New hobby: I’m going to start approaching peoples houses like they approach my van. Could you imagine treating a stranger’s home as they would yours? As soon as somebody opens their front door my plan is to stand on the sidewalk, peer in at different angles, and try to see all of their living spaces. Hopefully, with enough peering, they will invite me inside. Then I’ll get to really have some fun.

Start With Some Personal Questions

Step one is to walk up and ask them how much they paid for it and whether they live in it full-time or not. I need to immediately know the financial and living situations of this stranger. If they do live in it, I also need to know why. There is no reason that they shouldn’t be ready to justify their life choices at any given moment, right?

“Woah! You spent 245k on a house!? That’s crazy! Did you buy it new? I have a friend who knows a guy who’s cousin also lives in a house and I here he paid way less. Maybe you would know him, his house is super nice.”

Now that we’ve got a couple of the prerequisite questions and comments out of the way, its time to touch things.

Take a Hands-on Approach

The goal is to touch everything. To take my grimy fingers and rub them on their walls while inquiring “What type of wood is this?” or, “Did you build this yourself?” And they better have built it themselves because God forbid they purchase a prebuilt house. Do you have any idea how much those things cost?

Merely touching things wouldn’t satisfy my curiosity though. I need to open the cabinets too. I MUST know what is behind those little doors. It could be anything! Chances are that it’s just storage, but it might be something personal. And if I randomly open them, they won’t have a chance to say no.

“Are those tampons next to your bulk storage of oatmeal?”

Looks Cool, But Can You Live in it?

Now that I’ve got a visual of their house, its time for them to prove to me how useful it is. I need the specs on it. They will then need to tell me exactly how much power and water they use in a given week, how they cook, and most importantly, how they poop and shower. These are the questions you need to ask strangers.

With proper justification of their home, I can now proceed to tell them how cool I think it is. “I would love to live in a home like this, but I can’t because…(enter excuse here).” The actual excuse doesn’t matter, it can be anything. I have a professional job, I have a dog, I have large feet, my mom would kill me, I need this or that. It doesn’t really matter why; I just can’t.

It’s a Home. Not Just a Living Space on Wheels

It’s crazy when you look at it in this perspective. People don’t really see your home as a home. It’s more of a novelty. For the first year or two, I thought it was kind of cool and liked to show it off. Now, however, I’m taken aback by how some people act or the questions they think are appropriate to ask. You have known me for 11 seconds, get out of my finances.

Some people are actually curious for good reason. I hope I don’t scare you off from approaching a van-dweller with questions if you’re thinking about the lifestyle. I do, however, hope that this helps you approach with a bit more tact than some. Overall, it can mean the difference between receiving great/helpful feedback versus a quick and dirty “van tour” followed by a cold shoulder.

One thought on “Approaching a Vandweller; You Might Be Doing it Wrong

  1. hahaha this is pure gold, so spot on. I broke down in Yosemite in October and was just chillin in the van with the doors open for like 6 hours in the general store parking lot and by the like 15th person walking into my house insisting on a tour I was freakin out.

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