Lately we see a lot of people who are joining the «van life» trend. This consists of moving into a camper van, just as it sounds; the room becomes the living room and kitchen, and also your means of transportation. Small closets, few belongings, a 20 liter water tank, a small kitchen… How is it possible to live in such a reduced space?
Most people who choose this option do not usually move completely to a van, but use it for long trips because of the comfort of being able to sleep in the van wherever you go.
Those who choose this way of traveling the world, without a doubt, can teach us a lot about minimalism and living in the present. These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of moving around in a van, according to its own protagonists.
Freedom of movement is one of the great advantages, in addition to being able to save on hotel or hostel accommodation. Since there is little space, it is essential to take only the necessary belongings. Therefore, learning to live with less is an enriching challenge.
Also, the usual expenses that we would have in a traditional house are eliminated: light, gas, rent if necessary, etc. From an emotional point of view, it is a way to de-stress: you will enjoy nature in a different way.
You will have the opportunity to visit places that would otherwise be more difficult to get to know. In this way, living in a van can be an empowering experience, even if it is only temporary.
Although we also found disadvantages and difficulties that you might encounter in this adventure have to do with the small issues of everyday life. For example, something as simple as taking a shower or going to the bathroom, or that the weather conditions do not help too much.
Financing the trip could also be an impediment, although travelers usually have a range of possibilities: from temporary jobs to those in the long term, either in person or remotely. In the latter case, it may be difficult to access a stable internet connection.
On the other hand, those who follow this lifestyle recommend knowing about mechanics, since there could be inconveniences with the van on the road. If the route is rather deserted, it will be difficult to find assistance.
«The experiences on the road, in the wilderness, leave you with lasting memories, unlike the sedentary days or the things we consume. Conversations with different people feed us. Seeing new places and learning new things awakens our minds. Perhaps most importantly, fresh air and a more natural relationship with the planet we live on are vital,» they explain in Hit The Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures , Gestalten’s new – and beautiful – book.
Many people have also made the choice to aspire to this kind of life for a while. The possibility of having a van to move around the world has become real thanks to the possibility, also, of asking for a loan to buy it. What used to be a long term way of life, today has become something you can do on a temporary basis. It can be a game of a couple of years: you sell the van and go back to your old routine.
«Freedom and minimalism seem to be the first words spoken by those who lead this life, and they share the feeling that consumerism and competitiveness lack fundamental qualities for real human progress,» reads Gestalten’s book. «If vanlifers are the new Lost Generation, perhaps it is because the younger you are, the more work you are expected to do for less money, work that seems to make less and less sense.
Personally, it is something I would like to experience before buying a conventional house, since it allows you to travel and lead a nomadic life while you travel and discover the world. I find this experience very enriching as much for as I have said, traveling around the world and discovering new customs, cultures, lifestyles, etc. As well as to learn what is really necessary to live in order not to fall into an excessive consumption of material things when we move to live in a conventional house. Similar to the above, it also helps to value resources more and be more aware of for example the many things you can do with a water tank of for example 30l (which is usually what is used for this type of housing) instead of opening a tap with unlimited water, and the same with electricity, etc.