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If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be living in a van, NO that I would have BEGGED, Borrowed, and did everything in my power to live in a van I would have not only thought you were crazy but then I would begin to worry that my life was taking a terrible turn.
Before The Van Life Dream
For years I wanted to live abroad. I wanted it with every fiber of my being. I could feel life pulling me to do something different. To live a life different than most, or at least different than what I had ever seen.
I wanted to be those people online, “Couple quits job to travel around the world”.
Who was this couple and how were they doing it?
How did they come up with the money?
How did they come up with the plan?
What magical skills did they have and how in the heck did I get those skills so I could live out this life I KNEW I was supposed to be living?
As time passed by, I moped around upset that I wasn’t living this life and feeling so utterly paralyzed not knowing how I could change this fact. It was so frustrating to me that I wanted something so badly and had no idea how to fix it.
Sure there are several posts online telling 20-somethings how they can make money abroad. Hostels, be a nanny, be a bartender etc. I didn’t want to do those things and they didn’t seem reasonable. Mostly, because we had dogs, and I wasn’t willing to leave them behind. Which meant we needed an unreasonable amount of money so we could live abroad with our two mutts. I felt helpless.
It wasn’t until I found the Bucketlist Bombshells did my eyes truly open. These two ladies were telling a story of exactly what I wanted. They told us that we had the skills to work online and make money wherever we wanted. We could have it all. It would be hard work but we could have our cake and eat it too.
Their message stuck with me for a year and I finally bit the bullet once they launched their course for the third time. I was determined, I was all in and nothing was stopping me. Hell or high water I was quitting my job and we were traveling the world dang it.
Needless to say, I did it. I quit the job, started the business, we built the van and never looked back.
There are many people who do not understand why in the world we would want to live in a van. There are so so many reasons but it can be summarized into 6 main reasons why we wanted to live the Van Life journey and why we already love it so much.
So without further ado, my top 5 reasons for why we sold everything to try out VanLife (and why you should too)
This one seems like a no-brainer but you get to travel! All the time, whenever you want, wherever you want. Tired of the city you are in? Head about 5 feet, get into the driver’s seat and hit the highway baby! Need to get away from the mountains and have the best bagels in New York City? These are both within your grasp! All you need is a little gas money and you can be on your way to your favorite weekend getaway!
I’ve always been the kind who can completely fall in love with a city but months later feel suffocated by that same city I swore was the best one on earth. It’s my nomadic spirit and I’ve learned to embrace it. Being in our van even for a month we were able to visit one of our favorite cities, have a delicious Philly cheesesteak and then quickly head to the mountains to have some peace and quiet. It’s the perfect combination for Shawn and my need for change.
There is no minimalism quite like trying to fit all of your belongings into 60 square feet. You figure out pretty quickly which things are important to you and which ones are simply taking up space. It took two moves for us to finally prune down all of our stuff to fit into our van plus 3 totes that sit at my brother’s house. Furniture and housewares can all be sold and bought again. For the most part, everything is replaceable!
When you are living in a van you find your favorite cup, bowl, jeans, shoes all within a few weeks. The rest is simply in the way and unnecessary. As we have kept going in the van we have slowly started getting rid of the things we thought we couldn’t live without. Now I easily know which clothes I wear and which ones are going to sit in my “closet” and need to get the boot.
When you live in 60 square feet you have less opportunity to get away inside your home. This means you tend to have more time to spend with what is important to you. Whether that means spending time with yourself, your spouse, dog, your writing – whatever that special thing or person is you’ve got the opportunity and the time.
When I take the love language test, it always has the quality time listed as one of my top love languages. I LOVE spending time with my favorite people. We don’t have to be doing anything special, in a unique location, or spending a ton of money. I simply want to go on a nice walk, hike, or even relax with that someone special. This was the part of van life I was most excited about.
From the clothes, you picked out to the food you eat, living in a van force you to be intentional. What food will you really eat? What would you really like to cook for dinner? You simply don’t have room to buy a bunch of food you are never going to make and frankly throwing it away is a pain in the ass so you bet I’m going to eat it.
Every day you need to be intentional even with small things like parking or planning out your day. If it is hot out, you need a plan for the day. What time will you wake up? Where will you work? What times will you work? These can all be important things to consider depending on where you are and what the weather looks like.
Friends & Family
Often when you talk to digital nomads one of the drawbacks is how you miss out on so many things when it comes to your friends and family. Shawn and I moved away from Oklahoma in 2012 and have missed many events in the past 6 years. The great thing about van life is you get the chance to be a part of those events again.
We now have the freedom to hop in the van and work while we slowly make it to our families. We can visit my brother in North Carolina and the next month go spend time with my sister in Texas. Normally when I visited Texas I didn’t have the vacation time to also head over to Oklahoma to visit Shawn’s and my family. Now we have all the time in the world. You get to be a digital nomad but you have the opportunity to see your family more than ever.
This one should be obvious. With no rent, you have money to spare! Especially if you are coming from a city where rent is around $2000 you can easily throw that towards debt, savings, or a travel fund. If you own your house now is a great time to rent that puppy out!
Ready to start building out your van? Learn how to get started on flooring your van!
These are just my top reasons why I wanted to live in a van. Do you have any other reasons for wanting to sell it all and live in your van?