Are you dreaming of going on an endless vacation and living out of your car or truck or van? Do you look at Instagram accounts of people in awesome VW buses and vanagons and think, man that life looks AWESOME! If so, read on to learn about some common beliefs about life on the road…Van Life: Myth vs. Reality.
1. Myth: Everywhere we camp is beautiful
Reality: Though more often than not we park in really amazing places, there have been numerous times when we’ve slept in a Wal-Mart parking lot. It has it’s perks for sure in that it’s flat, there’s a bathroom inside and it’s relatively safe but nothing quite shocks you awake as realizing the person in the car next to you is watching you brush your teeth. We just wave and smile when that happens.
2. Myth: We never get homesick
Reality: Bad weather has a way of making us miss home. Luckily, like the storms, the feeling always passes. This is a lot easier to overcome since we’re traveling together and a bit more difficult when you’re out on the road solo.
3. Myth: It’s always a party
Reality: Though we listen to a lot of music and have been caught rocking out at red lights more than once, it’s not always a car commercial where we’ve got it blasting as loud as it will go. This is actually our work, too. We do a good bit of writing and editing while in motion. When we’re not writing and editing we’re creating content, designing websites, responding to e-mails and making sure we’re meeting deadlines for various assignments.
4. Myth: We live a stress-free life
Reality: Van life has led to lots of feelings of uncertainty. Seems like no matter what it is you do in life, stress is part of the human experience. Yet it’s interesting hear people say to us that we seem brave to live our van life dream. We always tell them when they say this to us that we actually have moments of real fear and uncertainty to work though. Sometimes it’s felt more stressful to live a van life than it was to navigate our previous lives which had a bit more stability and structure. We keep some of the stress at by with our Van Life Workouts. You may or may not see us doing them in random places along the road.
4. Myth: We’re totally in control
Reality: Haha we would be joking if we said we have a complete grasp on van life. We’re learning all the time and as fast as we can but a lot of this experience has been trial and error. It seems like the plan is always changing. We have the big picture figured out (for the most part) but a lot of the time we don’t know which direction we’re headed or where we’ll be beyond a week or so. A good bit of flexibility is required of us almost all the time. It’s good practice for letting go but it totally presents it’s own set of unique challenges.
5. Myth: We eat out all the time
Reality: When we’re on a press trip we eat incredibly well; it’s fair to say we eat better than we could ever imagine. But don’t be fooled by all of our beautiful photos of food and coffee and cocktails. Because when when we’re not on an actual assignment we make do with leftovers and easy-to-make food like cup of noodles, hard boiled eggs and bananas with peanut butter on ’em. (Check out our tips for saving money on the road: Part I and Part II).Part of it is the hassle of cooking on the road and part of it is cost. It’s expensive to eat out and we’re on a budget. But if you’ve ever had a simple meal in the woods or around a campfire or while looking at the ocean, you know that even so-so food can taste amazing if you’re in a beautiful spot.
6. Myth: We always agree on where or what to do
Reality: We often want to do the same things which makes it easy but there are moments when we’ve had to practice really good listening, employ as much patience as possible and find common ground. Sharing one vehicle means you’re going to have to figure the details out together. It’s been a great way for us to learn each other even better. We’re coming up on our one year anniversary (have we ever told you how we got married?!)
Van Life: Myth vs. Reality recap
Are you surprised by any of these van life myths or realities? It’s definitely a departure from what you commonly see on Instagram. Some of these realities have been a shock to us but overall we’re loving what we’re doing and are happy to take the little bit of bad that comes with a ton of good. If you’re living or have lived the van life, do any of these ring true for you?