‘Ouch’ I bumped my head for the 20th time. I think a permanent bump may be forming on my head now. It feels a bit cramped until I push our bed up so that it hooks into our pop-top roof. My two girls aged 1 and 2 ½ just woke up. Since they are so little, we decided that my husband and I would sleep in the pop top, and my 2 ½ year old would sleep on a mattress on the floor, while our youngest would sleep in the trunk/hatch back area, like a make-shift crib. It worked well for the most part, but was a bit uncomfortable in the night when I had to sit breastfeeding the 1 year old to sleep on the back seat while my husband laid, cramped on the floor trying to put our 2 ½ year old to back to sleep.
Our girls like a little cuddle in the morning, so my husband and I both just came down from our pop-top sleeping quarters. It’s a bit past 8 am, and I am quietly thanking the black-out blinds we have in the van that keep it dark after the sun is up. The girls’ bedhead hair has sand in it. They need a bath. In fact, we all could use a good scrub down. Dusty (the van) is getting pretty sandy himself, and no matter what we do it just keeps coming in. I think it bothers my husband more than me. He seems a lot happier since we bought a hand vacuum, even though we still need to find a place to charge it so that it will work. It’s not that I particularly like being sandy, it is just that I know that sand in my hair comes with the territory when camping and surfing in Tofino, and I’ll take that tradeoff any day.
My husband opens the sliding door to our camper van. Our 2 ½ year old puts her shoes on over her sleeper and dutifully starts helping him make breakfast. The sliding door closes and our 1 year old protests. I pass her a spoon to play with while I get our dishes, food and coffee ready to hand to my husband. He opens the back hatch door and I hand him the goods. I get dressed, then start removing the black-out blinds and putting away the beds. My 2 ½ year old comes back in the van to get changed. My 1 year old is ready to get moving, but keeps tripping on the step between the floor and the sliding door, so my husband pulls her outside. I hold my two year old back, and push the door shut, to finish getting her ready for the day ahead.
Breakfast is ready. I drink a much needed coffee after being up 4x in the night, each time crawling down from the pop-top bed, stepping over my sleeping toddler and pulling my 1 year old out of her make-shift crib for soothing. Amazingly, I still managed to get a total of 8 hours of sleep, but only because I called it a night promptly at 9pm. The hot coffee sends energy through my veins, and I am ready for the day.
My husband clean ups, packs the van, attaches the roof rack and puts the surfboards on the roof, while I play pirates with the girls in the woods. I have to be sure to keep my unsteady 1 year old from launching herself off logs and eating dirt and rocks. I start to wonder if she ate enough at breakfast time, and plan to give her a few extra snacks on our drive. I see the signal from my husband, take one last sip of coffee and with a loud pirate Arrr, we are heading to the beach to catch some waves, explore the sand and continue enjoying the Van Life.
Written by Annika Mang & her family of 4 in their 93 VW Eurovan. More pics and Social media links below.