Writings

Vanlife


I just dropped Igor at the beach where he is going to enjoy a late morning surf, and the beach where surf was at this morning is one where we often used to sleep with our van. Seeing all the vans parked, I felt both a wave of nostalgia and simultaneously a deep inner sigh of relief knowing that my current home is bigger than 10 sqm. For van life invites both pleasure and a pain in the ass kind of feeling.
Vanlife
If you've never lived in a van and you have a strong longing for the' wind in your hair' type of freedom, I recommend trying it out for a summer. But if you value reliable electricity and running water and not having to have to clean your own shit from the toilet, it's probably best to enjoy it from a distance, because it, despite it's simplicity, is a very complicated life.

I never thought I would be one of those 'hippies living in a van'. Was every inch a city girl and just bit too borgeouis to truly appreciate nature. My thirst for freedom found an expression through my artistic lifestyle and the drama of citylife provided the perfect backdrop. But Igor loved nature and always wanted to have a van, he grew up around the beaches of the northern Spanish shores, where vans and surfers are a more common sight and for him, that was a symbol of freedom that he longed to experience and to travel the world in one, was a long held dream. In an attempt to reconcile our two different desires and life dreams we came up with the idea of doing street theatre, while living in a van.
It was a really beautiful experience, challenging, exhilirating and scary as hell. For me although I by that time was a pretty seasoned performer, it was nerve wrecking, mainly because I was used to the audience already being parked with admission paid and a more or less clear idea of what they were going to see, and to have to attract and sustain peoples attention in order to get paid for my effort was both humbling and challenging. Igor had just dropped out of his engineering education and had absolutely no experience of performing, so for him this was a true leap of faith, and I think that the time he spent as a street artist was a real game changer. He had always known that he could do pretty much whatever he wanted in life, his capacity is enormous, but now he got to prove it to himself and although there were growing pains for us both, the fact that we pulled it off and came through with shining colors was a great triumph.

We lived the street life for two consecutive summers and even though it was tough, it was hugely rewarding and what I to my surprise discovered, was that living in a van was actually great and very satisfying.
Van life combines the lightness of travelling with the stability of like a turtle having your home conveniently with you at all times. The thrilling feeling of freedom when you can just pack up and go whenever and wherever you want, if you have enough money for gas, coupled with a sense of comfort knowing you are sleeping in your sheets at the end of the day.
The road with all it's multitude of choices for destination is inspiring, the hard work and organization required in such a small house is educative and if you are a couple, the harsh reality of having nowhere to run when conflict is brewing and the shit hits the fan, is incredibly revealing.

At the time we had a Ford Transit, a plain looking working van that we made in to a tiny love nest. The walls were adorned with pictures from our trips in India, we had IKEA furniture painted in bright colors a small kitchen and a portable Campapotti for when there was no suitable bush or bar around. The kitchen was an old cupboard from my parents country house that we simply nailed to the floor, stuck a gas bottle inside and a burner on top. Attached to the kitchen was a small bureau for our very limited supply of clothes, toiletries and other useful everyday items.
Between the toilet and the kitchen there was half a step, the other half brought you to the bed that took up almost half the space and even so Igor couldn't lay straight in it, and that was it. A very compact living experience indeed.
Naturally there are clear disadvantages and difficulties with this compact lifestyle, but at night, in the high heat of Spanish summer when we would park for the night in a remote beach and open the back doors... voila, all of a sudden our humble abode would transform in to the most exclusive, luxurious living experience in the world. Stars exploding, crickets singing, the waves making the hot air humid and dense being so close and far away at the same time gave this remarkable feeling of the grandiosity of it all. Feeling free, in a Ford transit, in the middle of nowhere...

Tomorrow, Vanlife extended...

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