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Why We Will Always Love Van Life

This post was updated on June 11th, 2021

I have always been a person looking for strong emotions and new experiences. I’ve lived intensely thanks to the continuous changes, both in my work and personal life.

I’ve changed jobs, houses, countries and so on, to give air and space to my mind and be able to enrich myself so spiritually. I felt like sooner or later I’d have to stop. I even went to the Middle East, but that experience still didn’t change things, because I worked a lot of hours and I couldn’t enjoy the moment. 

All photos via author

In spite of all the wonderful situations, I had the feeling that I was inside a circle, the society in which I was born, and I always thought didn’t belong because I am free spirited to a default.

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As soon as the different experiences ended, relatives and even friends didn’t hesitate to ask me if that was the last time I would change and that I had to work hard to live a “normal” life like theirs.

I was feeling trapped.

One day I met a person, seemingly similar to the others around me: stable work, the famous “indefinite”, fairly standard and pre-established life, but I saw something else in his eyes.

Deepening the relationship more and more, he turned out to be more like me than I thought.

We have thus become partners of life and adventures.

van lifers
Photos via author

He later decided to change radically and embark on a journey with me, continuing to perform different “freer” jobs, including the management of a high mountain refuge with cows to be milked. All experiences that we will remember forever, but we still lived within the boundaries of society.

So, one day we decided to try to make a decisive breakthrough by leaving the circle, giving voice to our desires. 

Starting our van life

We committed and sacrificed so much to reach the amount of money we needed to settle the payment of a Volkswagen T5, and with as many difficulties, we furnished it in the best way possible.

These many, continuous changes have led us to face unpleasant situations and discordant thoughts among family members.

It wasn’t easy to confront people with closed and backward mentality, but together we have overcome these and other obstacles, never losing the smile.

We decided to leave without any certainty, carrying out performing only small online jobs that allow us to live remotely. Together with our Sean (a Labrador retriever puppy) we are going around Europe to live with greater freedom, chasing the adventures we have always dreamed of.

Now, we are able to make decisions at the last minute without being judged by society for our thoughts and actions.

van life

The nomadic lifestyle

This is just part of our story, but we’d like to talk to you about the very substance of van life.

VAN LIFE. An authentic lifestyle, perhaps for the most rebellious, that brings to mind the classic hippie van of the ’60s, which also became a symbol of anti-consumption.

For some it is a real life choice, for others, simply a fashion, currently very followed on social networks. Many aspects of this lifestyle are definitely subjective and this is also what makes it unique.

There are those who travel more to the sea, who move more to the mountains, who decide to stay longer, who often move always in search of new realities. There are some who make regular use of their van as a home-on-wheels for longer trips, and others who travel for a short escape from everyday life.

van life

Of course, living in a four-wheeled home often leads you to give up many material comforts, but this will make you understand what are the real necessities of life, drastically minimizing the superfluous. It makes you see the world through different eyes, and without even noticing, it teaches you to pay attention to detail, to be forward-thinking.

You will find yourself facing weather and nature, which will not always be on your side, as well as some people, who with ideas different from yours, will not miss an opportunity to judge and despise your wild soul. Besides, you could be a victim of theft or vandalism.

But you will also find the pleasure of traveling slowly on the road, admiring the landscapes from the window, enjoying the stops, meeting other vanlifers with whom to share a piece of road, choosing the destination or getting lost and finding yourself in unexpected places, just like an authentic traveler. 

Nowadays we are offered the opportunity to fly from one continent to another in a short time, but those who choose to be a vanlifer choose to enjoy the journey, an itinerary unhurried.

Van life makes you live strong emotions, simply translated from a magnificent sunset or an impressive sunrise. It makes you pay attention to the details, understanding the essentials, and making you feel lighter, but above all, without taking away the most important thing: freedom.

Every vanlifer will have their own story to tell. Check out this video from Exploring Alternatives on why they love living in a van:

Read more Vanlifers profiles: How (And Why) We Became A Vanlifer

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