The van life trend – everything you need to know
Hitting the road while seeing the sights: this is what Van Life looks like on social media. As a result, many people want to follow the lifestyle of some famous influencers. However, there’s more to the wheeled nomad life than meets the eye.
We will explore the reasons why people choose to follow Van Life. You’ll see that others have been doing this long before the social media trend. Later, you’ll discover the many harsh realities that Instagram accounts often don’t show.
The pandemic is bringing unusual changes to our world, and Van Life is just one of many. In response, you should learn a bit about these trends. Regardless of your interest in this lifestyle, it may help you understand how the world is changing and how you can respond to it.
Van Life as a trend
Let’s take the point of view of someone already weary of the pandemic. You’re tired of confining yourself at home, and you look outside, and the window panes remind you that you’re stuck.
Binging Netflix lets you escape for a while. Then, the “Are you still watching?” message pops up, and you realize you are still in your room. In the darkness, you open your smartphone.
Then, you see Van Life trending on your Instagram. You see clips opening to wide-open vistas. A bubbly personality welcomes you, followed by the usual call-to-action to “like and subscribe.”
You see how the influencer just goes on this seemingly endless road trip. They just ride on this camper van, decked out with all a modern house contains and more!
This is how most people are introduced to Van Life. As the name suggests, it refers to living in a van as a way of life. People find it alluring because of social media and quarantine.
Of course, we shouldn’t assume they all just fell for it on the Gram. Other wheeled nomads have other reasons. Let’s take a look at each one:
- No cubicles – Some people have been van dwelling even before the pandemic, and they see it as a way to break free from the monotony of office work. No punch cards, grey office walls, and piles of paperwork. Just you and the open road!
- Remote work – Why work from home when you can work from anywhere? Some people take their remote jobs a step further by living the Van Life.
- See the world – Some people see it as the “ultimate freedom.” You get to explore the world on your four wheels. It could be a great way to explore the United States if you have the money, perhaps other countries too!
Van Life as a necessity
This lifestyle isn’t always seen behind filters. For other people, it isn’t a new trendy hashtag. They have to do it because there’s no other choice.
Countries shut businesses to contain the spread of the virus. However, this took down businesses across the globe, and millions of layoffs soon followed.
People found it difficult to get new jobs. With their flow of income cut, they had to rely on their savings. Unfortunately, those funds dried up as well.
They couldn’t keep up with their mortgages and rent. As a result, many of them had to resort to Van Life. Sadly, this didn’t come with the fancy van conversions. Worse, there’s no van at all.
Some had to sleep in their sedans, and they had to recline the driver seat as a makeshift bed. For families, this meant someone was contorted at the passenger seat.
This is a sample of the growing “vehicle residency” trend in the US. It’s a form of homelessness seldom discussed in mainstream media. Yet, you could say this is another version of Van Life.
Read More: What Will Life Look After COVID?
What can I learn from Van Life?
Again, this article is not intended to promote or discourage this nomadic lifestyle. But it does show you a glimpse of a reality in today’s COVID world.
People are desperate to live life normally again, and they want to roam outside their homes again and see what lies outside quarantine. Thus, we see trends like Van Life spread on social media.
However, it provides a curated view of the lifestyle. Long-time Van Lifer Dan Lin says the first-timers just want a shortcut, and they just want a clear-cut way of living this nomad life.
He said these “Van Life tourists” have unrealistic expectations because of social media. If you look at other online sources, it may seem that it is.
Van-life blogger and Instagrammer Gabby Petito was reported missing by her mother on Saturday, September 11. Police have deemed her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, a "person of interest" in the case.
Here’s what we know so far. 👇https://t.co/SLk5MnwraY
— Insider (@thisisinsider) September 15, 2021
Look this up on a search engine, and you’ll find numerous pages and videos. Aside from the influencer videos, you’ll see countless guides about the subject.
For example, you’ll see lists of van recommendations. They’ll discuss Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter vans and compare which one is closest to a tiny home on wheels.
After seeing those, most people realize that they’ll need to save money for Van Life, and you will need tens of thousands of dollars to afford the vehicle and all the necessities.
What’s more, you have to grasp what it means truly. Can you truly live a full-time Van Life? Others ditched it after realizing that life on the road isn’t doable in your later years.
Before you start living life in your vehicle, make sure you’re willing to take all the risks. More importantly, look at it from a long-term perspective.
For example, you could live a Van Life at a national park, but not for long. You might have to perform “stealth camping. “ This means parking in certain places without being noticed.
There are other options outside Van Life. You may want to speak with your friends and family about it and discuss why you want it in the first place. It’s a great way to be mentally healthy too.
Learn more about Van Life
How much money do you need to live a van life?
You’ll get different estimates for Van Life, depending on your country. Though their recommended amounts often reach five figures or more. A van that’s big enough for the lifestyle will already set you back. Then, you may have to perform van conversions to have necessities like plumbing.
Is Van life a good idea?
Some love this nomadic lifestyle because they get so much freedom from it, and they can go almost anywhere they want, away from the monotony of office work. However, some people warn of its harsher realities, such as the lack of supplies or sudden emergencies. And you’ll often have to deal with it yourself with no one else to help you.
Why shouldn’t you live in a van?
If Van Life entices you because of your favorite influencer, that could be a red flag. Everyone on social media just tries to show you the best parts of their experiences. Everything has pros and cons, so you should look at both sides before making a decision.