A passion for exploration made the decision to live in a camper on the back of her Tacoma truck an easy one for local physiotherapist, Charla Gaudet. Before a trip to Chile with her partner, Mitchel, the couple decided to give up their apartment, which had become more of an expensive storage unit for their camping equipment. While travelling, they explored the country in a van decked out for van living. As they headed back home, they knew this way of life was for them.
For Charla, the freedom of not being attached to anything permanently set on the ground, and being able to get up and go wherever she wants, is more enticing than keeping up both a home and a mobile space.
While Charla and Mitchel have yet to deal with winter in the camper, their travel experiences have taught them much about being prepared for any, and all, conditions. Their home on wheels is equipped with a propane heater, and there is very little space to heat. Warm blankets and layers are a must. Rainy weather makes for a damp wardrobe but once the sun is out, Mother Nature becomes the dryer.
Dealing with laundry is easier than most people would imagine. Laundromats exist, and friends invite them over and tell them to bring their laundry and enjoy a nice shower. The camper doesn’t have a shower but Charla says they’re happy without one, perfectly content jumping into a lake and using some biodegradable soap and lathering up. “Besides, no one wants to shower in a cramped space with a shower curtain sticking to you.
What they miss is consistency. “Every day is vastly different and sometimes that can be a little stressful,” says Charla. “But it’s definitely worth the swap.”
If you’re thinking about taking the home-on-wheels plunge, but remain unsure, Charla’s advice is to find a creative way to temporarily rent out your home while testing out van (or other RV) life. She explains that “it can be difficult to give up most of your possessions, but doing it slowly can ease the stress.”She also suggests that you make a plan, set a date, and start small. “It can be daunting to think about what things you’re giving up to go live in the woods.”
Charla definitely sees themselves doing this long-term. The liberty of waking up and hitting the road to explore the next place is their current reality—one they’re embracing wholeheartedly.