Feb. 22, 2021
After over a year in my van and after reaching another city, Orlando, FL, I realized that I might have picked up a mice in my van.
I had reflectix under my bed so a couple of times, I thought it was raining outside, but found out instead something was walking on the reflectix.
Shortly after buying the van when I was in Houston, one night after Stealth Camping and dosing off to sleep, I had heard a mice in the van then. However, because the Van was so new and clean, the mice jumped out after one night.
The goal is to keep the van clean and your food in an airtight container. I had made it a point not to park near dumpsters, where these critters hang out, but they had still made their way into my van for the second time.
The first thing I did was to stop and just clean out everything. I did find a couple of pieces of rotten fruit such as an apple and watermelon, which might have attracted them in the first place, so it is important to account for everything – every piece of food — that you bring in your van.
If something falls on the floor in your van – make sure you retrieve it and start looking throughout your van every week or two to take inventory of everything you have in there.
I had done this practice since buying the van, however, because I was passing into a cold city and area, Atlanta, I had stopped looking through everything.
Once I heard the mice walking on the reflectix, I had found droppings (urine) on a stack of toilet tissue and paper towels – that I had stacked on one side. So I believe I had made myself a target by carrying so many of these items in my van.
Once I threw everything out – I cleaned out everything and now I can see all the way under my queen-sized bed.
I took three (3) steps specifically to get rid of the mice in my van and ensure that it stays out:
-First of all, I put out a bowl of cotton balls containing peppermint essential oil. If mice can’t smell they feel they are in danger and that is also how they find food so they have to be able to smell.
-Secondly, I bought Irish Spring soap – cut it in half, and placed it in every corner of my van. Again, the soap will block their ability to smell.
-Thirdly, I bought the Mice/Rat Glue traps from Home Depot and put peanut butter instead of cheese in the middle of it.
So far, I believe all these methods have been working in my van after I heard a mice or two in my van one night. I believe they did the job and again, I have a ‘peace of mind’ as I travel with my #VanLife.
Feb. 23, 2021
I grew up in rural Georgia so I had to deal with the cold early on as a child. I guess that is one of the reasons I have been okay out here on the road as a Van Dweller.
However, initially, when I started Van Life, I found myself unprepared a couple of times and had to endure the cold just like I did in the military, which back then was part of the training.
You want to take the following steps to keep warm out there in a Car, Van, RV, or in your home:
–Eat Chocolate: For some reason, chocolate will warm up your insides so it was recommended to me by other van lifers to eat chocolate. I did and it did work.
–Drink Hot Chocolate/Cocoa: I learned from a survival expert at the yearly event for RVers and Van Lifers to drink hot chocolate or hot cocoa instead of drinking hot coffee or hot tea. He said the effect of the coffee and tea would not last as long as the hot chocolate or hot cocoa. I believe he was right. I always keep hot chocolate in my van.
–Buy Sleeping Bag: Most people never think about just having a sleeping bag (or two or more) at home for emergency purposes, but this is a wonderful idea. I would even buy two of them and use the one on top like a tent to bring in instant heat when you get under there. Walmart sells them for $15. Make sure it is 20 or 30 degrees below. Even if the zipper breaks — if you buy a cheap sleeping bag, the sleeping bag will still serve its purpose.
–Wear Long Johns: There are plenty of long johns out there, but the best brand to really keep the cold out is ‘Cuddl Duds’. They are available at Walmart.
–Buy Electric Blanket: If you have any type of power source then Walmart has a $15 electric blanket, but again, you need some type of power source such as a power box, inverter, or generator to plug it up to. Most people prefer also not to go to sleep in an electric blanket because even on the low setting, they can get too hot. Many just use it to lounge around — before they go to sleep for the night.
–Wear Layers: Instead of putting on one big layer — wear layers of clothing so you can take items off if you get too hot.
–Wear Socks/Gloves/Mittens: Wear socks to lounge around in. Many people can’t sleep in socks especially if they are in a sleeping bag. The goal is to keep your hands warm because if your hands freeze then you can be at risk for frostbite so keep them warm by wearing gloves or mittens or just put socks on your hands for warmth if you don’t have these.
–Wear Hats/Scarves: The goal is to keep your head warm because most of the time warmth exits your body through your head and feet. Make sure you wear hats and/or scarves, which cover your ears and neck. The goal especially is to cover your chest area.
–Massage Your Shoulders: If your feet get extremely cold and you don’t have warm water to dip them into then try massaging your shoulders with some type of oil such as olive oil. It will warm up your feet.
–Snuggle Up: Make sure you snuggle up with your mate/spouse, children, or an animal. You can put a tent over the bed and create a wave of heat under the tent. An extra sleeping bag unzippered would work the same way as a tent over the bed.
–Check On Seniors: Make sure you check on Seniors especially elderly neighbors. Most Seniors die due to a lack of air conditioner in the summer and heat in the winter. Make sure the services in charge of checking on Seniors are actually doing their jobs.
The weather is an uncertain today so you need to have survival items at your place of residence at all times – whether you are living in a car, van, RV, or in a home such as:
-Extra clothing (coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, long johns, socks, etc.)
-Extra wood if you have a wood stove or fireplace.
-Power boxes (Jackery.com), inverters, generators, solar panels (small and large), etc. Remember any type of solar panel might not work if there is no sun out so be prepared.
Just because you made it out of this winter – not needing any of these items, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need these items in the near future. It could mean the difference between life and death – so be prepared and stock up. Good luck!
1. Will You Be Mobile or Stationary? Remember there are several types of Van Dwellers and RVers. Some move every 2 to 3 days, which can be costly (gas). Others move every 2 to 3 weeks, and others every month or two or every 6 months. However, a large portion of Van Dwellers and RVers are what you call stationary. Many times they are stationary due to their health, to be around family or they might have a job that doesn’t allow them to be mobile, so figure out early on what type of traveler you will be. Personally, I enjoy moving every 2 to 3 weeks. I like exploring and checking out one area at a time to see if I can come back to that area when I need to relax.
2. Have Some Type of Protection With You: It doesn’t matter what type of background you have. It is not safe to be out on the road with no protection. You might need a taser, pepper spray, bear spray, gun, pellet gun, knife, whistle, jogger’s alarm, take a self-defense course, etc. Read the article I wrote “Keep Safe When Camping.”
3. Get Regular Maintenance on Your Vehicle: You need to get regular maintenance on your vehicle especially if it is new. This might just take paying attention and keep a maintenance log. This way especially if you travel a lot, you will have your favorite places to get maintenance on your vehicle.
4. Carry Emergency Supplies With You: I believe some people just forget to carry the orange cones in case they break down on the freeway, fire extinguishers (at least 2), CO2 detectors, and plenty of batteries. Many new van dwellers and RVers end up getting on the road without these.
5. Clean Your Van Everyday: Remember living in your van is just like a house so it is important that you clean up everyday so you don’t attract flies especially in the heat. Also, try not to park by a dumpster because this is where rats hang out at – which can also get into your van.
6. Park Your Van Level: Park your van level, otherwise, you will be rolling out of your bed at night. I did not invest yet in any type of levelers for my tires. I just make sure my emergency breaks are on every night and I try to park level on a flat surface.
7. Download Weather Apps: Monitor at least 4 or 5 weather apps such as #Weather, #TheWeatherChannel, #WeatherNation, #MyRadar, #Windy, etc. You never know how the weather will change from day to day so take advantage of nice, breezy day — days where you can be comfortable especially if you only have a temporary build. At month number five (5), I made the statement that I finally feel like I am on vacation and the very next day, I literally almost blow away in my van. About 3 times I got up to go and find a building to park beside off that could block the wind off. So you have to be on your toes living in this lifestyle. You want to especially be careful on BLM.gov or National Forest land. It can be problematic if you fall asleep on this land and wake up in the rain in mud, so again, you have to pay attention. Also, one of the reasons I have not utilized it as much as I should is that I like being somewhere where I can get on the internet.
8. Birds Chirp All Night: I have been woken up all times of the night by the birds chirping. I do believe because of what has happened, we are moving back to nature and this is why you hear birds chirping at all times of the day and night.
9. Keep Changing Your Temporary Build-Out: I believe everyone who has a temporary setup will continue to make small or large changes to it. However, at this point, I don’t plan on spending any more money on my temporary setup. I did, however, go ahead and buy the portable solar panels (100 Watts) to charge up my Jackery 500 power box. That way I do not have to idle my car or drive just to charge up my box.
10. Get Referrals for Your Permanent Build-Out: If you still have a temporary build-out and you do need others to help with your build then get around others that can give you referrals. Attend events such as the yearly Van Build in November in Parker, AZ, and the yearly Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) in Quartzsite, AZ. Also, join caravans at www.Meetup.com/Caravans. The good thing about caravans and when you find your tribe. When you want to be alone, it’s easy to just get up and leave.
Many people on the road especially those that live in cars and van are viewed to be homeless. As a former veteran and a person that loves traveling and who has traveled quite extensively in the U.S., I feel quite lucky as a #VanLifer to have several residences that I can go to if I need to get off the road. First of all, my family owns over 30 acres in Georgia so I can always go back there or with other family members or friends in other areas.
May 4, 2020
My name is Cathy Harris and I teach Business Ownership through my line of Seminars and Workshops and I have two business books. I do believe these two professions, RV Inspectors and RV Techs will be in high demand especially after what has just happened in this country.
After the 2008 financial crash, many chose the Nomad lifestyle and turned to Car, Van, and RV living so I feel it will be the same this time, which will create many opportunities for RV Inspectors and RV Techs.
Many have said the Baby Boomer generation was the best generation. As a Baby Boomer myself, I believe this to be true. Some have regular monthly incomes so they have been able to go RVing with their grandchildren and other family members and just relax — as they see more than just their backyards.
Being stationary as an RV Tech has its perks, but so does being mobile. Marketing will be key for both of these professions. Not only should you market your business on the side of your vehicle, but also in local newspapers, RV radio shows and podcasts, but don’t forget to form relationships with Campgrounds and RV Parks, who can send referrals your way.
Let me know if you have any other questions on business ownership and don’t forget to check out my two business books “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business’ (Series 2) and “The New CEO: 185 Easy-To-Set Up Businesses for Youth and Adult Entrepreneurs.’
Cathy Harris Celebrates Six-Month Van Anniversary – #VanLife, #StarShip
Videos of My Temporary Van Build – #StarShip
Part 1 – My Temporary #VanBuild – #CathyHarris, #VanDweller
Part 2 – My Temporary #VanBuild – #CathyHarris, #VanDweller
Changes I Made to My Temporary Build – #VanLife
What I Did Wrong
What I Did Right
Mar. 26, 2020
The reason many people buy an RV instead of becoming a Car or Van Dweller is so they can have more space and all the comforts of home. Not staying cool while you are out there on your part or full-time adventures is not what RV, van or car dwelling is about.
Tips to keep RVs and Vans cool include:
Cathy Harris Educates on Staying Healthy on The Road – Van Life Health Playlist
Don’t Go to the Gym – Do a Detox Program First!
Did you know that many people will start the New Year off by joining a gym and by the month of March (some by Valentine’s Day) they will already be out of there?
Why You Should Engage in a Detox Program?
If you are apparently overweight with very low energy, then don’t go to the gym but instead engage in a detox program first. This process will take anywhere from 1 to 2 to 3 weeks depending on the type of detoxification program you choose from a health food store.
Remember your health begins in your colon so a colon cleanse (detox) should be a priority while you work your way up to a liver and kidney detox.
Detoxification (detox for short) is a natural healing process needed more than ever in today’s toxic world. Just as the outer environments in which we live can become polluted with trash, violated with industrial chemicals, our inner environments (our bodies) can become filled with toxic garbage as well.
Many of these toxins come from our diets, drug use, and environmental exposure. By engaging in a detoxification program we are actively assisting and supporting the body in its own natural cleansing actions to help in ridding the body of substances that may be detrimental to our health.
Learn how to find all the health food stores in your neighborhood and the type of detoxes you should purchase by reading the article at the end of this article or the health book.
Couch Potato Lifestyle
It’s estimated by many experts that this will be the first generation that WILL NOT outlive their parents. The main reason is Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) found in 90% of foods in grocery stores which have no nutritional value and leading a sedentary (sitting posture) lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle or “the couch potato lifestyle” has contributed to over 200,000 PREVENTABLE deaths a year. The leading causes of death for people with heart disease, cancer, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes are most strongly influenced by lifestyle.
What to Do Before Starting an Exercise Program
Before starting any type of regular exercise program see your doctor first to make sure your body can take working out. Remember to always start off slow (start off walking) then work yourself up over the next few weeks and months to a more intense form of working out, if and only if, you are in shape for that type of workout.
If you have been sedentary for some time, try exercising in water. Water aerobics are excellent for those who are overweight or who find walking or running difficult.
Some easy ways to add physical activity to your daily routine include:
Know the Dangers of Working Out in a Gym
Many people will start the New Year off by joining a gym and by the month of March they will already be out of there. Why? Because they should have engaged in a detox program first so they could gain the long-term energy they will need to pace themselves.
Did you know you can freeze your membership at most gyms if you don’t plan on attending for a while? Fitness gyms have memberships for $20 or $30 a month and you don’t have to sign a contract (LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, YMCAs, etc.). But be careful when working out in a gym.
Some of the dangers of working out in a gym include:
-Underqualified staff or physical trainers (untrained staff members pretending to know what they are doing)
-Bacteria on equipment (including exercise mats so bring your own or clean off mats) and in showers (always wear shoes)
-Faulty equipment (many persons have been paralyzed from using faulty equipment at gyms so pay attention and don’t exercise when you are sleepy or too tired).
Wear the Right Equipment to Work Out
It’s very motivational to have on the right equipment when you are working out especially your shoes. If you plan on starting a walking program then invest in walking shoes.
Sports Authority has a great selection of workout clothes and tennis shoes for under $60. If you have a foot injury then chances are you will stop working out altogether so invest in expensive socks so your feet can feel comfortable.
If you plan on starting an aerobic program then buy cross-trainer shoes. If you plan on running everyday then invest in running shoes.
Don’t forget that water bottle so you can sip water throughout your workout. Wearing the right equipment will help you feel good about yourself and will help you get results even sooner.
Warm It Up
Make sure you warm-up before exercising. Your warm-up is just as important as your workout, however, with busy schedules, people forget to stretch and heat up their bodies. Many just settle for a few toe-touches which can leave them in pain or injured.
A good warm-up will provide increased flexibility and will activate the necessary muscles for training and competition. It also speeds up your blood flow and causes your core temperature to rise, which will prepare you to train at your highest levels. Good preparation makes for a great workout.
Preventing Soreness When Exercising
Getting sore after exercising will not only keep you from continuing to exercise, it might make you stop all together. Therefore, to prevent soreness remember to use natural remedies for soreness versus the over-the-counter creams that can leak into your blood system and cause your body to become toxic.
For instance, always keep Epsom salt by your bathtub to use when you go home from the gym and for muscle cramps rub pure, unprocessed olive or flaxseed oil into your muscles before and after strenuous exercise.
The Right Way to Lose Weight
In order to lose weight, you must exercise. When you look at the people that are successful at losing weight and keeping it off, they are active, plain and simple.
Being overweight is caused most often by overeating and under-exercising. Excessive weight can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and gallstones.
Get Some Type of Cardiovascular Exercise
The more fit you are, the longer you are likely to live. Being fit usually means you engage in some type of “cardio” or “cardiovascular” exercise. Cardiovascular exercises are any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keep it up for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Everyone should be engaged in some type of cardiovascular exercise (fast or power walking, running, aerobics, swimming, bicycling/spinning, etc.) at least 3, 4 or 5 days a week for 30 to 45 minutes.
Learn more by reading my health book “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Becoming Healthier Over the Next 30 Days” (available as an e-book or paperback book at www.AngelsPress.com) or read the e-article below.
How To Engage in A Complete Detoxification Program
– E-article by CathyHarrisSpeaks.com
Van Life Health Videos
Van Lifer Educates on How To Stay Off Medications
What You Need To Know About Water, Dehydration and Alkalinity
Why You Can’t Breathe – #VanLife
Van Lifer Healthy Food Choices on The Road
How I Eat On the Road To Stay Healthy, #VanLife
New Nomad Introduces Health Food Stores to Nomadic Community and YOU
New Nomad Explains Natural Healing – #HowWeThink
Cathy Harris Share Her Health Journey/Testimony with the Nomadic Community – #VanLife, #HolisticHealing.
Websites Not Apps
Apps To Monitor Gas
Just some of the Memberships and Apps for RV and Van Dwellers include:
Most folks will be parking at RV parks and campgrounds, but today they have become overcrowded.
What You Need To Know About Parking An RV at Walmart
You can pay $4.00 a day for electric, $8 per day for full hookups (sewer, water, electric, trash, showers, etc.). Out of 30 state park campgrounds in New Mexico, 25 have FREE showers. Nevada also has state park passes.
It’s time for us to think as pioneers did back in the day when many people went out west on wagon trains to Oregon, California, etc. to make better lives for themselves.
Just some of the places to live include:
Quartzsite, AZ: Quartzsite, AZ is the home for RVers. The month of January RVers converges onto the area for 3 BIG RV events which last all month — the Women Rubber Tramp Rendevous (RTR), Rubber Tramp Rendevous for men and women, and a big RV show afterward. The group Escapees.com celebrate a big New Year’s celebration there.