For people who live on the road, self-isolating at home during the pandemic is impossible - now there's a spreadsheet to connect them with temporary places to stay
- COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing has forced people to stay home - but for some, home is on the road.
- Megan Kantor and her husband are van-lifers, and they - along with many in the van-life community - found themselves stuck once campgrounds closed.
- To connect van-lifers with places to stay, Kantor created a Google spreadsheet - and the response to help was overwhelming.
- Hosts are former van-lifers, outdoors lovers, hikers, nature enthusiasts, and just generous, kind people in general, offering their driveways or extra rooms to those in need.
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In February 2019, Megan Kantor and her husband packed their world into a vintage airstream van and hit the road for a life of adventure. With cameras at the ready, this husband-and-wife photography team made a living shooting elopements and weddings across the American west.That is, until March 2020, when COVID-19 turned their world upside down.Advertisement
"We were in the process of emailing one of our couples to let them know about Moab closing, and in that conversation I realized the mandate also applied to us," Kantor told Business Insider. "We were camping on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and realized they were closing down camping to anyone who wasn't a resident. It felt like we didn't have a home. We had to get out."
The Kantors found refuge with family in Colorado, but many van-life peers weren't as lucky. One pair of van-lifers tried to get up to their family's spare cabin in Canada, but they were turned away at the border. Those attempting to hunker down at RV parks and campgrounds faced closures left and right.Are these shut-downs necessary? Yes, Kantor said. With small rigs, most van-lifers can't stockpile groceries and supplies. They rely on community resources - and therefore local interactions - almost daily. That's a lot of close contact with a lot of different people which easily can lead to the spread of diseases, particularly with the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. Most van-lifers recognize that, but it doesn't make their situation any easier.
"This is all changing so quickly; it's a confusing, hard time for people on the road," Kantor said. "People want to hunker down and stay put, but they don't know where to go."Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email email@example.com and tell us your story.
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Finding temporary homes for van-lifers
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Becoming a host
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