BOOK TOUR JOURNAL 6
SMALL-SPACE MOBILE LIVING
I love small spaces. I feel enclosed, as if I’m wrapped in a warm blanket. Not everyone likes that feeling, but I do. I’ve made the small space of Anna’s Bookmobile quite comfortable. My cot is a Swedish number with metal springs, and I’ve layered it with a foam mattress, my yoga mat, which is like a mini futon for solid support, topped by memory foam. There's plenty of storage space beneath the cot, including enough for 60 books. With my food bin, small cooler and portapotty, there’s still floor space, and I can stand with my head bent.
What I’m learning is how often I have to reorganize—that if I want to be comfortable in a small space, neatness is of prime importance. I keep the things I need often in my woven Ghanian basket beside the head of my bed. Things I need less often go under the cot. Food is at the back end of the van, where I can clamp a tarp over the back doors in inclement weather.
Today I used my hotpot, which is powered through the cigarette lighter, for the first time. I was waiting to see bubbling water to indicate boiling, which had not happened after 30 minutes—20 ounces in 30 minutes? Really? I finally lifted the lid, and saw steam. One of my doctor sisters-in-law told me that the scientific definition of boiling is not bubbles but steam. So it may have been ready sooner. I hope so, because if not, I’m going to have to find a different method for cooking water. Thirty minutes with the engine running is too much.
Two things are of great import to me in a mobile situation. The first is where to park. So far I’ve parked behind a church, in friends’ driveway, and in an RV park. I chose the RV park for the second important thing—wifi and power. I need wifi for setting up events and to be in touch with my readers...and friends and family, of course. And I need power to keep juiced up, although my inverter works quite nicely when I’m driving. This RV park comes with both of those—wifi and electricity—plus water for $20 a night—a bargain, though not something I can do all the time.
The park doesn’t have toilets or showers, so this is the first time I’m using the Double Doody bags with the portapotty. The gel powder in them makes it possible to dispose of the bag anywhere and keeps odor down. Supposedly. So far, so good.
I don’t have the luxury of a conversion van, and I’ve kept things very simple for a few reasons. I would’ve had to buy a used conversion van, and that made me nervous about reliability. They are also larger and bulkier than I really wanted to drive, despite the fact that I’ve driven a school bus and U-Hauls in the past. I didn’t want to pull a trailer, and a camper on a pickup was also larger than I wanted. So here I am—the simple, small, nomadic life.
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