We know that we’re lucky to be able to travel and we absolutely love our van, with it’s wonky draws and uneven craftsmanship however that doesn’t mean that there are not some things which annoy us from time to time with this lifestyle and our van specifically. So here are our top 5 vanlife annoyances:
After talking about what things annoy us about living in the van we both agreed that the fact our van has no toilet is our number one annoyance. When we give people tours of the van they always want to know where we go to the toilet. There are tonnes of options for us, public toilets, rest stops, nature and even bottles (we have one each hidden well out of the way). However the convenience of being able to go to the toilet whenever nature calls rather than having to plan for it is something we long for and is one of our biggest annoyances.
Before we set off we assumed that the world would be full of like minded van dwellers at every beautiful location we parked, maybe it is the curse of an instagram feed full of van life accounts. When we started on our journey we soon realised that not only were there not crowds of campers where we were, there was nobody where we were a lot of the time. People talk about the isolation of travelling on the road but the thing we hadn’t realised is that you really have to make an effort to not just interact only with one another. After the first few weeks we came to the conclusion that if we wanted to talk to other people we’d have to be the ones to kick start the interaction. Soon the isolation slipped away and now its less of an annoyance and now a blessing we can enjoy whenever we don’t feel like interaction rather than the norm.
I can’t count the number of times I have thought we had some beautiful fruit and vegetables in our van only to find that they have turned to mush after a few hot days. We have a cooler which we run semi regularly however it struggles to deal with some of the hot days European summers can throw at it. We now keep a much better track of the food we have in the van and make sure we plan our meals to ensure we eat all our perishables before they die on us. We are looking to upgrade our coolbox to something a bit more powerful but more efficient so we can extend the life of our food which goes to show how much of an annoyance it really is.
Our van has 25 litres of clean water, which we thought would be plenty. By the end of our first week on the road we realised that we use a tonne of water! Drinking, washing up, brushing teeth, cleaning ourselves, cooking, everything we did seemed to involve water. When you have to locate somewhere to fill up your water you soon start being much more precious about how much you use to try and extend the time before you need to think about it again. As time went on we found it easier and easier to find places to refill our water tank, or maybe we just started to care less about what people thought when we were hauling our tank to public taps and petrol stations.
The last annoyance will probably seem obvious however a van really is a very small space for two people to live in. We maximised our space, downsized our lives and spend as much time outside as humanly possible however there’s nothing you can do but be under one another’s feet when you’re both in the van. Cooking is a challenge in a micro sized kitchen, especially with a second pair of hands being more of a hindrance than a help. Both getting dressed at the same time is a ballet of outstretched arms and kicking legs. It simply is a confined space and can be annoying.