What’s Van Life & Why is it so Fascinating?

What is “Van Life”

Van life is pretty self-explanatory, it’s people living their lives in vans. Usually, these people (at least the well-known ones) are nomads, remote workers, influencers, and full-time travelers who live in these really cool, custom-built vans with beds, kitchens, and bathrooms built into them.

I’ve noticed a recent spike in popularity surrounding this type of content on the internet. There are a few reasons I think are:

  • Interest in alternative housing as the cost of housing increases
  • Fascination with new travel opportunities after 2+ years of a global pandemic
  • The increase of hybrid and remote work makes audiences more inclined to travel full time (see the above point)
  • Romanization of soft life/less labor-centered lifestyles

My main interest point with them is how folks live in small spaces (I also have a tiny house obsession) and see all of these places from a home/vehicle hybrid.

Is it Problematic?

There’s been discourse lately about if it’s co-opting homelessness to make it aesthetic. There’s also been conversation about the relatability of these “vanlifers” who may not disclose the financial means by which they do it. This is evidenced by one Tiktok creator who is now effectively still homeless after failing to make an income.

The question of how these folks afford this lifestyle has always been a question for me but also, how having the money to trick out a van with these unique qualities makes this a “choice” more than survival. Overall, I don’t think the content (or the lifestyle) is inherently harmful especially from the transparency perspective unless you think influencer content as a concept is as well. Tons of creators are sharing lifestyles with tips and advice without disclosing specific financials or the entire story.

Would I Ever Try It?

I stand by my belief that if there was air BnB equivalent to this it’d make a killing. I don’t think I’d forgo a house or apartment to live in one even part-time, but if I could go on a camping or road trip but use a van I totally would. Also, as a woman even with my husband, I don’t think I’d feel that safe sleeping in a van. But doing it for a weekend? Absolutely.

Prominent Van Lifers (my faves)

I wanted to end this post by sharing a few of my favorite creators in the genre.

Kara & Nate

This couple started van life after completing their goal of visiting 100 countries in February 2020 (what incredible timing). Stuck on what to do they embarked on a new travel adventure that has been a joy to see.

Antoinette Yvonne

This black woman in luxury began vlogging her van life jersey from the very beginning. She shares her budget, her struggles with the transition, and all of the fun that’s come with her journey.

Courtney and Nate

If you prefer TikTok content this couple is awesome! Clearly guys named Nate are awesome for vans. They share day in the life and recipe content. Check them out here!

Are you interested in van life? Let me know in the comments.

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