Van living is a modern subculture where people choose to abandon the traditional lifestyle of a house and car and instead choose to move around and live in a vehicle. Instead of having a specific plot of land to call home or a permanent structure, people who embrace the van life will instead spend their days driving from place to place, usually setting up camp in different cities. It certainly cuts down on expenses besides gas and maintenance. This is a growing lifestyle but isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering trying out this way of living, here are a few things to think about before making a big decision.
Having less space for sleeping and activities appeals to some people but not all. When you adopt the van life, you will be confined to the square footage of your vehicle for sleeping, eating, and storing your belongings. Since the lifestyle encourages minimalism, this is great for people who don’t want to own a lot and are looking to minimize their physical impact in the world. However, you will give up privacy if you are living with another person, so be sure you are good friends with them and have a great relationship!
If privacy isn’t a problem, be sure to invest in convenient storage items like discreet boxes and vacuum-sealed bags to store items like clothing. You’re going to travel a lot and laundry might be difficult, so it’s good to have places to keep separate winter and summer items as well as dirty clothes. Foldable cloth hampers are a favorite.
Cooking food can also be a challenge, so remember to invest in small appliances like a hot plate or a solar-powered oven to make and prepare meals. Some people even have a microwave set up in their van, but this is rare. Most people eat fresh, healthy items like sandwiches, fruit, and vegetables. Fancier food can always be eaten at a restaurant if you’re really craving that lasagna.
The Bathroom Situation
It should go without saying that most vans do not have modern plumbing amenities, and the van life itself does not include campers. How are you going to shower and use the bathroom? People new to the van living lifestyle often make use of gas stations and rest stops to take care of their bodily functions, but these aren’t always available. Instead, consider alternatives.
One of the most common investments for van life is a composting toilet, which can be easier to move than other options. It can be as simple as a bucket with an area over it for sitting, and the waste breaks down and can be safely disposed of in a discrete way. Showering can also be done with a solar shower, which is a bag which heats up in the sun and can then dispense water to form a hot shower anywhere you go. These water bladders can cost as little as $25!
Where To Stop?
This is often the hardest part of van life. Where on earth are you going to stop and sleep? Contemporary society is not conducive to people simply parking their van anywhere since most land is owned, and people are often suspicious of strange vans. Many people stealth camp, or catch a few hours of rest in a spot they technically shouldn’t be in.
When considering van life, remember you will need to plan out where to stop to sleep. Rest stops are always a good idea but not always available. Stay away from schools and areas with “No Trespassing” signs, as well as those with notices saying “Private Property.” Learn to be inconspicuous and see if there are public locations that don’t close so you can get your much-needed rest.
There are a few key things that are important to remember about van life. While some people romanticize the lifestyle, there are also some harsh realities for which you need to be prepared. Van life isn’t for everyone, but hopefully, this list helps you decided whether or not the pros will be worth the cons! And remember, it’s always a good idea to save up some money and make a few solid investments – such as purchasing a high-quality van – before going whole hog in the lifestyle.
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