I got back from Europe two days ago and drove the van back to my school's city yesterday afternoon. I parked the van by the water (livin' in a van down by the river!) and caught my evening class. After class, I stopped by a bar for a couple beers and a sandwich and then went back to my van to go to sleep. After settling in, though, I felt a little uncomfortable. I was parked in front of a big house with a BMW in the driveway, on a street with few cars parked on the street. So I moved the van a few blocks inland, to a slightly less rich part of town, and went to bed. It was really the perfect night to start my life as a van dweller. Partly cloudy skies and temps in the upper 60s. I opened a couple of the window vents and slept as well as I could, considering my brain is still in a different time zone.
This morning, I realized that living in a van also means living out of a backpack. I have a medium-sized military pack with three cargo areas. In the smallest area, I keep my pens and documents. In the middle area, I keep my toiletries. In the large area, I keep my books, folders, towel, and cloths. I strap my shower shoes to the outside, and there's also an outside pocket for a water bottle.
Then there's the matter of using the bathroom. I use a quart-sized Gatoraid bottle and dump it in public toilets when it's full. I use public bathrooms for Number Twos, and the school gym for showers. I plan on getting a bucket and plastic bags with kitty litter for emergencies.
Also on my immediate to-do list are obtaining replacement shades for the living area windows (two are broken), getting a curtain to separate the living and driving areas, and installing a sink. I'll keep you all posted on how I accomplish these tasks.