Recently I’ve noticed my Instagram news feed to be full of girls lying in the back of their vans whilst their unbelievably tanned, toned ass’s hang out of their bathers, overlooking incredible backgrounds. And whilst I guess if I had an ass like theirs, I would too, (but who has a body like that and lives out of a car!) but I’m certain that people look at these pictures and believe van life to be something it’s not; glamorous.
So let’s put some bloody pants on and be real about living life on the road;
Whilst majority of our nights are spent sleeping by the beach, there are the odd nights where we sleep on the side of the freeway, at the showgrounds with other carnies, behind service stations and even Bunnings car parks! Sometimes you just need to swap the sound of the waves for the smell of sausages.
The reality is that I haven’t looked at myself in a full length mirror in months. My mirror is the size of an A4 piece of paper and what a blessing it’s turned into. It’s amazing how good it feels to not worry about how your hair and makeup constantly looks (sorry James!). Now don’t get wrong, I was born a tomboy and certainly have never aspired to look like a Barbie, but as a women it’s only natural you give somewhat of a shit how you look. It’s also amazing how easily you get used to using your car side mirrors to look at yourself and pop your pimples and it’s even more amazing how quickly you learn to ignore people’s reactions to you doing it whilst you’re parked out the front of their house. I think there’s no better feeling then having sandy beach hair for weeks on end and a fresh face every morning.
I’m 99% sure I could be the mascot for dry shampoo by the end of this trip. I must use a can every 3 days. I would like to use the excuse of “I have no shower”, but that would be a lie. We have a shower in the van and always have access to free showers along the East Coast, but when your living at the beach, out of a space that’s only a few metres by a few metres, watching sunsets, exploring waterfalls and adventuring new parts of Australia daily; who wants to waste time washing their hair (and not to mention, shaving their legs) and making themselves look the best they can look? I know I sure don’t!
It’s no secret that van life can be cramped at times. James and I are constantly at war over who can get to the car before the other after showers, and who can get ready in the morning before the other one wakes, but I truly believe the biggest test at times is to remain calm whilst the other one won’t move the fuck out of the way! And you know by telling them to hurry up with only make the air as thick as honey for the rest of the day. Within the first few weeks of living out of the van, I didn’t even notice the small space. Fast forward a few months and the inevitable happened; we got on each other’s nerves. I think it’s critical for one another to have their alone time, regardless of how big your living space is. For James, his alone time consists of running at god awful times in the mornings. For me, my time is when James falls asleep within the first 2 minutes of getting into bed at night time. There is definitely some days, that regardless of how much alone time we have, we will still get on each other’s nerves and it happened when we lived in a 4 bedroom house, so it’s bound to happen living in a van. But please don’t get wrong, living in such a small space does come with its positives; James has little way to escape my morning hugs, we’ve proven time and time again that not only can we live together in a house, we can live together in a space that’s 1.7m wide x 3m long, and you quickly learn how many material items you can live without.
All things said aside, I’m honestly so glad that van life isn’t glamorous, well my van life certainly isn’t. Now it’s time to sound like a real clique traveller, but I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this content in a long time. Can you imagine living a life that you can do what you want, when you want, and you have absolutely no cares in the world of what anyone thinks, and all whilst having your best friend by your side? That’s the exact mind set that James and I live in our life.
I love having dirty beach hair, wearing the same clothes for days on end, wearing no make up for weeks in a row, living off hundreds of cans of tuna (not even kidding, we have eaten at least 300 cans since living on the road), showering under the stars and I still would much rather get bitten by 100 mozzie’s in the outback living in my van, then getting bitten by 1 mozzie at home whilst doing my usual daily routine. I’m sure that there are people reading this and thinking, ‘Why would you choose to live like that?’, and I thought the same before I began this journey, but now I almost feel guilty that I am so settled with the idea of living out of a van for the rest of my life and so unsettled when I think of returning to my day job and routine of my normal life back in Hurstbridge.