Living the life of a nomad isn’t for everyone. While the majority of the population has a stationary house or apartment they call home, some enjoy the freedom and no strings attached lifestyle that comes with living out of a van. If you’re an Instagram user, than you’ve no doubt seen photos of bohemian looking couples and individuals posting pictures depicting the van life. If you haven’t, take a quick minute to browse the #vanlife hashtag feed.
While living out of a van is in no way a life of luxury, there is a sort of attraction to it. No mortgage or rent to pay, no expansive spaces to clean & maintain, the ability to up and go in a moment’s notice, traveling the country and seeing the sights, etc. If you’ve ever considered downsizing significantly, fixing up a van to function like a miniature home on wheels, and hitting the road, then read on!
First, figure out if this is the right lifestyle for you.
The van life isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to deal with that lifestyle. You have to be someone who isn’t afraid of uncertainty, who’s OK with being far away from friends and family, and someone who is able to disconnect and self entertain with hobbies like reading, hiking, yoga, surfing, etc. The van lifer also needs to be comfortable with revamping their usual routine, adjusting their creature comforts, changing careers (if necessary) and lots more.
Second, you need a van.
You could choose to travel the country and live out of an old VW Bus, but there are lots of other options to choose from like a Ford E-series full-size van or a Mercedes Sprinter. Mercedes Sprinter vans (The same type of vans we use here at Zippboxx!) are a popular choice because of the tall, spacious interior cabin that leaves you with more than enough room to stand upright in. These vans also have different wheelbase lengths to pick from so if you’re not comfortable with navigating the roads (or trying to find a place to park!) with an extra long vehicle, the shorter wheelbase is a great option.
Once you have your chosen vagabond vehicle, you need to start repairing, refurbishing and improving your ride. We’re not going to delve into those renovations so here are some helpful resources for that aspect of preparing for the van life from Gnomad Home & The Vanual.
Be prepared for big changes.
Living in a van is not the norm. It is not the type of lifestyle that many are prepared for so if you’ve chosen to take on this lifestyle, be ready for big changes. From switching over to remote or scattered employment to make money, to (if you don’t have one installed in your van) being content with sporadic showering, to dealing with the elements outside of the van like bad weather and flat tires from unforeseen potholes, get prepared to roll with the punches. There will be a lot of them!
You’re going to have to do a lot of downsizing.
When you decide to live the van life, you’re agreeing to some serious downsizing. When you’re on the road, minimalism is key. You need to dwindle your wardrobe down to the essentials, live without tchotchkes and focus on necessities, and watch your spending and buying habits while on the road. What do you do with all of the stuff you left behind? And what do you do when you need something you didn't bring with you?
That’s where a storage service like Zippboxx steps in! Not only does Zippboxx provide secure storage for all of the belongings that wouldn't fit in the van or serve a useful function, but with a barcoded and photographed digital inventory, available with just a few clicks on a connected device, of your items currently in storage, you can request that item(s) be shipped to you!
This is super convenient for van life livers who don’t want to store sporting equipment, like their mountain bike until they get to their chosen biking location, in their van, who want to change out their wardrobe with the shifting seasons, and who want to plan out specific stuff to be sent to them when stopping at specific sites.