What an absolute whirlwind August has been. If you don’t follow us on Instagram or YouTube it might come as a surprise that we are currently fully living out of the van. Yeah, that escalated quickly. Allow me to try to wrap up this insane month for you in as short of a time as possible.
At the beginning of August we were starting to get a little concerned about getting the house rented in time. I had already given my notice to work that I would be leaving the last day of the month, and getting the house occupied was the only thing keeping us from experiencing, as my dad said, “failure to launch.” After debating for a few weeks we finally decided to allow the rental company to put the house up for a year lease instead of the 9 months we had originally planned. That meant we were fully committing to 1 year in the van. THE NEXT DAY, I got a call that the house was rented. We were completely blown away, grateful, jumping for joy, ecstatic. Also, pretty much panicked to get the van and house ready in time. In short: Shit just got real.
After a few days, we found out that our new tenants actually were hoping for a shorter lease, something more like 9 months. Could that have worked out any more perfectly? It’s almost like it was a test to see how committed we were to doing this. The moment we decided to bind ourself to a year in the van the perfect renters came along who wanted it for the exact amount of time we had originally planned on. Not sure what else to say about that, except that it was definitely meant to be.
So, the lease is signed… Commence panicked packing and finishing of the van. I mean we worked down to the absolute last second. Zach painted the walls of the van as I was moving the house kitchen into the van kitchen the day we had to be out of our house. I left my job Friday, August 30, and the tenants moved in September 1. It was insane. We had unexpected help from Zach’s parents which absolutely meant the world to us because we were running on fumes. At the end of the day the house was clean, the garage was absolutely not, but we drove away in the van and slept in it to ring in September.
With the house rented, we could relax a little bit. I was done with work, and all we had to do was hang around town and work on finishing the van up completely. Unfortunately, the weather had different plans for us and suddenly when we poked our heads out from all the work we’d been engulfed in we realized that there was a very real threat of Hurricane Dorian hitting Wilmington, hard. After a few days of debate we decided against parking in a parking garage (our first idea) and proceeded to evacuate. No sense in risking a year’s worth of work on this van with such an unpredictable storm.
At this point, the van is entirely liveable. The AC freaking cranks out cold air, propane works, lights work, the bed is in. The only big project left is installing the heater, and there’s a few little things we want to do here and there but nothing urgent. We figured we would head to my Dad’s house in Charlotte, do our much anticipated Ikea shopping trip, then make our rounds through South Carolina to see Zach’s grandparents. We have currently accomplished 2/3 of those tasks for our first trip with the van completed, and are en route to finish up the third before heading back to Wilmington for a week to install the heater and say see ya later to all our friends.
So, how are we adjusting? At varying degrees for sure. Reilley was extremely unsure the first night, but has figured out how to get up in the bed with us and where he likes to chill while we’re driving. He knows “go home” is the van, so that’s a good sign. We both have been sleeping really well, especially with that AC unit (so glad we added that at the last second), and have chosen to sleep in the van over any of the beds offered to us so far. We’ve actually been sleeping so good that we haven’t been waking up until like… 9 o’clock which is beyond weird for us. I blame the super dark window covers.
I have been able to keep up with my workout routine so far, but I will say that food has been a little bit of a struggle. With such a “limited” diet it’s sometimes hard to just go out to eat with family or allow them to cook us food. I have eaten some things I definitely normally wouldn’t, but we’ve also had the opportunity to offer to cook for family which is honestly so great. Not only does it mean we get to eat within our diet, but we also get to show people that being (mostly) vegan/gluten free is not as restricting and horrible as a lot of people think. The only other thing I would mention is that coming off a full-time 9-5 to having zero agenda is pretty wild. Not only do I have nothing I “have” to accomplish like I would at my job, it also means Zach and I are spending all day every day together. Don’t get me wrong, everything is great, but we are being very careful to make sure we stay busy with the Vlogs, Blogs & Instagram (treating it like a job) but also to give each other time to be alone, process thoughts, and not burn out on together time.
Overall, our first taste of van life has been treating us just as expected: there’s a learning curve but we’re loving every minute of it. To be honest, we are both very excited to be heading home to Wilmington tomorrow. I think the forced and unexpected evacuation left us without closure, and we are excited to get home, get some waves, and see everyone for one last time before we embark on this adventure.