Vandwelling - What Why How and Should I Consider It by primusboy


									Vandwelling - What? Why? How? & Should I Consider It?
This article will explore VanDwelling: What is it? Why would anyone
choose to live that way? How can one make their living space more
comfortable and functional? And, should you personally consider it? Look
for additional articles that discuss additional aspects of vandwelling
such as: short term versus long term van dwelling, travel versus
stationary vanwdwelling and more indepth preparation suggested for
What is it? Vandwelling simply means using a van as a dwelling as well as
a mode of transportation. Those with plenty of money may be driving a
Roadway or Pleasureway Camper Van with all the bells and whistles of a
much larger RV, however most of them would probably refer to themselves
as "RV'ers" or "Full-timers" instead of "Vandwellers". For the most part,
most vandwellers are those driving converted vans. Many of those
converted living spaces are self built/converted.
Why would anyone choose to live that way? Many choose this lifestyle for
many different reasons. One of the most basic reasons is: life
circumstances. Some vandwellers began to dwell in their vehicles as a
necessity due to long work commutes. Many vandwellers started out as
displaced individuals due to divorces/break-ups, loss of a job, financial
troubles, a lease ending and not ready to sign another, etcetera. Often
life circumstances have forced many into the lifestyle, including the
current massive foreclosure dilemma of recent months. However, many times
once one has experienced vandwelling and the fear of the unknown is no
longer an element they find they like it! The freedom, saving monies,
having the courage to be different/unique in the face of a mostly generic
follow the societal guidelines world and the ability to live on less and
experience so much is intoxicating.
How can one make their living space more comfortable and functional?
First, consider that as a vandweller it is important to be equipped for
no electricity to be available as well as being equipped for full hook-up
options. It is always best to defer to the lower wattage/amperage options
available in everything, especially large power draw items such as a
microwave or A/C. One has to determine what their particular situation is
and what they personally need and work from there. The most basic needs
are the most important. So let's start there. You need a place to sleep
as comfortably as possible. I have a conversion van that came with a back
seat that lays down into a nice sized bed. I use a backrest with arms
(for sitting up on it) and lots of pillows for additional comfort. Though
the bed as is, is pretty comfortable, I also have a 2" memory foam
mattress topper for additional comfort as well. There are many that don't
have this option and build a wood base for a bed or use another option
such as an air bed. The next basic for most, is bathroom options. Some
use composting toilets, others use devices as simple as a plastic
container designed specifically for either males or females. My personal
choice is a hassock type simple portable toilet that one can use standard
kitchen bags (that can be quickly and courteously disposed of) with the
use of kitty litter to keep everything as clean and odor free as
possible. I like the hassock style because they look quite harmless, it
has a tight top lid, and can be topped with a cloth for use as a side
table when not in use (Or just shove it out of sight). Throw in a few
battery operated lights (LED lamps put out a lot of light with very
little battery power!) In the warmer months try to park in the shade and
have battery operated fans (some have both battery options and a power
supply for electrical use.) One can use a generator or solar options but
that definitely requires another article! With electrical hook-ups
consider a small swamp cooler or portable A/C unit. During the winter
months toasty clothing (thermal underwear, socks etc.) and a thermal
sleeping bag will greatly improve your sleep conditions. For very cold
nights consider a portable propane heater with a safe-off option and be
sure to ventilate! (It is extremely important to leave a window partially
open with a propane heater and to have the safe-off option for your
safety and well-being.) With electric hook-up a small ceramic heater will
For the next level: Decide what you need/want and evaluate how much
living space you have available. For storing and/or cooking food you may
include something as simple as a cooler (I have a stainless steel cooler
that keeps ice cold for 3 days to a week, depending on the outside
temperatures). Some have 3 way refrigerators (AC/DC/Propane) but they can
be very pricey. I like the heavy duty cooler option because it is low
maintenance and of course will work whether I have electric hookup
available or not. If you plan to cook, there are many options from camp
stoves using propane and portable grills, low tech 12 volt warmers and
even thermoses that can be used for simple cooking methods. With electric
hook-ups of course there are many space saving options from the new
convection portable type "ovens" that grill/steam/roast/bake in 1/2 the
time with amazing results, (I have the black & stainless option of the
NuWave Oven) as well as George Foreman type grills and many other
options. Next, one must consider space saving organization. This can
range from simple plastic containers that slide under the bed to nice
organizational products especially made for clothes, pantry items,
personal items etcetera. I have several black soft-sided organizational
unit that aid me very well for all the aforementioned.
And finally, Taking one's personal needs and wants and putting it
together with the interior design/look that refect the personal style one
individually prefers make "the" space "your" space. I have black
organizers and mostly stainless steel and black devices and equipment. My
van interior is a nice rich beige color and I also have touches of
greens, beiges and lavenders in my bedding and pillows to soften the
overall look. Throw in those things that are important to you or that you
enjoy. (IE: Small flat screen TV, portable DVD/CD player, reading
material etcetera.) I power these simple low power usage items with a
portable power station that can be powered up during the day almost
anywhere. There are many many things one can do to fine tune their new
small living environment.
Should you personally consider vandwelling? Remember this is MY personal
opinion: If you are a single or a couple that can flourish and grow in
small spaces then it is something you may want to explore. Consider the
following aspects of you and your personality: Do small spaces feel cozy
to you instead of claustrophobic? Do you acclimate well to non-
traditional choices? Can you adapt to change? Are you in a place in life
where you don't need large spaces for family members to enter often? As
you read this article did you feel an excitement build or were you scared
silly at the thought of vandwelling? And, finally you can actually do
anything you choose to and pretty much be happy if you want to. But only
you can decide if it may possibly work for you. I would suggest you
google "vandwelling" and go on my website listed below and read my story
on the main page and then go on the resource tab and go into some of the
resource websites and explore the lifestyle option for a while before you
make any radical choices.
Look for additional articles to come soon. Until then... Know that you
can do most of whatever your head tells you you can do so think well. You
don't have to follow the leader... You can be the leader. Just stay safe,
do things honestly and legally, be respectful of others and their
property, and finally enjoy life!
Blessings for Your Life's Journeys, Brenda Curtiss

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