Vanlife: Evaluating and Adapting

Small space living is very different, inviting intentional movement and forethought for everything — from cooking and cleaning up afterwards, to hanging shower towels to dry, to plugging in devices to charge, to refilling the water storage. And speaking of storage, we have ample room for everything; it is the configuring of and removing/putting away of appliances and meal prep accoutrements into cabinets that requires mindfulness.

I am used to winging it in the kitchen, using what I have in the fridge or pantry, rethinking a meal halfway through preparing it, and opening the fridge — often! This is not happening in Vanda…once I take what I need out of the fridge, the countertop then becomes the cooking area, so it is a hassle to get back into the fridge. I am observing this, I already see a flow within these first days, such that I have no doubt that soon I will have kitchen routines down. Last night’s dinner was salad as the appetizer, minestrone soup, pesto cheese bread, and wine. Yum!

This trip, thus far, has been to cities and towns in Florida via roads that are all new to us. As many visits as we have enjoyed in Florida, we have not been to the panhandle. We’re in Panama City now, which was devastated by tornadoes just this week; the damage to homes and businesses, and to the landscape as we drove through was heart-wrenching to see . The campground at which we are staying is huge, admittedly causing my heart to sink a bit as we pulled in, but leave it to John to have reserved us a space at the edge of the park, with few neighbors, adjacent to sandy dunes.

Our day started (after John went out for sunrise photos over the bay) with an utterly glorious morning walk — 2 hours through various terrains of swamp, bay waters, the ocean, a fresh water lake, dunes, and marshes. Astonishing! The bird life is rich here from wading birds, to shore birds, to song birds, to sparring eagles, and one resident kingfisher.

Later in the morning we rode around the campground, over to the ocean, and all around the park area. It remains surreal that we are on our own schedule, doing what we want, when we want! I know that I will get used to all of this so that eventually it no longer feels like vacation as the reality sinks in that we are actually living our retirement dreams! (iPhone photo of John)



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