Archive for July, 2010


Home #102

Squamish Valley.

This story breaks my heart. One of my plans for this summer was to volunteer at Basscoast The Sequel, a phenomenally beautiful festival full of phenomenally beautiful people starting right now on the banks of a phenomenally beautiful river in the Squamish Valley. In fact I did that much, for one day at least. On Tuesday I went up to help with set-up, planning to stay for the week and right through the festival… thinking I’d be diligent with doing my math homework in between dancing and meeting people and getting sunburnt. Realistic, right? That first day I met lots of dazzling people and worked hard (mainly digging holes)… and finished one calculus problem. Not enough, not even close. Wednesday morning I woke up and had to face the fact that if I stayed math would be totally hopeless and I’d be losing another five days of study. Given that I’m still not even near finished the material nor do I understand what I have covered, given that my exam is in less than 3 weeks, and given that the next 4 years of my life and a 30-year dream are resting on it, I had to give up the festival. sniff.

If you’re free this weekend, get yourself down there, I went last year and there’s so much love that goes into it, it fills you up til it’s spilling out your ears. That’s where my heart will be. For all the people that do go, have an amazing time, and if you’re reading this after coming back, write a little something here about what it was like. And finally even though I can’t go I want to say thank you and big love to Liz, Andrea, and Andrea, AKA the Basscoast Girls, for doing what they do, it’s such important, beautiful work. You rock!!!

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Horseshoe Bay. The entire town is covered in signs that say no overnight parking except for residents. Seriously, the whole town. It makes sense I suppose; if they didn’t do that all the folks that commute to Vancouver on the ferry from the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island would leave their cars all over town. I ended up having to sleep in the one place those people can leave their cars, a parking lot under the freeway just outside of town. Quite peaceful, actually.

soft cheese

I finally broke down and bought a cooler. Seems like the obvious thing for a vandweller but I resisted fiercely, for a number of reasons. The biggest was that space is precious. Now that I spend several daylight hours in the van every day I need to keep my space uncluttered, so the last thing I wanted was one more boxy thing to deal with. I also didn’t really want to be buying ice every day… spending money, consuming plastic… the only other way to cool the cooler would be to stash ice packs in my friends’ freezers, but then I’d be dependent upon housedwellers, i.e. cheating! So it would have to be ice… then there’s the annoyance of food floating around in the melted ice water… all around I just didn’t want it.

It was the cheese that finally made me cave. All this time I’ve been stuck with the hard cheeses that keep well… Emental, Asiago… fine cheeses, but you know, I missed my soft old friends… Cambezola, Havarti, chevre, Macedonian feta. So now I buy the ice, I fill the box, I shuffle it around, I dump the water, and I resent the hell out of it… but I love my cheese!

Side bonuses: now I can buy yogurt too, and I don’t have to scarf down my hummus in a day.

I know, I know, it’s sunny and hot, everyone’s happy, blah blah blah. I like it too, but vandwelling in summer is actually turning out to be a pain in the ass. I’m much more restricted than usual in the food that I can keep, I always have to find shade parking, even at night I have to think about where the sun is going to come up in the morning, or else the the second it hits the van the heat will wake me up. Tuesday night was horrible… my light-tight super-private window panels don’t allow enough air in for nights like that, and I was suffocating. Around midnight I gave up trying to sleep, took a bottle of wine and a headlamp to mosaic park, and struggled with calculus problems until it cooled off.

The next night, Wednesday, I was dreading going to bed, and for the first time I really missed my old apartment… in summer I would leave the patio door open all the time, and on really hot nights I just slept out on the balcony… then it hit me, of course! Sleep outside.

At first I thought the beach would be perfect, but I didn’t want to drive all the way across town, or deal with sand, or wake up with the tide licking my feet. So I went over to Trout Lake, took a blanket and a pillow, and found a perfect little alcove made by three conifers. Slept on the grass under the stars, cool and comfortable, and I loved it so much I went back to the same spot last night too. Sure, it re-opens that whole is-it-camping-or-is-it-homelessness question… all I can say is, both nights I went to bed happy, and both mornings I woke up extremely pleased with myself. My new home in the park!