Let’s start with why I decided to live in a truck? I dislike to live in a house. After being on the road for 5 years where I camped mostly in a tent I distanciated more. Then I met my husband on a farm in Paraguay. Geo, came with this extra ordinary idea (to which I had to get accustomed). He wanted to move out of his house too and I soon was appealed to the idea of living in a truck.
A truck is small enough to have the basics yet it does not make you feel imprisoned or ‘enslaved’ as a house does.
With a truck one can still get far in nature, live off grid and outside society but one can not be unseen as with a little tent.
And that is why I wrote this post, while we were standing in the glowing sun, baking in our truck. That was just a few weeks back, the height of Spanish summer at the Costa Blanca.
While we’d parked our nearly 3.5 meters high truck on a plateau where not a single tree can accommodate us with shade. Where the 8.5 meters long vehicle is anything but unseen, we have fled once again to our house, which I so desperately tried to avoid.
A few general outlooks on living in a truck
I find life needs to be lived by the level of satisfaction, given the mindset is basic, anchored to a normal lifestyle and fundamental morals. I honestly think much driving around with this heavy vehicle would not make me overly happy.
In fact, it has proven that driving with this truck gives me a lot of stress indeed. I am not concerned about the environment since my lifestyle has relatively a low impact. A few rides over to here and there will not have effect on my mindset, yet I am glad to live in a structure that can be moved if the need arises.
To keep a whole house warm is something I despised long before I started to cycle the world. Same with (hot) showers on a daily basis. To use an abundance of water to flush a toilet (even for a pee) I find ridiculous. To wear a T-shirt indoors in winter is foolish in my opinion. An air-conditioning unit I find is an invention unnecessary. In short, I want to live life where I am without additional machines.
Since it is a relative small living area, it has to be organized and kept neat as it becomes quickly a mess. And a mess in the room, is a mess in the mind.
We collect dirt around us where we are parked and we bury organic matters. We try to restore the bad reputation campers might have. With this, we have the intention to pay back our free campspot.
Negative aspects of living in a truck in summer
A truck in summer is hot inside. Geo has insulated it very well and this keeps the cool of the night in for a few hours until the heat starts to penetrate.
My bending over pots and pans, fixing a wholesome meal makes me feel like a professional cook, sweating and wiping while stirring the food. Preparing meals in an oven is a new experience for me. One which makes me want to grab my little Bushbox stove. But open fires in the summer of Spain are not the best option. Especially not when wild camping is not allowed.
Sleeping in the truck is sharing the space with all sorts of crawling insects and buzzing mosquitoes. The door is sealed off with a mosquito net and both openings in the ceiling have a netting as well.
The little space above the drivers seat is called an integrated sleeping module, and closing the window, you’d be sealed off from the outside. It would be like a tent indeed, no mosquito nor ant would bother me. Except that it is stuffy hot and I am unable to sleep.
A truck needs shade will you be able to sleep in summery Spain nighttime!
Rock the Boat
Our truck has 6 wheels. I had never given it a thought, but this is not as steady as a house nor as firm as a tent. I don’t know whether you have ever slept in a truchen you will know it shakes.
Every step Geo takes, I feel. Due to the nature of a truck, we feel the bellows going down and notice the roof crimping or expanding. Every gush of wind is evident, not to mention storms. It seriously is scary to sleep in a moving structure some meters from the ground while the vehicle is being pushed left to right. I still think the truck has an ability to be blown over, but Geo assures me not. However, I prefer a tent in such weather conditions.
With a little tent I made sure I was not to be seen by passers-by. I usually tried to hide unless I was certain no one would bother me. I always felt relatively safe. When I am alone in the truck, standing in places labeled as louche, I feel very vulnerable. Our truck can not always be parked in places we dream of. It can be dumpster patches or abandoned shooting ranges. The sort of places where shady persons might gather, youth come to smoke or hunters to shoot some deer.
Experience has it that I need Geo for my peace of mind. With him nearby I feel protected at all times, even when he’s off for groceries or long walks.
In summer we had to stand at a spot for weeks on end. Evening times alone at the truck is realizing I am sitting in a structure which does not officially belong there. After a few days people might know our truck is located in a lonely spot. My mind, when alone, thinks that men will come and investigate. And suddenly every sound, which I might not notice when Geo is with me, is suspicious -an indication- a wrong sort of sound. That is an example of knowing I attach wholeheartedly to my husband.
This huge Iveco truck does not fit under trees. Even when we would try to shove it under, it might tear off the bulging window pane, airflow mechanism and solar panels from the roof.
And when it does fits under a tree (after careful maneuvering since European trees are not that high), we met with ants. The ants started to eat the insulation of the ceiling.
Looks Does Count
Our truck has the outlook of a louche vehicle. The sort of transport of an untrustworthy person, with a dark stubble on his face and a wife in flowing skirts reaching the ground. Until my husband cleaned the sides of the truck thoroughly, the glue from the removed stickers still stuck made it look very ugly.
This inevitably attracts police. Standing beside an abandoned house makes us look like illegal dumpers or drifters from the East trying lesser preferred means to get an income. Compliments to Spanish police! We are always allowed to park where we do, even in national parks.
Which does not mean we advocate van-dwellers or tiny-house-on-wheels-people to just plonk the vehicle wherever you desire. Although we do exactly that, it could be said we are anti-social, egoistic and reluctant people.
We understand the importance of keeping people in a designated area. We both dislike to be in such an area, though we understand stealth camping with a truck is not very social.
Understandably, free camping is an issue in Europe. Living in a truck is not as easy as it seems in Europe. Europeans their mindset is very different than those living on vast masses of land with comparatively lesser inhabitants.
Where to Store It?
A tent is easy, it fits in a pannier or in a closet. Not a truck so. In Spain, in our own fancy neighborhood, people dislike it. As if a gypsy family has set up camp next to their doors. The looks of our truck is not desirable to anyone. It is not a sleek looking, dark lacquered, hip, modern, expensive van-vehicle. And it is not a commonly accepted, white, obvious mobile home. No one wants an ugly truck in front of their immaculate home.
So, where to store it? Which place gives peace of mind? It is our experience, we have found nothing gives a restful mind except a paid parking lot (being in touristy coastal Spain) or private ground.
In Spain too, people who are of the conviction that when something is not used for a long time, parts can be taken away or molested. It is a normal human reaction to molest further when something seems to be abandoned already. Thus, the batteries of our truck has been stolen.