Living in a Van Soon


So I just bought a new van. Well, new to me. It’s a 1994 dodge caravan (a picture would be nice, jesse). 128K miles (pretty good!) good tranny, small oil leak, good AC, it’s good. Also it’s bright red and a little small.

Do you ever feel remorseful after making a purchase? I often do. This time is no exception. It’s not that I think I’m making a mistake, it’s that I think the van might be too small to house me and all my stuff, and possibly another person.

Oh, if I didn’t explain, I’m another step closer to living in a van. I somehow moved from the “you’re crazy” stage to “go for it!” I’ve given notice to my landlord. I’m moving out at the end of June. So, starting July, I’ll be living in that sucker. And it’s gonna be AWESOME! or really hot and lame.

Things I’m excited about!:
– living in the van, and getting to say I lived in a van for a while
– not paying rent, to anyone. $400 extra dollars in my pocket
– therefore, dramatically reducing my living expenses.
– being mobile, able to park anywhere, sleep anywhere
– living closer to work
– I will live simply, maybe closer to God.

Not excited about:
– hot inside van
– difficulty with keeping clean – no shower or sink! Walmart is my oyster. (and Gold’s gym)
– no refrigeration (no more Marie Calenders!), or wifi (but public wifi abounds)
– have to throw a bunch of stuff away
– fear of being caught, or being made fun of, or being persecuted for being a vanian.
– no electricity to charge my phone/camera/laptop/life
– worse gas mileage
– risk of van breaking down

Plus, it’s not very big, so I’m afraid it won’t all fit. Oh well. I’m praying that it will all work out. At least it will be an interesting experience.


10 Responses to “Living in a Van Soon”

  1. 1 Francine Phillips


    Your choice to be homeless is an interesting one and I think that you will learn alot in terms of how much of the world lives without water and electricity. You can buy electrical outlets that plug into your lighter in a car – I have one with three or four outlets that I can send you if you want or you can get one at Best Buy.

    I’m buying you a good GPS for your birthday and I’m going to send it asap to your work address. Make sure your Gold’s gym membership will work at any location. I also bought you a cookbook, A Man, A Can, and a Plan that I will send, although I think these same guys wrote a cookbook about making meals on your car engine – should have bought that one!

    Don’t forget that your Dad lived on a small boat and your sister lived in a school bus with solar panels and a wood stove, so I get the “off the grid” thing.

    I love you, am terrified for your choices and where God is taking you and hope you will listen to Him. What if he calls you to work at a hard job, ball in love, buy a home and raise a family? Is there something, somehow, less “spiritual” about that, too? Is this a bit of aecetism at work? Are you going to start scourging yourself or walking on broken glass? Or maybe you don’t see this as deprivation?

    Lots of people of my generation did what you are about to do. Not sure that we changed the world all that much or changed ourselves all that much. Ask any 60-year-old hippie.

    I”m interested in hearing what your friends think of this. LISTEN to them and know why you have made this choice. I wish you were doing this as a reality show or to make a documentary or as research for a book – in other words, with a sponsor who wants to find out what you are setting out to learn. But, you are starring in your own reality show.

    Be safe, be wise, write often.

    “I know the plans I have for you, to give you a future and a hope.”

    God bless,


  2. 2 Asher

    Do you still plan to work and stay in touch with society? Or are you cutting off all attachments (like the movie Into the Wild..which you should definitely see before you go) and seeing where the wind takes you?

  3. 3 jessephillips

    THANKS Asher! Yeah, I definitely plan on working and staying in the grid. I want to do, and go to churches and interview them and report on church innovation. I’m looking for a sponsor.

    Yes! Into the Wild. I did see that film a couple months ago, and I daresay that’s what gave me the interest in doing this trip. Well I’ve wanted to do trips like these for a long time, but then seeing that movie and some other things have emboldened me to try this.

    Yes, I’d like to work, do freelance or work for a company as a road trip associate or something (similar to the ).

  4. 4 Asher

    Thanks for the prompt response. You have an idea how long you will be on the road?

  5. 5 jessephillips

    Hey Asher, – um no. I think a year should do it. Maybe 6 months. All depends. I’d like to consider myself a journalist, covering innovation in the Church in America. Promoting, raising awareness.

    Mom. Thanks, mom. I do have a vision, I’m not quite doing the hippy thing. It’s a cross between the hippy thing and a commercial venture. Me desire is to see what’s going on at a few specific churches across the country (so kinda the hippy thing). The road trip idea, trying to get sponsors, blog, podcast – that is to monetize my desire. I think it’s worth at least a little. I want to do the road trip, and I want to provide a service to the Church. The only way I can do this is if I get sponsors.

    Actually, it’s not the only way. I could go without any money and play guitar on street corners, build up the site and try to sell ads to make ends meet, but that’s too risky, too rash – I don’t see that happening – although it would probably be much more interesting.

  6. 6 Daryl

    All I can say is “Do it while you can!”

    I wish I’d done something that crazy at least once in my life. Now I have 4 kids and the idea of all of us living in a van is a nightmare rather than an adventure 🙂

    Good luck!

  7. 7 Francine Phillips

    I just donated your guitar to the Middle School, so that option is out.
    Your GPS is on the way. Happy Birthday.

    Why don’t you ask everyone on your list to send you a $25 gas card in the next week while you still have an address?


  8. 8 Suzy

    Not crazy at all. You’re young, free of obligations, go for it! Get it out of your system now, while you can. If you smell clean and smile, you will find kind souls along the way who will feed you and maybe even invite you into their homes. Consider the ravens…

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