Vanlife is quite a popular new craze, and we must admit that secretly most of us would like to try living like this, at least for a while. After all, vanlife seemingly has all that our busy, modern lives lack - adventure, time for oneself, experience and independence. But what exactly is this almost eccentric lifestyle about?
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Is vanlife just a social media trend?
Well, no, but undoubtedly, social media made this lifestyle as popular as it is now. Just remember each time you saw a post on Instagram showing an influencer who looked exactly like a modern, bohemian induced adventurer! Most of us feel a bit of envy when comparing their lives to the everyday obstacles that we may have to face. But beyond all this, social media is also the platform that, beside giving inspiration, proves with these posts that living an offbeat or unusual lifestyle can be great, and is not something that can't be achieved by ordinary people. Yet, of course, one may argue that these posts don't really show the difficulties and downsides of living the so-called vanlife...
Actually, while vanlife is more or less advertised by certain influencers, it's not really a new thing. Even thousands of years ago there were communities and societies in which nomad lifestyle was nothing out of the ordinary. Nomad people, of course, choose this way of living not by fun, but because of the need to find new pastures for the animals, or even to escape persecution.
And even in modern days, living in a van and travelling around places constantly was not unknown, but perhaps was less common, and was considered a bit more „strange” in the eyes of the wider society. But thanks to the Instagrammers and the vanlife YouTube channels, if you meet others who follow this lifestyle, you may not consider them as eccentric as you otherwise would...
So, is it actually legal to live in a van? Is vanlife really worth it?
Living in a van is not quite a legally easy situation in many countries. Without having a piece of land that can be administered as your home, you may end up being categorized as homeless, which can make it harder for you to access healthcare and legal support - once again, in SOME countries. Yet, it all depends on the laws of your country.
Also, there are places where you can't park with your van for a longer period of time, so you may have to be constantly on the move, even if you'd prefer to stay somewhere for longer. And if you have a larger van, you may need a category C licence to actually drive it. You may also need to maintain a mailbox at a post office where your letters and bills can be delivered, or just ask a friend or family member to use their address.
You shouldn't forget about your insurance either. When you own avehicle, you must maintain insurance, and it can cost quite an amountof money sometimes. Also, if your van needs fixing - especiallywhen the fault requires a few days to be repaired - you might notbe able to use your van, even as a home. And to begin with, vans thatcan also provide a cozy home are not cheap, and you almost surelyneed to upgrade and customize it. Even though you may not need thatmuch furniture, those that you'll need are usually built-in ones, that can be more expensive than those that you can buy readily in a shop.
Also, a van doesn't have much space, so while individuals or young couples might find ways to make a van their homes, those with children will almost surely fail to do so in a long run - and also, considering the physical and emotional needs of a child, vanlife might be ruled out due to the interest of your kid(s). Pet animals may also suffer if you can«t find a place for them to run and play freely, and storing is also a problem.
Also remember that driving for long hours just to get to a place where you can stop for the night can sometimes be exhausting. Yet, if you have someone with you who can also drive the van, then it won't be that much of a problem, as you can switch the seats, and when one gets tired, the other person can take the wheel.
While it may seem easy to keep such a small home clean, it can also become messy rather quickly.
But on the other hand, you'll surely have less work with your small van than you would with a huge house. All of the cleaning and maintaining will probably be a lot faster. Heating and using electricity may also be cheaper, because it's a smaller space that you need to heat/illuminate.
You can also live an incredibly free life in your home van! You may just start your journey one day, and then head for another place the next, and you won't have to worry about not finding a place to sleep. Surely, this will lead to memories that you can tell your grandchildren one day...