Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about living in a van.
1. “Why do you live in a van?”
This is a complicated answer. I’m not sure we’ve really thought it all the way through. Probably shouldn’t admit that. But the truth is it’s a lot of factors that added up perfectly to “live in a van.”:
- for the last 3 years we’ve both been commuting in L.A. traffic and that’s enough to make anyone do something crazy.
- we have to drive at least 30 minutes (that’s no traffic) to the beach and we’re too cheap to pay to live closer. Living in L.A., and not going to the beach all the time is embarrassing and ungrateful.
- we’re gone all day at school and work. We get home and crash. And to get home and crash costs hours in drive time and $1200 in monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment. Uh, no thanks.
- we couldn’t really commit to any new living quarters with Levi moving back East for medical school rotations for half the year, and Andy not sure where she’d be/what she’d be doing during that time.
- we love a good story/adventure and this seemed too perfect. Plus since we can’t tell our grandkids we lived through WWII, we can tell them we lived through homelessness.
- we’re both pretty physically low maintenance, so it just seemed like not that big of a deal.
- I dream of writing editorials professionally, and thought this would be a great opportunity to try it out and add it to my portfolio.
- there wasn’t really a huge risk. The van cost us…ready for it? $2600! Plus some registration and insurance. Pretty low risk. And it’s a great van. We know it will resell quickly. If it’s awful, we’ll just stop. If it’s great, we’ll keep doing it.
- We’re cheap bastards.
2. “Where do you shower?”
The gym and the beach. We were already paying for a discounted monthly gym membership through Levi’s medical school, and neither of us were going to the gym. At least now we’re getting our money’s worth. And it’s getting us to exercise a little more.
3. “What do you do all day?”
A common misconception is that we’re just hanging out in a kidnapper van all day. I (Andy) just started a new freelance job writing for an advertising agency so I’m at the office all day, and Levi’s currently studying for Step 2 of the medical Boards.
4. “Where do you go to the bathroom?”
Well during the day we go to the bathroom at work and at the library. At night we try to use the bathroom at the last public place we’re at. Work, a restaurant, etc. But there’s always the gas station, fast food, the park, and for Levi– a bush. (Insert genital envy). In the morning, Andy’s tank of a bladder/dehydrated body is usually ok holding it until the gym. Levi has a harder time, but tries to hold it. Last night he had to use a water bottle. Woof.
5. “Where do you park?”
During the day, Levi takes his car to the library or the beach where he studies. Andy takes the normal, no-reason-to-think-I’m-homeless car to work.
In L.A., people just park on the street a lot more. A lot of people use their garages for storage, not parking. So at night we’re just another car on the street. Granted we stand out a little, but usually we’re pretty inconspicuous. Not to mention we usually don’t park until late at night and leave early in the morning.
We stay near residential areas that look safe– you know, the kinds of neighborhoods where parents would freak out if they knew just outside their door was a person sleeping in a car. Safety first!
6. “What did you do with all your stuff?”
Most of it- Sold. Gone. Bye-bye. All but our bedroom furniture which we refused to low-ball. Our kitchen stuff, books, winter coats we put in Andy’s parents’ attic. We donated enormous garbage bags of clothes and junk. It felt amazing. We also have a small storage until for $23/month with Levi’s bike, the van’s seats and a few random items .Our van inventory would put most van-dwellers to shame. We have plenty of room to spare!
7. “What about internet??”
Funny everyone asks this. I guess we all know we couldn’t survive without it. We use internet at work and public libraries mostly. Right now I’m writing from a Coffee Bean. We also bought a little T-Mobile hotspot too. Phew, now we can all relax. ☺
8. “Are you hot at night?”
Nope. We don’t even turn the van on. Just crack a couple windows and sleep under a comforter. Bless that ocean breeze.
9. “How long are you going to be doing this?”
Not sure. Definitely for the summer. Then Levi has to leave. But I’m not promising we won’t do this again in the future.
10. “How is it?”
Honestly it feels normal. We aren’t even trying to prove anything by saying that. It just feels normal. We are hardly in there. Andy’s biggest complaint: getting stuff in and out, and staying organized. Levi’s biggest complaint: peeing in the morning. Joint complaint: we are spending way too much money eating food out.