What does date night look like for a couple living in a van?

  • My wife and I have lived a nomadic life for over eight years – mostly in campervans.
  • We love going out to dinner or making sushi in our truck on our date nights.
  • We find that date nights in the campervan are important to our relationship.

I have to admit, when my wife, Steph, told me we were going on a date, I didn’t understand the idea at first. For the better part of eight years, we’ve been traveling around Australia in our campervan with no itinerary and no end date. What could be more romantic than that?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if it’s important to Steve, it’s important to me. Although I initially thought the idea was corny, it has now become a regular thing I enjoy in our relationship.

We decided to take a break from our usual routine one day

Traveling allows you to get away from the monotony of everyday life, but it won’t be long before it becomes a routine in itself. Don’t get me wrong: it’s magical to see new parts of Australia, with sunset walks and daily exploration. But the line between adventure and routine can be blurry, especially when you live and work in a confined space.

We recently camped at Pollara Station, a working cattle farm in the Western Australian outback. We don’t often pay for campsites, so this was a treat, and the hot showers were a welcome respite from the red dust of the harsh backcountry roads.

Steve booked us a table in the restaurant on the farm, which was once an old shearing shed. Before we headed out to eat, I announced that it was date night. I could see how excited she was, so I started searching the truck for my only button-up shirt. While we enjoyed the freshly caught snapper and fresh green beans I had in a long time, I was glad we took the time to create this moment.

At that point, I realized that nights out were the perfect way to take ourselves out of the daily routine and create something special.

Since then, we’ve made date nights a regular thing

We spend most of our time in remote areas or in remote places, so when we return to civilization, we now visit the local tapas bar for some food and cocktails. When we were in Brisbane, Queensland, we got sushi ready and ate it on our paddleboards among the water lilies in one of the reservoirs within the city.

Sometimes our appointments are as simple as agreeing on a time to stop working, put the phones away, and go for a walk. Another favorite date activity is packing some food and heading out on a hike or on our paddleboards for an adventure.

We also take time to prioritize our time together in the truck. Even though our kitchen is small, one of our favorite things to do is make our own sushi together, which has become a tradition.

Sharing moments like these strengthens our connection and allows conversation to flow.

We’ve learned the importance of making time for each other even though we live in our van

There’s a big difference between vanlife and being on vacation. As we discovered early on, our time is often consumed by long commutes, laundry, restocking the truck, and work. Since each of us is often focused on our own tasks, it’s important that we check in with each other.

By setting aside time to spend together, we make room for those important conversations that wouldn’t come up otherwise. It’s more than just taking a break from the routine; It’s also about creating memories and landmarks to look back on. Date nights are a great way to do this.

The fact that we find ourselves in some of Australia’s most stunning landscapes certainly helps, but where we are and what we’re doing doesn’t matter; What’s important is to be grateful for this experience and share it together.

Rich East travels around Australia with his wife and their cat. He shares his travel stories on his website vancatmeow.com.

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