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There’s quite a lot of hype around living on the road, and if you check social media, you'll find many fantastic van life photos. This is enough to make you want to quit your job and experience what it’s like to live on the road.
Are you ready to live life on the road? It is worth mentioning that van life is an easy way to cut down your expenses while exploring the world and learning different things. It will also help you focus more on what matters most in your life. However, before you set out to start life on the road, there are certain things to consider.
This article will help you with what you need to know before you hit the road and embark on the van life journey. You'll find out the pros and cons of living on the road, how to live on the road, and reasons why it's an incredible experience.
What is Van Life?
Van life is the general lifestyle of nomadic individuals who don’t follow the conventional way of life we were all taught. These people choose to live in favor of adventure, simplicity, and minimalism to help them assess the true meaning of life. With what’s generally portrayed on social media platforms and all the glamorous images of people living the van life, you might want to think that van life is all about traveling.
However, there’s more to van life than you can imagine. For some people, van life is an escapist term, while for others, it represents adventure, minimalism, travel, or freedom. However, people who live on the road will tell you it’s a way of life, an act of resistance to the status quo, and a way to live with more self-harmony.
From the name, you might want to think it’s all about living in a van. However, the van itself has very little to do with this lifestyle, as you will not often find a van built for living. Also, van life is not about your occupation, the type of vehicle you drive, what you spend your time on, or how much you have. It goes beyond all of that.
Van life is a way of taking full control of your life. It allows people to lean to their fears and pursue what gives them more life. Van life will let you meet strangers and accept their differences. It is about creating a fulfilling lifestyle with much commitment. In essence, van life is about creating your own path. Rather than following the set path, you get to do things on your own terms and explore a lot more than you would be able to if you lived the everyday single-location life.
Reasons to Live on the Road
People choose this lifestyle for various reasons, including part-time reasons such as saving money or a quick road trip. For some, it is a full-time thing. It is a complete way of life for them, and they usually have no particular location that they have to return to every day. Whether you choose to do it only part-time or full-time, living on the road can be rewarding and exciting. If you’re looking for reasons to live the van life, here are a few reasons you might want to consider:
Embrace Unknown Excitement
The main benefit of living this type of lifestyle is that you are open to exploring uncertainties. Even though this can be exciting, it can also be terrifying. In general, living on the road is an adventure that comes with different possibilities and unexpected events.
Every day brings new challenges, new places to go, where you’ll spend the night, and new people to meet. This feeling of uncertainty will make you feel more alive, and you’ll be able to accept change easily. It offers you an opportunity to see things differently than you normally would because you get to experience various situations that you may be unprepared for.
Experience Personal growth
Even though living on the road may seem so easy on social media, it is not as easy as you might imagine. There are copious challenges that come with this type of lifestyle. This is in addition to the discomfort and uncertainty. Living on the road will give you more time for yourself, which will help with personal growth. You’ll need to hustle a lot to meet your financial needs, so it builds you up to learn to utilize available resources and embrace simple pleasures.
The van life will place you in different uncomfortable places, and you’ll have to confront life in different ways. It will help you discover true patience, and you’ll find the type of stability that you need. The lifestyle will also help you understand the importance of open-mindedness and flexibility. With all of this, you can be sure of heading towards the path of personal growth.
Adventure, Flexibility, and Freedom
Most people choose this lifestyle for the adventure and freedom that awaits them on the road. It is a wonderful experience, and you won’t have to be tied down by your apartment before you can have all you need. You’ll have more flexible days, and your daily routine will be much more enjoyable. The freedom that is offered by this type of lifestyle is unmatched. Do you want to visit the National Park? You can do this while saving housing and transportation cost. Van life will make it a lot easier for you to spend quality time with your friends and family.
Traveling in a van or RV will also allow you to explore different places. It is worth mentioning that while exploring these places, you have your house with you, and you can also work on the road. You have the freedom to change your location at any time if you don’t like the weather or climatic condition.
Focus on Hobbies
Living on the road can help you focus on all your hobbies depending on your lifestyle and what you do. Whether you like surfing, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, artwork, writing, or music, it is a lot easier to focus on these hobbies when you live on the road.
The flexibility and freedom of this way of life generally allow for growth.
However, even though you can spend more time on your hobbies, it is essential to note that you don't have all the time in the world, and as such, it is best to focus more on profitable things. The van life is generally characterized by setting up and breaking down camp, restocking water, finding where to sleep, and traveling.
All of these are time-consuming activities, but this lifestyle generally allows you to save time on other activities. For example, you won't have to commute to work since you'll primarily be working remotely. The bottom line is that the simplicity and freedom of this lifestyle make it easier for people to direct their time.
For some people, living on the road is a way to save money, especially on rent or housing. Housing costs are generally on the high side in different parts of the world. Living cheap on the road will help you eliminate utility payments, mortgage, and rent, all of which are the bulk of our monthly expenses. You can use this extra money for other things like school fees, paying off loans, a retirement plan, or setting up a business.
However, living on the road doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t be spending at all. It will help you spend on certain costs, but you must note that a few other aspects will require you to spend money on the road.
Live a Minimalist Life
There are various benefits that come with living on the road, and one of these is the fact that you will not need space for unnecessary things. As a result, you will need to evaluate the items you need and separate them from items you won’t need.
Having fewer things will reduce the burden on you. You won’t have so much to worry about, and you can easily carry your belongings. Also, since you have limited space in your van, you won't be a victim of impulsive buying. With this, you can quickly learn how to be satisfied with what you have.
Meet Different People and Join Communities
You might be asking, how likely is it to meet people when you live in a van? There are so many other people like you who choose this type of lifestyle, and whenever you meet other van lifers, perhaps in places like RV parks, it always feels like you’ve met people with a similar mindset. You’ll be able to form strong connections with these people.
There are so many people on the internet today who are connecting with other van lifers. You'll also find different communities for van lifers online. When you join these communities, you'll be surprised at the number of unique people you'll meet. This is an opportunity to expand and grow your circle.
Challenges of Living on the Road
Even though there are so many great reasons to live on the road, it is essential to note that living on the road comes with its own challenges. Here are a few challenges that come with this type of lifestyle.
Can Be a Lot of Work
You might have seen so many beautiful things on Instagram about this type of lifestyle. You should note that the lifestyle is not about lounging in your van and taking beautiful pictures everywhere you go. Living the van or RV lifestyle usually requires a lot of strategizing.
There are so many questions that you’ll constantly need to answer. This usually relates to where you can get freshwater, a shower, the nearest bathroom, and more. You need to also figure out where you’ll spend the night before it gets dark. Basically, this type of lifestyle involves a lot of thinking, which can be stressful.
Spending Lots of Time Outdoors
For people who don’t like to stay outside for long, the van life may not be perfect. This is because they’ll have to adjust to always being outdoors. No matter how big and comfortable your van is or the equipment you have in the van, you’ll always spend most of your time outside.
Staying outside is one of the main things that attract people to van life. However, if this is not something you can adapt to, it is best not to consider trying it. Remember that there are a lot of insects outside, such as ticks, spiders, flies, and mosquitoes. These insects may bite you a lot, and what’s more, is that some of them are disease-causing insects.
Exposure to Different Weather Conditions
Living on the road will subject you to different environmental and weather conditions. No matter what you do, you’ll always be at the mercy of external weather conditions. Even though you can’t control weather changes, there are a few things that you can do to maintain the temperature condition in your van. Examples include insulating your van, using a ventilation fan, and reflective windows.
The point is that if you choose to live on the road, you'll have to be ready to deal with constant changes in weather conditions.
Exposure to Various Uncertainties
Living on the road comes with so many uncertainties that you will have to adapt to. Sometimes, you'll find yourself in uncomfortable situations you never planned for. It typically takes a longer time to adjust to this new lifestyle. You'll have to get used to so much discomfort when you start living on the road.
There are some cases where you’ll need help from someone but finding someone to help you will be hard. This can lead to fear and frustration. However, staying open-minded and flexible is all you need to grow and get used to the situation. The feeling of uncertainty is a major thing when it comes to living life on the road. To start living this way, you’ll need to leave your comfort zone and embrace all the uncertainties it brings.
Takes Much Hustle
If you have not saved much before deciding to explore van life, you might be financially limited, especially if you choose to stay off work. Remember that living on the road is not a form of vacation, and people never show that they do other work to raise money when living the van life.
For you to live on the road full time, you’ll need a major source of income to sustain yourself. As a van lifer, you must be open to doing anything, including seasonal farming, work camping positions, manual labor, online freelance work, or even running your own business or other independent and creative options to earn money. The common thing about every van lifer is that they are always doing one thing or the other to meet their daily needs. They are ready to embrace any opportunity that comes their way.
If you prefer living a more stable life, you may not fancy the idea of living on the road, and if you eventually venture into this lifestyle, you’ll need to adapt. One interesting thing is that many van lifers have successfully transitioned through this hustling phase and are now living a more stable lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Living Life on the Road
Here's a quick summary of the perks associated with living on the road as well as the disadvantages:
● Opportunity to meet people and join communities
● More time to focus on personal things
● Flexibility and freedom to travel
● A life full of exciting adventure
● Chance to save money and meet financial goals
● Opportunity for personal growth
● It takes a lot of hustle
● It is not always as it appears on social media
● Constant changes in temperature and weather conditions
● Various uncertainties
Ensure Lawful Compliance While Living on the Road
Living life on the road can be such an adventure—a never-ending one, perhaps. However, it is always essential to prepare ahead if you plan to fully embrace this lifestyle and join other van lifers who have committed to spending their lives on the road.
Make sure you have all your vehicle's documents in place, including your driver's license and any necessary registration for your van. You may also need your mail sorted out before you hit the road. Therefore, contact a mail forwarding professional early enough, so you don't get into a pinch later on.