As a kid I used to think joining the circus meant only one thing: freedom. Traveling from town to town without a worry in the world. How awesome would that be? But it’s a kid’s dream. Or so I thought.
Today, decades later, I look around me and see people converting vans, buses and trucks into new homes. And using these homes to cut ties with ‘structured’ living. They’re on the go, living day to day and deciding in the moment where they want to go. The idea is so appealing and yet it also brings a certain amount of fear to my heart. Perhaps because I’m so used to ‘normal’ that the idea of doing something so inherently different from what I’m used to is making me pause.
So instead I research. I look over all the conversions that I find interesting and I watch YouTube streams of ‘new nomads’ who are making their way into the wilderness and desert. I’m watching their journeys, telling myself that I’m preparing for the future. And that’s not far from the truth because the best part of watching these journeys is seeing that it really is ‘doable’. The concept isn’t so foreign that these hundreds of people aren’t making their way through the world they way they choose to.
I know I’m not alone in my thoughts because there seems to be a VW van craze, making it quite difficult to find an old vw van to convert because they’re all so expensive now. So people are turning to other types of vans and converting them as well. The systems they’ve decided to use are quite ingenious and it seems they vary based on the design of the owner. But inherently they all do the job they’re meant to.
Solar panels installed on the roof or carried along to place outside when stopped do enough work to store power needed in Powerpack batteries. These space savers can keep power stored for a number of days, allowing you the ability to cook and make coffee in the morning. That in itself was a huge selling point for me. I have to have coffee and I would be in literal hell if I were stuck out in the desert without it.
Some have converted their gas needs to vegetable oil. While this is an amazing conversion, I’m still wary that I have the skills to make it happen. I’d probably consider installing more battery panels on the inside walls of my van and sticking with electric. But I do think that reclaiming water would be a major plus. After considering logistics I’m left to wonder if the idea carries more validity if you live in an area such as Seattle? Otherwise it seems collecting the water would add extra weight to the vehicle and use more gas. In the end I’d have to say that having a system would benefit you and you could choose when to take advantage of it.
I won’t be making any major life decisions soon. That could change, of course, but for the moment I’m happy exploring the different ways that people are accomplishing their dreams and severing ties to ‘normalcy’. I’ll share some more interesting aspects of these nomads as I continue my voyeurism into their world. And perhaps, one day I’ll make that world my own.