Monday, June 29, 2015

6 Reasons Not to Live in a Van

By: V. Eyre White.

Today marks my 572nd day living in a van with my partner and our forcibly sterilized child substitute. In January 2013, we left a nameless uber zip code in New England to run our website development company out of our 1987 VW Vanagon. Our life over the past year and a half has consisted of 80 square feet of living space, 30,000+ miles, 32 states, and 1,433 hours of logged website development work. You may ask, why would anyone choose to trade the comfort of a house for the unknown of the open road? Here are what I believe to be the top 6 reasons to live in a van.

1. Affordability

The cost of living in a van is dependent on variables such as having a comfortable house to "trade" for the open road, having wealthy relatives to come back to when you've decided you want to live in a comfortable house again, and sufficient liquid assets and lines of credit to drive across the country without worrying at all about food, clothing, or medical needs. However, living in a van means you first have to buy a van. To prove your poor-cred, it's best to buy an older one.

2. Feasibility

According to lots of really important studies, the number of wealthy people with an established network of deep-pocketed clients who telecommute to "work" has increased 80% since 2005. That number looks even more impressive if you include people who have been taken in by "work from home" and "generate income through click leads" pyramid scheme posters, found stapled to telephone poles in the bad part of town, permitting statisticians to include 3.1 million dirt poor independent contractors--who perform, for $1/hour without employee status or benefits, work like stuffing envelopes, answering telephones, or operating several "chat help" windows at once--in the same group as 0.2 million nice, hip, upper middle class white people who sweetly sell one another marketing ideas at a premium price. This means that the technology of today has made it possible, for 3.3 million people, to work from anywhere, conjuring up images of 3.3 million entrepreneurs with great jobs, long term financial security, and lots of quality of life.

3. Personal growth

Living in a van cultivates new perspectives, such as how to more effectively produce sentences that not only evidence zero cognitive thought, but ones that actually produce a net loss in cognitive ability when read, literally making you dumber as soon as you've been so unfortunate as to see them. For example, "Throughout history, mankind has wondered about the ages." Or, "Doing something makes you think." It takes people who live in a van by choice, rather than by necessity, to appreciate such penultimate banalities for the gems they truly are. While sleeping in the woods and Walmart parking lots, to not sleeping, unexpected breakdowns, and severe weather, knowing that I was being celebrated as a pioneer and could go home at any time and live off my inheritance, I was gifted a greater sense of inner peace. Sadly, the families living in their cars near me did not always seem to appreciate this peace. They probably missed their playstations too much, the shallow bastards.

4. Freedom

Van life affords the freedom of location and time, when you don't have to worry about having a mailing address to get a job or cash checks or not be thrown in jail. Essentially, a van is a big toy apartment on wheels and can be parked almost anywhere. Wherever your heart desires, you can most likely be. Given that van life is relatively inexpensive, we can work even less than we were before, and thus have more time to do activities that we find intrinsically rewarding, unlike those baboonish masses who are always struggling to recover from the stress of potential eviction or imprisonment by staring at the TV. This is freedom, or at least it feels like it. I'm not really sure what could be more free.

5. Inspiration

People and nature inspire us beyond imagination on the road with compassion, ideas, innovation and natural beauty. For some reason, all this inspiration doesn't seem to reach the mindless drones around us, who so often seem to be in a hurry to get to work or get to the store or get home. If they just gave it all up to live in a van, and stopped in every mid-sized town to withdraw enough cash for the next few weeks, they'd learn to see just how beautiful this world really can be.

6. Environmental

Let’s be real, there’s not a lot of living space in a van. 80 square feet to be exact. Between us and our surgically sterilized, rightless-child Penny, we each get 26.7 square feet to claim our own. We consume less, simply because of limited storage space, but we talk about it more, simply because of unlimited opportunities for self exploitation and web access. Purchases such as clothing, accessories, and home furnishings are rare to nonexistent until we give this up and nest in for our 50s and beyond. Less consumption means less wasted resources (sic!) and ultimately less pollution ending up on the land we walk on, ocean that provides for us, and air we breathe. Although van life isn’t perfect (fuel consumption!), it is a step in the right direction. So long as, while we're living in our van, the rest of the world keeps chugging right along to provide us with the massive infrastructure needed to make food and fuel and medical care available wherever we choose to drive, and to keep us online and on the phone as we go, we're just about the greenest motorists you can imagine.

About V. Eyre White.

It gets dark outside at night. Life is a journey. Touching a hot stove will burn your hand. One thing leads to another, ups & downs abound, & defining moments shape the trip. Sentences are made of words, people need air & water to survive, & observations can be made whenever. My journey was defined after college, and after my 3 year marketing career. I told my mom that was long enough to have a career, my uncle made some calls, and I was suddenly getting paid to act in film, commercials and theater. Then I stopped even that "job" and took another long vacation to Central America, where I discovered simplicity, adventure and my desire to live outside of my comfort zone. So here I am... traveling America living and working out of my 1987 VW Vanagon, and sharing my journey with you for clicks and for profit. Learn more about life on the road at Expanded Consciousness.


  1. ugh, not interested even in a hate f$#k. this van won't be rockin'

  2. Ahhh, very romantic and fun! I wish them well.

    There is the flip side of that however, the mandated poverty of being forced to live in a van. So many people where I live romance the green friendly sustainability of living off the grid, completely oblivious to the fact that life is a whole lot different when you have wealthy relatives to visit, money to eat out with, thousands of dollars worth of solar panels, an electric car. Kind of funny, these people tend to call it "simple living," while sharing a 50 dollar bottle of wine.