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The new wave…
Living in a van or traveling full-time looks different for everybody. Vanlife is a movement of people, both young and old, that strips down all the excess right down to the basics. Van lifers want compact, simple travel and living so that they focus on the environment around them. Your journey is going to depend on why you’re doing it and what you’re looking to get out of it. Vanlife is one of the latest trends to sweep the nation, and for a good reason. It allows people who otherwise would not be able to purchase a home, mostly millennials, to own their own space, drastically reduce bills, and have the freedom to travel at will. Of course, there are trade-offs involved, such a small space means that amenities are limited, you face possible breakdowns, and you might not always be at a comfortable temperature.
Also, van life looks like one thing on the outside, and people have a very different opinion than those who are living the lifestyle daily. But van life, as a concept and as a self-defined community, is primarily a social-media phenomenon. Attaching a name to the phenomenon has also enabled people who would otherwise just be rootless wanderers to make their travels productive. There are now professional vanlifers. The van movement has a moment in which major life decisions are being made. People are opting to live in their vehicles for pleasure. Yes, life on the road is breathtaking, and there are moments of pure bliss. The photos you see, the stories you hear, they’re real, and they paint a crystal picture that you’d undoubtedly want to be involved in. Thanks to a new generation of minimalist millennials, the van life movement is gaining momentum once again, and it appears the trend is here to stay.
The meaning of van life is an adventurous and revealing look into the nomadic lifestyle, primarily through the eyes of nomads who have chosen to live a life of freedom on the road. It’s a movement that exemplifies a deeper societal trend. On the surface, the movement can appear to be a fact, driven by hashtags and vans in beautiful locations. Looking at it on a deeper level, you tend to see a diverse group of people who have made a deliberate move to live a more straightforward and minimal life on the road. Irrespective of the drive, they are aware of the decision made to redefine their expectations for life. As much as positive motives drive the van life movement, some people, down and out on their luck, are being forced to live in their cars in urban environments due to spiking rents and several other reasons.
The lifestyle movement has seen a massive boom in popularity in recent years, be it due to expensive housing costs, the desire to live lightly, or a craving for the unconventional
The call of the road isn’t just attracting retirees. Millennials are embracing a new, comfortable, and fun lifestyle. The hashtag “#vanlife” when searched has more than six million posts on social media, especially Instagram. The nomadic lifestyle has likely become more popular because of flexible work arrangements, the gig economy, and the minimalism movement. If you have not heard of the latest hashtag in trend “#vanlife,” you can search it now. You will be treated to beautiful Instagram pictures of old and new vans parked in stunning locations, captioned with some words about how to get out of the house and start living in a truck. Across the world, hundreds of youngsters, couples and loners, millionaires and homeless, are traveling in vans living a seemingly pleasant dream with its own set of nightmares.
In the past few years, van life has exploded to over 1.7 million mentions and counting on Instagram.
Then these adventurers take to the roads wherever the wind carries them. For those who work remotely and don’t require traditional living arrangements, it’s a unique way to see the country and not be on the spot. For others, the van is a chance to escape for the weekend or summer. Either way, you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Social media, flexible work schedules, the gig economy, and a shift from spending on material things to spending on experiences, have all likely fueled the recent rise, growth, trend, and movement of van life.
A lot of reasons have enabled individuals and groups to engage in nomadic lifestyles, and such purposes are what drive other people into it. Full-time van life isn’t for everyone, as with any lifestyle, there are ups and downs. There was a time, perhaps not even a decade ago, when living in a van by the river was frowned upon, but they are now long gone. Recently, living out of a vehicle has not only become acceptable but is now the trend. There’s more to this movement than adding a motor to the tiny home trend. Far from a fad, it encompasses a variety of factors that allows people to buy the van life ideology. More people are learning about living in their vans and are actively choosing to give up their previous tethered lives to go on the road regularly. For some, it’s a part-time gig. For others, it’s something they want to try out, but know it won’t be forever. And for others, it’s a seemingly indefinite full-time lifestyle choice.
With all of these, it is pertinent to know what to consider before diving into such a lifestyle, and it includes choosing a van, converting, stocking up on van life essentials, your daily stales, budget, campsite, living, and working in a van, and other plans.
Why the rise in nomadic lifestyle or the trend in van life?
Though it may seem like a new phenomenon, living on the road isn’t something new as it has been in existence for a very long time. In 1880, the first luxury land yacht was created by Englishman William Gordon Stables, and this allowed him to travel in comfort. Compared to the olden days, van lifestyle is now very prominent as a lot of people now love the idea of van living. Once reserved for hippies and retirees, van-dwelling is being embraced wholeheartedly by a new generation of modern nomads who are giving a unique, almost fashionable meaning to the stereotype. Provided you are physically and mentally prepared, and van life offers invaluable opportunities to discover the world, grow as an individual, and realize what truly matters in life. In the movement of small houses, there are urban people attracted by the dream of designing their own home on a sufficiently small scale to merge essential services, proper materials, and self-sufficiency, both economically, physically and geographically on wheels, and have become the symbolic gateway to alternative lifestyles.
Van living is a style of art that emphasizes extreme simplicity. Now that various individuals of the world now have access to technology, it is straightforward to show people how minimal a nomadic lifestyle is, primarily through pictures and videos. And this is found on any social media platform, especially on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. When your living space is minimal and organized, your mental state will flourish. Your van won’t have as much storage space as a house, which means that you’ll have to re-evaluate your belongings, bringing those that serve an essential purpose. Minimalist living takes you back to basic. It will teach you how to live with less and to love what you have truly. This is one crucial factor that keeps up the trend of a nomadic lifestyle, especially the van lifestyle.
Many people do not know that van living is quite economical because some people tend to spend a lot while living in the van. Since it is now a trend almost everywhere in the world, especially in America, several individuals now buy the ideology. A lot of people resorted to van life in response to the rising cost of real estate. Buying real estate property is very expensive, plus how the mortgage and taxes attached to it will do nothing but consume your purse. It’s no wonder that hundreds and thousands of millennials are turning towards the mobile lifestyle. Taking into account the initial investment of purchasing a home-on-wheels, including fuel costs, insurance, and the occasional trip to the mechanic, living the nomadic life is a great way to decrease your monthly living expenses significantly. The only bills you’ll be paying after you’ve moved your bedroom to the back of a van will be for fuel and the occasional visit to the mechanic, both negligible when compared with a quarter-million-dollar home.
Technology is enabling us to live and work from pretty much anywhere, and more companies are allowing people to work remotely, and more people are starting their businesses. Then there are also various social media platforms. With the increased awareness that RV or van life is possible by watching people’s YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and Instagram feeds, other people are beginning to realize how cool it is to travel and live or work on the road. This attracts them, and they want to do it too. America has long been famous for iconic road trips, and RVs and van life offer the ultimate freedom of exploring the country on wheels. The ease of communication through technology is allowing people not only to live but work remotely. The internet and social media have allowed van dwellers to share their lives. Van dwellers show what van living is, how they converted their van, how they make money, how they shower, where they sleep, along with numerous other burning questions that people have before living in a truck. Knowing where to sleep is one of the biggest problems people have. Technology has saved the day with this as well by explaining to people in articles what to expect and what not to expect. Having the internet allows you to not only connect with friends and family back home but connect with other van dwellers through social media groups and apps. And it can only get lonely when it is just a solo van dweller, which on the other hand, has its advantage.
Connect with people
While they might be remote and quiet, campgrounds are rarely solitary. But having neighbors isn’t always so bad, because living this nomadic lifestyle can get lonely at times. The good news about this lifestyle is that you get to meet and interact with people coming from different locations, and you are sure to have something in common to aid communication. Whether they’re doing it full-time or for the weekend, you’ll always have folks around to share a few brews with around a campfire. Living the nomadic lifestyle can get lonely until you pull into a campground or a park, where you’ll discover other people living the same adventure every day. You’ll find that wherever you go, strangers will be drawn to spark up a conversation purely out of curiosity. Not only will you meet people you otherwise wouldn’t cross paths with, but you may end up creating healthy and beneficial friendships along the way.
Freedom and adventure
The beauty of the mobile lifestyle is that you can cover as much or as little ground as you desire. Perhaps the number one reason to ditch your stationed house for a house-on-wheels is the freedom it provides. It is human nature to want to move around, and living in a van offers the ultimate freedom to roam. Whether you’re living in a van, an overland vehicle, a big motorhome, or anything else, living in a car gives you a lot of freedom. You can choose where you want to live, and you can mix it up and change it all the time. You can also decide how long you will stay somewhere and travel however you want. From pulling over whenever you please to sleeping wherever your heart desires, whether it be overlooking crashing waves, amidst a forest, or in the mountains on any given night, the choice is yours. Humans, after all, have been nomadic for 99 percent of our known history. Whatever you decide, it’s about living your life the way you want, and van life provides the ultimate freedom. By giving up some of the comforts of home and embracing adventure, you realize that van life can indeed be the adventure of a lifetime and the perfect way to start a new life again. Plus, you’ll never be short on amazing stories to tell. Living in a van may not precisely depict luxury to some, but one thing is inevitable, you’ll get to experience more of the world than you ever thought possible. Think of waking up to panoramic views, endless sunsets, and pulling over wherever your heart desires.
Having to leave the van in the morning to the office isn’t ideal. But studies show that millennials do not want office jobs anyway. Well, according to Forbes, 72 percent of millennials want to be creative in their careers and be their bosses. While living in a van might not be fit for office dwellers, it’s a unique space for creative minds and one that will allow them to work from anywhere they want. Many workplaces are allowing more employees to work remotely. There are more online freelancing jobs and other work opportunities available through the internet as well. To access the internet remotely, you can get an unlimited data plan for your cell phone, then turn on your phone’s hotspot to use your laptop. Road travel is so perfect because you get off the beaten path, and you can find passion projects and things you want to do. There are also quite a few off-grid WiFi routers that can get a signal even when you’re way out in the boonies. If neither of those seems like an option for you, luckily, there are so many more places that offer free public WIFI than in the past.
The rise in nomadic lifestyle, movement, and trend, especially van living, has grown so wide in recent years, causing the movement to expand almost everywhere, especially in the U.S. Asides all that was mentioned above, there are also several reasons why people engage in this lifestyle. They include expedition happiness, ultimate bonding experience, finding new purpose, location independence, and more alone time to reflect on issues.