Van life has become popular in recent years thanks to the internet. With people sharing photos and adventure logs of places traveled and adventures lived, many people are jumping on board with this exciting trend.
There is no doubt that the popularity has risen but what is so appealing about this lifestyle?
Van life is popular because people are sick and tired of the status quo as well as the rising costs of housing. This lifestyle allows people to travel and explore while maintaining the essential comforts of home and allowing them to live at a reduced cost.
People have grown tired of working in a cubicle 8 hours a day in hopes that one day they can retire and live life. They get their measly two weeks of vacation each year and it’s usually more stress than a vacation.
It’s just never long enough and then they have to come back to a job they hate, just to earn money so they can pay for a house and keep doing the same things over and over and over.
People are buying into a new way of life that allows them to enjoy their lives while they are young. Van life has become a method used to be able to get away, travel the country, see the sights and experience the best of what life has to offer.
There are also those people who are more like me; weekenders. We do not live in our camper van full time, only use it for short vacations and traveling around the country to explore places we would have never thought possible before.
The Van Life Movement
Today’s job market is more centered around remote based work than it ever has been before. Employees in certain industries can work from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection and a phone.
Since nearly everyone has a cell phones nowadays, it makes it easy to be able to work from nearly anywhere in the world.
Anyone can buy a van, convert it themselves by watching YouTube tutorials, reading blogs like this one or by just figuring it out themselves. It really isn’t that difficult if you are just wanting a basic camper van.
Pinterest and Instagram have also influenced this type of lifestyle with glamorous images of people living their best lives.
These images don’t really convey what it’s like living in a van but they surely have an effect on those who have an itch for wanderlust.
Van life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies and there are good and bad about the lifestyle which we’ll discuss later. You have to take the good with the bad usually in anything you do that is worth doing.
Which brings us to the question…
Is Van Life Worth It
This question can only be answered by first determining what your expectations of van life are. If you expect it to be a total vacation and like you are living in a social media post then it probably won’t be worth it. There are many reasons that one would choose do this.
It’s a good idea to first test the waters before you go all in on van life. A good thing to do is to rent a van or an RV or even a minivan and test it out for a weekend.
Once you have tested it out, you’ll know better about what to expect from the lifestyle. If you have never even been camping before, you definitely want to try this out before you go all in.
Van life may be worth it if you have an itch for adventure and you are tired of the normal routine of daily life.
Here are some of the reasons people might have for jumping into van life whether it be full-time or simply as a weekend getaway option.
To Travel and See More Than Their Backyard
This is a good reason for wanting to do van life as it is the most obvious and achievable from the lifestyle. Traveling in a camper van is a great way to get out and travel without spending a fortune on things like air travel, hotels, dining out, etc.
This is one of the reasons that I jumped into van life and was my main inspiration during the struggle of building out my van. I long to see something more than what I see during a regular week as I stare at my computer screen with blank eyes.
I have traveled a lot in my life and have seen many places and I do not want to stop now just because have a corporate job. I want to experience the open road, and see amazing places that I would never be able to see without a van.
Not only do I want to see other places, I want to get close and personal with nature. Spending time in a camper van allows one to shed the conveniences of the modern world and strip their lives down to the basic necessities needed.
Because They Think It Will Be Cheap
Is it really cheap? That depends on your lifestyle. It’s possible to do it cheap but it’s more likely that you’ll spend more than you think you will. There are many costs associated with traveling in a camper van or any type of RV.
Gas isn’t cheap and vehicle maintenance is also required. Throw in the fact that vehicles depreciate and you are losing money before you even go anywhere.
You’ll likely spend money on campgrounds or other parking spots from places like Hipcamp or memberships like Harvest Hosts. Of course, you can always choose to stealth camp but this can be risky and dangerous if you aren’t careful.
People make out like it’s the cheap way to live nowadays. If you watch YouTube videos you may get the sense that living in a van is a way to live without hardly spending any money.
However, this is usually not the case and living in a van can get quite expensive unless you stick to a budget that you determine before you get started.
Van Life Culture
You won’t have to grow your hair out long or grow a beard or become a vegan to live in a van. There are people from all walks of life who live or travel in a camper van and are about as “normal” of people as you will meet.
People who choose to do van life are usually free spirited type of people who love to do something different than what is considered normal and who love to travel, experience exciting things and live life to the fullest.
These people get bored sitting in their office or living in one place and seeing the same things over and over or going through the same motions day in and day out.
I am exactly this type of person. Doing the same thing day after day gets very old to me and I tend to be one who wants to spice things up by doing something different occasionally.
Since my way of doing van life is only as a weekender, I have the best of both worlds because I have the normal house life but then I also have an option to get away when needed.
Living In A Van Full Time
If you are planning to live in an RV, it is not necessary to buy a huge class A or class C RV. You also do not need a travel trailer or a fifth wheel or any other type of large RV.
It is totally possible to live in a class B RV or a converted camper van full-time.
The great thing about living in a van full time is that you are free to go wherever you please. Although you may not be able to park anywhere you please, you can roam the country and visit places that you would not be able to if you had a traditional sticks and bricks house.
The smaller size of a van will allow you to park in places that a larger RV would not be able to.
Living in a camper van full-time will require a shift in your current lifestyle. You will likely need to downsize, and you will probably need to become accustomed to living in a small space. You will also need to learn how to live with less and to live in small spaces perhaps with other people.
If you are not currently retired and you plan to live in a van full time, it is totally possible. You simply need to make plans to produce an income that isn’t dependent upon you being in a specific location.
You can start in internet business or become a web developer, designer, writer or a number of other great location independent jobs.
Many people who live in vans full-time travel to where the weather is best for whatever time of year they are in. For example: in the summer people head north and in the winter you may decide to head south.
Living in a van allows you to do this since you are not stuck in any one place.
Van life is popular because it makes life more fun. It’s a way for people to get out and explore without having to wait for retirement to do so.
Even retired people can enjoy van life as well. It isn’t reserved for the younger generation and can be a great way for retired folks to finally take those trips that they put off for so long.
It’s also important to note that you do not have to convert a van yourself. You can choose to buy a class B camper van that has already been manufactured or there are a multitude of van conversion companies popping up that can convert a van for you.
Acquiring the van is the easy part. The hard part is making the decision to actually do it. Even though it sounds good and many people are having fun doing it, it’s still hard to take action since it seems so risky and outside the status quo.
Van life can be fun and rewarding as long as you take time to plan exactly what you want to achieve. There will be good times and bad but the good parts of van life outweigh the bad and it is a great way to live.