Coming Out

Last year when I lived in my van I could not tell anybody.  It is a lifestyle that is not acceptable in suburban Ohio, and definitely not with my family.

When I first got the idea to move into a van in February 2012 I shared the idea with my parents.  They were NOT into it.  They thought it was the most ridiculous idea they had ever heard of and couldn't understand why I would even consider it.  When I DID move into my van in September of 2012, I didn't tell them.  I just said I was staying with a friend.

Suddenly it is about one year later.  I tell them about the job in Wyoming.  They think it is great.  I tell them about sharing the RV site, they think it is great.  I tell them that maybe instead of invading my friend's RV, I could just throw a bed in the back of my van.  They think it is great.  Strange how doing the same thing in a different setting is suddenly acceptable.

I guess I can kind of see it from my mom's perspective... 

Not me.
Living in the van in Ohio.  Even though I parked in my former apartment parking lot, right outside my former bedroom window, every single night, I'm sure my mom pictured me sleeping in dark alleys and digging in trash cans for food.

Also not me.
Living in my van in Wyoming.  My mom now imagines the hundreds of camping trips we've went on as a family.  Growing up, camping was our annual summer vacation, and how we spent most fall weekends.  I suppose, to her, camping is familiar and safe. (The grizzly bears don't seem to phase her)

The good news is, now that they're accepting of my living choice, my dad can now help me remodel.  I'm really excited to build a bed in the back, instead of just having a mattress laying on the floor.  Getting it off the floor will give me a lot more extra storage space underneath.  I also hope to build a simple sink.  Basically just a circle drilled in a board and a bowl placed in it.  A hole drilled in the bottom of the bowl and drained to a large water jug.  This will be a big help with washing my hands, putting in my contacts,  brushing my teeth, etc.

I'm really looking forward to my week spent at my parents house, because I'm really excited to remodel my van!


Summer Plans

Wonderful news!  I have found a summer job!  I think it is going to be a nice one, and best part is: I get to live in my van for free :)

I was offered a job in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and I took it!  It is a 6 month position, which for a seasonal worker, is awesome.  It is sometimes hard to get through the 'off-season' in the spring and fall, and especially this year, I was hoping for the shortest time off as possible.

I am on a roll with paying off my college loans.  I've paid off over $3,200 in loans so far in 2012.  That is over $2,400 more than the minimum payments.  If I keep it up for a year, I'll have my one major loan paid off by next February.  I made a one year plan.  Then I'll be left with one small, low monthly payment and low interest loan to worry about.

For this reason, working as much as possible, and living as cheaply as possible is priority over major traveling and other expensive experiences this year.  I'm still having a great time, and I'm still seeing the country, just slowly.  A different state every 6 months is the travel rate I'm on.

From my last day of work here, to my first day of work in Wyoming, I have 15 days.  In that time I have to travel from Colorado to Ohio via Amtrak (that takes about two days).  I have to unload my van, which is currently parked in my parents' driveway. (When I moved in the fall I knew I wasn't going to be bringing it with me to Colorado, so I left it packed.)  I have to remodel the van (Basically just take out the seats and build a bed in the back.) Then I have to re-pack and fit it all nicely into the van, and finally, drive about 1,700 miles alone to Wyoming.  I probably will take at least 6 days to do this.  If I had more time, I would ideally spend a few weeks making the journey.

I have a friend that has offered me a free parking spot at his RV site in the park! Jackpot.  There are camp showers and toilets to use, and coin laundry in the RV park.  An expensive grocery store is within walking distance, the cheaper one is about 40 miles away, outside the park.

I don't think I've ever been to a National Park.  I've never realized how big they are!  The RV site is in the park.  My job is in the park.  I thought it would be perfect.  Not so much.  I realized yesterday that I'll be driving 33.4 miles to work everyday.  Then another 33.4 miles home :( Google tells me it will be a 45 minute drive.  I haven't had to drive to a job in 6 years.  I guess this summer will make up for that.  I figure I'll be spending about $200 in gas a month.  The good news is: When I received my official job offer, I found out I'll be making about $190 more a month than their website told me I would!  So that kind of evens out.

I have a 12 days of work left here.  I'm pretty much ready to go!