Living in a van is a bit weird if I'm honest. The weird times are like when you're having a poo in the toilet in the back of the van in Asda car park and people are aimlessly chatting just the other side of the door. Or you do the shopping and the till assistant asks if you would like a carrier bag and you reply "It's ok, my fridge is just in the car park inside my van" and look at you like you're a nut job. Or when someone you're talking to asks "where do you live" And they're slightly baffled by the response "Anywhere. Everywhere. It's complicated and I think your suit already tells me you'll guffaw at the knowledge of where I actually live." Or when you're all cosy at night, curtains drawn and you forget where you are. In the back of a van on an industrial estate watching the Big Bang Theory repeats. Again.
I do love my life, and I genuinely can't see myself living any other way right now. But it is weird, living in the outdoors. Winter will soon be knocking on the van side door, the frost, the wind, the dampness, working their way into my bones, the season of a sniffly nose and aching kidneys from shivering so much. The condensation running down the windows getting more heavy with every breath. But this time I've planned ahead. If all goes well I'll be staying on the farm for winter. No noisy laybys, no searching for new places to park up, no hunting for peace and quiet.
I can build a little decking area for me to pull up alongside so I have a non-muddy area to take my shoes off and indeed put them on, too. I can come and go as I please, but I'll have to pull my weight as farm help come campsite warden to cover my extended stay. It'll be worth it, I think.
I also think it will be important not to lose sight of why I love this life. Why I love the weirdness. Why I even love the fuck ups that seem to happen on an almost daily basis. I'm going to mark this down as an alternative adventure I think, rather than something that is just happening as a part of the course of my life. It feels like I'm getting ready for winter as the Scandinavians do in the deep brutally cold forests. Chopping wood, readying the ground, insulating the van better and storing up heating fuel. I can be ready, I can have my little spot looking good and I can be comfortable in the knowledge that I'm for once prepared.
Now I guess I'll just have to make sure I am indeed prepared. If I'm not then I guess it's going to be a pretty miserable winter once again! I mean I have survived the last two winters, but that doesn't mean to say I didn't want to die at times. OK so a bit dramatic but I definitely wanted to give up a few times. If winter catches you wrong then it can be a pretty depressing time for anyone. The lack of sunshine, long, dark miserable days and often weeks of relentless gloom. I think also, for many house dwellers this year it is going to be exceptionally difficult what with the extortionate cost in running a house now. Many house dwellers will be in a position for the first time ever where they have to choose between food or heating. Clothing or electricity. With that thought I know I am not alone and I also know that I am very lucky to be where I am now.
So hopefully this winter, my 3rd, I'll be able to enjoy it a bit more. It won't be so sad as I'll have my shower tent set up and can go for walks in the rain without worrying about getting sorted after. I have a little routine going on now so things won't be so hectic, so rushed, so forced. I can kick back and chillax. I'll sleep peacefully knowing that the chances of a 44 ton HGV slamming into the back of my van at 3am are pretty slim.
It's still weird though, living in the back of a Transit van...