Taking my next trail building position in Washington was one of the best things I have ever done. Surviving on the minimal. The essentials. This experience has changed the way I see things and everyday life forever. There have been the struggles and triumphs. Finding the coolest spots to call home for a night, hiding from the rain and taking advantage of a warm shower. I see the appeal to living out of vehicles and have wanted to do it for quite some time. Just seems logical. I am writing this to share a couple things I have learned, loved and loathed since making this "drastic" lifestyle change.
The Adventure Mobile
The classic. The talk. The Adventure Mobile seems to be taking over most of young America like a 70's flashback. It seems half of my friends are either in the same town we grew up in married and with kids, doing big boy jobs, or getting out and seeing this planet by all means of travel. The Adventure Mobile is your home-on-wheels, whether it be a Westy VW Van, Toyota Tacoma, full on camper, or your moms old Astrovan, its our ticket to freedom. By far the best perk, that I was immediately drawn to was waking up with the best views in the world. You can change it too! I chose a 2003 Toyota Tacoma TRD, solely to get me to the places I wanted to see and for the recent mountain biking project here in Skykomish, WA. I need the vehicle to take me up gnarlier roads than a VW van could.
Out here in the moist PNW (Pacific Northwest) it's crucial to weather seal your living quarters! My brother figured this out quickly as his wooden frame was absorbing most of the moisture. Before leaving Wisconsin, I had replaced my whole gasket that seals the topper to the truck frame. However, I am still trying to figure out how to keep my hatch door from dripping into the bed when you open it....
Bedding is a necessity! I purchased a $10 twin, peepee-proof mattress cover to prevent the moisture out here from soaking into my pad along with real sheet covers and I will need a comforter soon! You can ask Amanda, I am not a bed wetter (or am i?). Many thanks to Julie for the trifold, memory foam 4" mat to sleep on, this thing has been the best I've found so far. Costco sells one for $45 and gets body formed in almost a a little over than a week. I keep my clothes like socks and underwear in open, square, cloth baskets as I do all my changing in the truck bed. Shirts, pants and shorts are in a separate Rubbermaid storage bin under the bed frame, tied to strings for easy access. I have a dirty bin and a clean bin; essentially my closet.
Diet/Storage - Less is More
This is a tough one. Getting your hands on the right cooler is key. Currently RTIC Coolers in on backorder until November, in the meantime, I'm stuck emptying the Coleman and replacing ice every 3 days. I have portioned out my veggies with tupperware containers making it scent free in there and keeping all water out of your precious items. I have altered my diet after getting sick and not being able to shake for two months. Raw. Veggies and fruits are all raw, not in a can, following up with some quinoa/couscous which is easily prepared in my JetBoil. Breakfast is the best meal of the day, served with some Greek yogurt, plain (less sugar), raw unfiltered/unrefined honey, ginger root, the most granola-ey granola you can find and some coconut oil. Brew some coffee or tea, teas are a good choice to boost your body with some good herbs first thing in the morning. I mean simply adding lemon or lime to your tap water seems to make a world of a difference. Since harboring Lymes Disease almost four years ago, I have felt the effects of low energy forcing me to change my diet. I have gotten on board with the alkaline diet, preventing viruses, bacteria and fungal infections from thriving, hopefully! I haven't totally dialed keeping a good meal system and eating is one of my favorite things to do... Still welcoming suggestions on great easy prep meals that still hold good nutritional value!
Since making this excursion west and committing to the truck life, I have noticed a significant mind shift in personal health, personal growth and lifestyle goals. Much less is taken for granted. Noticing the small conveniences of a warm shower, a place to change your clothes, a kitchen etc. Space. Space is huge! We've grown up in these homes, houses, apartments, all holding space to move around and stretch out. That is the most frustrating thing for me living this way. I need to have things organized which sometimes happens but the truck seems to eat things. To combat this, I've learned to stop and think, be patient. Be efficient, what do I use the most? What don't I use hardly at all? Should it stay in the truck? Where can I access this?
I've gained a sense for patience, sympathy and selflessness living with the bare essentials. I've learned to slow down before reacting to things, to take in each view each morning and know that I have the freedom to change where I wake up tomorrow morning. Most mornings I try to practice meditating on the tailgate or anywhere around me that seems suitable. I am grateful in my silent aloneness as this has been a dream of mine for a while.
Keeping clean is the hardest to do with this set up. Having long hair is a trap for dirt which seems to be handled pretty well with keeping a bottle of dry shampoo handy. But what about the rest of the body? Gym memberships keep things easy as you get to kill two birds with one stone. Hopefully you live near a gym! Rivers have been my best bet during the summer season. Though cold, on hot days it's refreshing to cool off in your very own, very long bathtub! Plus, what's better than being naked in nature!? Hotels have offered us a great haven for when the cold river will cause too much shrinkage. Our local Inn sells showers for $7 a pop. This adds up but when you are saving $700+ in rent, it's easily justified. Simply washing your hands can be a chore sometimes, I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my dash for quick application.
There are ups and downs but in life there will always be a tomorrow. I have learned choices are only temporary. Every day we are faced with choices which may suck at times. Life is a balance and won't always be peachy-keen, but when life is good, you chose for it to be good. You asked and the universe provided. When life is bad, chose to do something else. The darkness is only temporary, for dawn is beyond the horizon of tomorrow. Live life how you want to live it. Every day.