pillows and put them on top of the bench. We put the other benches in place again and build the table up.
After we fix the bed back we build up the table. The table is put into the closet with a handy button. Then breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is oatmeal with fresh fruit and some super foods we like, but not because they’re super foods. We also have a cup of tea/coffee. Lunch is mostly a hot dish. A lot of veggies with some rice, pasta, bulgur, quinoa, buckwheat, tortilla’s etc. We don’t need much really, but we try to mix and match as possible. It also depends on what’s left and what we feel like eating. Dinner is bread with an egg, peanut butter, vegan spreads, marmalade & choco pasta. Michèle normally cooks and I cut everything she needs to cook.
We try to do the dishes every day, but we fail often… We brought too many cups, plates and cutlery. Anyway, we cook water on the stove and fill the bowl in the sink with hot and cold water, adding some soap and let’s go. At the start of journey we used to do this on the campsites, that’s what we paid for, but since we no longer use those services a lot, we got handy at doing a big pile in a small space.
Something we almost daily do is driving, well Michèle does. Because I can’t do it YET, we decided to drive a maximum of 2 hours a day. She drives all the small steep roads, deal with the chaotic skills of some people and I sit next to her playing the navigator and fix the roadtrip music.
If you think that number 1 is TMI, then move on to the next topic. It’s human and we sometimes have a little struggle. At first we didn’t want to bring our port-a-potti, but we’re so glad we did! We don’t use chemicals so it’s only for peeing. The struggle is that it can smell really bad, especially when there is no chance to empty it and the weather gets really nice. The other struggle is that there is no service point on your way and you want to save fuel over emptying it. Since we don’t use chemicals and throw the wipes in our bin, we emptied it somewhere we weren’t allowed, knowing that it’s just natural. We did that only twice until now, because we were desperate, so no judging!
Again if you think number 2 is TMI, then move on to the next topic. This is a bigger struggle on the road. We often try to find a place to stay where there is also a toilet. This has two things to it: no freedom in standing somewhere of the grid & the toilets are often a mess. After Tarifa we found a solution we actually never thought of. We now can stand in the middle of nowhere and find a pretty little spot in nature. Leaving with a shovel and some paper you have the most beautiful view while you’re wild pooping!
This was such an easy thing the first few weeks. We went to so many campsites we sometimes didn’t even use the showers… How cute it was back then… We sometimes really struggle to find a shower. What we do is wait till we’re at friends or family to use theirs. If that’s not the deal we search on Park4Night for one. When there is none to find there, we look for public swimming pools. It’s a win-win, sporting and showering! What also worked is showering at beaches, trucker gas station or pay a night at a campsite and do it there. When the weather is good we can always use our camping shower. It’s a big black bag that you fill with water and use the sun to heat it.
Before we left we went to three stores to buy so much long-term food. We still have some left after five months! Now we go once in the 2-3 days to a supermarket to buy some food. We prefer to buy fruit and vegetables at market places, but we seem to miss them by a day… The Lidl is our favourite, we know what products they have and which are good for us. Since Michèle is gluten & lactose intolerant, we sometimes need to buy some more specific things. That’s when we go to a Carrefour or a Super Mercadona. We noticed that in Spain there is a focus on special dietary, even in the Lidl, very nice!
Washing & Cleaning OTR
Something that has to be done once in a while. A small space can become so dirty so quickly! We try to clean at least once a week, but every time we’re done, it’s instant dirty again… Washing our clothes however has to be done once in a few weeks. We brought way to many pieces and half of it we have never even wore. Our underwear is washed once in the two weeks while the rest can last longer. Until now we have had luck with the housesits and friends & family we visited. We also used a few machines at campsite and once at a supermarket. The only hard thing is to get everything dry. There is not much space and it sometimes takes forever.
Not sure if we do everything as efficient as can be, but it works for us. Now you got a little more insight on the “daily” basis of the normal household life. It’s a tiny space, so not too big of a household, but it has to be done!