Hey everybody! Time for another #vanlife update. Right now, I’m staying with my good friends Quint and Nancy down in Phoenix, Arizona, but I just finished my biggest stretch of camping yet!
I camped out for five nights in a row. Elk City, OK, Albuquerque, NM, Sedona, AZ, and Flagstaff, AZ. I conservatively estimate that my lodging cost would’ve been $300-$350 for those five nights, but camping out, it was only $20. To spell it out, I saved about $300 on lodging just this week. I spent two nights at a National Forest Campground (which had showers and fire pits and restrooms and everything), two nights at Walmart, and a night at a dispersed/primitive camping spot in the National Forest.
It’s been a really good stretch; first of all, I heard your suggestions about the 12V stove and purchased one. Thank you for that. It’s been nice to be able to plug it in, throw a can of soup or some veggies in the tray, and eat a hot meal few minutes later. I also got creative at the campground one night, went to the grocery store, and cooked up a meal over the campfire. Frozen veggies with a natural salmon/chardonnay reduction. It was sooooo good.
I get asked a lot about eating healthy on the road, and to be honest, it’s not that difficult. And it’s pretty cheap. My diet consists mainly of these things.
- Natural/organic, low sodium soups. There are a couple of different brands out there for about $2.50 a can that are excellent.
- Mixed green salads from the grocery store, dressed with my own vinegar and olive oil.
- Fresh veggies. Just about any grocery store, and many truck stops, will have a chilled container of mixed fresh veggies you can grab to snack on.
- Epic meat bars. These are a bit harder to find; so far I’ve only seen them at Natural Grocers, a western grocery chain. But they are awesome. Natural/uncured/nitrite free meat bars that are very low in sodium, and wonderfully seasoned. Unlike jerky, they are super tender. Only about $2.50 a piece, and they offer bison, beef, chicken, turkey, and pork.
- Raw nuts/raw nut butter. Check out your local grocers bulk nut section! You can often find amazing deals. I recently picked up some Filberts, also known as Hazelnuts, on sale at City Market for $0.59 cents per pound. They are normally $10.99 per pound! Craziness! I bought a pound and a half a month ago, made a mix with some peanuts and almonds, and I’m STILL snacking on it.
I’ve lost 35 pounds this year without even trying to lose weight. How/why? I basically don’t eat sugar, I don’t eat bread/wheat, and I only drink water, coffee, and tea. My dessert consists of 85-90% dark chocolate bars, which have barely any sugar and are packed with protein, but still manage to satisfy that “sweet tooth” craving.
I feel like a new man. I don’t know how I ever toured before doing it the “old way”. IE, staying at overpriced hotels, eating at unhealthy, expensive restaurants, and being generally miserable and broke. I’ll never go back. (More on never-going-back in the next blog post.)
Van life=an awesome life!