Van vs. RV?
My name is Adrian Brambila and I live in a van. Now, living in a van is not normal. I get thousands of comments on TikTok and Instagram a day over living in a van. I have compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked questions and I’m here to set the record straight. Let us begin!
Where do you shower?
We have a shower in the van. This isn’t the case for all van-lifers. Some simply dump a bucket of water on themselves. Others shower at truck stops. We stop at a lot of campgrounds and there are showers there as well. However, we enjoy the sense of privacy that having our own shower brings.
Where do you park?
The point of van life is to park anywhere and everywhere. We have parked all across the country. Key West, Sedona, Nevada, New Mexico; you name it and we will park there. Are we parking in random neighborhoods? No. We are parking in beautiful lands, campgrounds, and BLM land. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management and the land is government-owned. There are tons of amazing mountain views, rivers, lakes, and forests all on BLM land. BLM land is free to park on but the roads usually aren't paved and there is no reception. We usually park in places like this because they are so gorgeous and we are fly sustainable, meaning we can live off the grid.
When we park on campgrounds, it is sort of like glamping. Usually, bathrooms, showers, and electricity is offered. We do have solar power but it’s nice sometimes to be able to run a heater if it’s cold.
How do you get WiFi?
We have a 5G hotspot from Verizon. Now here’s the thing… if you are in the middle of nowhere and you have 7G, 8G, or 100G, you still cannot get service. When we are in the middle of the city, we get faster speeds in the van than at any home we’ve ever stayed at.
To make sure my wife and I can still get our work done, we plan specific days where we know we will have good service. We stay in that spot for 3 or 4 days and work sun up to sundown. The rest of the week, we explore.
How do you go to the bathroom?
Our van is equipped with a composting toilet. When you go number 1, there’s a little hole that goes into a glorified bucket. This bucket gets full so, yes, we do have to empty it. When you go number 2, goes into a lid that you have to unlatch. When you do so, it combines with this coconut fiber stuff and turns into compost. To be honest, we have not used this feature yet. Instead, we have opted for the wild.
If you’re going to poop in the wild, there are two things you need. First, you need a dedicated poop shovel. Make sure that this shovel is not used for other goods, items, and services. Second, you need the right toilet paper. It must be environmentally friendly and safe for the birds. With your two items, you dig a hole at least 6 inches deep, do your thing, and go on with your day.
How do you make money?
The short answer is that I sell stuff online. The most complicated answer is that I have a very diverse income stream from selling physical products to services. I think I sell, profitably, over 300 different products online. I have this master system of running ads and I’m (sort of) making a name for myself in the internet marketing world.
What kind of food do you eat?
I’m a healthy growing Mexican boy so I need tacos — all the time. Besides tacos, we do lots of eggs and sweet potatoes in the morning, salads for lunch, and a cast-iron skillet meal for dinner. We also have an induction stove if we need to cook inside as opposed to over the fire.
We eat very healthily. Our food bill is around $900 a month; people are usually astonished by this. Everything has to be organic or pasture-raised and we only eat 1 or 2 meats a day.
Why did you get a van instead of an RV?
The answer to this is very simple and I’m surprised people miss it. Our van drives like a large SUV. We can take it anywhere, be nimble, travel unplanned, go into parking lots, and drive it as normal. You cannot do these things with an RV. Our van has everything we need and allows us to be flexible.
How much did your van cost?
We bought our 2016 Sprinter van with about 20,000 miles on it for $30,000. It’s a Sprinter 170 and to get it fully customized did cost a pretty penny. If you want to learn more about the cost of converting, check out this post where we do a full cost analysis breakdown.
How do you get electricity?
The most expensive part of our van was the electrical hookup. It takes lots of batteries and 5 solar panels on top of the van. The system allows us to work, cook, and charge out devices at all hours of the day. In total, it cost around $8,000. Each solar panel brings in about 100 watts of energy.
Why do you live in a van?
Finally, the most frequently asked question! All day people question why we live in a van when we can afford a house. Each option has its pros and cons. I’ll be fully honest, I can’t live in a van forever nor do I want to live in a van forever. That being said, every day I have lived in a van so far has been incredible. I have a constant sense of adventure and spontaneity. It has really taught me to appreciate the beautiful world around me. If I lived in a home, I wouldn’t have this opportunity. When a place gets boring or there is weather that we don’t like, we just drive to a new spot! I’ve made some of the best memories on this road trip and my relationship with my wife is stronger than ever.
Those are the top 10 most frequently asked questions about van life! Did I answer all of your questions? Is there anything else you’d like to know? I’d love to answer them!
Peace and God bless.
I make new content every single week, so be sure to subscribe to my Youtube and follow my Instagram @brambilabong and TikTok at @AdrianBrambila. I also have tons of resources and courses on my website that you won’t want to miss. Head over to www.adrianbrambila.com to learn more about what I do and how I live a financially free life.