The lines between work and leisure are becoming increasingly fuzzy, and more and more of us are choosing less traditional lifestyles. Van life, or living out of a vehicle, is becoming an increasingly popular choice. It’s easy to see why. Living out of a van means spending less time (and money) on rent and utilities, and more time in the outdoors. It eliminates the tedious daily grind, and the tedium of commuting.
Living off-grid has been an enticing change for many people in recent years, and while there are definitely benefits, there are also challenges that must be acknowledged. Living off-grid, whether in a van or a tent, can deepen one’s connection to the land and reduce stress. However, living off the grid can also lead to social isolation, and van life requires a large amount of money.
“Researchers suggest that living in small, crowded spaces physically elevates blood pressure, heart rate, and irritability. Mentally speaking, depression, anxiety, helplessness, feelings of not having enough privacy, stilted confinement, and the inability to have personal space can worsen well-being,” explained Psychologist Deborah Serani.
Vanlife, or “van-living”, is a lifestyle of mobile independence. It is characterized by simplification of possessions, movement, location, and social interactions. “Vanlife” is often used to describe a style of living while residing in a motor vehicle. Vanlifers do this for a variety of reasons. People who want to simplify or live more simply may choose to live out of it. Others may desire a way to live more sustainably and off-grid. Vanlifers may enjoy traveling full-time and choose to spend their days at different locations. The lifestyle is popular among retirees, students, and others who desire to simplify their lifestyles.
“Vanlife” can also refer to a communal living arrangement, where multiple people live in a van. Some people choose to simply live in their van to save money, while others intentionally live out of their van to be off the grid. Vanlifers often share community resources such as kitchens, bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. Compared to owning and maintaining a single-family home, van life is often cheaper.