Many nomads have a love-hate relationship with van life. Not every day will be a grand adventure, and the lifestyle can be rather challenging. They may not share it on social media, but many van lifers fall out of love with van life eventually. If you have a case of the blues when traveling in your van, it’s important to know you’re not alone.
Today, we’ll share a few tips for falling back in love with van life. So take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, and let’s get started.
What Is Van Life?
Van life is when a traveler lives out of a specially equipped van to fulfill their traveling dreams. While van life is nothing new, social media has caused it to become trendy. You can find more than 13 million #vanlife posts on Instagram.
While living in a van down by the river used to be a bad thing, it’s now the goal of many nomads. However, it’s less out of desperation or failure and more out of a dream to experience the world and make memories.
Those who enjoy van life travel to incredible places around the country. They’ll take their rigs on some epic adventures, visit national parks, and experience a new view out of their windows almost every night. However, not everything is picture-perfect or Instagram-worthy.
Why Do People Quit Van Life?
Many people jump into van life with dreams of constant adventures and excitement. However, this isn’t always the case for van lifers. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and the lifestyle can be incredibly hard.
You must consider so many things when you travel constantly. Unless you have tons of money, you’ll still have to work. If you work online, getting a quality internet signal becomes challenging while on the road.
You’ll also have to constantly monitor your water usage and know when you need to fill and empty your tanks. If that’s not enough, you must live in a tiny space. While these vehicles may seem roomy when shopping, they quickly shrink when you add your belongings.
Many people throw in the towel for van life because it can be unpredictable. Campgrounds fill up, fuel prices skyrocket, and mechanical failures occur at the least convenient times. After an epic hike leaves you feeling like you’re living the dream, a few unexpected events can humble you.
Does Van Life Get Lonely?
Despite how it may appear on social media, many van lifers feel very lonely. They may take pictures of epic places around the country, but they often travel thousands of miles from friends and family. Van lifers don’t typically stay put for very long, so anyone they meet will likely leave soon.
This is why large group gatherings are popular amongst the van life community. They crave interaction with like-minded people and will plan their adventures around getting to bond with others. Many of these meet-ups have very flexible schedules that encourage the community to spend time getting to know one another.
How to Fall Back in Love With Van Life
We’ve got a few things to consider if the honeymoon phase is over for you and the van life. We want you to fall back in love with van life and get back to adventuring. Let’s dive in.
Plan a New Route
One of the best things about van life is that you can change your plans. If your planned route isn’t working for you, pick a new one. Even if you lose a few bucks canceling campground reservations, you can’t continue on a path causing you not to enjoy the experience.
Find a comfortable spot to set up camp and develop a new plan. Think about the things in van life that brought you the most joy and look for opportunities to do those. You may need to contact someone you’ve met along the way and see where their journey will take them. You should never feel so committed to a particular route that you can’t change the plan, especially if it causes you to hate van life.
Come Up With a Daily or Weekly Routine
If you thrive on a schedule, van life can feel very challenging. However, many people find coming up with a daily or weekly routine extremely helpful. Creating some sort of predictability in a rather unpredictable lifestyle can be a game-changer.
Create a bedtime, a set work schedule, or an errand day. If you don’t have a set schedule, you’ll constantly fly by the seat of your pants until you no longer have a clean pair. Having a set schedule can help you take care of the tasks you don’t like to do, so you have time to enjoy more activities you love.
Renovate and Update Your Van
Many van lifers spend a huge amount of time in their vehicles. If they’ve not done much decorating, the interiors can feel stale and uninviting. Get creative with adding decorations to spruce up the interior and make it feel more like home. Hang pictures of friends and family or from your adventures.
We don’t know why, but many manufacturers choose some rather boring colors for a vehicle’s interior. Luckily, a can of paint can go a long way on the interior of a van. Try painting cabinets and other storage compartments to brighten up the area. Change out your bedding to create a brighter or more colorful space. If you don’t feel comfortable renovating or updating on your own, consider paying someone else to do it for you.
Pro Tip: Need some inspiration for your van update? Check out these 5 Best Minivan Camper Conversions That Will Blow Your Mind.
Think Shorter Term
You may get overwhelmed when you hit the road with “forever” as the goal. Don’t be afraid to think shorter term and plan out one season at a time. You don’t need to know where you’ll go in a year or two; just enjoy now. If a long-term mindset overwhelms you, don’t plan for more than a few months. However, some areas like Alaska or Florida and other incredible adventures may require longer-term planning to make reservations and to ensure you visit the right area at the right time.
Take Breaks From Van Life
Many van lifers stay in love with van life by taking a break. Check into a hotel for a few nights during your adventures. You may find that you want more time to explore an area or region and book an extended stay at an Airbnb.
Give yourself permission to call timeout and take a break from van life whenever needed. Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean you can’t put a pause on it. Van life is a marathon, not a sprint, so go easy on yourself.
Travel With Other Van Lifers
If you haven’t discovered it yet, there’s an incredible community of van lifers. If you’ve met some people during your adventures, shoot them a text and ask where their travels will take them. Traveling with like-minded people can help keep things entertaining and eventful.
If you’ve not met many other van lifers in person, connect with a community on social media. You’ll find many large communities with full and part-time van lifers excited about meeting others who enjoy traveling in their vans. You may just meet your new BFF in one of these groups.
Pro Tip: Finding like-minded friends to travel with you can make a huge difference! Especially when this is What Your Non Van Life Friends Think of Your RV Lifestyle.
How Do You Feel Independent Living in a Van With Your Partner?
Traveling in a tiny space with a partner can become a bit overwhelming. You may love spending time with them, but doing so in such a small space is a new ballgame. Make sure each person can get room and alone time if needed. It may mean going for a walk or a hike on their own, doing yoga, or listening to music or a podcast. Do whatever either of you needs to get your space when needed.
Communication is also essential for any couple planning to embrace van life. Simply ignoring an annoying behavior won’t cut it in a tiny space. Learn to express yourself healthily and to disagree respectfully. If not, you will both turn into ticking time bombs during your adventures.
Is Van Life Worth It?
Van life is an exciting way to live and can be worth it. However, the lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Don’t try to mimic another person’s adventures. Each van life experience is unique, and trying to replicate another person’s experiences will only lead to disappointment. If you do find that you enjoy the lifestyle, you’ll come out on the other side with many priceless memories.
Are you ready to fall back in love with van life? Tell us in the comments!
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