Settling in — September 30, 2015

Settling in

It’s now been two months since moving into my van, and I feel like I’m starting to settle in.  I am sleeping much better than I used to, and sometimes I forget that I’m sleeping in a van on a public street.  However, last night I didn’t forget.  At first I did, but at nearly 2:00 AM someone checked one of my doors to see if it was unlocked, and that unsettled me for a good half hour, and then gave me dreams about people around my van for the rest of the night.  Too bad too, because before that, I was having the most comfortable sleep.

However, that’s the first time that’s happened that I’ve noticed, but I’m sure it won’t be the last!  I’m sure there are people that check for unlocked cars regularly in the middle of the night.  What I need to do is make sure the panic button on my remote key thingy works.  I bet that if the car started beeping, that would scare away any potential thieves.  My biggest fear is that someone will break a window.

In all the time I’ve lived in Berkeley, my car window has only been broken once, and that was when I left my bag on the passenger seat in my car when I went in somewhere late at night.  Someone broke the window and stole the bag.  I try not to leave anything too inviting in the visible seats of my van, but I do keep my shoes on the floorboard of the passenger front seat.  Hey, storage space is at a premium!

No one promised that living in a van would be without risks, but it wouldn’t be an adventure if it were perfectly safe, and everyone would be doing it!  Or at least…. I don’t see why they wouldn’t!  In fact, I don’t see why more people aren’t doing it now.  Since I don’t pay rent anymore, I don’t see why any reasonable single person would pay rent but… I’ll keep my secret!

Things are a lot easier now.  I have settled into a routine that works for me each night and each morning.  I’ve found that I like to park and get settled in early, because I like the way it feels being in my van in the evening just as the sun is going down.  My concerns about parking are more about the physical space now, and they used to be about who could potentially notice me.  Now I look for a space that is relatively flat and level, and is positioned so that no one can park and block me in.  I’ve been blocked in twice and I’ve learned not to allow that to happen.  It’s a bitch getting out of a tight space driving a van!

I rarely eat in the van.  I’ve found that doing so is more trouble than it’s worth, so I eat at a table somewhere.  Whole Foods Market has tables where I can sit and eat on the weekends, and during the week I eat mostly at work.

I’m far less paranoid about people seeing or hearing me now than I used to be.  We’ll see how it goes as the Fall, and eventually the Winter sets in.  Here’s to another month at The Hilton!!

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It’s a Public Street! — September 28, 2015

It’s a Public Street!

On Saturday night I had my first incident of someone bothering me in my van.  It wasn’t so big of a deal, it’s just that I’m used to no one noticing me at all.  I parked to sleep at about 9:30, and I was watching a video on my cell phone when I noticed a bright white flash.   I ignored the first one, but then noticed it again… I looked out the window and saw no one, but then there it was again.  I guess it was about 4 or 5 times.  I looked out the window and saw that someone, not the police, was taking photos of my van, and of the license plate.

If I hadn’t noticed, I probably would have just gone to sleep and woken up without incidence.  But it kind of freaked me out, so I stepped outside – it was about 10:30 by this time – and I saw the guy across the street.  I said, “excuse me, can I help you with something?”

He then walked back across the street and said that he’d been taking the pictures for a friend, and pointed to a house, because the friend didn’t recognize the car, and she usually recognizes the cars in the area.  I don’t know what he or his friend thought they would do with the pictures, or what they will do but, here’s the thing.  It is not illegal to sleep in your car in the city of Berkeley!  It’s really none of their business where I park The Hilton.  I work and buy stuff and pay taxes…. ergo, my street!

I actually don’t think he knew I was in the van – I think he wouldn’t have been so bold about taking the photos.  He was clearly kind of embarrassed about having taken the photos when I confronted him.  I said, “This is a public street, and I am allowed to park here.”  He agreed, that it was a public street.  I was actually quite annoyed about the whole matter.  So I went back into my van and continued to watch my video.

Eventually I knew I wouldn’t sleep well there, so I left.  However, part of the reason I left was because I have Nevada Plates in California, and it may be that my driver’s license is suspended.  I don’t know if it is, but I really need to find out about that.  All I have to do is pay some ridiculous fine.  Also, when the registration expires, I will register the van in California.  If those two issues had been cleared up, I would have been defiant and slept there.

I’m really just annoyed that someone would take it upon her or himself to police the public street!  That they would take pictures of my van!  Get a damn life already!

This is The Hilton by the way:

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Freedom — September 22, 2015

Freedom

I went to visit my parents again this past weekend, and driving back, over the mountain, my windows open, and my clothing that hangs just behind my seats flapping in the wind, I realized that at that moment, I was so happy!  I want that!  I want to drive over the mountains, stop and sleep wherever I’m moved to do so.

On the way there, I was getting tired.  It was after a 10 hour work day, and it’s a four hour drive to my parents’ house.  I was two hours into it, so decided to stop at Denny’s and get coffee.  After the coffee I still didn’t feel alert enough to continue the two hour drive over the winding mountain highway, so I went up to the Denny’s manager and told her I was traveling.  I asked her if she would mind if I just slept in the parking lot for a couple hours.  She said, “Of course!  You can sleep there as long as you want!”  So I went out to the Hilton and slept.  I woke up at 6:00 am and went on my way.

Can I get through three more years of working a 40 hour work week?  I’ve been at this place for some time, and while once I thought I was moving up in the world, I found out that up was no where – that it was empty.  I really just want to be traveling and camping and wearing ripped up blue jeans!

I want to be a tarot reader and a jewelry maker.  And I want the freedom to live a bohemian lifestyle.  Three years… why do I hold on to that?  I guess it’s worth it for now.  I went down to a 4 day work week, and on the three days I’m off.. I have no home, no where I have to be… just my van, and where ever I want to go.  I feel free!

The Hilton — September 11, 2015

The Hilton

I went to visit my dad last weekend. He lives about 4 hours away from me. I drove the van there, and stayed in the van while I was there.

I got this van from my dad, who has taken it on many road trips. In spite of that, he thinks I’m crazy for living in it. He’s started referring to it as “The Hilton.”  Any time he wants to ask me what’s going on, he asks me how things are at The Hilton. While I was there, I would sleep in the van, then go inside for breakfast.  He would ask me each morning, “how was it at The Hilton?”

My dad has been having heart issues. He had heart surgery and there are both complications, and nothing further the doctors can do. I think that he would have never given up the van if he’d hoped to take another road trip in it. In honor of both his humor and his generosity, I will call my van The Hilton from now on.