Simply put, van life is part-time or full time living in a converted vehicle with basic living amenities. You are a van dweller if you choose the van life. Many who opt for this lifestyle say flexibility and freedom are the biggest attractions for adopting life on the road. This type of off the grid living is becoming a more attractive option as more people turn to remote jobs. Millennials, in particular, have fallen hard for it.
A Brief History of Van Life
Van life was part of the alternative lifestyle popularized by the hippies back in the 60s and 70s. The philosophy was simplicity and freedom in life. It also included a sense of belonging to the world, which also meant knowing different people and places by traveling.
These modern nomads found a perfect solution in converting vehicles to offer shelter and basic amenities on the road. Popular choices were camper vans, RVs, buses, and surplus military trucks.
The philosophy behind van life remains the same today, but the vans and amenities have seen a massive improvement. Today’s luxury travel vans come with solar energy systems, charging ports, wifi, LED TVs and other modern amenities.
Today’s van dweller is likely to be a millennial. Van life has also become enviable and glamorous with hashtags such as #vanlife #homeiswhereyouparkit and #livesimply showing a glamorous lifestyle. The hashtag #vanlife has more than 8.7 million posts alone.
Why is Van Life so Attractive?
Whether you want to live in a camper van for the summer, or you want to ditch the 9-to-5 for a life on the road, there are several undeniable attractions of the van life.
You are free to go anywhere if you have the resources. You only need a visa, basic road necessities, and road endurance to travel the world. You could spend as much time as you want in one destination if you love it and move on when you’ve had enough. Think of an extended vacation, minus flight rescheduling charges or the hefty hotel bills. #homeiswhereyouparkit
There is also financial freedom if you choose full-time van life. You do not have to struggle with rent, mortgage, and assorted bills. There is no pressure to conform and keep up with the Joneses. You can be as frugal as you want. Better yet, you can work part-time remote jobs in your solar-powered van and build up savings very quickly.
Spend time with van dwellers, and you will be jealous of the experiences they have had on the road. From carnivals in Brazil to hiking in the Big Sur, van dwellers come across unexpected and rich experiences. You will see new people, new places and life from a different perspective.
What’s the Catch?
There are few downsides to van life in today’s world of 4G connectivity and 24-hour emergency response. You won’t have as much space as your four-walled house and you will have to keep up with vehicle maintenance but these are minor inconveniences for a lifestyle that promises freedom, simplicity, and lots of memorable experiences… not to mention major Instagrammable moments.
All photography by Hello America