Hey there, fellow van lifers! Today, I'm going to spill the beans on the glamorous side of van life – showering with a solar shower and embracing the great outdoors for bathroom breaks. Spoiler alert: it's not as romantic as Instagram makes it out to be.
So, picture this: I'm parked in a beautiful spot, surrounded by nature's symphony of chirping birds and rustling leaves. The sun is shining, and my trusty solar shower is soaking up those rays like a thirsty sunflower. Now, I may be living the dream, but let me tell you, there's an art to mastering the van life shower. First things first, setting up the solar shower is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded. It's a dance of twisting, turning, and praying you don't accidentally spray yourself with ice-cold water. And don't even get me started on the water temperature – it's a delicate balance between scalding your skin off and feeling like you're bathing in melted ice cubes. Once I've conquered the solar shower ballet, it's time to embrace the liberating experience of showering in the great outdoors. Picture me, shampoo in one hand, scrubby loofah in the other, dancing a jig to keep warm while avoiding curious woodland creatures. It's like a private spa day, if your spa day includes a potential audience of squirrels.
The IV Medical Pole I Found to hang My Solar Shower Off
One time up in the hills above Santa Barbara I happened upon the most unexpected helper to my solar shower woes...a medical IV pole stashed in the bushes! I didn't question my good fortune upon happening across such a wilderness find, and happily lathered up whilst my shower hung precariously on my newfound treasure. I was bummed to leave it behind, but it sadly would not stow anywhere in the van...perhaps we will reunite again one day.
Watch my Youtube Video on how I take a shower as a Solo Female Van Lifer
In addition to my solar shower I will partake of a campground shower on the rare occasion if I find myself in need of the amenities and locale of a campground, which I prefer to avoid, but sometimes it happens. I have also been known to enjoy the bitterly cold beach shower on occasion. Initially I thought I would never, and that it would be a painful experience due to my deep aversion for anything cold, but, in reality, I have grown to embrace the refreshing and rejuvenating qualities that a cold shower provides. I have never subscribed to the van life go to for showering in gyms, mostly because it logistically doesn't make sense for me. I really do try to avoid being in a city, other than the regular chore day of getting water, groceries, laundry, etc., and hightail it out of there as fast as humanly possible! The great outdoors is where I am happiest, so there is no time to be languishing about in city life.
Now, let's talk about the call of nature. Going to the bathroom outside is an acquired skill that van life women must master. Forget porcelain thrones; we're talking about squatting with a view. It's all about finding that perfect spot – you know, one with a scenic backdrop to distract you from the fact that you're essentially watering the plants. But beware of unexpected guests! I once had a stare-down with a deer mid-pee, and let me tell you, Bambi was not impressed. I like to think I earned some wilderness street cred that day. I'm also acutely aware of my surroundings and any fellow campers that may be nearby, so as not to moon them with my ghostly white bottom.
I chose not to do my "business" inside my van as I coveted all the space I possibly could, when building out my van, for my art business. And peeing and pooping outside is nothing new to this nomad. I grew up off grid in the wilds of Alaska, popping a squat amongst the towering trees of Tongass National Forest with wild eyes peering at me through the dense woods, a common, everyday occurrence. There is in fact a recounting in my sisters memoir "Raised in Ruins" about me cluelessly jaunting off down the trail to the outhouse hidden deep in the forest, without a care in the world, until..."The Incident". You will have to get her book to read the story and all the shenanigans my siblings and I got into as wild Alaskan Bush Kids!
My Tiny Home/Art Studio on Wheels, Optimized for Working as a Full-Time Artist
I'm not going to share photos of me digging a hole, or squatting over it for the internet, haha! Some things just really need to stay private, in my opinion.
I always follow the Leave No Trace (LNT) philosophy when enjoying a bathroom break outdoors. I have my trusty little serrated shovel (serves as a weapon if I need as well) in one hand and a little eco-friendly doggie bag in the other, with toilet paper of course. I dig the required minimum 6 inch cat hole, do my business, cover it up, and pack out my toilet paper in the doggie bag, disposing of it when back in civilization. Also following the LNT rule of never partaking of the outdoors natural bathroom within 200 feet of any water. Sure, it's obviously not the most convenient way of living, but I wouldn't give it up for the beauty of why I chose to do van life, and that's to be one with nature, to immerse myself in the gloriousness that is mother earth.
In conclusion, van life showers and outdoor potty breaks may not be the pinnacle of luxury, but they sure make for some unforgettable tales. So, here's to embracing the quirks, mastering the solar shower tango, and finding the humor in life's most "natural" moments. Happy van life adventures, my fellow wanderers! 🚐✨
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