Sliding down waterfall
Me and Justin sliding down a waterfall (this counts as a shower)

Living in a van on the road is, without a doubt, one of the most invigorating feelings I’ve ever felt. The air tastes like freedom and every mile a new adventure. One day you’re sliding down waterfalls with your best friend and the next you’re soloing up the Grand Teton in Wyoming. But being stationary in a city for school presented a whole new set of challenges I wasn’t sure I was ready for.

This is where all the BIG questions come in. Where do you sleep? Where do you shower, How do you go to the bathroom? Do you have WiFi in your van? How do you watch Netflix? Wait, you don’t watch Netflix?!? Wait, no WiFi?!? What do you do all day? This is where things get interesting…

Taking the leap

Driving Luna
My van, Luna, where she belongs (on the road)

Honestly, I’m the last person to throw up the #vanlife. I barely even keep my Instagram account for more than 3 days at a time, and I never even post about it. I decided to buy and build a van as a last second split decision when I chose to quit my job and go to school. Up until that point, I thought the lifestyle was cool, but definitely not for me. That was until I took the leap.

Climbing in Holcomb
Holcomb Valley, Pistol Whipped (5.11a)

Climbing and adventure have always been what drives me, the vanlife only accelerated this for me. Living in the city during the week can kind of be a drag. However, on the weekends, the roads and the world are mine. I can meet any one of my friends anywhere (within reasonable means.) Being a full-time student, I’m living the life. In the mornings I wake up at the beach, catch some waves, then head straight to the coffee shop and take care of some homework. If you’re trying to manage school and the van life, like me, you’ll find a couple of coffee shops and become the ultimate regular. This is the “home office,” where you’ll meet the coolest dirtbags, probably writing cool blogs about climbing or puppers. Cough cough (Justin Wallace). Also, they almost always have a restroom…

Probably the two most important things in the morning; coffee and a potty.

Best Friends
Me and Justin after climbing 14 pitches of trad. Still smiling.

The freedom to wake where you want

As far as hygiene goes, now that I live in a vehicle, I think I take more showers in a day than I ever have before. As soon as I hop out of the ocean, bam there’s a shower to rinse off and clean my salty-ass wetsuit. I’m also always at the climbing gym… which is awesome because they really encourage the van life there. Just a bunch of dirtbag climbers, yoga classes, free WiFi, hot showers, cute girls, and an endless supply of stoke.

Hiking in Zion
Nature is the worst

So after my second shower of the day, I’m off to school. It doesn’t always go in that order but you get the point. If you live in a van, get a gym membership and some friends with a home that will let you do laundry and take a shower at their place. That’s the real key! Great friends.

Depending on my schedule you can find me parked outside Mesa Rim to do yoga in the morning before class or at the ocean to get a few waves in before studying. Having the freedom to walk straight into class from bed or to hear the waves as you wake up is the best feeling in the world. Well, at least one of them. Yelling at the top of your lungs as you summit something epic might actually be the best.

To dirtbag or not to dirtbag

I’m not gonna lie, I save so much money on rent and utilities a month that I can live extremely comfortably as an almost zero income student. If you’re trying to save some money while going to school, and be ready for a wild adventure at any opportunity, you might want to take a page out of my life.  You might want to consider being a dirtbag. Are you an “inner city” vanlifer? I’d love to hear from you. Comment below!


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