On the road, windows down, music blaring through the speakers, soaking up the sun. This is the dream we’ve all probably had while sitting at our desks, fiddling with pens, searching random facts to entertain ourselves and staring at the clock, waiting for the work day to be over. If you need an escape from the monotony and hecticness of life, living in a van can provide the perfect dose of freedom and adventure. With this nomadic lifestyle, everywhere you travel becomes home. Of course, van life isn’t easy or luxurious and it definitely isn’t for everyone, but if this sounds like your cup of tea, here is a list of people who quit their day jobs and went to live in a van.
Ben and Lucy
Their journey began with the purchase of an old LDV Convoy in August 2015, which they renovated for 10 months. From living in a van for two years, they were able to travel through Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, visiting 20 countries and driving about 25,000 miles. On their blog, From Rust to Roadtrip, they have photos of their explorations and write daily about their unique experiences, talking about hardships, joys and why they live in a van.
Ben and Lucy’s view of living on the road is best explained in their statement from Vanlife: “It doesn’t matter if sometimes we’re living off of stale bread crusts and beans because we have the entire world to explore right on our doorstep. And that’s the reason why we wouldn’t give up vanlife for anything.” Their blog also comes with specific tips when traveling in certain countries, such as language, money and culture. To make this lifestyle all possible, they take time off the road to work. They work for six months and travel for eight. Ben works as a chef and Lucy works various jobs of cleaning, waitressing, bartending and running her own Bed & Breakfast. They budget their money by opting to cook food on the fire and collecting spring water to drink and wash up so that most of the money can go toward gas for their main goal: to travel.
After graduating from college and interning at multiple companies, she scored any scientist’s dream job of working with beluga whales for the largest government-funded marine mammal lab in the country. Although she enjoyed her job and the people she worked with, she didn’t enjoy the every day routine her life had fallen into. Her love of travel and exploring was always at the back of her mind until it finally pushed her over the edge and she decided to make the leap and try to live in a van.
In her blog, A Girl and Her Van, Alexandra describes her experiences of being on the road alone as a woman. She shares her fears, her joys and any tips she has learned along the way. She said that one of the most important things she has learned while on the road is understanding the meaning of success, which she now defines as something that “doesn’t have to be conventional. It doesn’t have to be an easily definable job title. It doesn’t have to mean impressing strangers. Success can mean living a life that is unequivocally your own, one that is self-defined. Maybe it’s not grand, maybe it’s not glamorous, but at least it’s yours.”
Emily King and Corey Smith
Traveling in their van named Boscha and with their rescue dog Penny Rose, Emily and Corey have traveled 100,000 miles and have visited 48 states. With four years on the road, they have been through a lot of ups and down, exploring the beauty of Earth, learning from other nomads and each other, going through inclement weather and breakdowns, but through it all, they wouldn’t change a single thing in their life paths. Nothing compares to the unique experiences they have had.
On their website, Where’s My Office Now, “a reference to their goal of fusing travel and work,” Emily and Corey have a collection blogs and a web series. They also offer vanlife coaching and vanlife gatherings to build a community of modern day nomads and to aid those who are aspiring toward this lifestyle. As professional vanlifers, they are able to make this dream a reality by posting paid sponsorships for companies such as Hydro Flask on Instagram. But besides this, they continuously choose to live in a van to reclaim real wealth “by remembering that they are pure awareness having a fractal experience called life.”
Leaving his townhome in Austin, Texas, Daniel decided that he didn’t want to pursue the outlined milestones of an average person’s life but rather see and explore the beauty that our planet has to offer. In 2016, he gave his dream a try by renting a van and traveling round trip from Los Angeles to Portland with then-girlfriend. Falling in love with the idea of vanlife and realizing that this lifestyle was possible, he pursued the process of actually doing this and making it a reality.
As a traveling sales representative for a skateboard/apparel industry, Daniel pitched his idea of living in a van and promoting his company’s brand in a new territory to his boss, who approved. Daniel then bought a van, started renovating and has now been traveling on the west coast for about four months. He is finally accomplishing his original goal of slowing down the passing of life through new experiences, “doing what he needs to be doing in order to live his life in a way that keeps a smile constantly plastered on his face.”
Eva and Victor
Originally from Barcelona, Eva and Victor have traveled around the United States, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Europe, Myanmar and Iran. After falling into the monotony of life and feeling too cramped in the city, they decided to pursue vanlife. They post pictures from their adventures in a photo journal on their website entitled Foreign Natives. Aside from working part-time jobs at companies stationed in San Francisco, Victor is creating his own product and constantly runs and surfs when near a coast while Eva paints and sells calendars on Kickstarter and writes and illustrates a travel journal.
Eva and Victor explain that although the idea to live in a van may look amazing through the pictures they post, it also comes with a lot of sacrifices and problems that occur behind the scenes. Through this experience, they do not plan on ever going back to the way they previously lived. Perhaps they won’t spend their entire lives in a van, but they definitely “will never have a 9-to-5 office job and live in a city, doing exactly the same thing every day.”
To live in a van is more than a lifestyle, it is a movement, bringing people together who share a common love for adventure, simplicity and the unknown.