8 Reasons Van Life Is Worth It
A few weeks ago, we shared this post 6 Harsh Truths About Van Life.
We wanted to counter the negativity with this post by sharing 8 of the best things about living in a van. These are the things that make all of those hardships you might face totally worth it. While adjusting to this lifestyle can be a challenge for anyone, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
FINDING THAT PERFECT FREE CAMPSITE
After spending many nights in Walmart parking lots (which isn’t as bad as it sounds), discovering that perfect free campsite is like winning the jackpot. It makes up for those sleepless nights in undesirable locations. There was one particular time for us when we were driving up HWY 101 in the spring. We spent many evenings at Walmart and stealth camping in Santa Barbara because many of the campsites that were free were closed due to landslides. We drove north just a little bit further towards San Luis Obispo and discovered something on our map called “botanical area.” Our curiosity led us up a bumpy dirt road to the top of a mountain that overlooked everything below. We found out we could stay here, and ended up camping for a week! This discovery made up for all of those nights we had to stealth camp.
SPENDING ONE DAY SNOWBOARDING IN UTAH AND THE NEXT DAY LOUNGING IN NEWPORT BEACH
Traveling by van makes it easy for you to decide what to do on a whim. You can decide last minute to meet up with another van dweller in Utah and spend the whole day snowboarding at a ski resort with them, and the next day you can arrive at the California coast to get your tan on. Being able to spend time in different places all over the US is really fun and definitely makes van life worth it!
DRINKING A BEER AND HANGING OUT NEXT TO A LAKE
I don’t know about you, but we love a good craft beer. We often find ourselves grabbing our favorite beer - Ninkasi Total Domination IPA, heading to a local swimming area, and enjoying it while lounging in the sun. This is probably one of our favorite activities to do when it’s warm outside. It allows us to enjoy our favorite beverage and fully be present in the moment without worrying about what time it is. When you live in a van, time seems to disappear.
EXPLORING THE LOCAL CUISINE, BREWERIES, AND COFFEE SHOPS.
When you live in or near a city, you tend to stick with what you know. You’ll head to the same coffee shop, the same brunch places every Sunday, and the same bars to hang out at night. When you live in a van, your world opens up! What good is traveling without enjoying the local cuisine? When we are visiting a new city or town, we like to hop on Yelp to find the best burrito, food cart, or sushi restaurant. We also love to find the best coffee shops and tend to try coffee from local businesses in every town.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE
When you live in the same place, you tend to hang out with the same group of people, often the ones who are doing the same thing as you. When you live in a van, you’ll be forced to make new friends and hang out with all kinds of people. One time, we were hanging around a small town for a few weeks. The thing about small towns is that the people who live there will start to notice someone that comes into the same coffee shop they do. We spent a lot of time at this particular coffee shop because of the wifi, so eventually someone came up to us and introduced himself. After seeing him a few times, he eventually invited us to his house for a Super Bowl party. We ended up having the best time, hanging out with someone new and their family and friends!
PRACTICING BEING FULLY PRESENT IN A MOMENT
When I lived in an apartment in the city, I was always on “go” mode. There was always somewhere I had to be, and it seemed like there were countless events to go to. I felt like I was in a whirlwind of obligations and friends to spend time with, that I never really felt like I got to sit down and fully enjoy being present. I was always worried about what was happening the next day, and what had happened that previous weekend. By living in a van, I’ve been challenged to just be still in a moment. I worry less about time and what I am doing each weekend and more about how I can make the most out of right now.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND BEING MORE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR CONSUMPTION
Living in a van forces you to think about your consumption. Why? Because you have no room to store things! You have to curb your shopping habits, and you even have to think about packaging for food products because you don’t have a large kitchen to store things. It also is much more difficult to find recycling centers and trash bins to dump your garbage. Thinking about how much garbage I produce is something I never thought of as much until I had a smaller space. Additionally, you are much more aware of water consumption and energy. Washing dishes becomes more of a challenge because a) you don’t have a dishwasher and b) you can’t run your water constantly. I see all of these challenges as a good thing because in order to make any difference in the environment and the impact we have on the planet, we have to challenge ourselves to change our ways.
BEING ABLE TO WORK FROM ANYWHERE
Even though it’s hard to be an entrepreneur and run your own business, there is nothing like being able to do my job from any location. My laptop allows me to be very flexible and honestly, it’s the best part about living in a van. I can work from the beach or my campsite, and if I want to stay inside, I can open the back doors of my van and stare at the mountains while I work! Working remotely allows us to live this lifestyle, and live it fully by earning a living.
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