Reflections On One Week of Van Life

Honestly, I don’t know what I expected – but it wasn’t this.

My first week of van life has been riddled, nay, lousy with issues. From a 14-hour packing day to a last-minute mechanics run to spending an entire work day at the Ford Dealership and going through five (yes five!) inverters in 6 days, I couldn’t have predicted even a fraction of this.

It’s been incredibly frustrating, annoying, and trying on patience that is already wearing thin (hormone cycles, yk.) I’m staring down a four-figure estimate for van repairs that will take over a week to complete, we currently have no stable internet, and frankly, the compost toilet smells.

I could go on, but you don’t need to read a list of my gripes. That’s what I journal for.

I know that reality never matches up to expectations, and I wish I had some profound insight into the nature and necessity of suffering through change, but I’m still in the weeds. Some distance will provide the humor in these struggles, but today nothing is funny.

It’s said a little gratitude can go a long way, so here’s what I’m grateful for: the gorgeous library I’m sitting in, hot berry tea, cozy blankets, cool mountain air, and mornings full of birdsongs. I’m grateful for the chance to explore and try new things. I’m grateful for a dog to snuggle and a partner who keeps me going when I’m ready to quit (on a daily basis.)

I’m grateful to have a physical copy of the April issue of CITY magazine, which features six of my articles. It is both the fulfillment of my lifelong dream to be a magazine writer, and just the beginning.

I’m grateful for friends near and far, IRL and virtually. And I’m grateful to you, for reading this.

Five years ago, I would never have predicted this. Three years ago, I never would have guessed it would take this long to get here. And a month ago, I would have second-guessed everything to know it would go so wrong so quickly.

If I’m looking forward to anything right now, it’s getting over this hump. Change is hard for everyone, and I knew this would be hard for me. It is no small feat to pack away 90% of your belonging and move into a vehicle with another person and a dog. I crave predictability, and right now I have none. Ce la vie, eh?

I’ve been asked to vlog this experience, and I’m sure I’ll put some videos together eventually (including a van tour.) But on camera isn’t where I’m most comfortable, though it is getting better with practice. Behind a keyboard is my happy place, and this is where I’ll share most of my journey.

I told my partner yesterday that I feel like I’m rolling with the punches, but the punches are landing squarely on my jaw. How many more can I take? I guess that’s what I’m out here to find out.

But enough of my woes. Enjoy some photos from the first week of living in a van and exploring Pennslyvania.

Published by Jessica Reilly, Writer

Writer, cannabis aficionado, and poetry lover

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