Sunrise, Sunset: Swiftly Flow the Days

This life! Such richness, abundant natural beauty, adventures, and learnings…

We are early risers, familiar with a 0500 alarm not only from our working days but more important to retirement, we routinely awaken early to watch the sun rise. And by watch, I mean that I observe and appreciate while John is busy capturing the beauty through his photographs. We don’t see every sunrise of course, and there are times when I do not venture out of Vanda to share the experience with John, but for the most part, watching the sunrise together is a blissful way to start our day together. 

Sunrise this morning on Mistletoe Lake, Georgia

Sunsets are equally glorious and depending on our campsite location, this is another shared activity – a beautiful way to wind down the day. Each sunset, and sunrise, is unique and not all provide the depth of color in the clouds that John cherishes for composition; and speaking of composition, it is not enough to have clouds but a foreground of a meadow or trees or tree snags is practically mandatory for a “good photo” (his perspective, not mine).

Sunset, Jekyll Island Georgia

We’ve seen many a spectacular sunrise and sunset together over the years, but in this vanlife travel, there are endless opportunities if the conditions are just right, as mentioned above. A new condition, one that has become front and center as we immerse ourselves in woods and meadows in and around our campsites, is bugs. 

Bugs. There are a lot of biting bugs in the spring, which will presumably continue to be an issue into our summer and fall travels. Oh, we know bugs. We’ve been backpackers and hikers for all of our years together but there is something different about the swarms of mosquitoes in the Everglades that hover outside of Vanda just waiting to get inside or patiently waiting for us to become their next meal when we venture outside. There is something appallingly intolerable about NoSeeUms that come in through the screen mesh of our windows and vents leaving too-many-to-count itchy welts, over every square inch of skin. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the balance of nature but hadn’t much considered the coexistence with bugs when we began this adventure. 

When I am in the garden at home, or on a day hike, I do not hesitate to apply plant-based bug repellent, and when I am ready to go into the house, I go right to the shower – I would never sit on the couch or start cooking a meal all slathered with bug repellent. In Vanda’s cozy space there is little margin for error, as the bed and two cloth chairs do not allow for down time with either sunscreen or bug repellent having been applied, so when we cannot shower conveniently, this adds a logistics consideration.

Now we know. What have we learned? 

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. This is against my personal choice—I like lightweight clothing and as little of it as possible. I do not favor being cloaked in warm weather. I will have to adapt to this strategy. But if it means not having to use, or using less, bug repellent, it is a worthy consideration.
  • We are going to purchase a bug zapper to hang on the outside of the van, likely on the awning, in the hopes that lures those suckers (literally) in, then zaps them. 
  • As well, we are each adding to our mosquito-repellent clothing options, including a bandana. As much as I eschew chemicals, particularly on my skin, the bug bites I have sustained on this trip are intolerable. Another opportunity for me to adapt! 
  • We will buy NoSeeUm mesh, specifically designed to keep those buggers OUT of our living space! We are visualizing a huge curtain that can be attached with magnets to Vanda’s body, by the side door and somehow clipped to the awning. Seriously folks, the exposure over 5 days and nights to the NoSeeUms was nightmarish…

I am going to let bug thoughts fade now to revel in sharing some sunrise and sunset photos, as I write from a campsite that has NO bugs! Not a single one! We are sitting lakeside at Mistletoe State Park in Georgia, being serenaded by oodles of songbirds, enjoying an utterly relaxed morning without a sense of having to get ready for another activity. Down time for us is still a new phenom but wow is it fabulous to have unscheduled hours. Swiftly Flow the Days, indeed.



Related Posts



* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp