Our Vanlife Experience – Month #1

Hello family and friends! Can you believe we have lived in a van for a whole month now?! We sure can’t! Seems like just yesterday, we were both doing the ol’ 9 to 5 thang. We are so grateful to be on this adventure together and are soaking up every second of it! We figured we would fill y’all in on how the first month has gone so, here is our recap of the good, the bad, and the ugly during our first month on the road!

The Good Stuff

Lots of people have been wondering how Alan and I haven’t killed each other yet living in a 72 sqft space. Well truth is, transitioning to life in the van has been surprisingly easy for us.  Many of you know that Alan and I bought a house when we got married, quickly realized that we bought too much house. So we sold the 2,250 sqft house, moved into a 940 sqft townhome. Then after our lease was up, and the van build wasn’t complete as planned, my oldest sister graciously let us move into a room in her house. We had already moved our big stuff into a storage space and were already living simply. We also didn’t have any trouble fitting our belongings in the van and ended up having plenty of extra storage space. Also, Alan and I are entirely too comfortable around each other so, that helps too.

Los Peines and our van, Peligroso

The Bad Battery

Our first day on the road was the longest and most exhausting drive to date. We (Alan) drove 12 hours to get out of Texas and into New Mexico. We reached our campsite at Organ Mountains Desert Peak National Monument after the sun went down so it was pretty dark. Once we parked, we turned on the interior lights of the van, began charging our phones and got ready for bed. Soon after, our lights began to flicker and the inverter was giving a low voltage warning. A look at the house battery monitor indicated a voltage of less than 12 volts (basically meaning the battery was dead). It turns out we had over discharged the battery more than 30 times causing irreversible damage. BIG OOPS! This turned out to be a $1000 mistake but the good news is, our new battery is much nicer and forgiving to electrical newbies like us.

Basically all of our nights during the first week consisted of us making dinner around 5:30 PM and going to bed by 7 PM because it was too dark to do anything else! I love sleeping so if you ask me, I was having the time of my life getting 12 hours of sleep. Alan on the other hand was not too happy about the battery issue and didn’t rest easy until the problem was resolved.

Eating turkey chilli in the dark. Headlamps for the win!

The Ugly Budget

Prior to beginning this trip we estimated that we would spend about $2000 a month. We are happy to report that we have completely blown through our estimated budget and have spent around $3000 a month! YIKES! We blame that mostly on eating out and increased parking cost on the west coast. Just cutting out these two items will bring us much closer to our original estimate. I mean who would have thought changing your spending habits completely would be so hard? Stay tuned to hear if we break it or make it after month #2!

More Good Stuff

In one month, we (Alan) drove 4,000 miles, traveled across 3 states (New Mexico, Arizona and California), visited 13 parks and hiked about 100 miles. We have covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. However, this trip is not about speeding through the sites, we plan on slowing down some and spending more time in places we really like.

This trip is also about having the freedom to do whatever the heck we want, whenever the heck we want. Pursuing and achieving personal goals and exploring new dreams. Some of our goals include going on more backpacking trips, rock climbing outside, daily yoga/meditation and trail running. We are also practicing our Spanish more and hope to be fluent speakers by the end of the year.

Some favorites of the month

Alan’s favorite destination of the month: White Sands National Park

A handsome husband walking barefoot on white sand.

My favorite destination of the month: Chiricahua National Monument

Enjoying a hike in “The land of Standing Up Rocks”

Alan’s favorite food of the month: Sonoran Dogs in Tucson. He also insists we buy the yellow peppers at every grocery store now.

El Sinaloense Hot Dog Cart in Tucson, Arizona

That’s all folks!

If there are any other aspects of our vanlife you are curious about and want to read more about, let us know! Do you prefer the informational format on destinations or posts like this one that are more about us and our experiences on the road? We are still very new to blogging and want your feedback.


6 thoughts on “Our Vanlife Experience – Month #1

  1. Gma & Gdad February 28, 2020 / 9:00 PM

    We love. both and love you two more !

    Liked by 1 person

    • oncloudcombs February 29, 2020 / 12:14 AM

      Thanks Gma and Gdad for the feedback! We love and miss yall!


  2. Phoenix Guilbeau February 29, 2020 / 7:32 PM

    Ah I love this! I have always thought about doing vanlife! haha the photo pf ramen made me laugh – best thing to stay on budget :p


    • oncloudcombs February 29, 2020 / 8:25 PM

      Thanks for reading! Vanlife is a great way to travel, totally recommend it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. April March 2, 2020 / 6:39 PM

    Ashby, I love both! Hearing about the budget, the places you visit, the experiences and just seeing knowing how honest you are is wonderful! Thank you for sharing all of this with us! What an amazing experience! I will vicariously live through you lol God bless and I love you both!

    Liked by 1 person

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