10 reasons why van life is the best way to travel

May 11 2019, 1:06 am

Thanks to a new generation of minimalist millennials, the #vanlife movement is gaining momentum once again — and it appears the trend is here to stay.

Once reserved for hippies and retirees, van-dwelling is being embraced wholeheartedly by a new generation of modern nomads who are giving a unique, almost fashionable meaning to the ‘van down by the river’ stereotype.

The lifestyle movement has seen a massive boom in popularity in recent years, be it due to expensive housing costs, the desire to live lightly, or a craving for the unconventional.

Smaller and more accessible to drive than cumbersome motorhomes, the preferred Sprinter, Kombi, and Westphalia vans of today offer a convenient, comfortable, and unique way to see the world.

Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons to leave your stationary life behind and embrace van life as the best way to travel.

10. It’s economical


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According to a report by the Canadian Government, Canadian students will graduate post-secondary with an average debt load of $13,306 (up 4.1% from 2014 to 2015.)

Coupled with outrageous rent prices, (and don’t even get us started on the cost of avocado toast), it’s no wonder more and more millennials are turning towards the mobile lifestyle.

Taking into account the initial investment of purchasing a home-on-wheels — plus fuel costs, insurance, and the occasional trip to the mechanic — living the nomadic life is a great way to decrease your monthly living expenses significantly. (Bye, rent!)

9. It forces you to be a minimalist


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Ditching the stationary lifestyle requires one to become a minimalist, simply because there’s not enough room for unnecessary possessions in such a small living space! Every square foot is valuable real estate when you live in a compact space, which forces you to be organized, buy less, and be mindful about what you do own.

Take it from Marie Kondo — when your living space is minimal, organized and sparks joy, your mental state will flourish. Physical clutter begets mental clutter, so van life is the perfect opportunity to cultivate a simple, clutter-free lifestyle. It will teach you how to live with less and to truly love what you do have.

8. You’ll see more than you ever dreamed


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Okay, so living in a van may not precisely scream luxury to some, but one thing is undeniable — you’ll get to experience more of the world (well, as far as you can drive, anyway) than you ever thought possible. Think waking up to panoramic views, unlimited sunsets, and pulling over wherever your heart desires.

The beauty of the mobile lifestyle is that you can cover as much, or as little ground as you desire. One day you may find yourself exploring a metropolitan city, and the next, the unparalleled beauty of a National Park. The adventure is what you make it!

7. It’s the ultimate bonding experience


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There’s no doubt about it — living and travelling in such close quarters with someone can essentially make or break any relationship.

Van life will no doubt require you to practice patience and tolerance with your co-pilot (oh, you want to hit the road at 6 am this morning, honey? Great….) but can ultimately bring you closer, teach you more about each other and create a lifelong bond full of incredible memories.

Not to mention, there will be long stretches of road where cell phone service is but a distant memory, which means you have lots of time for deep, uninterrupted conversation.

6. Everything you need is with you


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The beauty of the mobile lifestyle is that you quite literally take your home with you wherever you go — which means midday outfit changes, impromptu picnics, and pulling over to make coffee at epic viewpoints are all a possibility.

Constant access to your closet, kitchen, and (basically) all of your possessions means you’re always conveniently equipped for your next adventure, no matter what you decide to do.

5. It’s a great way to meet new people


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Living the nomadic lifestyle can get lonely when you’re always on the move — that is until you pull into a campground or a National Park, where you’ll soon discover plenty of other people living the same adventure every day.

Whether they’re fellow van-lifers or just out for a weekend camping adventure, rest assured you’ll always have some company to share smores with by the campfire.

Bottom line: the unconventional nature of van life also makes it the ultimate conversation starter. You’ll find that wherever you go, strangers will be drawn to spark up a conversation purely out of curiosity.

Not only will you meet people you otherwise wouldn’t cross paths with, but you may end up creating some friendships along the way.

4. It will push you outside of your comfort zone


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Living the mobile lifestyle is certainly not for the faint of heart. Although Instagram paints a glamorous picture, the reality is that van life can be uncomfortable.

From breaking down in the middle of nowhere to figuring out where to shower day-to-day, there are certainly tons of challenges that come with the territory.

But the good news? It will push you outside of your comfort zone. Like, wayyy out. Growth only comes from life’s challenges anyway, right?

But by sacrificing the comforts and familiarities of home and embracing van life, you learn not only to be more resourceful and flexible but humble and strong, too. Plus, you’ll walk away with first-hand knowledge on car mechanics, minimalism, nature, and more.

3. It’s good for the planet


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One of the coolest aspects of van life is that it can be a great way to reduce your environmental impact.

Taking into account the distance one drives, the amount of propane burned for water and heat and minimized energy consumption, many people living on the road can cut their carbon footprint nearly in half, which is usually way lower than the national average.

Some vans are fully equipped with solar panels too, which allows them to go entirely off the grid while utilizing only solar energy to power their electronics. And while a lot of these older vans are gas guzzlers, the idea is that you offset fuel consumption by using significantly less electricity. Not to mention, when you live on the road with a limited water tank,  your water consumption drops substantially. Dry shampoo= your new BFF.

Lastly, anyone who considers themselves a van dweller will tell you that the amount of garbage they typically produce has been significantly reduced. Why? When you have to pack your trash and recyclables around everywhere, you inevitably find more ways to reduce, reuse, and limit your consumption to avoid garbage bags taking up valuable real estate in your home-on-wheels.

2. You have time to reflect


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Nothing forces you to disconnect and reflect quite like an open road stretched out ahead of you for kilometres on end.

Those long drives, coupled with many quiet nights spent in the wilderness without the luxury of Netflix, will inevitably lead to some deep questions about your life.

Van life offers the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and really sit with these big questions. Without any distractions or means of entertainment, you’ll be forced to reflect on what’s truly important to you.

1. Ultimate freedom


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The number one reason to ditch the stationary life for an adventure on the open road? Freedom!

And van life provides the ultimate freedom. From pulling over whenever you please to sleeping wherever your heart desires, whether it be overlooking crashing waves, amidst a forest, in the mountains, outside of the rad little brewery you just discovered… the choice is yours. You choose where to call “home” each night, what to explore that day, where to stay for a few days and when to move on.

If you can give up some comforts of home, embrace the adventure and learn to live with less, van life can indeed be the adventure of a lifetime and the perfect way to press ‘reset’ on your life. Plus, you’ll never be short on amazing stories to tell.

Katherine BertrandKatherine Bertrand

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