My sleeping patterns are strange. Typically, I go to bed around 3-4 am, sleep until 8 am, and then take several naps over the course of the day to recharge. Since my parking lot is quiet, napping in the van is one of my favorite daily activities. Of late, though, it's been way too hot inside the van during daylight hours. Luckily there are some nice couches for napping in the library, and I've recently been sleeping on a tarp under a tree by my van.
Shirt: $2 from Salvation Army. Pants: (from 1997). Socks: free from Park Service. Crashing a wedding for free food and booze: priceless.
I charge up all my electronics (laptop, cell phone, and camera) at the library.
Lots of places on campus to fill up my water jug.
Students are not allowed to store stuff in gym lockers over night, but I've learned that the rules are rarely enforced. (I've only had my lock cut off once before.) I change my locker every couple weeks just so they don't think that someone's chronically breaking the rules. My first semester here I carried my gym clothes and shower toiletries everywhere, which was inconvenient to say the least. Having a locker at the gym--where I can keep my gym clothes, towel, and toiletries--makes things a lot easier for me.
I throw my trash out in a garbage receptacle on my walk to school. I use my plastic vegetable bags as garbage bags. I also reuse old bread and tortilla bags instead of wasting my money on ziplocks.
As I mentioned, it's starting to get really hot down here so cooking in the van is something I do less and less. Instead, I've been cooking on the lawn in front of my van. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this before I unveiled my secret since it would have looked awfully fishy for me to be cooking on the campus lawn with backcountry gear. Nowadays, though, I just don't care as much. Plus, I really enjoy cooking outside. It would be great to have my own little fire pit, too. My meal, here, is fusilli noodles with garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots with alfredo seasoning. Probably about $5 for everything.
Whole Foods puts out free cheese samples every day, sometimes as many as five varieties. To make it seem like I'm not taking advantage of the free helpings, I put on an air of a cheese connoisseur who's meticulously evaluating each selection while wearing an expression that seems to say, "Hmm.. the rubusto this week is well-aged. Would go well with a Syrah."
People have called me "masochistic" because of my supposed "tough" life. Either I've mischaracterized my life or there are just a lot of wimpy people out there who can't help but think that vandwelling must be all struggle and strain. The fact that I'm able to rent films from the library and watch them at "viewing stations" (see below), not to mention keeping up with my favorite TV show (The Office) on Hulu, should dispel notions that my life is tough and that I'm masochistic.
To see Part I of "Images of resourcefulness," click here.