Stealthin’ It and Suspicious Van

Stealth parking is when you park somewhere overnight and try to hide that you’re sleeping in your vehicle. Yesterday I didn’t feel like driving out to the country to my friend’s house where I have been sleeping in my van in his front yard (he offered a room in his house but I like sleeping in my van) because a long drive and I needed to be back in the same area today so I decided to stealth park it near where I was at. I remembered that the homeowner association I used to live at didn’t allow trucks so the residents with trucks parked across the street between this store and a hotel and I never heard of their trucks getting towed so I went to check it out. There were a lot of trucks and some cargo vans like mine there so I parked overnight and I didn’t have any problems. It was near Starbucks so I am now sitting in Starbucks enjoying a nice cup of coffee. I think as a self- respecting van dweller it is my duty to stealth park sometimes😎 A few days ago on my way to my friend’s house in the country I pulled over on a dirt road not far from his house because my cell service isn’t that great at his house and I was talking on the phone. About 15 minutes later the police pulled in behind me with their flashing lights. They told me I looked suspicious because I was half on and half off the road. The road is dirt and so is the side of the road so I didn’t think that is why they lit up their lights behind me so I asked the police officers if it was my van that makes me look suspicious and one of them said “it is a little bit the van”. It seems people are more suspicious of cargo vans when they are in residential neighborhoods especially at night. I guess they scream out ‘kidnapper’ or ‘burglar’. I’ve heard similar stories from other cargo van dwellers. I am still glad I picked a cargo van to convert to my home because I was able to convert it exactly how I wanted it and not having windows on the one side was perfect for my cabinets and sink area.

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Van Hammock

I was complaining to my boyfriend about the heat and he suggested I put a hammock in my van like he has in his van. Since we have cargo vans they have areas along the top to hook or tie things too. I only have them in the back now because of my paneling so I hooked one hook to the back and the other hook to rope I tied to my passenger seat handgrip that you grab onto to get into the van because the van seats are higher than cars. It worked out pretty good. It is a lot cooler lying on the the hammock with air blowing underneath and above me. I can also sit on it width wise to look out my side doors, very relaxing too. I just unhook it when I’m done and then store it on my passenger seat. I also now have a hammock to use outside to rope to trees, depending on where I am at. I love my new addition to my home.IMG_5958

Beach Day

I spent a nice day at the beach today. I also went to a benefit that was at a marine life center across from the beach, which is a benefit to help sea turtles by raising awareness to protect them and raising money for their medical care for injuries that are often caused by boats 🐢

Boo Boo Bear!

I was so excited yesterday to see my son (a/k/a Boo Boo Bear) that when I got into town I camped out in my van in his work parking lot waiting for him to get off work. I texted him ‘hobo is in the parking lot’. He started the whole hobo thing when he started calling me a hobo because I told him I wanted to live in a van. So when I was thinking of a name for the blog I had to put hobo in it 😁 I was so happy to see him. It’s been four months since I’ve seen him since that is how long I have been traveling the U.S. in my van, which is one downside to life on the road. He will be living on a cruiseship soon though so he will be off doing the same thing but on a ship. Maybe my wanderlust has rubbed off on him. He is waiting for his medical clearance so that they can assign him a ship and destination. I am camping out in the front yard of a friend’s house while in town, out in the country. My friend told me several times I could sleep in his spare room but I prefer sleeping in my van because I have my van bed just the way I like it and I have everything I need in my van. I love my little home on wheels. I hope to be on the road again in a few weeks  after getting through some work meetings and spending more time with my son. I may not blog much until then.

Traffic

It should’ve only taken me 2 to 3 days to make it to my destination in but I was too tired to drive one day and traffic was crazy today from what I am assuming is people starting their spring break, people ending their spring break combined with several accidents. The interstate was a parking lot so I finally just pulled my van off to the side of the road and ate lunch, played on the internet, did the dishes, used my toilet, cleaned up the van and took a nap while waiting for traffic to clear up. Definitely an advantage to living in a van. I woke up and hopped in the driver’s seat since traffic was a little better and saw a police officer walking away from my van towards a bus in front of me that broke down. He probably thought I was in an accident with the bus and he knocked on my window and that’s what woke me up. I noticed his flashing lights on his car parked right behind me and I took off because I saw that as an opportunity to get back in traffic since people have to pull a lane over for police vehicles. I hope that was okay 😬 Traffic came to a crawl again so I just got off the road for the night. I found a Walmart not far away that allowed overnight parking and then when I got there realized it was the same Walmart I almost stopped at my first week living in my van that I didn’t stay at because I saw people living in their cars. I pre-judged them to be bad people. Now four months later and having stayed overnight myself in many parking lots and meeting many car dwellers I don’t feel the same way and I am staying the night. There are several car dwellers and rvers here. I am sure some people think I am a wierd van person living in a cargo van and sleeping in parking lots but I honestly don’t care. I love being a van dweller! ❤️🚐IMG_5912

Living in a Car

I am staying overnight at a Walmart. I can only drive about five hours a day and then I’m done for the day, even with breaks. I was just looking out my back windows and noticed several people staying overnight in their cars. They are all parked closest to the edge of the parking lot by these trees and I was wondering if maybe it’s because the trees will be their toilets for the night 😁 I saw an elderly couple get into the back of their small car with their dog to sleep for the night. It got me also wondering if some of these people are living full-time in their cars like I am living full-time in my van and if full-time whether it’s because they’re forced to for financial reasons. I  live full-time in my van because I love traveling. I met a lot of people living full-time in their cars at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Some were forced to live in their cars for financial reasons and some just wanted a cheap way to travel and cars get better gas mileage. They had a seminar at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous just for people living in their cars. Many of the car dwellers were showing off their cars and how they make it work. I was pretty impressed with some of their setups. That is true minimalism. When I had my Ford Escape I slept in it several times camping in bear country and I was pretty comfy in there, but I don’t think I could do it for more than a weekend. Now the van I love, plenty of room to live in full-time. I’m sure a lot of people think they couldn’t live in a van full-time though but if most people gave away or sold most of their possessions they would find that it’s very easy to live full-time in a van and possibly a car. Everything I own is in my van except for a small box of photos and mementos that I have at a family member’s home. It felt very freeing for me to sell and give away everything I truly didn’t need. I read somewhere to not let your possessions possess you. Backpacking through Colombia and Costa Rica last year just a few months before moving into my van made me realize that I was content with just the possessions in my backpack so I knew I would have absolutely no problem living full-time in a van and I was right.  One of the best decisions I’ve ever made 😊

Parking Lot Hobo

It feels so normal to me to sleep in my van in parking lots of Walmarts and truck stops since I’ve done it many times now. It isn’t just to not pay campground fees. It is  because I just need a place to crash for the night and Walmarts and truck stops are usually close to the interstate when I’m driving between destinations. They are also good places to stock up on food, gas, etc. I started to stay at a Walmart last night in Jackson, Mississippi but something didn’t feel right so I looked at the crime statistics online and found it wasn’t in the best neighborhood. While mulling over whether I should leave a police car came speeding into the parking lot with their lights flashing, so I decided that was a sign I should move on. I found a Loves truck stop not far away and still on my route that seemed like it was in a better neighborhood. I also liked that there were a lot of truckers there and the sounds of all their trucks running was actually relaxing to me. The only thing that wasn’t relaxing was a 5 am wake up call by someone’s car going by without a muffler on it. My sound machine app (called White Noise) won’t drown that out. I couldn’t fall back to sleep so I grabbed a hot coffee and hit the road but didn’t get far because I was too tired. It’s not worth it to get in an accident driving drowsy. I did get some work done though at a nice spot I found off the side of the interstate in a small town. I love that my office and my home is with me wherever I go. A friend of mine said we are like turtles because we carry our homes with us. I am staying overnight at another Walmart tonight in another city that seems nice. Before I stay at Walmarts I call ahead to make sure it’s okay because not all of them allow it. Then when I get there I park in the front and do my shopping while checking out the type of people there which usually gives you a good indication of what type of neighborhood it is. If everything seems okay I park far from the entrance like they usually want you to and then head to the back of the van so people don’t see I am a woman traveling alone. Since I have tinted windows (the darkest you can get) I always feel like I’m conducting police surveillance watching everybody around me while sitting on my van bed 😁

Headed South

I was going to fly back to my former home state and rent a car for a couple of work meetings at the end of March and early April but decided by the time I buy airfare, pay for a rental car and pay for parking at the airport I would be better off just driving and it will be nice to have my van with my own bed to sleep in and the flexibility to leave when I want without incurring airline change fees. I am looking forward to heading to the northern states when the weather warms up soon. Also and more importantly I want to get back earlier to spend time with my son before he takes off for his cruiseship job of which he could be assigned to a ship and destination anywhere in the world any day now. He recently accepted a lighting technician job with Royal Caribbean cruiseline. I am so excited for him that he has his dream job and he gets to travel!  The last couple of days we spent in Beavers Bend State Park in Oklahoma. It is a beautiful state park on a river. Brian headed back to Oklahoma City for his job.IMG_5871

Arkansas Camping and Hot Springs

I didn’t realize how much I use my phone to access the internet until I went without it for several days because we were camping in areas with no cell service. I am binging on internet right now at a Walmart parking lot where we are staying the night. Three nights ago we camped at Mount Magazine State Park on a mountain with beautiful views of the valley below. For the last two nights we camped at Crystal Recreation Area in the Ouachita National Forest. It is a free campground with a table and campfire ring at each site. They have a vault toilet at the campground which is a toilet with a hole in the ground. I preferred and mostly used my toilet in my van. We met up with some people there that we found on an online forum in which van dwellers and rvers post locations they are camping at to meet up with other van dwellers and rvers. The website is http://www.cheaprvliving.com if you are interested. It is the website that I found out about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous that I went to in January and it is the main website that inspired me to be a van dweller. We tried digging for crystals in the river near the campground because they are often found in the area but we didn’t find any. It rained and it was pretty cold but we still enjoyed ourselves. Today we went to Hot Springs, Arkansas to Bathhouse Row where they have these fancy bathhouses built in 1882 through 1923 of which some are still in use as part of Hot Springs National Park. We went to some of the museums and took a short walk in the park. It was a beautiful day🌼IMG_5812IMG_5818IMG_5823IMG_5838IMG_5848IMG_5855IMG_5859IMG_5862IMG_5824

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

We have been camping in the Ozark National Forest for the last several days. I didn’t have any cell service and internet in the forest so I couldn’t post anything. The first night we stayed at a campground for only $8 and took a walk along a nice river near the campground. It is free to park overnight anywhere in the forest unless posted otherwise or the area is part of one of the paid camping areas so last night we found a spot up on a hill that happened to be next to a cemetery to camp overnight for free. It was a very quiet and peaceful location. Today we took a hike near the cemetery that went to some pretty waterfalls. I am just outside the Ozark National Forest right now where I have cell service and therefore internet access so I can catch up on work. I am heading back into the forest after I get caught up with work so may not be able to post for several more days.  The Ozark National Forest is beautiful🌿IMG_5759IMG_5768IMG_5775IMG_5783