I don't think a writing like this warrants much of an introduction, but I can introduce myself briefly for context. I'm Jane and I've been living in a van full time for over two years. I've owned four vans throughout this time and spent three months at the end of last year traveling across Australia coast to coast van hopping with friends. Safe to say I've had my fair share of living and traveling in a variety of different homes on wheels.
I run my website, Rock Meets Soil, sharing stories and creations not just of my own, but from people like you. Rock Meets Soil is a feature blog and online shop that I run from my van wherever I am. I've been rocking and repping Lifestyle Over Luxury for almost as long as I've been doing van life...because choosing lifestyle over luxury is a no-brainer for me. So, here is a list of 10 reasons I've compiled of why I think living in a van is better than living in a house.
I can take my homeómy kitchen, my bed, my spaceóalmost anywhere. I say almost because I don't have 4WD. It's just plain fun to live in a van; it's like having a little fort on wheels that can take me anywhere. I can cruise to the river to make lunch or back the van up to the beach to make dinner watching the sun set over endless ocean waves. I can decide to wake up one day looking out at my favorite mountains and the next day to views of the desert. If you're good at finding the right parking spots, it's like having a room with a view wherever you go.
Following that idea, wherever you go you have everything with you, which means you're prepared for all adventures. You can't use the excuse 'I don't have my tent' or 'I forgot my hiking shoes' because they're right behind you. If someone gets chilly or needs to borrow an egg or forgot their shampoo or needs a map or a stamp or a spatula or a zip tie...you get my drift. I love this aspect of van life because I am basically prepared for anything.
You are living small, so you are living with less: less stuff, less clutter, less worry. Being aware of everything you own and where it is frees up more mental energy to put towards more important things in life than trying to find lost things or always having to clean up a mess.
Everything has a home and it always gets returned to its home after use. This is particularly important because you drive constantly so things need to go back in their home so they aren't rolling around everywhere and falling off of shelves. Tiny living and minimalism will teach you the importance of everything you own and you have no choice but to be tidy.
Everything you buy replaces something you already own instead of piling up unecessary shit and having way too many things. When you live in a tiny home, you realize very quickly that you only need one, maybe two of anything. This is a big one for me because I love to thrift. After two years now the replacement tactic is second nature. It doesn't matter what it is; a new pair of pants, a book, a cooking pot, a blanket; anything new that comes in means something old goes out.
A house offers a plethora of distractions that a van just doesn't have. Some examples: multiple rooms needing to be cleaned, a kitchen with an abundance of dishes that are fun to use then need to be washed, beds with bedding to be laundered, a yard that needs maitenance, television, video games, movies, etc. I get it, a house has much more room for activities. I swear though every time I house sit for someone, even in a small home, I somehow end up at the end of the day with a laundry list of shit I wanted to get done and I can't for the life of me figure out what I just did for six hours in that house; it happens every time. I always look forward to returning to my van after a short house sitting gig because everything is immediately simplified and I have zero distractions from writing, reading, meditations and creative projects.
Cleaning and organizing your home (even a deep clean) takes so much less time and energy than cleaning and organizing a whole house. Where my clean freak van sistas at? I've had this conversation with so many others who've lived this lifestyle for awhile and it's always true. When you live in a smaller space, you have less to clean and put away. It's a beautiful thing to take about ten minutes to make my home spotless clean and organized, which makes everything in my life better.
You use less resources living in a van than living in a house. Pretty simple...you don't have a large space to heat or cool so there generally is very little if any resources being used for heating or AC (obviously depending on where you live). In a van you have a limited resevoir of water which makes you more conscious of your water usage when doing dishes or cleaning things. Many folks at this point are running the majority of their electronics off of solar panels on the roofs of their vans. It's a more sustainable way of living than all of the resources needed in the upkeep of a traditional house.
Living in a van makes you get creative when it comes to cooking healthy in a small kitchen with (usually) limited burners and no stove. It's fun to come up with new recipes on the road and find ways to eat deliciously and nutritously with just one or two burners or over an open fire or in a dutch oven. Or by not using heat at all and eating cold foods. It's easy to get into a routine of eating similar dishes all the time when you find things that work for you in the van, so I like to challenge myself in finding new meals that I can make with what I have.
I love to go out and have some beers and dance and get to know people, especially in places I've never been. When this happens, its nice to be able to park my home within a short radius of where I'm at so I can just walk home when I'm done. When I was in Australia oftentimes we would park the van on the beach and walk a couple blocks into town to grab some drinks. The van offered a waterside residence most nights that we could walk right back to. Even when urban camping, it gives you a downtown condo for the night.
The number one reason why I think living in a van is better than living in a house is that it has given me my freedom of time and money back to pursue my personal goals and passions and make shit happen in my life. Because I have not had to pay a rent/mortgage, utilities or any other costs that are associated with a house, I haven't had to work full time for someone else's dream for the last two and a half years. This simple fact has changed my world. I have traveled more, started my own business, tackled freelance writing as more than just a hobby and actually given time and tons of energy to personal projects ranging from photography to relationships to just becoming the best version of myself that I can be every day. When I first moved into a van I took off on a six-month trip and thought there was a means to an end when I returned from that trip. That was two and a half years ago, and I'm still living in a van. I didn't foresee what that decision would mean for me, but shit that's life right? Find ways that allow you to give time and energy to yourself and to what gives you fulfillment. That is the key to happiness. It may not necessarily mean that you should quit your job and buy the fucking van...but then again, maybe it does.