April Thorpe is a digital nomad living the van life in Seattle, WA. She is a blogger at Travelling Wanderer where she writes about van life, camping and solo travel. You can keep up with April by following her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
How long have you been living in your van for?
For approximately five months.
What parts of the USA have you seen by living in a van?
I have seen California, Oregon, and Washington thoroughly. Next, I plan to travel up to Canada and around the Eastern parts of Washington. I plan on travelling more states in the spring and summer time.
Why did you choose to live in a van?
There were two reasons I chose to live in a van: simplicity and adventure. I was already looking into tiny living options and found the challenge of van life intrigued me. I was living in a condo with a high-end job, and made the decision that I did not want to live a life of material possessions so I quit my job, and started to sell all my items. Once I had enough money, I bought a van and renovated it myself. The process all happened very quickly, but I do not regret it at all.
What do you do for a job?
For the past six months I have been blogging for a business. I do social media marketing, freelance website design, and more. I typically write articles for others websites and get paid in return for these posts. Van life has enabled me to sustain this lifestyle.
Tell us about your travel blog
Travelling Wanderer is a blog that is filled with adventures whether it be camping outdoors, van life, travelling solo, and so much more. I would say my niche is being a nomadic travel blogger. I’m in my twenties, and I share my experiences of going against the norm of what society wants me to be. I quit my 9-5 job and dedicated my life to a travel and adventurous lifestyle full-time. My readers can expect honesty from my blog; I am real when it comes to this lifestyle, and I want others to feel like they can achieve the same goals I have if they set their mind to it. I share my adventures with my readers and hope to inspire them to go travelling.
Why did you start your travel blog?
I wanted a place to document my adventures no matter what those would be. Writing has always been a deep love of mine and I wanted to inspire whoever comes across my blog to travel. I also thought it would be neat to someday look back on the adventures and the things that I documented.
What is the most difficult challenge you’ve faced living in your van?
One of the most challenging things is facing van life during the winter time. It’s a huge challenge to live in a vehicle during cold, rainy winters, and it’s a big change from living in California. When I bought my van in California, I didn’t know that I would come across multiple leaks in Washington. At this moment, I am having to face dealing with leaks in my van, my home. This is by far the most challenging experience about living in my van.
What are your tips for staying warm in your van?
When it comes to staying warm in your van during the winter months, make sure your van is insulated. Personally, I have two different options. I have a buddy heater that runs off propane for when I don’t have an electrical hookup. If I do have an electrical outlet, I have a heating blanket and a little heater that keeps the van toasty during the night time. I don’t leave the propane heater on all night, but it helps when it does get chilly. I also have plenty of blankets on my van and a subzero sleeping bag just in case.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had while living in your van?
One of the most memorable experiences that I have encountered is the views that I have gotten from my van. I have been able to have million-dollar views during my travels, and that is something that’s free. I’ve been able to see beautiful places, and I’ve been able to witness some incredible sunsets as well.
Have you had any bad experiences?
One of the scariest experiences was when I had a police encounter while I was stealth camping. It was about 10:30 at night, and I saw bright lights and heard a knock on the door. I had never been in this situation before, so I wasn’t too sure what to do. Of course, I was nervous and just was honest with the officer. He ended up letting me know that I couldn’t park there and to be careful around this area. I was thankful I didn’t get a ticket.
What is your favorite product you have purchased for your van?
One of the favourite products that I have bought for my van is my mattress. When I was building my van, there were several bed options that I could have gone with. I ended up making my bed out of wood and with plenty of storage underneath. When it came to choosing a mattress, I had to pick what would be the best one. I ended up selecting a 6-inch memory foam mattress from Amazon.
How much money do you think you’ve saved by living in a van?
When I was travelling around Oregon and California, I was saving around $1500 a month by living in my van. In states that were less cold and more familiar, I was able to stealth camp more comfortably and not have to worry about hooking up to an electrical source. As of right now, I am hooked up in a state park so that I don’t freeze in my van overnight.
What would you say to other women who are thinking of living in a van solo?
If you are going to live solo in a van, I would just advise to be careful. Make sure that you do plenty of research and stay in areas that are safe. Keep protective items on you such as a taser, and perhaps pepper spray. Always be cautious of your surroundings, and try not put yourself in a sticky situation. Living in a van is amazing, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to do it.
What are your future plans in regards to van living?
Those plans are yet to be decided. As of right now, I plan to keep on living in a van and soon in the future upgrading to something newer and more secure.
How can readers keep up with your adventures?
I think one of the best ways to keep up with my experiences is to follow me on Twitter. That is my primary platform, and my readers typically keep up on there. I am regularly tweeting about things that I am doing and new adventures that I have encountered. I also share my blog posts weekly when they come out.