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So what is it that stops people from their dreams?
In as much as there are individuals who would do anything to live and enjoy a van life, there are also some that won’t work due to some factors that have caused fear in their heart, thus stopping them from living a van life. Van life means much more than living in a van. It means traveling the world, spending your days surfing or rock climbing and taking pictures of the excellent places you visit. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye. Preparing to live in a van has its difficulties. But when looked at closely, the benefit that comes with living a van life surpasses that which causes the fear. Vanlife means, on the one hand, leaving the regular routine behind once and for all, being a traveler on the go every day anew. But also, to have to work on the road, organize yourself so that nomadic life is possible.
There are many things about living in a van that can cause a big challenge for some people. But it is essential to say that van living is not for everybody. As it is said, ‘One man’s food is another man’s poison. Therefore, so far as there are lovers of van life, there are also non-lovers of van life. However, one pertinent thing about these fears is that they can be well managed if there is an interest in van life. Regardless of how much you try to convince someone, if there are fears in his mind, it will affect how he reacts when he hears the word, Vanlife. Different people with various reasons why they dislike the idea of Vanlife. However, the top seven fears people experience will be listed below and well defined
Vanlife requires being on the road most of the time, and when there’s no travel partner such as friends or families, you will mostly be alone. Most of the time, it is usually an individual’s choice, thereby resulting in being alone. This is one of the reasons why people fear van life, its loneliness. Some people find it difficult to stay alone because it can be scary, at times, sleeping alone. Fear of not having a house, a permanent home, being away from friends and family, of sleeping in a dark forest, of loneliness – when on the road can affect mental health. With no friends to talk to, it could lead to depression, having to be alone almost all the time. In as much as the trip might look fun or exciting, the feeling of wanting to be around familiar faces creeps in. So, the fear of living a lonely life would make some individuals dislike the notion of living in a van.
One of the things that cannot be determined by Van travelers is how the weather is going to turn out, considering that they are always on the road. Besides, sometimes van life is inconvenient and pain and the weather just would not allow you to live comfortably. Being stuck in a van for an extended period in crappy weather can bring some of the toughest and most draining of situations. When there’s a change in weather, the only place to lay abode in is the van, which cannot be compared to being under the roof of a house. For example, when rain falls, the night could be freezing, and the rain could also put a dampener on your day, let alone when you live in your van. It could be okay sometimes, and other times, it would be cumbersome and just wouldn’t stop, which might get into the truck, leaving it messy. More so, it could not only be rainfall but natural disasters, for example, tsunami, volcano, etc.
Experiencing these disasters alone and on the road is very disastrous, and there’s no one to call on for help. This is why some people dislike and fear the idea of van life, so they prefer staying under their roof where they feel more comfortable with their friends and families. In the summer, the vehicle can get hot and uncomfortable, and in the winter, it could get freezing. A van’s insulation is not like a house, which can cause temperatures to rise and fall much quicker.
No one loves to be stranded by the roadside with little or no help. A van lifer can only be lucky if there’s a mechanical engineer nearby that can help with fixing the van after breaking down or when he/she can do that by himself or herself. The van is your home, so when it breaks down, it can be a real hassle. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this. Your most valuable asset is continuously at risk while you’re on the road. Having to run around to look for help is one thing most people dislike and fear because while on the way, they don’t know anyone. And to inquire for help from strangers sometimes can come with dire consequences.
When the van is your only abode, you don’t have the option of fixing it later as its maintenance and repair are always a priority. Besides, after experiencing a breakdown by the roadside, if there’s no help, you could spend the night in the van with fear as there’s no means of moving from the spot there’s the entire house with you but while at home, even when stranded in the bush, at least you have the whole house with you.
There’s nothing like feeling safe and secure wherever you are both day and night. Either you are alone or with your loved ones on the road on a temporary or permanent basis is going to be a huge concern. Getting out of your comfort zone and into unpredictable situations can be quite fearful. The fear of being robbed and attacked on the road is an issue that makes people fear the idea of van life. Regardless of how well equipped, you are with safety equipment in the van, and it does not guarantee a hundred percent safety. While living on the road, you are an easy target, and everything or everyone with you becomes vulnerable. In other words, there is the fear of always been in danger even if there is none. Lay awake feeling terrified of what might happen becomes a constant thing to deal with. Since there’s no particular place to stopover at night, having to stop at different places overnight can be so disturbing and stressful. Most times, there is little or no familiarity with the situation.
Moreover, some places are illegal to sleep at night, so you may be woken up in the middle of the night by authorities. And again, the fear of being involved in accidents discourages people from thinking of van life. Instead of being on the road for hours and days without knowing what next could happen is something people consider, which eventually turns a fear.
5. Financial Cost
Some individuals might think that opting for a van life is very cheap. It is not cheap, but this will vary tremendously depending mainly on the things you buy and how you live. Remember, van life will only be as cost-effective as you make it. Since you will be on the road most of the time, it is vital to get everything needed to enjoy the trip and to do that, and there’s the need to spend. It all starts with your initial cost, which is going to be the most expensive but luckily, it’s only a one-time cost. Purchasing the items needed is good, but buying the best pieces is essential. There are some things that you do not necessarily need at home, but because you will be on the road, there’s a need to have them. Items required for the van includes a water filter, backpack, flashlight, blankets, mattress, tight air storages, hammock, refrigerator, toilet, chair, food flask, power bank, music system, curtain, foodstuffs, lightings, carbon monoxide detectors, first aid kits, camera gear, coffee machines, etc. all of this put together requires a substantial amount of money.
However, as a result of the lack of finances, people prefer to just stay with family or friends when they cannot afford to rent an apartment. Also, to ensure safety at night, some go to the park to rent a slot overnight, thus have to pay. When this continues, it means that a lot has to be spent every day. There’s also the need to put into consideration vehicle insurance, maintenance, tax, and petrol. So when some individuals consider this, they shy away.
The easiest way to keep yourself healthy and sane is to ensure proper health of the body and the vehicle. Keeping your life confined to a small space means that all the mess, germs, and dirt that typically accumulates are within the van. And this requires extra effort to ensure there is cleanliness. Compared to being at home under a roof, you get to experience all forms of cleansing with ease, but in the van, there’s a limit to what can be done. In the case of showering, it is either you rent a bathroom to use or have your bath beside a lake or river. This is particularly not hygienic to the body as it could affect health. And when the health is concerned, getting a clinic or hospital to get treated can be another issue as a first aid kit might not apply to all injuries or sickness. For example, for someone who loves to shower twice a day can be considered lucky if he gets to shower once every two or three days when living in a van. Besides, if there is no supply of clean water to cook foods, clean your clothes and dishes and drink with, it will cause harm to the body system. Some people’s health is prone to illnesses as a result of bad hygiene, and it creates fear of not appreciating van life. Thus, meeting daily hygiene requirements will become a struggle.
If you notice well, van life is not mostly talked about because of the stigma attached to it, and that is why it is most prominent amongst the Westerners compared to other parts of the world. Still, even in Western countries, this is very much experienced. However, while living in a campervan, you will realize how many stereotypes are against it. This is the notion that the majority of individuals live with to make them dislike the idea of van life. There are negativity and hate in general, and van lifers are usually looked down upon in society. They are seen as poor. Although they don’t know the reasons why people choose that lifestyle, because of the general notion about van dwellers, they look down on them. Whereas, there are a few of them that are rich but only find pleasure in it. In some cities, RVs and vans are not seen. In some big cities, you may feel judged and unwanted since many poor homeless people in those big cities buy RVs or vans to squat in neighborhoods. No one wants to be looked down upon, so the fear of being stigmatized stops them from living a van life despite the opportunities, pleasure, and fun that comes with it.
The above listed are the top seven fears that stop people from living a van life but rather stay under the roof of a house regardless of the situation. Even if it requires squatting with a friend or family member when there’s an available option of van living, they would not. Though other factors cause fear against van living, such as having no final destination, spotty WIFI connections, etc. Nevertheless, these fears can be well managed if some things are put in place, and some actions are well carried out, thus ensuring a fun-filled and exciting trip. Regardless of these fears, you can enjoy van life to its peak. Hopefully you don’t suffer from any of these and if you do are able to overcome them!