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What 'dwellers wish they had known ahead of time

No matter how much one researches and prepares, some things are only learned by doing. Here are some things 'dwellers wish they knew earlier.

Related: what secessus wishes others knew earlier :-)

starting earlier

The most common sentiment among full-timers is they wish they had started earlier. For those who are called, it can be a great life.

Van life is not #vanlife

  • “…it’s not as glamorous as all the hipsters instagrams make it seem.” – albinodinowino1)
  • “…Honestly, it just sucks. Constant electrical issues, not being able to cook real food anymore, crammed with multiple pets, drawers always breaking, driving 30 min out of the way just to take a shit or shower, dirty laundry piles up so fast. Everything takes twice as long (dishes, cleaning, changing clothes, making the bed, making food) and I'm out of patience. It's been 6 months and it keeps getting worse.” – bashalash2)
  • ” Living in a van is tough and it’s not as glamorous as social media makes it seem. Like any lifestyle, there are a lot of pros and cons. Sure I get to travel anywhere I want and take my house with me. But living out of vehicle, you’re basically living among the elements. Winters are COLD and summers are HOT. And not having a place you can always count on to go back to can get really hard sometimes.” 3)
  • “The last thing I want to do when I return “home” from a 10 day hitch in the backcountry is have to run to the gym for a shower, grab my belongings from a storage unit, go to the store for food, water, and ice, and then find a safe and comfortable place to sleep every single night. I’m sick of having to go on a hike and dig a hole every time I need to take a shit. I’m sick of having to drive into town every time I need supplies or socialization. I’m sick of going into isolation every time I go “home.””4)
  • “I wanted a simpler life, and I found that this wasn't the path. I ended up living on friends and families yards, and while it was a great way to deepen some of my relationships and get out of my comfort zone, it ended up being more work and a much less comfortable life. I just moved back into my condo, and boy am I happy to be back. Having a nice place that's always set up, not having to deal with finding water, power, sewage and internet is a huge blessing.” - Warm_Water_54805)

The pretty vans you see on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are not how most vandwellers live. Most of us have practical, simple, builds that meet our needs.

Van life will not solve all your problems

If vandwelling appeals because you want to run away, it may be an expensive and frustrating exercise. After all, “no matter where you go, there you are…”

It is possible that living in a van could make matters worse, as you are confronted with the realization that

  1. your problems aren't what you thought/hoped/wished they were, and now
  2. you live in a van :-)

Having said that, vandwelling can be therapeutic for people who are hypersensitive to social stimuli, noise, chemicals, etc. Many PTSD sufferers camp away from others to calm their nerves. And some people just get more work done when they are left alone.

Vandwelling can also provide emergency shelter for folks faced with homelessness, and can help others save money for other purposes.

Summer and winter can be tough

Mild winter isn't too bad, because it is possible to heat cheaply and easily with propane or diesel heaters.

Summer can be terrible, particularly in humid areas. Air conditioning isn't practical to run off solar power. Some get by with generators, who have their own set of tradeoffs. Folks who live in the desert may be able to use evaporative cooling to good effect.

For this reason, folks who aren't tied down tend to follow good weather.

Stealth is overrated

“Stealth is a lie…” – bkrassn6)

Stealth doesn't have to mean that no one notices, it means that no one calls the cops to harass you. If your bright yellow vehicle blends with other bright yellow vehicles then no one cares. Setting out lawn chairs, extending slides, or making a mess generally antagonize the locals.

Space and stuff

Almost everyone brings too much crap at first. Take as little as you dare. Commit to not having self-storage anywhere. Be brave.

  • “more cooking space… less accumulated stuff” – DRVBoondocker7)
lifestyle/foreknowledge.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/05 19:01 by princess_fluffypants