Well, van life may be over for now.
I moved out of it a week a go. The weather is cold, there's been a few incidents recently that have affected my sense of safety, I now feel as though it's time.
In October, on a well-lit street corner in the middle of down town, my passenger side window was smashed and laptop, gym bag, kindle were taken. Then, earlier this month, whilst parked in a friend's driveway, someone climbed into the van at 4:30 am. As luck would have it, I'd forgotten to lock the doors before going to sleep, and as a result, I was awoken by the door ajar alarm and cabin lights coming on. I was incredibly incoherent but managed to react in a semi-reasonable manner. I sat bolt-upright and yelled, "What the fuck!"
They exited (I never saw their face). I was too spooked to remove my window coverings and try and get a good look. I locked the doors, honked the horn once, then called 911. Within minutes the police came (with a dog). I explained that I'd been drinking and was sleeping in the driveway instead of driving home. They applauded my decision and ignored the cat sitting on the dash board.
I think the main reason I'm done is due to the changing temperatures and the diminished light at this time of year. I've taken a temporary sublet til Spring. I'm leaving the option to renew van-dwelling open til then. The different violations I've experienced during the past year, the only really upsetting one was the broken window in October. The violence of that act really changed my feeling on the streets at night. I do not begrudge the taking of my belongings/posessions, but the aggression of the smashed window really crushed a lot of my tired spirit.
The experience has been a delightful one, though. I see this as the longest stint of urban van dwelling I'll ever do. I could imagine adopting the lifestyle in the summers for a time, but I'm not all that committed to one way or another currently. I've been so supported by my loved ones in this city. Even the ones who didn't really understand the decision, extended their love and support to me. And the virtual van-dwelling community as well, has been an invaluable source of community.
So much love and curiosity and gratitude. It's been an incredibly difficult and an incredibly affecting year. One for the record books. xo