She Gave the #VanLife a Go, and It Was Pretty Dismal

But Caity Weaver's recap of it is a delightful read
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2022 12:00 PM CDT
My Experience With the #VanLife Was a Flop
Stock photo of a van belonging to someone who hopefully had a better time than Caity Weaver did.   (Getty Images)

"That sounds bad." So pronounced Caity Weaver's husband when she told him she was going to give the #VanLife that's so popular on TikTok and Instagram a go for a week and write about it for the New York Times Magazine. The piece that resulted is so bad it's good, and entirely worth a read. Weaver explains that she was dispatched to California in February, with more than a little trepidation: She's a fearful driver, for one. With her husband uninterested, she brought her friend Michael along, and they rented a 2013 Ford Econoline E-150 that was far from the "Beyoncé tour bus" Michael was expecting. Its paint job made it look like "a vehicle a mobile vape company might use to dispense free samples" and the fridge ended up freezing their food.

"At no point was our van configured to accommodate the flung-open-door stunning vista shots that are hallmarks of #VanLife." Instead, their inside was a mess of stacked luggage, groceries, bedding, and kitchen items, she writes. Their travels took them from hot springs in Fresno to Yellowstone (where they seemed to spend most of their time futilely looking for parking) to Red Rock Canyon State Park to Joshua Tree (where expected wind gusts meant no fires, so they ended up eating at the nearest restaurant they could find without an hours-long wait, which meant they ended up eating sushi in the desert). "To suggest that the worst part of vacationing in a van is sleeping in a van is not fair to the other aspects of the endeavor," writes Weaver, "which are also all the worst part—but it is cramped, slovenly and bad." (The full piece is a delight to read.)

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