I’m sure you’re having a great time living in your cozy, overpriced apartment with two other roommates who never do the dishes, but have you ever considered living the van life down by the river? Okay, maybe not by the river but in a van, nonetheless. You’re probably thinking, “Not a chance! Where am I going to go to the bathroom?”
When it comes to hygiene, all of your showering and toilet use can be done at your local gym. Sounds gross? Suck it up; it’s not like your home bathroom is that luxurious anyway, and you might as well get in a workout while you’re at it. With that said, we’re here to talk about why you should join the van life.
Cost of Living
Why pay for rent every single month for an apartment you’re never going to own and probably don’t spend much time in anyway? Instead, you can use one month’s rent to purchase your very first home on wheels!
Depending on where you are, you can buy a van for as low as $500 or upwards of $3,000. Either way, it’s yours to keep and use however you want, unlike living under that landlord’s strict rules.
Once you actually have the van, you may have to do some converting and renovating, which does cost money. But let’s be honest; you were going to spend that money on Starbucks and online shopping anyway.
A few common additions are a bed frame, a sink and cabinets for your belongings. Luckily, we have an entire community of van-dwellers who share their experiences on YouTube, which you can use to gain inspiration from. A few helpful channels to check out are “Minimal Millennials,” “The Nomadic Movement” and “Dynamo Ultima.”
Something to keep in mind is that you don’t have to be a barefoot hippy to live in a van. People might judge you, but hey, at least you’re saving money! Where I live in the Bay Area, rent is insanely expensive. It just doesn’t make sense for broke college students to struggle for a roof over their heads instead of saving for the future.
Living in a van cuts out outrageous rent expenses entirely. Of course, you’re still going to have to spend some money on necessities, such as groceries and gas, but your monthly living expenses are guaranteed to decrease significantly. Imagine how much extra cash you’ll have to hide away in your savings.
Obviously, only so much of your stuff can fit into a van, so get ready to purge your closet and be as minimal as possible. By moving into such a small space, you’ll realize what is really important to you.
Hopefully, you can learn to become less materialistic and not feel inclined to buy unnecessary items that just collect dust and take up valuable space. Yes, I am talking about your collection of unread books and the guitar you don’t know how to play.
Living in a compact space means that being organized is crucial. The van life will prompt you to live with less clutter day-to-day, which will ultimately improve your peace-of-mind.
I know I’m not the only one whose room has had clothes and shoes strewn everywhere, books in messy piles and other various items that don’t have designated places. This living situation does not help when I have a ton of assignments due and work to finish. Therefore, live the van life and maintain a simple, yet fulfilling lifestyle.
You will naturally start to buy less, which will save you even more money. To top it off, minimalism is totally trending right now, so your Instagram feed will fit right in. Having a limited wardrobe makes it easier to get ready, and you’ll become more low-maintenance — which I mean that in the least offensive way possible.
Not only will your morning routine be simplified, your commute will be as well. If you so desire, park your home-on-wheels close to campus to make getting to class a breeze. Not to mention, a short commute equates to a few extra minutes of sleep!
Travel and Productivity
As people who justify their spending like to say, “Spend money on experiences, not things.” Have a three-day weekend? Spring break? Take a road trip! You can leave whenever you want with no need to pack.
My sunny California background may make me biased, but the idea of waking up to the Golden Gate Bridge one morning and the beach the next is tempting enough. Just the flexibility of it all is perfect for the free-spirit in you.
You’ll have the freedom to take a day trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. If you take advantage of the van life, you can create more adventures than you’ve ever imagined. The fact that you literally live in a vehicle should make you itch to explore, so do it! I mean, you probably need to hit up your local coffee shop for the free Wi-Fi anyway.
Rather than staying cooped-up in your bed all day, take the initiative to shift your old procrastination habits. This also creates a nice contrast between work and relaxation.
Your home-on-wheels will be your sanctuary or your cave to unwind in, and your library or coffee shop can be productive places to study for those midterms. Depending on when your favorite study spot closes, you’ll be more motivated to get your work done early before you lose access to the free Wi-Fi.
If you are anything like a typical millennial in college right now, you want to travel and free yourself from stress and anxiety. Well, open your mind to the possibilities of living alternatively because it allows you to travel more and take some weight off of your shoulders. There is no better time to try something new than now!