Adapting to Staying Put

hey friends, ashley here, currently typing this up in Moab’s Information Center parking lot where I have found (through extensive research) which parking space can connect to their wifi. so while rufio lays in bed, mad that he isn’t outside, I am hurriedly typing up sean’s notes so I can get back to being out of doors. sean is on a double today, so it’s just me and rufio. Now that i got that out of the way, let’s get started…

If you’ve been following our #vanlife journey since the beginning, you may be wondering how we’re adapting from our routine of moving daily and nonstop adventure, to being stationary in Moab for now, 6 weeks. I think it would be silly not to say that of course we prefer to travel around and not work, but work = money = travel = life, so work isn’t so bad when it’s literally paying for your next x amount of months adventures. That being said, there has been a ton of adjusting and a couple of growing pains that we finally worked through recently, and it has made staying stationary and working full-time much easier.

For starters, slowing down seems like a no brainer, but there is something about Moab that really makes you want to get after it, every day, every chance you get. Remembering that we have a few months here and that not every day can be an adventure was difficult the first few weeks, it felt like we were wasting precious days, but we have been setting intentional relaxation days on one of Sean’s days off and we try to just relax, do laundry, walk around town, check the PO Box, etc. It’s hard to not feel guilty for those days, but time off can be really good for mental + physical health and lord knows we need all the help we can get ;).

Not embarrassed to say that making friends as an adult is really hard!! Making friends as two people who don’t drink is even harder! For a lot of people, camping (and that’s basically what we are doing) means drinking, and as we approach our 1 year alcohol free mark, we have found that it really makes meeting + connecting with some people, much harder. Sean’s coworkers are all very nice and though we haven’t hung out with any of them yet, we definitely plan to all go rock climbing together soon and that will be really nice. Next week we are going to try to make friends through a rock climbing group- wish us luck. (side note: if you have tips for making friends for 2 introverts pleeeease drop them in the comments)

Because it’s a small town, Sean often interacts with old or not yet tables outside of work. The other day, a woman popped her head into the van and asked to pet Rufio, and we responded like that wasn’t the weirdest thing in the world (it was) and then Sean ended up serving her later that night at work, and she tipped very well! One day he saw 6 customers on the trail that he served the night before. Coming from Philly, we often react poorly when strangers approach or talk to us, and that is really limiting in this lifestyle, so we have tried to be much more accepting of interactions with strangers as funny as that sounds. You never know who you may meet! And we have honestly met some really rad people just from being open to interaction.

One unforeseen challenge has been event weeks, and definitely something we will keep in mind in any town we visit. Here in Moab the week before Easter is Jeep Week, where 100,000+ people come to town and drive their jeeps around, every camping area was at max capacity and our belongings were stolen twice which was a huge bummer, but not the end of the world. This past weekend was the Car Show and that brought very loud noises, busy campgrounds, and crowded everything. Although it was great for Sean at work, it made life a little more difficult for the weekend.

Eating right and consistently has been especially hard for us since staying stationary. With Sean working so much, I find it hard to cook for just 1 and often find myself skipping meals or ordering takeout. The days Sean doesn’t work are easier and we are getting better, but this is something we still need to focus on and figure out a good system. If we’re being honest, I think convenience outweighs a lot these days, which was never the case for us before. Rufio still gets his FreshPet though, so as long as he eats good that’s all that matters right?!

Working while living in the van hasn’t been as difficult as we thought it would be. As it turns out, we aren’t special. lol. Most of Sean’s coworkers live in their vans and have been super helpful in giving us the scoop on where to park in town, places to go, etc. Sean has really adapted well to working full time, but there are definitely days that are harder than others. If he works a double, and the weather isn’t great, or it’s 11pm, it kind of makes it hard to unwind without just getting right into bed and lying down. It’s not the best setup, but he has found reading or watching an episode of the simpsons on the laptop helps take his mind of work enough that he can get to sleep. He can shower at the Rec Center where we are members any time he needs, and there is a really great laundromat in town that we use weekly now. Much different then our old monthly laundry trips and bi-monthly showers before lol.

We recently got out of town for a few nights during Jeep Week and it was exactly what we needed and will be doing more of. I’ll definitely be sharing more about that trip later this week, but we stopped at the incredible Mystic Hot Springs, saw Pando, + visited Capital Reef National Park, it felt really nice to be out of town but also made us appreciate Moab and just how perfect of a setup we have here is.

Truth is, Moab has definitely been harder than we were anticipating. Living in your favorite town on earth doesn’t mean you will have zero obstacles or everything will automatically be hunky-dory, and that has been a humbling learning lesson. It’s been a huge adjustment from having no schedule or responsibilities, to having to stay put and have places to be, but this setup couldn’t be any more perfect. Sean is making well over $1,200 a week at his job, and that is taken all the pressure off the work we found out the van needs. Likely $2,000 more worth of work before we leave Moab. Not to mention, living in the van is no big deal here, because everyone is doing it, and that is SO NOT the case in most places. The town is setup for #vanlifers of all kinds, with free water, wifi, and parking, you can’t beat it. Then when you consider that this small town is surrounded by some BIG landmarks: Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, and those are just the ones that are a stones throw away, you can’t help but feel like you hit the jackpot.

We may be adapting slower than we expected, but our gratitude for this place, our life, and each other has grown rapidly since we arrived and that’s what is most important.

Rufio at the end of Fishers Tower Trail

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