Woman living in a van had to give up showering due to the coronavirus pandemic

What’s it like living that van life amid the coronavirus pandemic?

A little grubby, in all honesty.

One woman who lives in a van says she’s had to give up showering due to lockdown measures, as her motorhome didn’t have warm running water and public spaces where she would usually bathe are closed.

Freelaance commercial photographer and videographer Nikki Bigger, 29, originally from Kingston, Canada, has been travelling around in a van for years, first trying out the lifestyle back in November 2015 for two years while in New Zealand.

When her visa ran out she returned to Canada and realised she would be far happier living in a van and travelling full-time.

So in March 2019, Nikki bought a Ford Transit 250 van for £19,556 (34,000 CAD), which she was able to spread across monthly payments.

After three months of planning she spent just 30 days and £9,203 (16,000 CAD) converting the van into a permanent home on wheels complete with a beautiful fully functioning kitchen, bed, electricity and generous workspace, with the help of her family.

Since then, Nikki has lived on her van full-time and is currently based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

But while her lifestyle has given her a load of freedom, it has made adjusting to the coronavirus lockdown a little tricky.

With gyms closed she’s unable to have a shower, and is struggling with being unable to freely wander her surroundings.

‘COVID-19 has affected my life more than I was expecting,’ says Nikki. ‘The gyms are closed so I cannot shower.

‘I do have an outdoor shower in our van but it’s too cold outside to use it.

‘Most parks are gated closed so there aren’t many locations I can park other than a Costco/Walmart parking lot, it feels very crammed because I’m usually outside or at a cafe, and being forced to stay inside the small space is definitely frustrating when the weather is cold outside.’

Nikki has managed to rent a plot of land with two other vans, where she and other travellers are now in quarantine together.

After two weeks without a shower, Nikki and her new lockdown buddies have built a heated outdoor shower in this space so they can finally get clean.

Now she’s feeling fresh again, Nikki is back to sharing her adventures on Instagram, where she talks openly about the realities of a nomadic lifestyle.

‘Simplicity, not owning much, mostly the freedom to go anywhere anytime [appealed to me about van life],’ said Nikki.

‘I felt that I lacked freedom a lot in my life when everyone was telling me I should go to school and get married and have kids, but that’s not what I wanted. So, van life allowed me the freedom to pursue exactly what I wanted so I could feel confident in my decisions.

‘I absolutely love life on the road. I love how free I am, the minimal cost of living, the feeling of being in a cosy tree fort every night, and gathering with van friends around a fire.

‘This lifestyle has given me pride knowing that I can create my reality. Converting a van into a home and creating a career from a camera; it has given me happiness in knowing I am capable of achieving whatever I want..

‘My life has improved tremendously because I was not happy in an apartment paying tons of money, and in a job where I had a boss, I am now so so happy.

‘My use for Instagram is to inspire others to believe in themselves and create the life they have dreamt of. I’m always available to chat and help anyone out.

‘If you are interested in this lifestyle, do it! Know that you can, know that you want it, and work hard until you achieve it.

‘And if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help.’

Are you seeing out lockdown in an unconventional style? Get in touch to share your story by emailing [email protected]

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