Let’s be honest: when you move into a van, you think the stars are going to align because you finally have everything you have ever wanted. You just purged your life away, you quit your job and you made the leap of faith to live life for you. You close your eyes or open up your Instagram app and instantly think that you’re going to be at all the most epic places on the planet, opening up your doors to greatness daily.
Hey, for some maybe that is their reality, but for most it’s not. Basically, everything you plan for doesn’t go according to plan, but this isn’t a bad thing; it’s actually quite wonderful.
1. Things break a lot.
When you live in a van, you have gravity going against you. You kinda have a lot of things going against you. You’re constantly moving, driving on all sorts of surfaces, and shaking things up. Your drawers fly open unexpectedly, even when you have a lock on them. Things fall out of your cabinets while you’re driving on bumpy roads. Glass mugs will break, drawer faces may fall off, screws come loose, and that’s honestly just the way it is.
2. Unless you’re off the grid alone, you’re not alone very much at all.
You think when you move into a van you’re going to have a lot of alone time. That you will have to get comfortable in silence and being in your own head. Wrong. There’s billions of people in this world and you’re literally traveling full time, which means you’re hardly alone.
3. Laundromats are more expensive than you would think.
You never had to pay for your laundry before, so when you have to pay 10 bucks to wash a couple of loads, it feels a bit steep.
4. Deep conversations happen, and they happen fast.
While traveling, you’re either meeting people who are also traveling or you’re having conversations with open human beings. This means you instantly have things in common with them, and a lot of the times you have a moment in the conversation where you feel like you have known them forever or that they will become a staple in your life.
5. Your imagination and your creativity will level the hell up.
Mother Nature and human connection will do that to you! Living in a van makes you look at everything from a new lens. It requires you to be creative in small spaces, to sit with and think on the ideas you have had for quite some time, to be open to the world around you.
6. You learn how to cope without unlimited electricity.
Efficiency is key. You don’t live in a house anymore, which means you don’t have an endless supply of energy to charge your computer, the Keurig, the refrigerator, that damn cell phone of yours, the Nutri bullet, a toaster, and a microwave. Unless you’re planning on spending thousands and thousands of dollars, you have to pick and choose what’s important to you.
7. Things like sand fleas can happen.
Uncomfortable situations and bugs are bound to happen. Itchy situations and trips to CVS for Bengay and bug spray will happen.
8. Planet fitness doesn’t mean fitness, it means showers.
The motherland. Planet Fitness for many vanlifers doesn’t mean a workout, it means the first shower in a while and sitting your booty in one of those massage chairs for 10 minutes.
9. The sound of rain on your tin can home is music to your ears.
Although sleeping in a thunderstorm in your van can feel like lighting is going to strike your solar panel and turn you into Honey I Shrunk the Kids, it’s the most peaceful, moody feeling ever to be snuggled up in the van reading and having some you time.
10. It’s always windy when you have a long drive.
Your tall ass van on the highway for a long drive is always so much worse with high winds, and for whatever reason, there always seems to be high winds when you’re on the road. Get ready for lower gas mileage, no windows down, and a loud obnoxious breezy noise that follows you for hours.
11. People are generous and giving, and they genuinely care about your well-being.
People just want to help. The amount of people who will tell you you can park on their land or their second cousin twice removed’s land is unlike anything else. People will feed you, let you shower, and buy you a beer more times than not.
12. Finding balance is really hard.
You feel like every day is a vacation, but doing nothing like you typically do on vacation also means having no funds to keep living that vacation lifestyle. You can’t go out to eat for every meal or eat junk because it will catch up with your wallet and your belly. Making sure to do things for you and to have some sort of a routine are important.
13. Just because you don’t have “rent” doesn’t mean #vanlife isn’t expensive.
You car is also your house, so when something breaks, you could be out of both. This could mean AirBNBs, hotels, expensive tricky van parts, and having to fill up your huge gas tank more than usual. it could be cheaper than your average lifestyle, but it’s not inexpensive by any means.
14. You’ll start to drink a lot more beer.
Meeting new friends means socializing, which for many adults means grabbing a beer. Not to mention you’re surrounded by breweries galore while traveling, and it would be rude to not try something local and new.
15. It’s all worth it.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, but the lessons, connections, and the freedom you have because of living in a van is like nothing in this world.