Van life is a trend that has been slowly taking over Instagram and travel blogs in the past year or so. A large part of van life is adopting a minimalist lifestyle, which can take some time to get used to. You might have trouble at first with the lack of space and privacy, but you’ll get used to it.
Living in a van does not mean sacrificing cleanliness. Food storage will be limited, so you might opt for dry foods such as pasta and rice since they can last longer than fresh produce.
When you’re living in a van and visiting random towns for weeks, it can be hard to stick to healthy eating habits and maintain a balanced diet. Make sure you invest in good sunglasses and sunscreen, as UV rays affect your skin even when it’s cloudy outside.
Van life is a trend
Van life is a trend that has been slowly taking over Instagram and travel blogs in the past year or so. While van life isn’t new, its popularity has recently surged. The movement started appearing on social media, with people posting photos of their vans and cars parked in scenic places worldwide.
It seemed like a logical progression from backpackers who would only bring what they needed for their trip and leave everything else behind (also known as digital minimalism). Van lifers don’t have to worry about where they will sleep at night because it comes with them!
The main benefit of van life is having everything you need on hand at all times—no worrying about finding accommodations or carrying heavy bags through airports—and being able to decide where you want to sleep each night based on how much money you want to spend (or how close you want to be).
This also means freedom from schedules and commitments; if one day feels like a beach day instead of an adventure trekking through national parks day, then no problem! You can just go chill out by the ocean instead of doing whatever other people might consider normal activities.
The drawbacks of living in a van are less space than traditional housing options provide and isolation from society which can lead some individuals to feel lonely or depressed without constant contact with friends/family.
Adopt a minimalist lifestyle
A large part of van life is adopting a minimalist lifestyle, which can take some time to get used to. In short, minimalism is a way of living with only the things you need and nothing more. It’s a challenge for many people accustomed to having lots of stuff.
Minimalism is also why I chose van life over RV-ing or staying in hotels or Airbnb—I wanted to see how far I could go with just my bare necessities.
Van dwelling forces you into this lifestyle because there simply isn’t room for everything you used to own! You have no choice but to downsize your belongings and live with less stuff if you want to move around freely without feeling claustrophobic or like an animal trapped inside its cage (my apologies if that sounds dramatic).
Ask questions like: Do I need this? Or maybe it would be better if…What do other people do? Does anyone else feel stress over these things?
Lack of space and privacy?
You might have trouble at first with the lack of space and privacy, but you’ll learn to make do. My van is small, so I’m constantly running into people who are surprised by its tiny size. It’s tempting to think they’re being rude by judging my home before they’ve ever stepped inside.
Once they’re inside, most are impressed by the amount of storage space I’ve managed to fit into such a small area (I keep things like water bottles in an under-bed storage bin).
While my van isn’t much bigger or better than some RVs out there (and all vans come with unique challenges), it still works for me because I’m disciplined about how I use space.
One thing that helps: planning your days around what you need to do that day instead of trying to fit everything in at once.
For instance, if I know our campsite has laundry facilities available and we’re going there later this afternoon, why would we bother doing laundry? Instead, we can spend more time doing other things today!
Living in a van does not mean sacrificing cleanliness.
You can use a small shower, a portable toilet, or even a portable bidet. You can use a small sink and washing machine or even do your laundry at the laundromat if you don’t have enough space for it all in your van. You can also use a small vacuum cleaner and broom to keep things tidy!
It will help if you stay organized when deciding where to store things inside your car/truck/camper so that everything has its place and nothing gets lost.
Food storage will be limited
- Food storage will be limited, so you might opt for dry foods such as pasta and rice since they can last longer.
- Make sure to rotate your food supplies, so the older items get eaten first. If you’re storing things in the fridge or freezer, use those before they expire!
- If you can find a place with electricity (such as an RV park), consider using a food dehydrator that plugs into power outlets. This is especially useful if you want to make jerky or dried fruit snacks on your trip!
- You can also bring along a solar oven or camp stove if there’s access to natural energy sources such as sunlight or firewood in your travel area!
Healthy eating habits and a balanced diet
When you’re living in a van and visiting random towns for weeks, it can be hard to stick to healthy eating habits and maintain a balanced diet. Luckily, we’ve got some great tips to help you stay on track!
Seafood is packed with protein and healthy fats. It’s also highly versatile: You can cook it any way you want. Try salmon or tuna steaks seared over the gas stovetop or grilled shrimp skewers seasoned with cumin and chili powder over the campfire. For an extra-special treat, add a dash of lemon juice before serving!
Grains are an essential part of any diet because they’re high in fiber (which helps keep us regular) and magnesium (which helps improve circulation). Good options include quinoa (a seed from South America), couscous (the tiny pasta made from wheat flour), barley (which acts like both rice & pasta), millet (another ancient grain) – basically anything except bread/pizza/pastries/breadsticks, etc.
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Make sure you invest in good sunglasses, as UV rays affect your skin even when it’s cloudy outside.
The AAP recommends that children under six months should not be exposed to direct sunlight because they are more sensitive to UV radiation than older children and adults. Children aged six months to 18 should limit their sun exposure and wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
Children older than 18 years who spend long periods in the sun should use extra caution with sunscreen application and reapplication, as well as wearing hats or visors with a brim that is wide enough to protect the face (such as at least 1 inch).
I think the biggest mistake people make when they start living in a van is underestimating how difficult it is to keep clean. If you’re used to having a shower every day, this might be one of the most challenging changes for you!
You’ll also have to remember that many public restrooms don’t allow bathing or washing clothes by hand (soap is often unavailable). So, if you’re planning on getting dirty while out and about exploring nature, be prepared for it. The van life is a great challenge that take us to a mindfulness state of mind.