A Van State-of-mind

As some of you know, I’ve been playing with the idea of moving onto converting a van. By August 2019 I need to decide if I’m ready to move into a van for part-time to long-time living. I’m pretty decided and in September I might be ordering a new van, but it’s a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly. Let’s just say that lately I’ve been in a huge “van state-of-mind”. My head goes in circles thinking of every detail, every possibility, downsizing, options, road trips and just life in general. 

My only worry? Honestly, loneliness is the only concern I have. The rest seems easy to figure out and that’s why for a few weeks now I’ve been trying to look at my life as how it would be if I were confined to a van, on the road most of the time and stuck with a large project and investment. 

So 5 days ago I decided to take off on a spontaneous trip, I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing so I made sure the truck was well packed with all my needs, from making sure the kitchen drawer was 100% clean to having enough food, water and even firewood. I set out to my all-time favorite spot, the Turín Restaurant camping area in the rainforests of Monteverde. That place always makes me feel like I’m home and I managed to score the very top area just above the river where the wind won’t blow my camper top down on me at night! Now THAT is one spot where I’d be happy to park my rig for a week or two, I have good internet service, the folks have WiFi down at the restaurant, clean bathrooms, potable water, a restaurant (because I packed everything except for wine) and even good company if I feel I need to socialize a bit. 

I didn’t explore much as Taco is not allowed into natural reserves or National Parks - that’s a concern right there but then again, in a van I could leave Taco behind for a few hours & he’d probably be happy to disappear into the blankets anyway! This will be a huge change with the van, I’ve stopped visiting National Parks not to leave him too many hours in the truck, I feel comfort in knowing I could leave him behind and he’ll have everything he needs to stay happy.

From there I moved onto another usual place, the Tronadora camping area on the Arenal Volcano lake, it’s familiar and its certainly something I need to look at - familiar places where I feel comfortable enough to stay a few days, or make home for a weekend. It rained pretty much the entire time while I was there, didn’t even make dinner and waking up to a damp campground is never a fun thing. My van-mind realized, that’s something I’ll never deal with again, I could chill in the van, in bed, cook, eat & still enjoy the outdoors without dealing with wet camping chairs or packing a wet tent. Score! 

As I realized I was right on the lake, I looked at the map and found a road that pretty much circled the lake itself right to the Arenal Volcano, it was time to move. Looking into iOverlander, I found a family adventure place with hot springs that had camping options, oh yes! (A shower was much needed by now too). So I drove over - beautiful drive and found many places I’d sure like to see sometime again. Another van-lightbulb, as I’m hauling my house, I can stop anywhere I want for as long as I want, no rush to be home or “at work” because it’s all with me. Maybe I can take my time and stop at all these locations, like a “mini Switzerland” I found, or the “Avatar tree” - yes you read right! 

That was one great find, as long as it’s week-days, I’m pretty sure locations such as the Termales Laureles gets busy on weekends! Taking note on that too. Taco slept in the truck while I soaked in the hot springs, nice shower was had and I even managed to fit the camper under a tall roof and have a dry night.

By morning I was done with rain & ready for some beach. This is the largest reason behind my considering van life, my constant lack of knowing where I want to be, or where “home” is. So I drove down to the beach, which hopefully, will be my home-away-from-home somewhat, to stop and do work, laundry and set off again. And then it was time to head back to the city. 

Although I mainly visited familiar places, I needed to do this to see everything with different eyes. Rolling down the roads in a large van, parking, backing up when I take a wrong turn, parking, campgrounds, internet options, my cel service, etc. And also smiling at the wins, realizing how cozy life could be to stay outside yet be inside my “home” 

Here’s a few pics, I tried to focus on work and reading so I didn’t take many or do a video - next time! 

Van LifeAnn Brampton