All About Van Living
Van living is not all sunshine and rainbows, but contains a surprisingly high amount of sunshine and rainbows. If you want to detach from the hamster wheel of modern life, then the van living lifestyle might be your way to live life to the fullest. Just make sure you can keep remote jobs or get working gigs wherever you go to keep out of financial trouble.
Do you know what van living entails? Is it too good to be true, or is it all it’s made out to be? In this short article, we go through the basics of the van living lifestyle and what to expect from living in a van.
What is Van Living?
You have probably heard of the new trend that is actually old. Well, at least if you have not been completely disconnected from social media lately.
For the last couple of years, it has become increasingly popular to convert vans into livable traveling homes. People then either take them on holidays or live in full-time. The vanlife lifestyle used to be somewhat popular in the 60s, but back then, van living was something for hippies and drifters. You would more than often see old VW buses being remade into these things, rather than the vans we see today.
Today, van life is for the hot and trendy, and it is often portrayed as the epitome of freedom. The core idea behind van living is to challenge society in the sense of not having a house or conforming to the norms of how to live one’s life. When you get rid of earthly things like houses and mortgages, you can focus on other things in life than simply maintaining your lifestyle. Personal development is often an important aspect that comes up in the van living community.
Van living comes with being as minimalistic as you possibly can and staying free to travel wherever you want. This freedom comes at a price, though, since van living has tradeoffs to what we’re used to in conventional living situations. You will trade a living room with a TV for the back of a van with a view. You will trade a full-scale kitchen for a camping stove. Likewise, you will trade a full house (or apartment) to clean for dusting off a van.
It all comes down to what you prefer and what you want in life, and there are no right or wrong answers. You need to decide how you want your lifestyle to be and find out how and if you can adapt that to a van living situation. You can stay close to cities to enjoy the modern amenities, or stay outside the cities for some peace and quiet. Also, you can choose to do either the one or the other at your whim too, so keep an agile mind when you think this through.
When it comes to work, van living is all about parking your miniature home somewhere in a scenic location. Then, you can whip out your laptop to excel at whatever remote work you are doing.
A steady internet connection is preferable for most types of work, so make sure you have coverage or are close enough to a place with free Wi-Fi. If you decide to stay out of the cities, make sure you have enough battery power to meet your workday demands without draining the battery of your van.
Having a steady job at an office, factory, or any stationary place will defeat the purpose of van living. You need to be able to do work that allows you to travel, and any type of remote work will be preferable. You get bonus points if you are a Youtuber and the next Vancity Vanlife creating off-grid van life adventure videos.
Vanlife people are generally people who are not too attached to their material belongings. They enjoy living a fairly unstructured life, balancing work and travel based on a schedule they set themselves.
Vanlife individuals can appear somewhat Bohemian, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Many of the “vanlifers” are highly qualified, professionals who simply do not want to live life on the terms of old social norms. These make them feel financially constricted (aka life in a hamster wheel). If you can relate to this, it might just be time to start packing those bags.
A Few Famous Vanlife Personalities
Some of the most popular vanlife personalities to get inspired by include:
To Full Time or Not to Full Time
Having a campervan or similar is wonderful for most holidays. That is something that goes without saying. However, should you only reserve this vehicle for the holidays, or should you skip the house altogether and go live in your van full-time?
If you are a holiday person, kudos for knowing your limitations. Many of us would choose to use a van living situation on holidays and weekends with friends or family. Full-time van life has been romanticized in social media, and there is no shame in admitting when something isn’t for you. Keeping the van living on a holiday basis is a fantastic way to have cheap accommodation and stay overnight at places you normally wouldn’t stay at.
If you are one of those who decided that full-time van living is your cup of tea, kudos for making that leap. Embracing this free lifestyle might be the best thing you do in your life, and can open up possibilities that you wouldn’t have had any other way. In the absolute worst case, you will be in the van living lifestyle for long enough to have a great story to tell when you get older.
If you haven’t decided whether you want to go full-time or not, take a campervan out for a couple of weeks to see if it suits you or not!
City Van Living
You don’t have to drive into the mountains or woods to have a van living lifestyle. You can easily stay in and around cities to be close to modern amenities and have a steady connection to the internet. Also, you will have the option of chilling in a café when you work and eating out in restaurants when you don’t want to cook.
The boom of the #vanlife has opened up for some to stay in vans in the cities, close to gyms, laundromats, and other comfortable parts of modern life. Staying close to these allows you to keep up with some healthy parts of your old lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of your new, nomad life.
Rural Van Living
Most posts we see on social media in the van living categories are inspiring. Scenic pictures of someone holding a hot beverage in the back of their campervan. Of course, overlooking a mountain and a lake somewhere in dreamland. The rural path is for those who want to get away from society and don’t mind being away from modern amenities and embracing the camping lifestyle.
Check out these bomb tips on how to cook in a van to make life easier when you prepare your daily meals.
Pros and Cons of Van Living
Nothing is completely black or white, and you will always find good and bad reasons to do things in life. Van living is no exception.
Freedom of movement
Possible amazing scenery
Possibility to detach from much of the stress in modern life
Spend more time outdoors
Get to know yourself better
Hard to find places to stay in certain areas
Less frequent showering opportunities
Limited access to drinking water
Limited access to power
Constant vigilance when you’re camping outside designated camping areas
Unstable internet connection in the pretty and remote areas
Laundry will be less frequent
Living the Van Life
Now that you have a firm grasp of van living, we suggest you also look at Vancity Vanlife for a romanticized view of how you could live the van life for the most part of the year. When you want to try this lifestyle out, check out the van to rent in Iceland to start your journey as a van living nomad.