Sick and tired of your daily regular routine? Want to explore more of the world out there? Then the van life might be for you! This lifestyle is growing in popularity around the world, especially among men. We explore this new nomadic lifestyle and why it’s garnering so much attention.
What is the van life about?
Van life, as the term suggests, literally means living in a van. Think of it as just a daily camping road trip! Most of the time, van lifers take to customizing their vehicles to suit their individual needs and tastes rather than simply going with a fully-fitted caravan. It’s all about how you make the most out of the limited real estate and still make it as fully functional and liveable as possible.
The first impression of someone living out of a van might not be very glamorous. On the contrary, just by looking at the #vanlife hashtag on social media, you’ll find that most vanlifers are modern millennials who love the thrill of living in the great outdoors. Van life is more of a conscious life choice rather than a state of poverty and homelessness.
The idea of living rugged and having a new adventure every day is probably the main pulling factor for a lot of men (and women) to leave their regular corporate lives and start living on the road. Some do it because they’re seeking a new start to their life, others do it just to try out an alternative lifestyle.
Expectation vs Reality
One of the big pros of van life is that there’s a lot more flexibility and freedom. You’re free to travel wherever your van takes you and settle down wherever you want. For those who love DIY, feel free to explore different space-saving methods when planning how you want to customize your van interior. Van life also teaches you how to live simply and it can be very healing to enjoy life’s small simple joys that we would otherwise neglect.
If you’re the wanderlust adventure-seeker kind of guy, the van life might sound perfect to you. Cozy van interiors, hipster vibes and beautiful outdoor views make up the quintessential #vanlife aesthetic on Instagram, and it can almost seem like the dream life for those seeking to break out of the mundaneness of corporate life.
However, the lifestyle does have its fair share of downsides. Since you’re essentially “homeless”, you have to make a lot of sacrifices for living on the road. For example, you might not get stable power to charge your devices. If you run out of gas or supplies, the nearest supermarket or gas station might be miles away and not easily accessible.
Another consideration is how you’re going to make a living and sustain yourself. Many vanlifers take on freelance jobs that allow them to work remotely from wherever they are, but that can result in an irregular income and work schedule. If you prefer a 9-to-5 job with a stable income and working environment, then the van life might not be for you.
Men in vans
If the idea of living in a van still sounds appealing to you, here are some vanlifers that might be a source of inspiration for you.
Already in his 60s, George proves that it’s not just millennials who choose the van life. Not only does he live in an RV himself, but his love for DIY customization has also led to him taking on other van build projects. His YouTube channel documents the process of customizing a van completely from scratch, equipped with a toilet and shower bay and a spacious kitchen area. At the end of it, he sold the refurbished van to a new owner.
If you’re looking for useful customization and modification tips on creating your own mobile home, or just like watching DIY content, George’s channel is worth checking out. His designs focus on how to make your van home comfortable without compromising on any home features.
You might recognize Adam from Season 2 and 3 of Bravo’s spin-off TV series Below Deck Mediterranean. While he is best known for cooking on a yacht, he actually lives in a van with his pet dog Tex. After living on a yacht for 10 years, living in a van just came naturally to him.
As a chef by profession, Adam shows you can still cook up a delicious meal even while living on the road on his cooking show Stoked on Outside TV. His van includes a fully-functional kitchen and even an extra slide-out cooking station at the back of the van.
You might have seen Jason aka Wee Man on shows like MTV’s Jackass and Fox Sports Net’s 54321. The pro skateboarder made the move to van life as he wanted a new change. He now lives in a pre-converted van (nicknamed “The Beast”) that has a small fold-out bed and kitchen area, with a small bathroom.
His van interior is definitely on the simpler, smaller side but it still has all the essential components and Jason has learned to adapt his lifestyle habits to this new home. This new mobile lifestyle allows him to travel freely and still be able to do the things he loves to do.
Is the van life for you?
Van life is definitely a very freeing kind of lifestyle for the modern man and it will take you out of your comfort zone to explore new frontiers. If you have a partner or a small family, don’t worry that you can’t maintain the lifestyle. Many van-dwellers have said that van life has brought them closer with their loved ones as they get to live in a small space and explore different grounds together.
As with every big lifestyle change, there’s still a lot of considerations to be made. Moving from a stable brick-and-mortar life to living off the grid is definitely something that’s not for everybody. Do your research and ask around for advice in the van life community before you decide to make the shift.