Single Van Life Mom Shares Tragic Thanksgiving In A Van With Son

Being a single mom celebrating the Holidays while living in a van can be rough or very rewarding. Last year (2019) on Thanksgiving, I felt like I let my son down. I was feeling embarrassed but Carter handled the unexpected events so well. I was embarrassed because I believed that he was too young to understand the consequences of some unexpected tragic news along and the challenges of me being a single mother. No matter what...I’ll never forget this wide eyed van life child looking at me and saying… “It’s ok mommy.” 😯😃

A week prior, we were #vanlife camping happily at Big Basin Redwoods State Park for a week. It was so serene and family friendly! It felt like we were bears tucked far away in the mountains. We had a designated camping spot without electric, WiFi, cell service or worries. We had everything we needed and the situation was so perfect and peaceful. 

Eventually, we started running out of firewood and the campground had some but I didn’t feel comfortable paying $8 a bundle because we were still pinching financially wherever we could if we had alternatives. I.e cheaper firewood in town. We strategically used the last of the firewood to cook dinner at night and we used the coals to make hot cocoa. 

The following morning, it was checkout day and I wanted to stay longer but it was getting cold and all I wanted was a hot bath! Not a shower! A bath! 🛁  After camping outdoors and hovering over a continuous fire, I felt covered in dirt and soot. I really wanted to soak, lather and exfoliate then I wanted to stretch out in a big bed. 🥰 “Endless hot water” and a big bed are a total luxury for a van lifer. We appreciate it rarely beats the scenic destinations we can rest and relax in for free! So every now and then we book a place primarily to use the big bathroom. Lol 

I’m super selective about what Airbnb’s or hotel we stay in because 1. I have a free moving hotel place to sleep at for free! 

2. I only book hotels to have access to certain amenities. I.e.. Pet friendly, free parking, free breakfast, must have a tub, pool, hot tub, gym or a lounge to work or go on a date in. 😆😂 (Shhhhh! More on that later.)

3. Last but most importantly, great customer service is everything! I don’t want to pay for a gross room nor to deal with nasty attitudes. I read reviews! 

Rates in California are high and It took me about 3 hours to find and get to a good hotel that fit our budget. It had all the amenities we could look forward to that made me feel like the total cost was worth the 3 days we’d spend there while it poured down freezing rain. I felt that the rain was another reason to justify my investment! I didn’t want to be in the van all day and we couldn’t drive far from the area yet to escape the rain.

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