To be honest, it's been kinda weird trying to maintain a blog about living in a truck when I haven't, you know, been living in a truck.
It's sure a good thing I'm back in the truck then.
heard read that right. After a long, long year (and some change), I've sloughed off the normalcy of a one-bedroom apartment and slithered back into my truckly digs of yesteryear. And while the amenities and convenience of things like "electricity" and a "bathroom" and "not living in a legal grey area" were nice additions to my life, I've got to say that I'm glad to be back.
But Brandon, you were this close to being a well-adjusted member of society, what happened?
For starters, offices opened back up, which was really the main thing holding me back. As a rampant pragmatist, living in a vehicle has usually been about making good use of the resources available to me. And it turns out that tech offices are pretty great resources. But more directly, I think the truck still makes sense in the larger context of my life and goals, at least for the time being. Plus, I think I'd regret not giving the truck one last hurrah. How long will this last hurrah last? Who knows. Probably somewhere between a month and a year, I see a couple things on the horizon that might change the whole "does this still make sense?" equation. In any case, I'll let future Brandon take stock of the situation and make a call on that one.
A lot has changed since the last time I was truckin' it, the main thing being that I traded the comforts of my cushy big-company job for a comparatively scrappy, single-digit-number-of-people startup. I'm not walking distance from a dozen different buildings I can go into, I don't have cafes making me my every meal, yada yada. The new office is a unit in a larger business park, which changes the rules of engagement a bit. All in all, it's definitely required a bit of adaptation.
Because I'm consistently tardy with my posts, I've actually already been living my new truck life for like two months, and I think I've settled into a decent rhythm. I wake up around 5:30ish, bike ~15 minutes over to the office, hit the gym, shower, cook myself breakfast, and start my day.
Breakfast, indeed. The office has got a microwave and a fridge, and that's enough to make some microwave egg sandwiches,* and oatmeal with peanut butter. For the uninitiated, I know the phrase "microwave egg sandwiches" might sound a bit odd, but they're legitimately fine, and a useful tool in anyone's van life cookbook. One can find any number of recipes online, so I won't do you the disservice of trying to explain my probably mediocre variant. Not much needs to be said about oatmeal with peanut butter, it's delicious and nutritious and probably the closest thing I have these days to a religion.
I've previously detailed what I'd been doing for "exercise" within the confines of the pandemic. It amounted to aggressively deforming rubber bands and biking like I actually had a place to be. Prior to that, I'd been doing basically the same routine with slight variations for over a decade.
When I first saw the gym at the new office, I almost wept tears of joy. I didn't know if there was a gym at all, and if there was one, I was expecting the kind of gyms you see in hotels, which have a few decrepit treadmills, dumbbells between 2 and 17 pounds, and maybe a Smith machine. What I actually found was a fully loaded fitness center with not one, but two (!!) power racks, which is really all I need for my daily ritual of picking things up and putting them down. It took some MacGyver-ing to get the safety pins at the right height for every exercise so I can do them safely without a spotter, but with that squared away, I haven't had any problems. I'm very happy, and, after a year+ of not lifting, very sore.
The other main thing that has changed for me is what I do outside of work. In the Before Times, I had access to a vast campus where I could amble around and do whatever away from my team, and I spent most of my free time in an unrelated-to-my-day-job building in a cozy and quiet corner, reading a book or working on any number of esoteric projects. But now, there's not really anywhere obvious for me to go after I've put in my eight-or-so hours. I could go back to the truck, but at ~4pm it's still like 120 degrees, which isn't great. Plus, the whole point of the truck is that I don't spend time in the truck, so if I'm spending time in the truck, that seems…wrong? Instead of that, I could hang out in the business park courtyard, but my co-workers would be able to see me from the window, which would blow my cover, or at least encourage all sorts of questions that I don't have great
answers bold-faced lies for.
My solution has been to rediscover libraries. This happens to me probably once every five years or so, when I remember that libraries exist and am completely blown away at what an incredible resource they are. So after work most days, I'll bike ~15 minutes to a nearby library (which I picked up a library card for), and do my usual shenanigans there. Sometime around 8pm, I'll bike back to the office, get myself ready for bed, and head back to the truck.
All in All
I'm glad to be back. I appreciate the regimentation the truck provides for my schedule, and the bike ride to/from work and the library ensures that I'm vastly more active than I have been for the past year and a half. I know that it's not something I'll be doing forever, but I'll be damned if I don't enjoy it while I'm here.
*I learned about the concept of microwaving eggs from an on-again off-again van-dwelling friend of mine. I was incredulous at the idea such a thing could be good, but Srini made me a believer. So thanks Srini!