Stealth Is OverratedYou wanna hide 'cause ya feel guilty for breakin' a social taboo. It's like you're a little kid again, worried that you're gonna get in trouble. Truth is, most people don't give a shit that you're living in a van down by the river. They got their own damn worries. Most don't even notice you or your rig, even when they nearly trip over ya.
Stealth Is Avoidin' Notice
On the other hand, it is wise to avoid notice. No notice, no trouble. That's a fact! Pay attention: Vanholio didn't say stayin' hidden. He said avoidin' notice. That can mean flat out bein' hidden or in disguise, but not necessarily. Usually, it just means actin' normal.
3 Van Life Stealth Strategies
Stealth of Actin' Normal
This is the most important stealth strategy. Did you ever hear the old joke 'bout how you can go fuckin' anywhere in a government buildin', so long as you're carryin' a clipboard? That's what Vanholio's talkin' about!
See, most people see what they expect to see. So be what they expect to see!
Got a careworn soccermom minivan? Overnight in hospital, apartment, and store parkin' lots. Ya know, where minivans live. Or if you wanna sleep in a neighborhood, pick a one where lots a them kinda vans could be parked. Don't park in a rich neighborhood where everyone's got Mercedes, and them in a garage. See?
That's just an example. If ya got a cargo van, maybe you park it by worksites, power relays, and industrial areas instead. That's where people expect to see cargo vans. If you see other work vehicles or construction machinery, park right next to 'em, like you're part of the crew. (But get out early mornin' before the real crew shows up.)
And as for yourself, get a fuckin' haircut, Hippie! Look cleaned up and respectable yourself. Keep your clothes and belongins packed up and tidy, if anyone can see into your vehicle. If you look normal and respectable, you'll be treated normal and respectable. But if you insist on some kinda counterculture look, accept that you'll attract attention, some unwanted.
Stealth of Cover
Especially when campin' alone, Vanholio opts for not bein' seen. He don't wanna be a target for anyone, 'specially robbers. So when selectin' a camp, he often looks for natural or manmade obstructions to view. This can be trees, hills, buildins, whatever.
But – and here's a big but – he also don't try to look like he's hidin'. Pick a spot where any Tom, Dick, or Harry would naturally park, but that also has a bit a cover.
Stealth of Disguise
This here is the one van life wannabes focus on. They see folk who get cargo vans and make them look like work vans. Or they'll make them look like delivery vehicles or whatever. They'lll try to make them look like anythin' but a camper.
Question: How do you suppose all those folks livin' in RVs, cars, minivans, and the rest get away with it? As I said up top, stealth is overrated. Sure, you can make a disguise stealth van or whatever, but you really don't need to. (But curtains or blackout windows is always a good idea.)
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