Picture your ideal backyard and magnify it into a vast valley of wildflowers or transform it into a serene beach with crashing waves – that is the oasis some people have created for themselves by taking their homes on the open road.Van lifeis a growing lifestyle among adventurers who convert old buses and vans into whimsical mobile homes ready for wherever the wind takes them.
Founder of ‘Van Clan’, – an online community and content page for campervan lovers and travel addicts – Brandon Saltalamacchia, told Bored Panda that the first allure of van life is the freedom it gives, “People want freedom to escape the ever daunting bills, stress and constraints of “real life”. The thought of having a minimalist lifestyle for a little while is certainly an aspect of van life that intrigues many newcomers, and it’s certainly true.” These custom mini houses utilize economical space design to fit all the necessities one would find in a normal sized home. Ovens, closets, beds, and fold-out desks they all fit in these gorgeous mobile dwellings that would make Marie Kondo proud. The other obvious benefit according to Saltalamacchia – cost. “All you need to sort is insurance, food and gas, and then you can go anywhere your heart desires, all while taking in the ever-changing world around you,” he said, adding that cost is the most common question they receive on their page.
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01. We Expect That It Will Take About 2 Years Give Or Take To Complete Our Trip Across The U.S. And Canada
Not sure if life on the road is right for you? According to theVan Clanfounder people from all walks of life are jumping on board with this new trend, the only qualification – an adventurous soul. “It’s your typical adventurous human who just wants to live a little, you could be 18 years of age straight out of school, or freshly retired, there’s no real type of person who takes on this lifestyle, but you can bet your money, that each one who does has an adventurous streak in them that wants to discover new places and meet new people,” said Saltalamacchia.
02. This Is The Coolest Bus Ever
Getting started on your van life journey may seem daunting but Saltalamacchia has some words of advice for newcomers before they purchase a van or throw down money on construction supplies.”If you’re looking at taking on the van life we really suggest you think about it hard. Is living in a tiny box really what you want? Do you want someone knocking on your vehicle at 2am in the morning one day because you’ve parked in the wrong spot? Do you want to pee in bushes now and then? These are some of the things that will most likely happen, but you’ll be rewarded with many incredible experiences along the way.”
03. One Of Our Favorite Parts Of The Bus Is Her Fully-Functioning Kitchen
04. Our Sweet Bus Is Starting To Look More And More Like A Home!
Downsizing is cost efficient in the long term, but how much does a van conversion set you back? “Van conversions vary in price, you can go as cheap as $1,000 if you really want the bare bones and fancy finding scrap wood, or you can go all out and have conversions well over the $10,000 mark, ” explained , “It all depends on the size of your van, and how deep you want to go with the conversion, we recommend doing it yourself with a budget, it makes every inch feel more YOU.” As for monthly expenses the cost is very little, he said, “Your biggest outgoing is gas, then food, then insurance. You can do it all on as little as $250 a month, but your average van lifers is most likely spending around $300-$600 per month living in a van, and that’s including gas.”
05. I Won’t Say I Don’t Love The Escape And The Pleasantries Of Traditional Accommodation. But I Can Say That For Now Vanna The Van Is Home
One hesitation people have about a smaller home is not just missing the larger luxuries but basic hygiene, however this expert said that the idea that van life people don’t shower is probably the biggest misconception about this lifestyle. “This could not be further from the truth, yes, there’s times where you don’t shower for a couple of days, but getting to a water source, or using a portable shower bag is very common with van lifers. Most of them are very clean!”
06. School Bus Conversion
But who has the time and resources to just take off for a year? “Many people think you have to do van life for years, no, you could be doing it for a year, a few months, or even a couple of weeks, hell, you could be a weekend warrior, someone who likes to do it on the weeks only. Van life can be a day, or a lifetime, it’s your path, you can choose how long it lasts.”
07. Everyone Meet Atlas (Sprinter Lwb High Roof). He Is My New Home
It’s hard not to daydream about traveling around and spending the night with breathtaking views in the background, but just like with anything on social media Saltalamacchia warns to take these #VanLife instagram pics with a grain of salt. “Van life is one of the most glamorized lifestyles on social media, not everyone eats strawberries on top of their van, looking at the sunset with their cute dog but I think knowing this will let you take each picture with a grain of salt. These moments can happen, but trust us, it’s not every weekend, some weekends you’ll be stuck in a shopping mall car park, but then some weekends you’ll be on a beach with a cold beer, reading a book with no care in the world.”
08. This Is Our First Van We Ever
However, if you weigh the pros and cons and think you have what it takes to be one of these van explorers, the van life enthusiast says it is well worth it, “The most rewarding part about this lifestyle is the peace of mind you get when you’re on the road. You have very little outgoings, you have the choice to go wherever your heart desires and you get to meet a lot of incredible people. The lifestyle is the rewarding part, it all comes together to be a relaxing, slow yet eventful way of living that many can’t wait to start. Time slows down when you live the van life.”
09. We Were Living In A 5000 Sq Ft House Sick Of Living The “Normal” Life That Everyone Thought We Should So We Packed Our 4 Kids Into A 250 Sq Ft Converted School Bus And Headed West And We’re Loving It
10. We Converted A 1966 Greyhound Commuter Bus Into A Cute Mobile Home
11. How I Converted A Rusty Cargo Van Into A Unique Mobile Studio
12. First Project – Volkswagen T3
13. My Cozy Adventure Rig
Sometimes it’s felt like the worst idea I’ve ever had, like a never ending problem machine that’s going to take me down with it…like something I shouldn’t have tried… …and then there’s days like these.
Where the fog breaks, and I get a glimpse of the future, of the bus finished. Of my lil’ lady and I’s life on this beautiful dream machine.
15. Our Home On Wheels
16. My New Home
17. This Build Was Done For A Firefighter Out Of Toronto
18. Living The Van Life And Inspiring Everyone To Get Outdoors
19. This Car Means Everything To Me And It’s Crazy How Happy I Get Putting All My Money And Effort Into This Home
20. Room With A View
21. A Couple Late Nights And A Few Too Many Mcdonald’s Runs And We Have A Cabin On Wheels Complete
22. Think We’re Nearly There
23. It Feels So Good To Finally Be Done With It. Now It’s Time For The Best Part, Seeing The World In It And Decorate It With Bits And Pieces From All Over The Place
24. Home Sweet Home
25. I Had So Many Requests For A Room Tour Of Our Build, So Here It Is
26. Then And Now. It’s 2 Years To The Day Since We Picked Up Our Little Van. Looks A Wee Bit Different Now
27. We Transformed This Camper Van In 6 Weeks With Only £1000
What they achieved is a touching tribute to their Florence, a dream that never came true. Sometimes the dreams that do come true are the ones we never even knew we had.