We all have listened to the universal to-do list – work hard, save money, buy a house, have kids, invest money and plan retirement. Ironically, the most important thing, “live,” is not given importance. Every individual’s life framework is different, some prefer stability, and some want full-filling adventurous life. Not everyone enjoys the rat race. Many people want to live and spend their money on meaningful experiences.
Now the world is more accepting of unusual approaches that might sound bizarre a few decades back. Like the concept of van dwelling from the 1960s! Living the life out of the van represents a carefree and minimalist life. The travel hashtags in the Instagram feed are flooded with the fantastic pictures captured while traveling on the van, making a comeback in the 2020s. It influences people trapped in their cubicles who want to unravel the scenic beauty that nature intends to offer without any limitations.
As tempting, it might sound, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. This blog will let you know what goes behind those picturesque social media post that gathers thousands of likes!
The positives & pros for living on the wheels-
1. Van life allows you to hold all the strings of your life:
According to people who have lived on the road for a while, they had felt as if they were trapped in prison before they chose van life. They lived from one paycheck to another and struggled to maintain a “standard of living,” which they don’t want.
Van life offers flexibility, freedom from financial burdens- no rent, electricity, or water bills. Secondly, you can move any time you want, wherever you want. You are master of your own will! Because of this advantage, many people are turning into this nomadic hippie culture.
2. You become Self Sufficient:
Living in the van gives you freedom from various things. But not from house maintenance repairs. The positive side is you have to learn new things like installing power lines, electric cables, and maintenance work. It will help you broaden your learning horizon, take up challenges, and find solutions. You also pick up some tricks while traveling, seeing new things, and interacting with different people on the road. It opens the person to a whole new perspective on life. A minimalist lifestyle change will make you more grateful for small things that you took for granted before.
3. You are more Self Aware:
One of the best parts of this modern nomadic life is getting introduced to many hobbies, sports, and adventures. Like, rock climbing, surfing, swimming, biking, hiking, or just gazing at the sunset whenever you get the opportunity. You learn up closely about the culture of the place. Understand the city, people, and how interacting with people gives a new dimension to a person’s outlook on life. It gives you more time to be self-aware, what your likes are and what’s your purpose.
4. Location is not a constraint to find a job:
Now the added benefit of van life is that location is not a restriction while searching for a part-time job to sustain yourself. You can quickly move and park your vehicle close to your working space and make money.
The Negative side for living on the road
Van Life’s unique advantages might allure you, but it’s not for everyone. Sorry to break your bubble. People who cannot wait to escape the urban jungle need to understand it’s not an easy way. It requires a lot of planning, mental stability, and being physically ready for any challenge that comes your way.
1. Adjusting to small spaces:
It is one of the most logical disadvantages of choosing a van life. It’s one of the reasons why people have inhibitions about it. If two people are traveling, it will undoubtedly get cramped up. But some solutions can help, like working on the layout of your vehicle. If done intelligently, it can make room for some extra space. For example, you can opt for a portable shower setup. This decision will save space and keep a more open layout in your van. To know more about this you can watch the video below:
2. Maintaining hygiene:
There is not much space available in the van, even for basic amenities. As an alternative, people use portable toilets and showers. Although, the small chemical toilets are difficult to use. Most people use it in case of an emergency in a remote area.
Usually, travelers rely on public toilets or in restrooms in shops. They might not be the cleanest, but they had to compromise somewhere. Similarly, they use showers at gyms or yoga studios for bathing by paying a fee.
3. It demands you to be more social:
Well, this is a grey zone. It’s a boon for extroverts who can mingle with people of different cultures. Making people understand what help you need with your vehicle or navigation in an unfamiliar space is challenging. There are language barriers, and you have to make them realize through hand gestures. It’s not always easy.
4. Completing all chores before hitting the road:
We have the luxury of being lazy at home and can ignore piles of dishes before heading somewhere in a hurry. In van life, before driving anywhere, everything must be put away in a safe place to avoid crashing and breaking utensils.
It might not be a deal-breaker in the beginning. But after spending some time on the road, it can get daunting and irritating. Also, another challenge is you don’t have the comfort of space while cleaning the dishes, which is usually available at regular homes. If you have a sink on the minor side, water often splashes around, and it can get messy. To avoid messiness, you can use minimal dishes while cooking to prevent extra work.
Prepare for breaking down of your van:
You can never know when your vehicle engine ditches you on an isolated highway in the middle of the night. It can be unexpected, anywhere and anytime. It’s essential to prepare mentally for any adverse situation like this. It’s critical to have a backup plan if any repairs are required, especially in a new place. Also, the repairs can become a financial burden if not prepared. So, plan wisely by keeping money set aside for any emergency.
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Van life offers more freedom to travel and explore, enjoying the sunset on the ocean, being in a whole new place every few days, and exploring different shades to yourself. But, it comes with its own set of challenges. You have to understand packing your entire life and begin a journey that promises to be an enriching experience is not as easy as it sounds.
Before taking the keys and hitting the road, make sure you are ready to make those sacrifices to live the crazy minimalistic life you want. Also, it’s clear, someone whose heart lies in travel would adapt to this lifestyle in a blink!