3 WAYS TO EASE INTO THE VAN LIFE LIFESTYLE
The van life lifestyle embodies a mindset that values freedom, simplicity, and self-sufficiency. It is characterised by a desire to break away from the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule and consumer-driven lifestyle in favour of a more minimalist and mobile lifestyle.
The van life mindset prioritises experiences over possessions and values the ability to be spontaneous and go where the wind takes you. It often involves a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors and a desire to live in a way that is more sustainable and in harmony with the environment. People who embrace the van life mindset often seek to live a simpler, more authentic life and to find meaning and purpose through travel and exploration.
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE GETTING INTO THE VAN LIFE LIFESTYLE
Here are seven questions to ask yourself before getting into the van life lifestyle:
- What are your reasons for wanting to live in a van? Are you looking for a change of pace, a chance to travel more, or a way to live more sustainably?
- How will you support yourself financially while living in a van? Will you have a source of income while on the road, or will you need to save up enough money to sustain yourself for a certain period?
- What kind of van or RV will you need for your lifestyle, and what will be the vehicle’s purchase or rental cost?
- How will you handle the lifestyle change of living in a smaller space and being on the road all the time? Are you prepared to adapt to this new way of living?
- How will you handle basic needs such as cooking, bathing, and sanitation while living in a van?
- How will you stay connected to the world while on the road? What are your options for internet and phone service?
- What are your long-term goals for van life? Are you planning to travel for a few months or a few years? Are you planning to settle down in one place eventually, or will you continue living on the road indefinitely?
In order to determine if the van life lifestyle is suitable, it is recommended to gain first-hand experience. This can be achieved by renting a van or recreational vehicle and embarking on a short-term trip. This will provide an opportunity to familiarize oneself with the practical aspects and challenges of living on the road, including, but not limited to, driving and parking, cooking and sanitation, and maintaining connectivity. It is crucial that one has considered and answered the questions listed and is mentally prepared before undertaking the van life lifestyle. This article will explore three ways to ease into the van life lifestyle.
3 WAYS TO EASE INTO TEH VAN LIFE LIFESTYLE
1. Participate and Be Part of The Community
There are several ways to participate in the van life community:
Follow van life accounts on social channels to stay connected with other van lifers and learn from their experiences. Different Instagram pages, blogs, forums such as Love Your Camper or Project VanLife, Facebook groups, or Pinterest are good starting points.
Van Life Blogs
Read van life blogs to learn about the experiences of other vanlifers and gain inspiration for your travels.
Attend van life meetups and rallies to meet other vanlifers in person and share stories and tips.
Join online forums and groups dedicated to van life to ask questions, share information, and connect with other vanlifers.
Participate in van life-related volunteer opportunities such as trail maintenance, conservation, or community building.
Attend van life-related events such as festivals, concerts, and gatherings to connect with other vanlifers and learn more about the lifestyle.
Watch van life-related videos on YouTube to learn more about the lifestyle and connect with other vanlifers.
Listen to van life-related podcasts to learn more about the lifestyle and connect with other vanlifers.
It is crucial to keep in mind that the van life community is comprised of a diverse and inclusive group of individuals, thus there are various ways to become a part of it and discover one's niche. Engaging with the community and actively participating will facilitate the formation of connections, provide opportunities to learn from others, and aid in a smooth transition to the van life lifestyle.
Create a Financial Plan for Your Van Life Lifestyle
Creating a financial plan for van life involves budgeting for expenses and planning for income. The following are some steps that can be taken to create a financial plan for van life:
- Identify and quantify expenses: Compile a comprehensive list of all expenses that will be incurred while residing in a van, including but not limited to fuel, food, insurance, maintenance and necessary upgrades.
- Forecast income: Evaluate potential sources of income that can be generated while living in a van, such as remote working, side-business or savings accumulated prior to embarking on van life.
- Construct a budget: Utilizing the estimated expenses and income, create a budget that includes a buffer for unexpected expenses.
- Reduce unnecessary expenses: Identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses through measures such as reducing eating out, seeking out deals and identifying free campgrounds.
- Contingency planning: Prepare for unforeseen events, such as medical emergencies, vehicle breakdowns or other unexpected expenses.
- Regular review and adjustment: Regularly review and adjust the financial plan to ensure its efficacy.
Living in a van will cut the cost on housing expenses, but it will require budgeting for the van's maintenance such as fuel, and other travel expenses. Make sure to have a plan for contingencies and unexpected expenses. It is important to have a realistic perspective on both income and expenses and to be willing to make necessary adjustments.
Learn How to Source for Power
When living out of a van, recreational vehicle (RV), travel trailer, or motorhome, it is vital to learn how to source power to fuel your van life lifestyle.
Some popular and reliable sources of power for van life include:
When parked at a campground or RV park, it is possible to connect the van to an electrical outlet to gain access to power.
Portable Power Generator
This device converts mechanical energy into electrical power. Portable generators run on some fuel, such as gasoline, diesel, and propane models.
Solar panels such as Texenergy’s Infinite Solar 24 can charge van's battery and power appliances. This is a sustainable and environmentally friendly option, but it may not be sufficient to power everything in a van.
A battery bank stores energy from your solar panels or generator when no power source is available.
Some vanlifers use fuel cells as a power source. They convert hydrogen into electricity, a clean and sustainable option, but they are expensive and require a specific infrastructure.
Recently, the introduction of commercially available portable wind turbines has made wind energy a viable source for vanlifers. Portable wind turbines such as Texenergy’s Infinite Air 18 can charge large batteries and devices with a maximum power of 18W and 27W, respectively. The 12V adapter with Infinite Air 18 can help van lifers charge 12 volts devices instead of depending on the car battery charger.
It is crucial to acknowledge that each power source has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is necessary to assess one's needs and preferences, and select the power source that aligns most closely with one's lifestyle.
MENTALLY PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE VAN LIFE LIFESTYLE
While this article explored practical ways to get into the van life lifestyle, it is crucial to prepare for this new adventure mentally.
Prior to embarking on the van life lifestyle, it is essential to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the lifestyle, including the practical aspects of living on the road, the potential challenges that may be encountered, and the resources that can assist in the transition.
It is also important to approach this lifestyle change with a realistic perspective, recognizing that residing in a van represents a significant alteration in lifestyle, and that the process of adjusting may require a significant amount of time. Be ready to adapt and adjust as needed. Van life is a journey, and it's essential to be flexible and open to change.
Remember that the van life lifestyle is not for everyone, it requires a certain mindset and willingness to adapt to a different lifestyle, so it's essential to mentally prepare and make sure it's the right choice for you.