Van life has exploded in popularity over the last 5 or 10 years. Of course, the hippies of the 60’s also traveled around in vans, but theirs didn’t have all the comforts of home. Today, you can get a fully decked-out van complete with a stove, bed, and even a bathroom if you want.
For the souls out there who have a thirst for adventure, van life is the ultimate dream. You can travel relatively cheaply since you don’t need to rent hotels and explore off-road areas in your van. Who wants to live behind a desk when you can get out and see the world, anyway?
The main appeal of van life is the opportunity for endless adventures while earning a living remotely. That’s the main difference in today’s world vs. the 60’s – you can continue traveling while you work. Some people have been doing this for years now and still love it! When you live for exploring and experiencing the beauty of nature, it never gets old.
Kristin, a 29-year-old from Indiana, started traveling in her van a couple of years ago. She didn’t want to spend her life chained to a desk and felt a calling to see the world. Three weeks of vacation per year just wasn’t enough, so she eventually mustered up the courage to talk with her boss. She asked her manager about working remotely, and obviously, it all worked out!
“I kind of look at the world as a master art piece collection, and so van life affords me the opportunity to go out and be able to see these different pieces of art,” says Kristin, who lives in her van full-time. “My mind is constantly blown from so much beauty that there is.”
Kristin travels the country with her two dogs Kashi and Bear
“It’s been such a blessing to see all of that. I moved into van life about 2 years ago, I sold everything and kind of made this leap of faith to jump into a nomadic lifestyle. I love traveling so much – it was kind of like my heart always was aching for adventure and nature,” she said.
Jumping on the van life bandwagon was the best decision she ever made. It’s allowed her to explore sites she would’ve never been able to if she stayed at the office. Just a handful of places traveled to so far include Mexico, Utah, California, Colorado, Germany, Ireland, and London. Of course, she couldn’t take her van internationally, but she did get to bring her pups!
“When I stumbled upon this thing called van life, it kind of in a way became a massive backpack, if you will, where I was able to carry my dogs with me,” Kristin said. “I never thought I’d be able to go international with my dogs, and I’m just over the moon!”
Working remotely seems to fit her lifestyle better since she can still travel while earning money. Luckily, her boss was nice enough to agree to the change. She still works normal hours, but looking at a beach instead of a cubicle is a huge improvement!
“My first obstacle was, how do I make money? I’m an internal auditor; I’ve had this career for about 8 years now. I enjoyed my job, but I didn’t enjoy the constraints of my job,” Kristin said.
“So, I actually pitched the idea of working remote to my boss, and here I am! I get to travel full-time in a van now and work remote. I still work 9-5, but it just looks different for me. It looks like being on the beach, or next to a mountain, and then after work, I get to go do a hike, or I get to lay out or something.”
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Van life definitely sounds like a dream, and thousands of people have found a way to make it work.
How van life has helped Kristin find herself
Especially if you’re traveling solo, van life allows you to do some serious soul-searching. All the time spent in nature away from the hectic city life helps you reconnect with yourself. Of course, vanlifers can attend meetup groups in various cities. But these travelers spend most of the time in solitude. It’s a great way to get to know yourself, but it also comes with a few risks.
“There are definitely some pros and cons to it. Oddly enough, I do feel safer here. However, I was recently broken into, so there are some downsides to safety. So, that’s been my biggest con to van life, but my pro, I mean, do I really need to spell it out?!,” Kristin says as she shows her view of a gorgeous beach.
Some people may not feel comfortable traveling alone, but Kristin fully embraces it.
“How do I do this solo? I just do it. It’s the thing that I love the most in life, and I value myself and my happiness, so I’m not willing to wait for somebody else to complete that happiness for me,” she says. “Live life for yourself and enjoy the ride! You will learn so much about yourself, and I always say, ‘I just learned who I am. I met Kristin at 27 years old, and I love her, I really do.’”
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Her advice for anyone considering van life?
“Stay in your lane, focus on you and your journey. Don’t look behind you, look in front of you, and just stay in your lane and be happy with yourself.”