Why We Decided To Sell Everything We Own and Live In a Van
It was January 1, 2016 and it was time to make a decision. We had 6 months to figure out what the hell we wanted to do once we graduated college and our apartment lease was up.
Cody and I are pretty good at dealing with changes, especially big ones. We endured a long-distance relationship for 2 years before deciding to move in together. Then, we started a business. So, this next chapter in our lives? It was going to be a piece of cake.
We knew we were ready for something different. We’re people who long for change and excitement, so choosing to stay in the same place after we graduated college wasn't a dreamy option for us. We’re entrepreneurs at heart, so getting a desk job was never a possibility for us either. We started freelancing while we were in college and we made enough to pay the bills through that, so we had confidence that we could continue running our own business full-time after graduating.
At first, we thought of moving to Colorado for a change of scenery. Maybe we’d do van life later down the road when our business was more settled. After some thorough discussions about it, we ultimately decided that moving to another state wouldn’t change much of the routine we had grown tired of. We were sick of paying rent for an expensive apartment and we wanted to spend a lot of our time traveling. We quickly decided this was not the right move for us and it was time to really consider van life.
Truthfully, thinking about living in a van was scary and exciting at the same time. We had no idea what to expect and thoughts were running through our heads like, “Can we really do this?” and “How will we run our business?” and of course, “How much money do we need to save?”
Using my awesome planning skills, we sat down and wrote out all of the expenses for the process, the steps to buying a van, etc. It was a tedious process, and one day, we finally looked at each other and said, “Fuck it, let’s just do it!”
We had no obligations, so the only thing holding us back were our own fears and excuses.
After that confident decision to move forward, a strange thing happened. Everywhere we walked, even if it was just out of our own front door, we saw a Mercedes Sprinter Van. There was one literally parked across the street from our house. Every day we would see a different van parked somewhere, or meet someone at our rock climbing gym that lived in a van. Before we had decided on van life, we never saw them… or maybe we never noticed. We like to think of it as the universe saying to us, "Hey! This is your destiny."
So, we started going through all of our stuff, selling things, getting rid of mountains of clothes we never wore… it was freeing. We prematurely sold our stuff about two months before we graduated college because we were so excited for the next chapter in our lives.
The main reasons we decided
to live in a van
We love camping, traveling, and going on road trips.
The very first date we ever went on was a road trip to Seattle. Throughout our relationship, we spent tons of time driving all over the country and we would sleep in our small vehicles on longer trips. It only made sense for us to live in a van full-time. Being able to travel and spend most of our time outdoors is a dream for us!
We barely have any stuff anyway, so it was an easy transition for us.
Most people are concerned about having space for all of their possessions. We totally understand! When you live in an apartment, you tend to accumulate stuff over time. Eventually you’ll look around and feel like you have too much stuff. Even in our small studio apartment in Portland, we didn’t even have enough to fill it up. It was easy for us to get rid of things and move into a much smaller space. One of the best lessons we’ve learned about living in a van is that you learn to be happier with much less. You quickly realize you didn’t even need the stuff you got rid of. We don’t miss it one bit.
We wanted to challenge ourselves to consume less and live differently.
As you know, the world is overcome by humans being careless. We have a huge population, and eventually our resources will end up running out if we don’t learn to stop over-consumption. By making certain lifestyle changes, we can make a huge impact on our environment. We are consuming less stuff by not purchasing as many products. We are more aware of how much trash we produce because it’s much more challenging for us to throw stuff away. The trash man doesn’t just come by and get rid of our waste. We are also completely solar-powered, so we are more self-sufficient by harnessing the sun's energy. We still do go to coffee shops, but we aren’t using nearly as much as we used to.
Even though we are living in a van and driving around, we chose to purchase a brand new van versus an older one because it has a better impact on the environment. Gas engines burn fuel at higher temperatures than diesel, which adds more waste to the environment. Diesel engines produce fewer emissions, in fact, they produce some of the lowest emissions of any oil-based fluid.
All of these things add up, even if we are not 100% solar all the time and we use fuel to drive around. We’ve reduced our footprint on the planet by a lot, which is really important in our day and age to consider. We want to inspire others to think about ways they can reduce their impact as well, even if you don’t want to live in a solar-powered van. You can still make a difference by not using plastic water bottles or by turning off your lights and TV when you aren’t using them. Little changes can drastically change our world.
We wanted to save tons of money by not paying rent.
Last week, we shared this post on how much money we are saving by living in a van. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot. There were initial expenses to begin our van life journey, but we are saving so much money these days by reducing our monthly expenses. Granted, once you live in a van you’ll have new expenses to consider like gas and camping fees, but we’ve discovered the expenses we have now are more for experiences and less for material goods.
We were determined to make our lifestyle work for us.
Cody and I are entrepreneurs. We never really liked people telling us what to do and we fully believed we could build our business so that we could live the life we wanted to live. Our business is our passion and we never ever dread “going to work.”
We are able to work remotely full-time and travel the world. We can decide to not go to work on Wednesday morning and instead, we can go surfing. We set our own hours, and we design our work life to work for us. Being able to run your own business and travel the world is a dream come true and we couldn’t imagine it any other way.
If you are thinking about van life, we highly recommend you try it. It’s an amazing lifestyle in so many different ways.