What You Should Know Before You Sell All Your Possessions and Start Living #vanlife.
If you follow any travel accounts on Instagram or YouTube, you’ve probably seen modern millennial couples selling everything to live #vanlife. They simplify their possessions so they can live cheaply and travel the world in their vehicles. Charise and I just spent the last 5 days in a Pacwesty VW Vanagon, named Ernie. This brief introduction to #vanlife has basically made us experts...well, not really. It did, however, give us a taste of what living in a van would be like. Before you sell your house and hit the road, read on to find out what you should know before you go.
1. It’s A Smaller Space Than You Think It Is
It's a van. That means it's a small space. There's no getting around that. You will bump into each other and bang your head and arms as you move around. Our van, Ernie, had a pop-top so we could stand straight up. But when Charise and I were both in the van together, with the doors closed, it got claustrophobic quickly. Make sure you're very close to whoever you share a van with because you're only going to get closer.
Even if you prepare yourself to be a little cramped, some situations make the van even smaller. If you have to rearrange your stuff, you quickly lose leg room as you move your possessions all around. Getting dressed while the bed was down, took coordination like you wouldn't believe. And we're not very coordinated. Then there's the rain. Rain is the worst. Our first night in Ernie, it poured. The van feels small when you can't open it up and let the outside in. Prepare yourself for it to feel even smaller than you think, especially if you're giving up a permanent home to live #vanlife.
2. Organization Is Key
With it being such a small space, being organized is critical. You just can't waste space when there's so little of it to begin with. Having everything put away in its place makes a big difference. Also if you are stuck inside during a storm, you'll be thankful that you know where everything is. If you're used to just throwing your underwear and shoes on the floor at home, that won't cut it in #vanlife. The van gets messy quick. Make sure to put everything away in its spot.
3. Finding Showers and a Toilet Will Become Your Sole Mission in Life.
This is a big one. Most vans you live in, will not have a toilet or shower. This means that you will have to find these locations on your own. And to be frank, finding a toilet and a shower every day is pretty important. Many #vanlifers park in Walmart parking lots and use the store for toilets. Showers can be covered with Anytime Fitness memberships or day spa passes. On our trip, most of our campgrounds had these facilities but if your #vanlifeing for the long haul, you're going to need a permanent solution. You don't realize how essential these needs are until you don't have them readily available. Don't be some smelly #vanlife guy. Shower every day.
4. It’s Amazing!
Ok, we started this list out with some hardships but why do people endure all of the cons? Because it's amazing to travel around in your own tiny home. Our vintage Pacwesty VW van was so much fun to drive and hang out in. We could barely get it above 60mph, but we smiled every time we drove down the road. Plus we were able to camp and sleep in places that would have only been possible with a tent. One example was the Deer Park campground in Washington. It was very remote. We drove an hour down a one-lane dirt road, each way, to get to there. Once we arrived at the magnificent view, all we had to do was set up camp. If we were staying in a cabin or a hotel, we would have had to head all the way back, or we would have missed out on this spot completely.
For people living in their van, we could totally see the appeal. Being able to hit the road, with your home on wheels, sounds pretty awesome. Stopping and camping wherever and whenever you want would be a cool way to travel the world. And the thought of having so few expenses would be great too. Dropping Ernie back off at Pacwesty was a sad way to end our trip. In four days it started to feel like our new home.
Who needs a permanent address anyway? For us, we could totally see the appeal of living #vanlife. You probably shouldn't sell all your possessions and move into a van. But for a week or two, living out of a van is a pretty cool way to see the country. We had a fantastic time hanging out in Ernie, and we can't wait to do it again. Pacwesty made living the van life totally doable. What about you? Would you want to radically change your life and live in a van to see the country? What about just for a few weeks? Answer below in the comments.