While I have no doubt that there will be numerous obstacles to living in a van, some that I can’t even anticipate right now, there is so much about #vanlife that I am excited about that I spend much of my non-working and writing time daydreaming about the life I want to live when I’m not tethered to a place by all of the expenses that come with permanent living.
And that’s one of the reasons that I’m fixing to #vanlife the next decade or more of my life – the expense of permanent living. It is one thing to pay rent for a place that you spend a lot of time living in. It is quite another to spend a significant portion of my take home income (try half) on a place that I only see 2/3 of the time. And add to that power, water, internet, cleaning, and more, I’m spending a ton of money on something and somewhere I don’t really use or need. I’ve got student loan debt, I owe my parents money, and I have dwindling credit card debt. I’d like to be debt free within 10 years, hopefully much sooner, but I won’t get there in my current living situation.
I could, of course, start to pay down my debt by living small, so if saving money was my only reason, I’d just find a storage unit to live in with a power supply. Kidding, kind of. But I travel a lot for every aspect of my life – from working in two offices separated by over 70 miles. And then I travel for all of the things I do for fun or for love – namely racing, climbing, and volunteering for a search and rescue team. Whether it is heading to northern Alabama for a training or heading to North Carolina for my wilderness EMT schooling, it is much easier and cheaper to travel with my home and everything literally with me. Hotel rooms start to add up, and I’m not about camping in summer humidity (first world problem, hmm?). And so, while gas will be more expensive, everything else will be cheaper.
But I could still do all of this with a bigger off-road vehicle and keep a permanent place to live. Except that lifestyle is expensive (please see student loan debt above). But also, I don’t need all the stuff that big living has led me to accumulate. And not only do I not need it, I don’t want it. Having too many outfit choices in the morning takes time where I could be writing. Or running. Or reading. Or doing literally anything. This goes for cleaning, which I have never found rejuvenating. And while I like cooking, I’m super excited to see what I can do with a hot plate and a microwave oven. I’m going to break some new culinary boundaries, y’all.
I’m so excited to travel, to be free to leave or to stay for however long or short as I want. I’ve always wanted to see the world, and how I imagine it, how I’m planning it, #vanlife will allow me to do that.
But really, at the end of the day, I just want the physical aspects of my life to be simple, freeing me up to think and dream big. I feel like things are cluttering my life and, therefore, cluttering my brain. I want that space back. I want freedom from things so that I can focus everything on the things that I’m passionate about – building Contemporary Spinster, writing a book on Eating Disorders, being an aunt and sister, volunteering, racing, teaching, and research. I’m pursuing #vanlife not just to simplify my life, but to declutter my mind.