One Year of Climbing Van Life

Exactly one year ago today we transitioned into living out of a 60 square foot mobile box. Back in the fall of 2014 we packed our belongings into boxes, built the “Millenium FalcVan” and then on November 20th we moved in to start our dream rock climbing trip around North America. We love our climbing van life, and are so happy we made the commitment to taking this trip. Living in a small space does have some limitations though…. We’ve come up with a list of five things we love that are unique to this lifestyle, and five things that we kind of miss from before.

The Loves

1.     Improved health. We go to sleep and wake up with the setting and rising of the sun. We eat better (in part to save money), we sleep way more, and we are active all day. We experience very little stress, and never get sick.
2.     Living simply. Our van home has a lot of storage space to hold the things we need, but overall we live with few possessions. We do not have phones or constant access to wifi (unless we seek it out), so we live a mostly distraction-free life, spending time with each other and friends.
3.     Our backyard. The inside of a van is a very small space. As such, we are pretty much only inside when it’s raining or when we’re sleeping. All of our every day chores happen outside of the van. Cooking, eating, washing, finding bathrooms… etc. This allows us to truly enjoy and appreciate our existence in so many beautiful natural places.
4.     Mobility. As the saying goes, “home is where you park it”. If we are tired of one place, we simply move to another. Being in a van as opposed to a camper or RV, we also have the advantage of “stealth camping” just about anywhere we go.

5.     Closeness. We simply have to get along in such a small space. Communication and teamwork are essential to keeping our van life successful. And we are forced to snuggle every night 🙂

The Misses

1. Friends and family. The van is a great magnet for meeting a lot of people, and we have made some truly incredible friends on the road. That said, being so far from our friends and family back home is a huge challenge.
2.     Lattes and Restaurants. Graham likes lattes… a lot. Back in city life, we’d often go out for a coffee a day. Being on such a tight budget, we are simply unable to indulge in these luxuries. Same goes for ordering out pizza…
3.     Theft. Although we haven’t experienced this (knock on wood), theft is a worry. Our whole life is currently in our vehicle and a break-in would be devastating. There is nothing more haunting than parking in a lot with signs up that say “Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle”.
4.     Clutter. For the most part, we are pretty darn organized. We just have to be. However, after a hard day of climbing it is a lot more inviting to have a beer and relax with friends than it is to tidy the van. So inevitably, clutter happens.
5.     Showering. You really learn to live without it, and to be honest this one doesn’t really bother us all that much. The reality is, that frequent showers disappear from your life, as paying for them quickly adds up. We often have friends in different places say “you’re welcome to stay with us when you’re passing through!” We usually respond with, “Oh we’re very easy house guests. No need to put us up in a spare room, we’re happy in the van. But could we hit you up for a shower during our visit?” Same usually goes for laundry…
a post box sticker from a few years ago
The FalcVan holds up in the snow!!

2 thoughts on “One Year of Climbing Van Life

  1. Well said, Kim. A simpler life, with a closer connection to our loved ones… I yearn for the days we didn't have cell phones and tablets everywhere! It's so much nicer to sit back after a big day, read a book, enjoy a hearty chat and sleep without worrying about emails.


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