We have decided to go on an adventure of a lifetime. Who knows, it may even last a whole lifetime! In the Spring of 2020, we are going to join in on the # Vanlifemovement!
It sounds crazy, I know. Why on Earth would we want to sell all of our material things, stop paying rent on our cute little apartment, and go on endless adventures in nature, all while living our lives in a van???
Well, I will tell you!
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1. Renting an apartment is RIDICULOUSLY expensive:
The way life is today, you are lucky if you can afford to move out on your own. You’re even luckier if you can find a living space that isn’t a sketchy illegal basement apartment!
My boyfriend Matt and I live in a junior one-bedroom apartment on Long Island, NY. We live in a super cute townhouse development, big enough for us and our dog, with enough closet space for all of our art materials! And we have decent neighbors, three laundry rooms, and two parking lots. I would consider us to be lucky to have found this gem of an apartment at the “low price” of $1,550 per month.
…But Woah… That’s $20,150 a year to just have a roof over our heads with heat and running water! That’s not even including WiFi & electric!
Car Payments are another thing! I will be spending close to $4,000 just to lease my car this year. Depending on the van we choose to live in, the cost of housing and driving will be combined, being MUCH much cheaper!
2. We’re over the 9-5 grind:
We each get the same number of hours in a week. 168 of them to be exact!
On average, we spend 56 of those hours sleeping, a minimum of 40 hours working, plus (give or take) 5 hours a week commuting to work! Then we are left with 67 hours to do anything else! If you break it down, that is literally insane. The average American gets 2 weeks paid vacation. How on Earth is that enough time to enjoy life?
It’s 2018! This means that just about anything can be achieved online! This is both a blessing and a curse. But for us, this is surely a blessing! Becoming a digital nomad and being able to work from the location of your choice (as long as there is WiFi!) is more doable than ever these days! It definitely is not the “easy way out”, and takes a lot of learning, trial and error, patience, and persistence. But if you want something bad enough, and have a vision of what your life can be if you give it your all, then there really isn’t much of a reason that you can’t make it work, am I right?
3. The healing power of nature:
There is just something so healing about being submerged in nature. Raw, pure nature. Have you ever looked up at an unpolluted sky and been able to see each and every star? There truly is nothing like it. I want to sleep under the starry sky. I want to wake up each morning, practice some yoga, drink a nice cup of coffee, and start my day by writing. I don’t know, this just seems so healing to me. I think that, especially as a New Yorker, the constantly on the go, check your phone all the time, can’t be late for work daily stress are doing our bodies and minds such harm, we don’t even realize it.
4.More mindful; More minimal:
Each and every day is a gift. With our super busy lives, and on the go schedules, we often forget to stop and smell the flowers. Life gets too busy, and we often get distracted by the rush of the day. This journey is helping me to be more mindful. More mindful of the people in my life, the connections I have made and continue to make with them. It has caused me to stop and appreciate just how far I have come on my journey, even though I am not “there” yet. But where is “there” anyway? It has caused me to really be present and enjoy the little things in life.
It has also caused me to be less wasteful. I can’t tell you how many times Matt and I have thrown away expired food that we didn’t get around to eating, or we forgot that we even bought!
I recently did a deep clean of my apartment and donated a bunch of clothes, shoes, and accessories that no longer serve my soul the same purpose that they used to.
Living in a van means less space to store excess amounts of food, clothing, and things. This journey has caused me to think twice about my purchases and what I am holding onto. If I don’t absolutely LOVE something, or have a use for it, I am less likely to buy it or keep it!
5. Live life off of a schedule:
A few months ago, I gave myself pneumonia. Yes. I GAVE it to myself. I inhaled a piece of food and literally came down with a fever about an hour later. This fever lasted for 9 days!! I honestly don’t ever remember being this sick! It was awful! Not only was it terrible being sick, but this meant that we had to cancel our trip to Colorado that we had been planning for almost a year!
It was a bummer, but we were going to make the best of it and plan a vacation for the Spring of 2019. This time, we were going to go somewhere tropical.
So we planned some more and were about to book our trip to Punta Cana for March 2019. We decided to wait a few more days to finalize our plans and book our trip. And its a good thing we did, because right around that time, Matt got laid off from his job! We couldn’t plan a vacation like that not knowing what his work situation would be!
So, we did the very next best thing. We took a STAYCATION!
I decided to use my vacation days while Matt had his time off! And let me tell you, it was THE BEST, most relaxing vacation I have had in a while! I had a good 9 days away from the office! Each day well spent! Most days, Matt and I would wake up, get in the car, take Henna to the park, and decide how we were going to spend our day! Every day was a new adventure. We had no plans, we had no schedule to live up to. We just went with the flow and made amazing memories!
These are just some of the many reasons that Matt and I are passionate about joining the many people who choose to live the Van Life. It certainly is not for everyone, and it will have its ups and downs for sure, but hey, that’s life!
If you’re interested in traveling more, you may be interested in taking the road less traveled by! Here are some ways to support yourself financially during your travels!