Vanlife: Boondocking in the 21st Century (part one)
One of the most common questions I get from folks interested in the mobile lifestyle is "where do you stay at night?" Hell, I'll get asked that from travelers that have been around the block a few times (pun definitely intended). Actually, I'd be lying if I said I didn't ask the same question starting out... Followed by the rhetorical "what on God's green earth am I getting myself into?"
When starting out as a "full-timer", I gave and received this similar answer: "You might want to check out this area, and steer clear of this area". Why? Because most van-dwellers don't want to give away their "spots". It's a strange conundrum. You want to enjoy the amazing community, but you don't necessarily want to be "found out". I guess the easy answer is that there is no clear-cut method to boondocking, but here are some of my top tips to appease those inquiring minds:
1. Love 'em and leave 'em. Utilize the fact that you live mobile. Enjoy the parks, go hiking, surf, seize the G'damn day... and then after the sun goes down, swoop into that inconspicuous spot that you scoped out early. The best method by far is to pull up to your sleeping area after the sun has gone down. This draws less attention to yourself. Just like you, people want to get settled in at night, and aren't as much of a "looky-loo". This method was a game changer for me. It really forced me to utilize the entire on a more regular basis. Instead of getting off work and plopping down on the couch, I realized that I actually had more energy to go for a run or go to a book store because I had a few more hours before the sun went down. Sometimes you might not have this luxury if you are traveling and arrive to your destination at dark. My advice in this situation is to read the street signs carefully. Especially in LA.
2. You've gotten your rest, now get your ass up. You can grind those coffee beans at your nearest park. Sure, living mobile is spontaneous, and for those traveling the coast, or the country, you usually aren't staying in one place too long. That being said, for those wanting to scale down and explore a different lifestyle while working that 9-5, it might behoove you to get into some kind of routine. STOP. I know what you're thinking. "Man, I want to break free of my routine!" I get it, trust me. Just hear me out. Full-timing presents many opportunities to meet people and acquire experiences that you never would have living in a stationary domicile. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have a game plan. Long story short: get up early. Not like crazy early, but the longer you stick around in the morning, the more attention you call to yourself; and consequently exposing yourself to people hating on those damn "freeloaders". If you can beat the rush in the morning, you will be much better off. Not to mention, I was never really be a "morning person", but I've realized that some of the most "zen" moments I've experienced have been while the sun is cresting the Santa Ana Mountains. Probably little solice for those who loath getting out from the comforter, but maybe it'll help take a little of frost off those nips in the morning!
Okay, I know... I only got through two... but I've reached my blogging threshold, and I fear I've already made this too long and not nearly engaging enough. Check back soon for part two of this exciting series!
-Epoch Restorations and Adventures
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