Walking is done sideways. On the street not per se, but in the camper van for sure. That way you’re smaller, thus you’ll leave more space for your housemate. Passing by is done shuffling, a snake-like dance alongside each other. A bit of pushing is allowed. Saying sorry or asking ‘can I please pass by?’ is not needed, otherwise we’d be doing that the entire day.
We’re living on a small six squared meters for two months now, in a very small house on wheels. It requires discipline and agreements are necessary in order to keep it livable. Each agreement carries a reason, and is based on (sometimes painful) experiences or advise from seasoned fellow-camper-dwellers. As long as we are both at home there are always 20 toes within the swing-out-radius of the fridge, so in case of opening it: you warn. Always. The fridge door is exactly low enough to get stuck with toes underneath, forcing toe-nails in a vertical, uncomfortable position.
Material of only one activity at a time is allowed to ramble around. Rock climbing material must be stored, before diving material may be taken out. The shower is a multi functional area. It serves as washing and as drying space, not only for ourselves but also for clothes, wetsuits, and canopies. When the shower is occupied, moving of i.e. laundry to the drivers’ cabine is allowed. As for the limited water capacity, washing and bathing should take place moderately, and creativity is appreciated. The sea, a hotel swimming pool where we can hop in without being seen, or the sporadic rain drops all offer alternative bathing opportunities.
The little house is built and put together like a jigsaw puzzle; diving-, climbing-, skydiving-, kitesurf-, and camping-material all have their own place. The cupboards all have their fixed storage plan: cords, plugs, and chargers in the electricity-cupboard; books on the bookshelf. And then, there’s the ‘everything-else’ cupboard. Different as one would expect, it is not ment for everything else to be dumped in! This needs to be discussed and we have to be strict in order to keep the place livable.
For personal attributes received from family and friends, different rules apply. Those things travel with us and are being cherished, regardless their practicality or functionality. Pictures of brothers and sisters have their place on the wall, and the bathtub duck lives in the sink. The ‘authentic’ Spanish bulls-head sits at the door; every so-often after the occasional bump in the road we have pick up his horns from the floor, put them back in place and put it faithfully back onto its hook. The plastic flowers may be kitsch, they don’t drag with them any pots of earth when they fly through the van, and they fit quite well with the sticky plastic Thai flowers in front of the window.
Before take-off a thorough check of all cupboards is carried out, doors and windows are checked if closed and the floor is freed from obstacles. The first curves however remain exciting. Was all properly fixed, or does something fly, fall, roll, or shuffle through the van after all? In that case it is our challenge to guess what it was, without looking backwards. Of course keeping fingers crossed that it isn’t the cutlery draw with the sharp knives.
For anyone who considers living on six square meters: it’s a matter of adaptation, but definitely worth it. Even if it seems impossible, it is in fact a great experience. And honestly, is there a better place to turn into your cooking island than the beach?