Across the world, thousands of people are joining the #vanlife movement. They are ditching their lives of high rent and mortgages to enjoy life on wheels. When it comes to each situation, every person is unique in that their #vanlife experience is different and how they choose to live it. Some people wish to do weekend adventures, adventures over a certain amount of life, or some people commit to fulltime van living. Personally, I am one of those people who permanently ditched a high rent apartment to live in my 1990 Chevy G-20. If you are new to my blog, you can see past #vanlife articles that I have written about my experiences and the van build out.
In this article, I want to go a bit in depth on how I manage to live in a small camper van full-time and how I can function normally as a human being. Throughout the four months since having made this decision, it has been an adventurous and exciting experience. Keep in mind, that I am not on this journey alone. I live in my van with my fiancé and my cat Bali. Imagine how hard it may be to live in a van as a single person, and then double that with another person and a cat. Living like this was not an easy thing to adapt to in the beginning, but in the present day, it’s not as much of a challenge.
I’d like to discuss the perspective of being a person who lives in a van. When I tell someone that I live in a van, most people are either weirded out or strangely intrigued. They often wonder how someone could manage to live in such a small space. When I think about it at this moment, it’s not so strange at all. Bertha (the van) has become a safe zone where I often look forward to returning to when I am out and about during the day. I have become accustomed to the simpler things in life, and have grown to live efficiently in a small space. The van is an entirely self-sustaining space that runs purely on AA batteries for light and a handpump for water pressure. We do not have the modern conveniences that most homes do, but I have learned to be adaptable.
At first, I didn’t think that I would like it; however, my opinion gradually has changed the more time I spend at home with Bertha. I am a homebody, and being in a safe zone or “home” is something that is very important to me. The wonderful thing is that I can be a homebody anywhere I drive the van. I can be “home” in the middle of a forest or along the coastline. At times, it’s not easy to have such little interior space to roam or live. What has this taught me? Go outside. With this lifestyle and such a tiny space, the world is my backyard, and I am learning to embrace that.
When it comes to having two people and a cat inside this tiny space, it has been interesting to adapt. In the van, we have a queen size bed and a living area around 30 square feet. With that in mind, we are also not able to fully stand as we take care of the day to day. Only one person can do dishes or cook if we are remaining entirely inside the van. We have enough storage for our clothes and all the items that we need to just live comfortably. We have a real sink with a drain, a camping stove that runs off gas, lights that run off batteries, and a toilet. Living in a van with a cat comes with a litter box, food, water, and all of her toys. We have learned to be highly efficient and organized when it comes to everything we own, including Bali’s items.
When it comes to being sick or being injured, that is one of the more difficult sides to this life. Recently, I have had to experience being sick in the van, and it was not enjoyable. However, is being ill ever a pleasant experience? I don’t think so. All I did was stay in bed and try to rest as much as possible. I have a stove for hot soup and medicine, so it was not much different except, you go a little stir crazy being in such a small space.
I know that quite a few people don’t fully understand what van life is, and how I can do it. To be clear, I live in my camper van 100% of the time. I do not have an apartment or house in a particular city, nor do I pay rent or a mortgage. I made this decision out of pure hope that I would learn new things living this way, and I most definitely have. So, there you have it. I hope this provides you with a bit more insight into my way of life, and how I can adequately function in such a small space and live the van life.
*I plan on doing a Q&A on Twitter, where you can ask questions that you have about #vanlife and I will create a post to answer your questions. Stay tuned for that very soon!
Till next time,