I’ve never wanted to live in a van. My parents had an RV when I was growing up and I hated it. I just didn’t like it. Having to live in this small space with all these people and having to be so clean, ah not for me.
Living in Los Angeles as a young adult with a small income is hard. It seems like most people here spend the same amount on rent as they do on coffee each month. But here $5 cold brews seem to be the standard and nobody seems to be flinching about the price!
But I was different, standing over here drinking my home brewed Trader Joe’s coffee, flinching every time I had to write my ridiculously high rent check that wasn’t even high compared to the standard in my neighborhood. The hard part for me was that I was only spending an average of 6 nights a month in my apartment. All other nights I was either working or spending time on friends couches.
Back in May I was given the opportunity to go to New Orleans to work on a movie. And hell yeah I took that opportunity! I moved out of my West Hollywood apartment and stored all my belongings at a friends house and went to New Orleans for 3 months.
When I got back to LA in July I didn't feel like I wanted to go back into the apartment world of one year leases. Luckily enough my friends let me stay at their house for a couple months. But soon enough it was time to move out and look for another apartment.
I began my usually practice of looking at craigslist ads and visiting local colleges to see if there were any good postings. But like all the times before I quickly realized that at the level I want to pay I was going to have to sacrifice a lot as far as my standard of living.
I had voiced the idea of living in a van a couple months back but it was absolutely crazy. Then one night I was at a friends and I had one of those "oh wow" moments. One of those moments where living in a van didn't sound so bad. It sounded like it would actually be fun!
The next day I started researching it more and going to dealers to test drive vans. This was happening!
I knew generally about what I wanted. In the recent years there have been these "European style" cargo vans that have started to be sold in the US. They tend to be a little taller than the standard American cargo van and they get decent gas mileage. They seemed like the perfect fit.
Before I knew it I was getting rid of my belongings and I was trying to fit my entire life in a 7ft by 4 ft box that I had taped out on the floor of where I was staying. That was the size of the cargo space in one of these european cargo vans and I knew I needed to visually see all my things in a space to see if I could do it. It was a hard challenge but I did it.
Still at this point the van seemed like a good idea. How awesome would it be to be able to live in a different place every night and to not worry about rent and utilities and so forth? I was sold!
I ended up buying a Nissan NV200 in early September and I have moved into it. It’s a different lifestyle than anyway I have every lived before. It’s such a small space that it seems that even if one thing is not put away, the entire van looks messy.
Luckily one of my friends, Ziggy, is extremely handy and really helped me in making the van livable. To start we installed a 280w solar panel on the roof, a 1250w solar generator under the bed, a 45qt fridge by the rear doors, and we build a custom sized bed that is about as long as a tall twin but only 3 feet wide. Let me remind you, it’s a small space.
I don’t know how long I plan to be living in this van but I can honestly say, I love it! I might even love it too much! But hey this is my decision and I’m living with it.
I have a lot of time these days living in a van so expect to see a lot of my thoughts posted on here. “Thoughts from the Van Man!” is what I see it being titled but hold on don’t let me get to far ahead of myself.
Until next time,