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what is van life?

van life has become increasingly popular these days among people from all over the world. more and more people are experiencing the urge to pack it up, hit the road, and explore.

if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably heard of van life or seen pictures on Instagram, but now your curiosity about #vanlife is really starting to grow. so what exactly is van life?

van life refers to living or traveling in a van for a short or extended period. however, van life means something different to everyone. that’s the beauty of the concept. people are free to explore, adventure, and just go wherever and however they want.

for some people, maybe van life means weekend trips with the family to spend time in nature, while for others, it’s two years of traveling cross-country and living out of a van full-time. whatever your definition, you’re sure to love this article.

read on to learn more about the van life history, its popularity, and how to get started.

the history of van life

while there’s no specific date that marks the start of the van life trend, it’s pretty certain that the philosophy emerged in the 1960s with the hippie movement.

at the time, van life was looked down upon and seen as an unconventional way of life. nevertheless, van lifers persisted, and now the movement has flourished into an accepted and even conventional lifestyle. 

van life’s societal acceptance can partially be accredited to social media. just look up the hashtag #vanlife, and you’ll come across millions of spectacular photos of people, their vans, and life on the road. after seeing these photos, how could you possibly not want to live the van lifestyle? this leads us to the next question...

why is van life so popular?

in this day and age, where we have so many means of transportation and numerous options for housing, why are people choosing to live or travel by van? 

it’s simple. In such materialistic, cluttered, and hectic times, people are craving minimalism, simplicity, and freedom to be and live a meaningful life. and van life embodies all of these characteristics and more!

as humans, we crave natural, authentic experiences and deep connections. van life allows us to get out of our comfort zone and enjoy nature while making beautiful memories with the ones we love.

additionally, since the start of the pandemic, jobs are looking less traditional, with more people working remotely. instead of going into an office daily, vans offer the freedom to work while exploring the world. 

van life has also become so popular because it’s flexible and convenient. for example, say you want to go away this weekend with your family, but it’s too last minute to find accommodations, cheap flights, or plan out every detail. 

in this case, van life would be a great option because you have your means of travel and accommodations all in one. in addition, this lifestyle epitomizes spontaneity and needlessness for strict planning. so you can just pack it up and go.

by now, you’re probably itching to get your van life started. here’s how to kick off your life full of van adventures. 

how to start van life

the first step to beginning van life is… getting your van! to determine which van will best suit your needs, you’ll need to ask yourself questions like: 

  • will i be living on the road? if so, part-time or full-time? 
  • or will i take it out for weekend trips and an occasional road trip? 
  • how many people will typically travel with me?
  • how much gear will i take? (i.e., sporting equipment, kitchen items, campsite gear, etc.)
  • in what climates will i travel?

once you more or less have the answers to your questions, it’s time to consider what interior structures you will need in your cargo van and how you will get it put together. 

will you buy a van already converted? or will you do the conversion yourself? at esplori, we offer both options. you can purchase a diy interior kit, or we can do the conversion for you. for more information about van types, check out this article.

after your van is ready to go, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you prepare for your first adventure.

  • know where you can park legally, comfortably, and safely for each destination. some van lifers like to find free parking lots or practice stealth camping.
  • learn your van’s limits and weight (when fully loaded). maybe even practice parking!
  • be minimalist. take just the things you need to avoid clutter.
  • keep your van well-organized and tidy. when living in a small space, it can get messy quickly. be sure to keep essential items handy and neatly pack everything else away.
  • go in with no expectations. van life is supposed to be flexible and adaptable, so don’t worry if things don’t go as planned.

so now you’re ready to start your van conversion and then get on the road! order your custom Sprinter interior kit or bring your Sprinter van to esplori for us to install. you can also contact us during business hours at +1 (541) 508-8817 for advice and more information.

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