So you’re thinking of starting van life? A life on the road, filled with freedom & adventure, on your own time & your terms – there are certainly are a lot of benefits to this lifestyle but is it really for you?
In this post, you’ll discover the most important things to consider including some of the things we wish we would have known before we started van life almost three years ago.
Disclaimer – we may receive a small fee for any purchases made via this post. Learn more.
Post written by The Wilder Route on 16th May 2021.
What Are Your Reasons For Starting Van Life?
Perhaps you’d like to start van life to live mortgage-free or maybe the draw is all the freedom that life on the road will bring. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to hold these at the centre of your planning & build your van life around these values… as when the going gets tough, which it inevitably will, you’ll remember exactly why you started.
For us, for example, we started van life because we wanted to be closer to nature & to make adventure part of our every day, so when we are faced with a challenge that gets us down we remind ourselves of exactly why we are doing this & this, in turn, reminds us to embrace the nature-filled awesomeness that our lifestyle brings.
Full-Time or Part-Time Van Dwelling
There’s a big difference between using a van for weekend adventures or one-off trips, to living in it full-time. If you are looking to be a full-time van dweller there will be a lot more to consider with no doubt a lot more challenges that come your way. We took van life on in one complete leap & within a matter of months after deciding to start van life we’d sold all of our stuff & we’re in a position to earn a living entirely online. We purchased our motorhome, a Bessacarr e560 which we named Barnaby in 2018 & haven’t looked back since because sometimes it’s better to just take life by the horns & go for things, right?!
If you are looking to started full-time van living check out this post in which we’ve answered a load of questions.
Campervan vs Motorhome
A motorhome will probably provide more facilities & space but a campervan will provide easier access to those harder to reach spots & places such as car parks with heights restrictions, etc. Then there’s the question of whether you’ll go for a ready-built van or will you do it yourself? We’d personally recommend making a list of pros & cons for your situation (in particular thinking about things such as cooking & bathroom facilities) & choosing accordingly.
For more on buying your first campervan or motorhome check out our post over on Housesitting Magazine.
If you are looking to build your own van our pals James & Sarah have recently done just – you can check out all of their tips & tricks right here.
Considering The Day-To-Day Tasks Starting Van Life Entails
Before starting van life it can be easy to think that a life with more freedom & less stuff is going to be a lot easier but we beg to differ. Simpler, yes but easier, not necessarily. Day-to-day tasks such as making sure you have enough water & getting rid of your waste are something you’ll have to deal with every single day.
For us, the day-to-day of van life has taken some getting used to, find out more in our seven truths of living the van life post.
What Will You Do With Your Stuff?
Assuming you have belongings to sort, the next thing to think about is what you’ll do with them. Will, you put some into storage or sell those excess possessions that you’ll probably never use? When starting van life almost three years ago, we were pretty ruthless with our stuff, we sold quite a bit of it at car boot sales & online & the rest of it we took to the charity shop leaving us with minimal possessions to pack into our van. A good thing to remember is that stuff not only equals storage space but means more weight in your van, which of course means more fuel consumption.
How Will You Sustain Yourself?
Van life offers a cheaper cost of living but there will still be costs to cover. Will you have a set workplace & adventure off from there? Or are you looking to work on the road? Whichever option you go for, having a rough idea of what your monthly spending will be & planning accordingly will help massively.
If you are looking to work on the road check out our post on becoming a digital nomad.
How Will You Take Care Of Your Health & Wellbeing?
Of all the van life tips we wish we would have researched before starting, it has to be health & wellbeing on the road. As adventurous & freeing as this lifestyle is it can also, at times, be exhausting. Taking time to slow down & rest when needed as well as creating your own routine are just some of the things we would recommend. We have, however, written a whole post on taking care of your health & wellbeing on the road so be sure to check it out.
What About A Physical Address?
You’ll no doubt still need to have an address for things such as insurance & your bank account – personally we use a family address for this type of stuff & for our online business pay an annual fee for our registered office who scan & send everything to us via email. It is possible to use a virtual postbox where you can direct all of your mail for which this post details more.
Van Life As A Couple ∼ How Will This Impact Your Relationship?
If you are thinking about starting van life as a couple, just know that travelling together is one thing but travelling together, perhaps working together & living in one tiny space together – well that’s something entirely different. It’s taken us a lot of getting used to for which we have found that giving each other space when needed & respecting each other’s boundaries has helped a lot. Check out our 14 tips for van life as a couple for more.
Are You Ready To Face The Naysayers?
Some people just won’t ‘get it’ – remember though, that’s not on you but them. Society has this way of putting us all into boxes & making people feel as though they ‘should’ be living in a certain way… but you don’t have to live in the way that anyone chooses but you. Remember that you are in control of your own life & you owe it to yourself to live in a way that’s aligned with both your heart & soul. For more on dealing with those external pressures check out our post on how to live life on your own terms.
Starting Van ∼ Are You Prepared To Take The Leap?
If the answer is yes, then that’s awesome because we can assure you as challenging as this lifestyle can be starting van life is most probably one of the best things you’ll ever do.
Be sure to check out our van life page for more hacks, tips & inspiration & if you have any questions at all leave them in the comments at the very end of this post.
With love & freedom filled wishes,
Kelly & Adam x
Pin me for later