The Pro's and Con's of Van Life
The Pro's OF LIVING IN A VAN
You get to travel whenever, wherever.
The best thing about van life is being able to travel. One day you are on the coast eating clam chowder and hanging out on the beach. The next day you are snowboarding in the mountains drinking hot chocolate. The ability to go wherever you want, without having any obligations in your current place. It’s great to wake up every morning and look at each other and ask “where should we go today?”
The van life community is amazing.
The one thing I personally love about van life that I was not expecting, was the extremely supportive community. There are so many amazing people who also share this lifestyle on the road. We’ve met some other van dwellers, and have made some great friends out of it.
Waking up in the morning to awesome views.
One time, I woke up in the middle of the desert with the sun coming up over the mountains in the distance. I flung open the back doors to our van and just enjoyed the moment fully. I sat there drink- ing my coffee and feeling content with life thinking -“ This is what van life is all about.”. The views are worth every second of those difficult challenges living on the road can bring.
Being able to spend more time outdoors.
I’ve always loved the outdoors. When I was a kid, i’d go hiking with my family in Montana and ever since then, spending time outdoors has been my happy place. Being able to constantly be outdoors and find new hobbies to try has been amazing!
Changing your lifestyle to better the planet
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure most people living in a van care about the environment. Van life challenges you in so many ways, but a lot of those challenges are necessary. You are learn- ing to consume less stuff in a world where we are taught to overly consume and use as much as we can. Living in a van makes you much more aware of what you use. We even became more aware of how much trash is produced. By simplifying your life you are able to practice a better way of living that can reduce our impact on the earth. It only takes one person to make a difference.
The Cons OF LIVING IN A VAN
Adapting to a new lifestyle.
Adapting to a new lifestyle can be difficult. So difficult that you sit there in frustration questioning why you even decided to do this at all. With any change in life, comes a bit of resistance. It’s good for you to get out of your comfort zone and experience something completely new.
With that said, one of the more challenging things about adapting to this lifestyle is lack of routine. Because you are in a new place every morning, it can be hard to develop the same routine you are used to at home. The best way to adjust is to simplify your routine down to the basics!
Not finding a place to sleep for the night.
We’ve had some pretty stressful evenings where we could not find a single place to park and sleep. We ended up stealth camping or heading to the nearest Walmart. While stealth camping is a popular option among many van dwellers, it’s not ideal. There is a technique to it and you have to make sure you aren’t disturbing anyone that lives there.
Also, with Walmart, you’ll probably get an awful night of sleep due to the constant traffic and people that tend to hang out around the area. It’s good to figure out earlier in the day where you’ll park for the evening, that way you don’t run into stress later.
Not being able to shower as much.
In the summer it’s easy to find showers. You can shower outside with a Road Shower or a camp- shower. You can even do the ol’ rinse in a lake or river. However, during winter months, you’ll find it a little more difficult.
Showering outside is out of the question because of the cold weather. You’ll have to go longer without a shower and sometimes that sucks. One way we’ve been able to workaround this is to get a gym membership that allows us to have access to all of their locations.
Breaking down or getting stuck.
Since you are in a moving vehicle as your home, breaking down or getting stuck is inevitable.
It’s something that sucks, but it’ll probably happen. It’s good to be prepared and carry tools with you like- a shovel, chains, and a tool bag. It’s also good to look into getting AAA which is a roadside as- sistance service just incase you are in need of help.
In the long run you’ll be thankful you are paying the extra money for a service like AAA. We’ve gotten our van stuck in sand and ice in the first year and we had to figure out a way to get unstuck on our own. A great learning experience nonetheless.
Uncertainty is certain when it comes to van life. Especially if you are a person that always needs to know what’s going to happen next. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t really like surprises so it was a little scary at first for me to start our van life journey.
Not knowing where we were going, where we were sleeping, or what was going to happen next made me afraid. But, this experience was exactly what I needed as a person to grow and to accept that I cannot predict my life and what will happen.