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Settling into Van life in a pandemic - Week #2

This morning was a very emotional one for me (Saturday April 4). I found myself crying out of nowhere several times. This is very unlike me, but I suppose I'm allowed a negative day here and there given the circumstances.

When this pandemic started getting worse in Canada, I didn't have much time to process it because I was so focused on what we were going to do. "Stay home" is the message, but that wasn't an option for us given the fact that our condo was rented out in preparation for our travels around the globe. It took us about 5 days to sell my car, buy a camper van and get it safe for the road. I didn't stop to think much during those 5 days, nor did I sleep well. Every time we needed something all I could feel is how much we were bothering everyone. People who are already adjusting to such a catastrophe don't need anything being asked of them.

We finally sold my car to a very nice man from B.C. after a week of continually lowering the price. Andrew had such a great time chatting with him that he actually ended up giving him the keys before he paid for the car?!?!? (typical trusting Aspie). It all worked out very well.

We bought our camper van from an interesting traveler from Estonia who needed to get home. He cut his travels short due to the pandemic and was having a very hard time selling the van he had been travelling in. He told us so many great stories about his travels in Yukon and Alaska. I'm glad we got to help him get on a plane before his window closed to do so.

Then began the process of getting the van inspected, fixed, registered and safe for the road. Not an easy thing to do with social distancing, but we did our best and got it all done as quickly as possible. I'm very grateful that Andrew is so good with vehicles. We would of froze in that van those first few nights if he wasn't such a good tradesman.

I felt such a huge relief as we drove away from Calgary and headed somewhere warmer. I still feel like somewhat of a jackass travelling to a different province at a time like this, but it was simply too cold to stay in Alberta. We know this is going to last awhile and we need to park somewhere we can stay through all of this and be self sufficient. We will stay in the van as much as possible and avoid people on our travels, even if that means squatting over a jerrycan in the back until we get there.

We decided to drive near Osoyoos since it has the warmest weather. We had to stop for gas twice, I went in to tap at both places while Andrew pumped the gas. I'll never forget the look on one cashier ladies face as I paid, she looked so terrified. I stood as far away from her as possible. Someone came in to ask to use the washroom while I was paying and she acted as if he was an armed thug. Shaking her head intensely saying no with such terror in her eyes. Poor thing should have probably stayed home, but I believe she may have owned the gas station.

Public bathrooms were boarded up and the highways were the emptiest I've ever seen them.

We slept in the back of a Walmart parking lot in Pincher Creek that first night, and the second night at Canadian tire in Castlegar. It's a whole new life this whole living in a van thing, especially when you can't escape to a restaurant the way you would normally be able to sans pandemic. I was nervous to drive it, but I ended up doing OK aside from my back tires hitting a curb once - "wide turns Michelle...Wide turns".

We drove past Osoyoos near a town called Oliver. We had originally planned to park on public property near water and stay for a week then move on, but as we were driving they announced this social distancing and closures would continue all the way through April. I told Andrew I wanted to see if we could park in an RV lot away from people for a decent price. Showers, laundry and bathrooms are a necessity if we are to stay put for multiple weeks.

The first Rv/Motel lot we pulled into after Osoyoos had their vacancy sign on. Most campgrounds were closed so I felt relief as we spoke to the owner at a distance. He told us the tenting area was completely empty and we were welcome to stay. He even gave us a deal. He explained that the lot was full of his year round renters, most of whom were quarantined due to coming back from the U.S. I immediately felt at ease and like we had found somewhere we could stay until the pandemic calms down.

We've been here a few days now and I've only seen 2 people smoking outside of their R.V. We said hello to them from a distance as we walked to the washrooms and they told us about a number we could call if we needed groceries delivered. Not a single person on this lot is breaking their quarantine. If there weren't cars parked in front of the rv's I'd swear they were empty, you can't hear anyone at all.

Andrew is having tons of fun tweaking all the gadgets on the van, he's never bored. I'm extremely grateful for his autistic gifts with understanding how most things work.

Now that we are settled and somewhere comfortable for the first time in quite awhile, I'm looking forward to returning to my workouts, meditations, and books. Three things I've seriously neglected since moving out of my condo March 1st. That first workout tomorrow is going to be a rough one :P

My wish for us all this week is to do our best to turn inward. It's so easy to stay distracted by the outside world and focus on things we can't control. What you can control is you. What do you need today? Are you taking some self reflection time? Are you letting fear take over your life? Are you appreciating your health for what it is right now? Are you growing, learning, and adapting?? Or spending most of your time resentful or complaining?

In tough times like these it can be easy to be quick to judge others. We did what we felt was best for us given our situation, and we are happy with our decision. I hope in these times you are doing what you feel is best for you, without letting others opinions sway you too much.

Thank you for following our journey :)

Stay safe everyone,

BellaMima & Aspietraveller


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