Where Do You Sleep?


My bed is behind that curtain.

A question people frequently ask me when they see the inside of my van is Where do you sleep? I guess that’s because they expect to see a bed in there, but my bed is hidden behind a curtain.

When I was a vendor at the Bridge, I worked out of my van and kept the side doors open all day. I often saw tourist craning their necks, trying to get a look into my living space. The nosy tourists might have thought they were slick, but I knew exactly what they were doing. Some people with good manners asked if they could look in my van. These people I graciously invited to step behind my tables of merchandise and check out my home. I don’t mind people looking so much as I mind people looking without asking.

Each of my first two vans had a bench seat already folded down into a double bed at the time of purchase. While a double bed was quite luxurious, it was really more room than I needed at night. I usually used at least half of the bed as a haphazard storage area.

When I got my third van, there was no bench seat in the back, no sort of bed at all.

My Rock Guy’s friend had a grandiose plan of the bed he would build for me in the van. (He probably also had a plan for the  wad of cash he expected I would give him in exchange for his carpentry work.) My Rock Guy, however, told me not to waste my money.

My Rock Guy rummaged through the piles of building materials he had scattered on his land. He found a piece of plywood and cut it to fit across the width of the van. He also found three lengths of thick boards to hold the plywood off the floor. On top of the plywood, I put the folded-in-half double-bed-size piece of memory foam which had been given to me when I bought van number two. Once I added sheets and blankets, I had a bed. (You’ll thank me if you ever have to move a piano, My Rock Guy said of this easily disassembled bed.)

(After a few months, I decided I needed more storage space under the bed, so I bought a few 9 and 1/8 inch plastic tubs with lids. These tubs brought my bed up just about as high as it can go and still allow me to sit up and not bang my head on the weird, two-level low and lower ceiling above where I sleep. In the under-bed plastic tubs, I keep extra food, jewelry making supplies, and other things I don’t need every day.)

One thing I really wanted in the new van was a curtain to hide my sleeping area. Maybe I’m weird, but it seems so…intimate…to have strangers gawking at my bed.

I found a cool sheet with a sort of 70s floral pattern at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The sheet wasn’t priced. When I brought it up to the counter, the lady working said the price was $2. I told her I didn’t like it enough to pay $2, so she said I could have it for $1. I said I did like it enough to pay $1, and I bought it.

Since the sheet was too long, I folded it in half and pinned the two edges together. When I asked My Rock Guy if he had a curtain rod I could have to hang the curtain/sheet, he told me it would be much better to hang it on a bungee cord (which I already had). He was absolutely right! If the curtain were on a rigid rod, I’d have accidentally pulled it down many times. Instead of falling on my head whenever I unintentionally sit on the curtain or tug on it too hard, the bungee cord moves with my mistakes and stays in place.

While the curtain keeps people from seeing my bed, it also causes confusion about my sleeping arrangement. People look in my van, don’t see a bed, and ask (usually with a note of panic in their voices), Where do you sleep?

I was asked the question twice in less than half an hour on the last day of the 2016 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous.

I’d driven my van up to the fire pit/seminar area to pick up the remains of the free pile and drive everything to a thrift store in town. There was some confusion about who was taking what and when, and an older-than-I-am fellow offered to help me carry the large, heavy garbage bags full of free stuff to my van. I took him up on his offer. When I opened the side door, he not only hoisted in the bag he was carrying, he also let his nosy head follow it in so he could have a look around. Where do you sleep? he demanded. (Please note, this man was not a friend or even an acquaintance. He was just some dude I’d never talked to before, some dude helping me carry bags.) I answered, Behind the curtain, before I closed the door and hustled him away from my van home.

There was more confusion about who and when, and a woman showed up who’d also volunteered to drive the remains of the free pile into town. While she and I were figuring out who would make the trip, yet another woman showed up to help.

This second woman went right up to my open side door and started touching the cloth covering of the door panel, the decorative strips of wood, and my organizing pockets. She proceeded to ask me about every aspect of the door (while I was still trying to figure things out with the first woman.) I tried to tell her quickly that since the van is a conversion van, it came with the fuzzy panels and decorative wood, but before I could get the explanation out of my mouth, she’d stuck her head in my van and asked in a panic, Where do you sleep?

I refrained from saying, None of your business, nosy stranger!

For all of you who were wondering, here’s a photo showing where I sleep:


The floral curtain has been pushed to the left. Notice the bungee cord it hangs on. Yep, that’s my Holly Hobbie doll and my teddy bear lounging in the bed. The striped green blanket is actually a down comforter from Germany I got at a Goodwill Clearance Center for about $6. I got the green striped cover at a Goodwill on half price day for $2.49.

I took the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

14 Responses »

    • When it’s hot, Holly and Teddy usually spend the night on the floor. But when it’s cold, I sure do like cuddling with Teddy.

      And actually, Teddy’s name is Owsley. Deadheads might understand.

      Thanks for commenting, Andrea.

  1. What a cozy sleeping area! I love it. Thanks for sharing.
    I like reading about your travels and adventures. Do you have a favorite desert waterfall you have seen on your voyaging? I am in the same part of the world as you and love finding beautiful rare waterfalls in this area. If you have seen any interesting ones I would love to hear about them and where they might be. Thanks….have a great day.

    • Thanks for your comments and questions, Cindy. I’m glad you enjoy reading about my travels.

      I don’t have any favorite desert waterfalls. I don’t think I have visited even one waterfall in a desert. Maybe you will share your favorites with me. If you don’t want to comment here for everyone to see, I have an email address listed on the “Contact” page. However, if I visit one of your waterfalls, I will probably write about it eventually. I understand if you want to keep them for yourself.

      • Hi Blaize…yes I have found some pretty nice little waterfalls in the desert….actually one very HUGE one at the bottom of the Grand Canyon but that is a little ways of a hike to get to. That one is my favorite but I do love finding little natural year round streams with delicate waterfalls. I was just hoping perhaps you have come across some in your interesting travels. There is that one in Arroyo Seco I always wanted to hike to at the end of that one road that dead ends into Native American land. I have never done that hike because I never feel comfortable trying that one out alone. Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona has some nice ones too. I have a list but not sure if you would want to hear about any. I am sure you see many beautiful things.

        • Cindy, I’ve seen that road in Arroyo Seco with the sign about the waterfall many, many times, but I’ve never gone on the hike either. I always thought I would do it some other day, and never did.

  2. Well, Blaize, I would have wanted to know where you sleep too, but since I am from the South, I would have been polite about it and asked you graciously, hoping you would at least tell me about your space. I think it looks cozy and wonderful. Great and funny post!

    • Ruth, I am from the South too, so I understand exactly what you mean! All I want people to do is #1 ask before they stick their heads in for a look around and #2 ask calmly about my bed. (I can’t stand the judgement in the voices of some people when they don’t see my bed immediately.)

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thought it was funny. I’m always relieved when people understand my humor.

  3. I have found the thing some would like to know but are tooo polite to ask is about hygiene and toilet accommodations. I usually initiate the conversation and tell them all my secrets. Hmmmm. cheers. Mary at large, a vangogirl.

    • Mary, I have met many people who were not one bit shy about asking me where I take a shower. I don’t think anyone has asked me about my toilet accommodations. Probably folks are afraid it will be information than they can handle. But if anyone asks, I will tell them!

  4. Hey, I loved this post! I remember being curious about the inside of your van and trying not to peek too much because I was too shy to ask. 🙂 I think you gave Ming a look though! He’s the braver.

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