It’s impossible to say for sure when the term “van life” entered the vernacular. It symbolizes a lifestyle focused on the American road trip culture, hippie-inflected outdoorsiness, and freedom from the tyranny of a nine-to-five office job. A significant portion of regular campers in North America say they’re considering the idea of living in a van or a mobile home.
It seems to be easy to just stop working and buy a van, then go on a cross-country road trip. People have been doing so since Jack Kerouac, right? However, many van lifers realise that the adjustment to this alternative lifestyle is not easy. Nonetheless, if executed well, it may be entertaining as well as provide you with some breathtaking Insta shots. Here are some things you should have in mind before opening this new chapter of your life.
Pack light and simple
Your possessions take up a lot of room when you live in a tiny place such as a van. This is why you should truly only have van life essentials with you. Don’t take too much stuff with you since then you’ll be risking your van turning into one giant black hole. Take a limited amount of cutlery and plates – two of each will be enough.
Don’t forget one sharp knife! If your van has a bed, pack a duvet and two pillows. One frying pan and one saucepan are all you’ll need for cooking. It’s a benefit of living on the road to make simple meals and live a simple life. You can wear the same outfit every day while living in the van and only change when necessary. Many RV parks include laundry facilities, so a few clothes items may go a long way.
Consider remote work
Though living in your van is much cheaper than having a mortgage to pay, it’s still not free. You’ll need to have some kind of job to cover your needs such as food and gas, especially nowadays when prices are skyrocketing. So, look into remote work options.
Many prospective employers have realised that hiring remote workers is even more profitable, so if you have a good CV you probably won’t have any issues finding a job. On the other hand, there are some options for remote work no matter your qualifications. For example, many native English speakers can find well-paying jobs teaching English online. If you have any monetizable skill, you should also consider freelancing.
Figure out the sleeping situation
Van life doesn’t necessarily imply sleeping in your van. Some van lifers prefer setting up a tent or even renting out a room in a local motel time after time. Sometimes our spines simply need a good night’s sleep and there’s no shame in putting a pause on sleeping in your van.
Join a gym
If you;re thinking about living in your van for some time, you should definitely get a gym membership even if you aren’t a gym rat nor plan on becoming one. This is for one reason only – the shower. Gym franchises, such as Planet Fitness will allow you to use their gym no matter the location. So, you can go and have a shower no matter where you are. Some of their gyms also have saunas or pools which can be a really nice perk depending on the weather.
Go on a test drive
Before you completely commit to the van lifestyle, you should take your van out for a weekend. See if this way of living is actually for you. Not everyone will feel their best and most comfortable in a van which is why it’s important to be honest with ourselves. If you figure out you hate it – then give this dream up. Van life requires a specific type of person and if this isn’t you, that’s completely fine! Plus, if you find yourself loving every second of it, you’ll still learn some very important lessons the first time on the road.