6 Months In
I wanted to make this post because I’ve been doing van life for 6 months. Our adventure, which started in California, has taken us across Florida and all the way up to Oregon. If you would’ve told me 5 years ago that I would be living in a van, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would’ve thought that I failed in life. Turns out, living in a van is actually quite amazing.
I want to give you my honest opinion and perspective. I want to talk about both the great parts of van life and the not-so-great parts that make me look forward to living in a regular home.
The Adjusting Period
The beginning of van life was an adjusting period. To live in such a small space — maybe 25 to 50 square feet — is a big change to get used to. My wife and I adopted the phrase “spatial awareness” because of how small our space is. We found strategic positions in the van that would allow us to move effectively and efficiently without bothering each other. It was things that made this adjusting period not difficult, but different. Finding a sense of normalcy took some time.
It goes without saying that van life is not for everyone, whether you are a solo traveler or are traveling with a significant other or friend. My wife and I have been married 5 years prior to van life. We have an amazing relationship and the only time we ever fight is when we are hangry. I think our relationship is actually better because of van life. We have experienced so much beauty and wonder together. That being said, if you don't already have a strong relationship, I don't think living in a van is for you.
One of my favorite parts about van life is being outside. Prior to van life, the amount of time I spent outside was minimal. I was looking at screens all day. When you are forced to live somewhere without WiFi or service, your attention is focused to be in the moment. You learn to enjoy being outside and listening to the sounds of mother nature. Now I’m not going around hugging trees and stuff, but I definitely consider myself one with nature.
I’ve seen things that I did not know existed and never thought I would see. I’ve seen the most beautiful mountains again and again. I’ve seen beautiful waters and lakes. I’ve seen forests and deserts. Everywhere we go is just so beautiful.
One of the best parts of van life is that if we find a place we love, we stay! When we went to Florida, we thought we’d only be there for a week but we ended up staying there for a whole month. Living on 4 wheels gives you that flexibility. It’s been an absolute blessing.
My new favorite thing is cooking over an open fire with a cast-iron skillet. Let me tell you, the food is 10 times more delicious. I feel enthusiastic to cook and to start a fire. I think it’s really fun and rewarding.
I feel like, before van life, the clothing that I washed was not dirty. Now, I feel like I really get a day’s use out of the clothes I wear. I am sweating, hiking, standing over a smoky fire; that makes for some dirty clothes.
The one word I think about the most is gratitude. I feel so grateful to be in the country of the USA. I’m grateful for all the people, things, and opportunities in my life. I’ve had a lot of time to think, especially being disconnected from the internet. Throughout all of the quiet time that I’ve had in the last 6 months, I feel grateful.
Here’s a not-so-evident truth about van life: when we go to an Airbnb, back to my parents to visits, or to anyone’s house for that matter, we are reminded of the day-to-day things that we all take for granted. For example, hot showers and flushing toilets are quite spectacular once you've lived in a van.
I feel like I’ve always been a mellow person but I feel like I’m at an all-time high. The chill vibe is immaculate. The only thing that could stress me out right now is the news that someone I love is unhealthy or hurt. Anything else… work? Social media? Drama? It can’t phase me. I’ve had so much time to build this resiliency against bullshit, I guess, for lack of a better word. I have really focused on what matters and have dug deep into why I wake up every day. The answer is love. All of the actions I take are somehow connected to the people I love. I have a sense of clarity like I never have before.
If you're thinking about living in a van, you have to do it. It’s truly life-changing. These last 6 months, I’ve created so many memories that I’ll always reference and learned lessons I’ll always look back on. Maybe I’ve become a little bit of a romantic about life. Before, I was all about the hustle and the grind, and I still am. But now, I value time itself. I realize more and more each day how precious time is; it is the most precious thing we have.
Before van life, I feel like time would just disappear. Every day here is the chill of a Sunday, the party of a Friday, and the hustle of a Monday. It’s amazing.
Why Van Life Will Come to an End
I miss the routine we used to have. In the van, every day is different — which makes it beautiful — but there is a lack of structure. Being in a home would provide a routine. That being said, I think if I was living in a home, all I would be thinking about would be traveling.
Van life has been awesome. Since months in, I feel like I still have 6 months left to go. Originally, we thought this would be a 90-day gig. Obviously, we fell in love with van life. Who knows where it will take us next.
If you have any questions, general or specific, be sure to comment below. As for now, I have some packing to do. We are off to our next destination.
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.