Life in a 2014 Freightliner Sprinter Van is not perfect but it is spectacular. It has been 6 months on the road and I love our life in a van. There is the simple joy of not having to set up an alarm to get up for work. The sun shining in through the gaps in the blackout shades awaken us gently each morning. I am often asked if I miss working in the hospital, how do we live in a tiny space and how do we stay married. The answer is no I don’t miss the hospital. I had a great job as a nurse manager, however the stress, politics, and endless surprises are no match for a life of travel and adventure. Living in a van requires certain adjustments but is completely manageable. And as to life on the road with Lee, every marriage can benefit from the strategies we use to support and build our relationship. Van life is not for everyone, but Lee and I love it. However, I have adjusted to our new lifestyle more easily then my husband. I don’t let the small stuff bother me like traffic or bad drivers. He gets irritated if there is roadwork and we have to wait. But I think, “Who cares, we have nothing but time.”  He still has this go, go, go mentality. This is what I wanted to leave at the office. Out on the road, I prefer to take it a day at a time. The van lifestyle requires adjustments. If you live in a van you can say goodbye to your daily shower and hello baby wipes. With only a 22 gallon holding tank and a 6 gallon hot water tank, showers are a luxury. Our shower is also an outside shower, so weather impacts availability. Everything we own is in the van. We each have one clothes drawer and share a small hanging clothes closet in addition to 3 pairs of shoes per person. The funny thing is; we do laundry every 10 days and never run out of clothes. The hardest part of Van life is finding a place to camp each night. We love to boondock, parking free anywhere without amenities except those in the van because it is free camping and it allows us to camp in beautiful places without large crowds. These first 4 months on the road, we have been moving camp almost every night without knowing our next camping destination. It really tests your relationship when it is getting dark, you haven’t had dinner yet, and you don’t know where you will be camping. It is hard finding BLM (Bureu of Land Management) land and National Forest lands to boondock in or near our destination. It is especially challenging on the east coast, it has been easier out west with the exception of California. We have set a budget and have been sticking quite close to it. There are always those unexpected expenses like a flat tire that tips the scale in the wrong direction. Our biggest expense living in Georgia was eating out and drinking beer. Eating out was not just a meal it was beer, appetizers etc. Since we have started our journey on the road we have eaten out 4 times. This saves us a lot of money and calories. We actually prefer to cook, we feel better and it’s better for you. I was pleasantly surprised at how little we could live on and still be happy. The van life allows us to visit some really stunning places and make some amazing new friends while reconnecting with old friends. However, it has also makes me realize that I don’t want my world to get too small and travel is the key to expanding my horizons. Life is what you make it. Trying new things and visiting new places allows me to grow as a person and be a better person. I realize what is important in life and where to focus my energy. The actions and decisions of others are their own and not my business. So, as we travel the country in the van I smile like a child on Christmas morning waiting for the next gift this beautiful world will unwrap before my eyes.

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