Van Living

Van living can be an amazing way to explore and experience nature. Living this way also brings freedom and simplicity.  Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity for new skills and mindset development!

However, van life does not come without its share of challenges.  Fuel costs and parking places may limit your travel, and weather conditions must be considered.  Some people live in a van to save on rent.  In this article, we will focus on the potential advantages of the van living movement. 

You need to find content from actual van dwellers, in order to get a view of the day to day realities of this lifestyle.  It may be best to experiment with ‘trial runs’ before you end your lease or sell your house.

Freedom

Van life offers incredible freedom: no rent or mortgage payment and utilities bill savings that can go towards adventures and experiences, instead of stress from home ownership, which often can cause anxiety for many people.

However, it is important to recognize the sacrifices associated with living in a vehicle. It can be challenging finding enough storage space for everything you need and want, while cooking can take longer compared to traditional homes. Furthermore, unexpected obstacles could arise on the road that you must be ready for, such as flat tires.

But that’s part of the adventure! Learning new skills and challenging your preconceived notions about self-sufficiency are invaluable experiences that come hand-in-hand with free thinking in nature, not to mention meeting like-minded individuals who share similar interests! Plus, as an added benefit you might meet many like-minded folks who also appreciate nature, ideal companions with which you can swap stories, swap tips and have great times together!

Simplicity

Living in a van requires being very selective about what items to bring with you; space is limited, leaving no room for clutter; more stuff equals more difficulty moving around!

Van living is attractive because of its relative simplicity.  Eliminating mortgage or rent payments while keeping utilities costs to a minimum are major draws for many people who opt to live this way. Food and fuel will typically be the main expenses.

Living in a van provides one of the primary advantages to freedom to pursue your passions. Be it surfing, mountain biking or writing.  Living in a van allows you to make these hobbies an integral part of life while taking in nature’s beautiful scenery and getting away from urban noise.

Living in a van offers another advantage, meeting people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Van dwellers are an inclusive community and it’s easy to meet other travelers online via social media, which could lead to making some lifelong friendships!

One of the biggest downsides to van life is finding it hard to establish a routine. Finding a place you can call home for more than 24 hours may prove challenging and lead to feelings of uncertainty or stress; plus it can be costly, so sacrifices may need to be made in order to afford living this lifestyle.

Community

Living in a van puts you among a community of like-minded people. You’ll make friends along your journey, sharing stories and advice; connecting with fellow van lifers online such as Instagram enables many interactions that lead to real friendships.  This supportive network can give you everything needed for successful van living!

Living in a van can be an exciting yet difficult challenge. You will need to face your fears head-on and learn more about yourself than ever before, while developing unique skills not normally learned within traditional housing, including carpentry, navigation, first aid and space saving. In addition, living this way provides a sense of freedom and adventure!

Van living may seem like an extreme lifestyle choice for some people, but it can actually be very empowering. Living in a van allows you to reevaluate your values and create an experience-rich life.  It may not be suitable for everyone, though it provides an exciting way of exploring our world more freely!

Van life offers great flexibility; you can tailor it to be as exciting or dull as desired. Spend weeks exploring national parks or spend months driving down desert roads, the possibilities are limitless!

Hobbies

Van living offers you access to an assortment of hobbies that would otherwise be impossible in a traditional home environment. Whether it’s working on the mechanical side of your vehicle or customizing its interior, van living provides opportunities to learn new skills while challenging preconceived notions. Plus, with such an active community around them it provides great networking opportunities between like-minded van lifers.

While living in a van may appear carefree and luxurious on social media, keeping it clean requires significant work. A survey conducted by Outbound Living found that 28% of van lifers shower at gyms; others use built-in van showers, campground facilities, porta-potties or natural water sources as showering methods. 

Homesickness can be one of the more challenging aspects of this unique lifestyle for many. Adjusting to not being with their loved ones regularly can be tough, particularly during holidays or special events when those close by are typically present.

Some individuals might also find van living too unpredictable; unlike in a house where routine can easily be established, every day in your van brings you new places and adventures.  Some may struggle with its lack of stability and comfort.

Although living in a van presents unique challenges, many find pleasure in this lifestyle. You will learn an array of skills you wouldn’t normally gain access to at home such as carpentry, plumbing, navigation and first aid; living this way also teaches people to live more sustainably, while teaching them how to be more self-reliant.

Money

Saving on housing expenses (rent or mortgage plus utilities) can make an enormous difference, from being able to go back to school, or embark on new business ventures, to paying off student loans or credit card debt, or just travelling and enjoying life more freely.

Van living can also save money in another key way by forcing you to carefully assess what items are essential and only purchase them. This can help build contentment while cutting expenses on items you don’t truly require.  Another benefit is a valuable mental shift that you can live life with just the basics!

Though expenses such as gas and groceries still exist, you can mitigate them using tools like using a credit card with gas rewards or finding cheaper places to purchase food. Some even choose seasonal work to lower these higher expenses and park their van temporarily so as to save more money overall.   Ultimately, many find the financial rewards of van living outweigh initial investments and sacrifices they are willing to make.

Paradigm Shift

In Western countries, costs are rising faster than wages.  Some house purchases, and even studio apartment rents, are too high for a majority of people. Rising costs are impacting the choices that senior citizens on fixed incomes must make about their future living arrangements.

The natural progression will see more people living in vans or cars, as a necessity instead of a lifestyle preference.  For these people, safety, security, sanitation, and weather conditions will become real issues to address.

A realistic solution would be the creation of parking areas for van/car dwellers, similar to sites for RV’s and travel trailers.  Rents should be realistic, much cheaper than the rates for recreational vehicles or even mobile home lots.

Lots could have gate access to help with security issues.  A kitchen area may provide microwave ovens and food prep areas.  The biggest help to this lifestyle would be facilities that offer restrooms and showers.

Most states and some jurisdictions do not look favorably on van/car living.  Some even prevent you from living on land that you own. 

Ordinances must change.  New laws must be passed to allow people to live on their land after meeting basic requirements, such as installing a septic tank, which addresses the issue of sanitation.  Other regulations could allow a certain number of people per acre, provided they have access to a simple structure with running water and approved septic tank setup.

New laws should allow land owners to install carports, or simple roof structures that provide a vehicle some protection from rain, snow, or direct sunlight.

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