Is the #VANLIFE right for you?

Top 7 things to consider BEFORE moving into a van with your boyfriend and two cats

 

You think to yourself, “sure I would have to downsize… A LOT, but the money I would save will be HUGE $$$

“Dolla Dolla Billz Yall” – Wu Tang Clan

I could totally live in a van, how hard could it be?”

But here’s the deal, if living the #VanLife was easy everyone would do it.

I get it, all those Instagram Nomads make this life look easy and whimsical; however, like all good things in life, living in box on wheels certainly comes with it’s own challenges. So, before you go and buy yourself a run down bus with the noble intentions of turning it into the most beautiful tiny home the internet has ever seen, here are a few things to consider to find out if the van life is actually right for you. 

 

#1 How Important Is Showering To You?

If you are one of those people who takes three 40 minute showers a day, and you refuse to come out unless your skin is as pink as a fresh sun burn, no judgement, but the #VanLife might not be best suited to you.

Unfortunately, living in a vehicle means no plumbing. The best you will get is a water tank on the top underneath, or stored inside the van – but remember, this is a limited supply that must then be shared between cooking, cleaning, drinking and showering.

The most clever way I have seen this done was a couple who actually shower beside their van using their kitchen tap through their window, turning the water on only for brief moments to rinse out soap etc. I never would have thought of that.

If the shower is where you do your best thinking, you’ll probably be disappointed, because the only thing you’ll be thinking about is what will happen if you run out of water mid lather?

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#2 Do You Consider Yourself A Handy Person?
Would Anyone Else Agree? 😛

I have always agreed that you can do whatever you put your mind to, so you probably CAN renovate a van… but how many times are you going to hurt yourself trying? It’s a lot of money, and even more work to get the inside of a van looking like a place you could see yourself living for the foreseeable future.

Derrick and I are very fortunate to have a lot of people in our lives who are willing and excited to help us out  during the renovation process. Derrick himself has trained as an electrician, my father is a trailer mechanic, and we have countless friends who spend most of their time under the hoods of cars.

And me… well, I like to think I have good taste when it comes to interior design. But no, renovating a van myself would be FAR out of my capabilities.

That being said, I’ve heard of a woman who taught herself how to build her own home by watching YouTube videos, so what the heck – go for it.

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#3 Are You Attached To Many Material Possessions?

They caution that when you pass you can bring nothing with you. Well, moving into a van is kinda like that, because you definitely won’t have room for things like your dining table, 12′ TV, or that weird collection you’ve been working on since you were 5.

If this is something you are seriously considering, then it is time to fully embrace the minimalist lifestyle my friend. It is essentials only from here on out.

Extra things to bring with you: 

  • Toiletries (nope, this doesn’t include toilet paper, because you probably don’t have room for a toilet either, sorry)
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Clothing (but probably only 1/8 of your current wardrobe)
  • A couple of books (sorry, but your dreams of having a library like that in Beauty and the Beast will have to wait)
  • A boardgame or two
  • Maybe a plant (they are very “instagramable”)
  • A couple of small decor pieces that you cannot live without
  • Outdoor gear (this one is optional, but there is no way in this world that we were leaving our climbing stuff at home – you’ll probably wan’t to bring something that gets you out of the van too)

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#4 Have You Curated Your Closet?

This is proving to be the hardest part for me thus far, and we aren’t even close to moving in to our van. It appears I hold a deeper connection to more clothing items than I thought, because I still have shirts that I had worn in high school. Yikes.

My closet is the direct results of attempting to keep up with the ever-rotating world of trends, but never fully developing a distinct “personal style”.

In order to help myself along with the purging process, I picked up a book titled “The Curated Closet” by Anuschka Rees. This book is dedicated to helping one discover a personal style that is best suited to the individual, their lifestyle, and what actually makes them feel cool and confident. Throughout the book readers are tasked with “challenges” that encourage one to really take a good look at what clothing they wear the most, and which pieces are still hanging there because we keep convincing ourselves that “we might wear it one day”.

To me, it makes sense to develop a better understanding of what pieces I enjoy wearing, and then figure out a multitude of outfits I can create with those fewer pieces and keep moving from there. Seriously, on Rees’ blog she created like 30 outfits with 10 articles of clothing, and to me that is like magic.

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#5 How Much Do You Value Your Alone Time?

This can go one of two ways, maybe you are an introvert who plans on driving your bus out to the bush and not having to see anyone for months on end? Or perhaps you are a socialite who doesn’t need much alone time at all. Either way, living in a van will likely come with some challenges for you.

Assuming you are traveling with a companion, if you are the solo type, living in a box with someone around 24/7 might become a little daunting. Or perhaps you are the socialite who is energized by the buzz of a crowd, and you are struggling with the concept of potentially not seeing your close friends for extended periods of time.

No matter where you fall on this spectrum, make sure that you have thoroughly discussed how you will cope with such challenges with your travel partner before you hit the road. If only to avoid murderous thoughts of running them over with the van when tensions have boiled over.

*disclaimer: I am not, in any way, encouraging murder as a viable option when dealing with such stresses, please just talk to each other before you go*

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#6 Do You Refuse To Use Public Washrooms?

This is honestly the only item on this list that I would potentially see as a deal breaker. If you refuse to go “#2” in a public washroom, you should probably stay in the comforts of your home.

The fact is, most of these renovated busses that you see on Instagram, as glamorous as they may seem, do not have toilets! Yes, some might have a black water tank system, but I’m just going to go on a limb and say that if you won’t poop in a public washroom, you probably aren’t jumping at the chance to clean that one out either.

And yes, you will probably poop in multiple bushes. So start practicing those squats.

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#7 Where The Heck Are You Going To Put The Litter Box?

This one might be a little more situational, as we are going to be traveling with our two cats during our adventures. Cat’s or not, if you are traveling with animals of any kind, you also have to remember that a certain amount of storage is automatically delegated to your furry companions.

Everyone’s gotta eat, so don’t forget that 50 pound bag of kibble, because I don’t think you’ll find may pet food stores in the bush.

Also ensure you have remembered portable water dishes for your fur friends, kennels, toys, grooming supplies, you will need to bring it all.

And please, please, don’t be that person that leaves your animals in the car/bus/van on a hot day with the windows rolled up. That’s super not cool, and you will 100% have your windows broken when you return.

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Think you are still up to the challenge? Good! Us too! See you on the road

XOXO,

Aaron

2 Comments

  1. Wow that is a lot to think about! I loved the humour through out the article but these are really things to consider before changing your life style. Really enjoyed this article and can’t wait to hear more about the “van-life” in the future!

  2. Sarah

    I loved the gifs you used to aid with the humor of the article, but in all seriousness, these are some things I never would have thought of if I were wanting to downsize my life. (I would rather die before parting with some of my clothes). I can’t wait to read more about your #VanLife and all the challenges/excitement that comes with it!

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