Van Life Frequently Asked Questions
How do you receive mail? What do you use for an address?
I rent a private mailbox. I rent one year round in Louisiana as my "main address". When I'm away, I leave the key with a friend to collect mail for me. That being said, most of my bills are paperless. I don't receive mail often.
I will also occasionally rent a private mailbox if I'm visiting another city for an extended period of time. So, if I plan to visit San Diego for the summer and get a seasonal job there, I'll rent a San Diego PMB to use for the W2/ 1099 forms. Private mailboxes are very cheap ($12-$15 per month) and appear just like regular addresses. For example: 123 Main Street #123, San Diego, CA. I usually find these mailboxes at small Mom and Pop type shipping stores. These work well for me for both job applications and receiving mail/ packages.
When will you upgrade to a larger van or RV? What would to choose?
I will upgrade to a larger van at some point in the future. I'm interested in Sprinter vans (though they are VERY expensive) or a standard cargo van (Ford, Chevy). I would consider adding a high top to the cargo van and then building a custom camper conversion inside. I'd also consider upgrading to an older Roadtrek or Class B RV (although those are also very expensive!) I plan to keep the Element for another year before upgrading to anything larger.
Where do you shower?
I shower at the gym. I have a Planet Fitness membership. There are over 1000 Planet Fitness locations all over the United States. When I'm on the road, I find the nearest PF and shower there. Membership is $20/ month. Well worth the cost, in my opinion!
Where do you go to the bathroom?
I use public restrooms. Gym, grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, parks, beaches, etc. There are restrooms everywhere, especially in cities. A lot of them are open 24 hours a day.
Do you carry weapons for protection?
I prefer not to disclose this information.
How do you make money on the road?
I work seasonal jobs in places I travel to as a primary source of income. For example, surf instructor in San Diego for the summer, working the Sugar Beet harvest in North Dakota in the fall, etc. I also do freelance web design and freelance video editing.
What year is the Element? What trim? Does it have AWD?
It's a 2003 Honda Element DX. It does have AWD.