Before you jump into #VanLife, take it for a test drive.
When you open up Instagram, it seems everyone these days is “living the #VanLife.” Van life seems like a very aspirational lifestyle, and while it is, it’s also much more. There’s always a messier and more complex reality outside of the perfectly portrayed image we have in our mind.
So, before you quit your job, sell your house, and buy a van, I’ve got a guide to find out if van life is the lifestyle for you. Take it from someone who quit her job, sold her stuff, and backpacked around the world for a year. Since we’ve been back home, we’ve been toying with the idea of living the van life, so we gave it a “test drive” in Australia. In order to determine if van life is right for you, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you like driving? To get to that uninhabited campsite, you’re going to have to drive there. This one may seem blatantly obvious but whether you’re the driver or the passenger, it’s important that you at least somewhat like driving. If you’re someone who gets car sick, van life might literally make you ill. If you’re a road warrior, van life might be your best life.
Are you comfortable in close quarters? It’s more than likely that living in a van will be downsizing from your current living situation. You will be living in close quarters and if you are living with a partner your personal space will be significantly reduced. Yes, nature is at your fingertips, but when bad weather hits, you’ll be confined to your van. If you are claustrophobic, living in a van might be uncomfortable. If you feel a sense of comfort in small spaces, you will feel right at home and cozy in a van.
Can you embrace a little bit of grime? Cold rinses, sponge baths, extra deodorant and dry shampoo will become your secret weapons. Even if you are lucky enough to have a shower in your van, you likely won’t have capability for many long hot showers. Yes, you can find the luxury of a nice shower at the occasional campground or at a friend’s house along the road, but that won’t be the norm. If you’re someone who can’t survive without a daily hot shower you might not ever feel clean in your camper van. If you don’t mind a little dirt under your fingernails, you’ll fare just fine.
Are you flexible and open to change? Life on the road can be unpredictable and full of surprises (both good and bad). You have to be able to adapt when (not if, but when) things don’t go according to plan or be okay without having a plan. If you need a strict routine to function or are opposed to change, living in a van might not be your cup of tea. If you crave new experiences and are someone who can go with the flow, you will enjoy the unpredictability of van life.
If you answered yes more than no to these questions and van life still sounds appealing, you’re ready for a test drive!