I spent 13 days living out of a camper van.
I discovered that van life has its advantages and disadvantages.
One of my favorite perks was being able to take naps anywhere I wanted.
I didn't get much sleep on the first night of my 13-day van trip.
Instead, it was being alone in a new environment that kept me up on my first night in Taos, New Mexico.
The following day, I had a packed itinerary and a two-and-a-half-hour drive. I quickly realized I wasn't going to make it without a nap.
Thankfully, I found it was easy to take one as I discovered one of my favorite perks of van life: the ability to nap wherever you go.
Throughout my trip, I napped on the side of roads, at rest stops, and in parking lots
Exhaustion set in on the second day of my trip as I left Taos for Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My morning caffeine had worn off, and I had two more hours of driving ahead of me. I wasn't sure I'd make it without drinking more caffeine, reenergizing with exercise, or taking a nap.
So I got off the highway, found a quiet shoulder on the road, locked my doors, and took a 20-minute power nap.
It wasn't the first time I'd napped on a road trip, but it was the most comfortable and convenient.
In the past, I've pulled off the road to take a nap in my station wagon. It was always uncomfortable, and I always felt exposed to the public.
In the camper van, I had a real bed to sleep in and window covers, which helped me fall asleep — even in the parking lots of Walmart and Cracker Barrel — and wake up rested.
I safely made it to Albuquerque and, throughout the rest of my trip, I found one or two more opportunities for an afternoon nap.
When I had an hour to spare before I could check into a campground, I took a quick power nap to recharge for the rest of my day.
And toward the end of my trip, I had multiple days of driving six hours or more in a row. A quick nap in Arches National Park refueled me for the drive ahead.
I wasn't alone. At campgrounds, nomads living out of vans eagerly asked me if I'd taken any spontaneous naps yet and I happily shared that I had.
While plenty of aspects of van life are exhausting — the long drives, planning where you'll sleep every night, and searching for potable water — the perk of always having a place to rest stood out as my favorite.
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