The Pros And Cons Of Van Life, From Someone Actually Living It

Van Life Ain't No Joke


My name is Lee, backwards thats Eel. I live in my van Freedom with my doggy Wander. I have been living the van life for 4 years now. I run a website — www.vanningaintnojoke.com — and have a magazine about van life coming out September 1.

After four years of living the van life, I wouldn’t change it for a thing. There are pros and cons to everything and sometimes it helps to see the pros and cons to see the possibilities. Ultimately van life is a tradeoff of comfort vs freedom but here is my pros and cons list to van life after four years of actually being out there, living it.

PROS

-You have everything with you everywhere you go.It’s amazing to always feel like your right at home.

-No rent. No electricity bills. No water bills. The rent thing is the main one for me. The extremely high cost of rent is what drove me to live in a van in the first place.

-You can literally move any time you want. When I first started living in a van my first adventure began when I got a call from a friend who knew I lived in a van seeing if I wanted a job uo in San Francisco…..I’ll be there in 2 weeks I told him. I started driving a couple days later and enjoyed the trip there.

-Always learning new things. I mean. I got this van…. then I had to learn how to get power. I learned woodworking to build the inside of my van. I learned electrical. I learned some mechanical things to work on my van. Not only am I always learning about working on my van, but living in a van has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life. I have learned so much from just visiting new places and seeing new things. Also, meeting people. Everyone can teach you something, so it’s really cool. I’ve gained so many more hobbies from living in a van simply from having more time that I have learned all about prospecting, rock climbing, surfing, nature and even the night sky just from observing it more.

-Spend more time in nature. Nature is so beautiful and we live in these worlds where they tear down nature and build fake nature in its place. I prefer real nature over the urban jungle.

-New appreciation for life. I mean – I felt like a slave before. Working paycheck to paycheck struggling to make ends meet. Once I moved into my van it felt like my time became my time. I found out I was not tied down to one place anymore. I began looking for jobs in places I wanted to visit. Adventure jobs I call them.

-Stopped taking things for granted. To be honest, van life is a lot of work to keep it going. You have to make sure you always have water, you have to be extra conscious of your power usage.

CONS

-Parking can be a bit tough sometimes. The worst is when you are in a dope place but the cops in the area suck and enforce no sleeping in your vehicle ordinances.

-Making sure you have water and fuel. There have been a couple times I’ve been in a dope spot and had to go refill the water jugs.

-Sometimes finding a spot to use the restroom or shower is difficult. You figure it out. It sucks but not the end of the world.

-Break downs. When your home breaks down and needs to be in the shop what do you do? How do you pay for it? This is a challenge every time.

-When it’s hot outside, it’s hot inside. When it’s cold outside it’s cold inside. Sure there’s insulation and heaters but it is still not the same temperature wise as living in a traditional house.

-There are people that don’t like you living in a van and think you’re homeless. I mean I could care less what people think, but it becomes my problem when they make it theirs and call the cops on me or hassle me for living in my van.

For more about Van Life, go visit Lee (…backwards, Eel)’s website for all things van life: Vanning Ain’t No Joke 

Overall living in a van is the best! That being said, it’s not for everyone. What I did to decide to make the jump into van life is I made a pros and a cons list myself – I decided there were way more pros then cons and I had nothing to lose. I could get a van and try the van life out; if I didn’t like it I would go back to doing what I was doing before.

Long story short and four years later, I’m still living in a van.

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