The Bare Necessities of Van Life

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Why I Choose a Minimalist Lifestyle

Sep 14, 2021

Choosing to live large in a tiny house is a personal choice and is not for everyone. Having said that, almost everyone I have spoken to over the years from sailboat cruisers to full-time campers agree that while there are significant adjustments to be made, they are generally surprised at how comfortably they can live with less. It is astonishing how we assume we need the comforts that we have become accustomed to. When you downsize and live in a camper van or boat, it becomes clear that you didn't need that fancy big screen tv or dishwasher, and you manage quite well without it.

Waste Not - Want Not

I like living in a smaller space partly because I don't need nor want a large house to maintain or clean, and partly because we like to travel around and the house is a millstone around the neck for us. It is just another space to fill with unnecessary junk. Junk we thought we needed, that we had to have, but when you have limited space, you are very cognizant of what you buy and where you are going to put it. As a result, this mindfulness makes us more appreciative and grateful for the basics and we tend to waste a lot less.

Caring For The Environment

Our planet is in serious trouble and each of us should in whatever way we can, be trying to minimize the waste and destruction we are causing. I'm not here to say everyone should go off the grid and live this lifestyle, only that we like the positive impact we have on our environment. Living small forces us to be extremely careful with our water and energy consumption and the amount of waste we produce. If I can leave this world confident in the knowledge that I tried to right the wrongs of the human race as far as destroying the planet goes, then I will die at peace.

Adventure Calls

Then there is the adventure aspect. Getting back to and enjoying nature as she intended. Some of my friends and family think we are just overgrown children who refuse to face responsibility and lead a normal life. They are wrong in that both my husband and I did have normal jobs and we did raise our families to the best of our abilities at the time. Now in our twilight years, we choose to beat to a different drum. It doesn't matter if they don't understand or approve, only that they continue to love us unconditionally. Honestly, I don't think I could stay confined to a fixed establishment anymore. The boredom would drive me nuts!

The New and Emerging Trend is Here to Stay

This lifestyle and more specifically the van life is a trending lifestyle that is no longer reserved for snowbirds wishing to escape harsh northern winters. Younger and younger demographics are expecting to have this freedom, indeed, they are demanding it. They want to work remotely or independently of the traditional brick-and-mortar office in the crowded city. Covid lockdowns have played a big role in entrenching this idea. People started to realize that they could work from home and businesses had to find a way for them to do that in order to stay in business during the lockdown. What was previously a luxury position for a few, is now becoming an expected norm for most.

Granted some people want to work in the more structured environment of the corporate office, while others have jobs that don't work well as a home office. Nurses, Doctors, Firefighters and Policemen, and women are obvious examples. Then there are those that just prefer the normal way of raising families. But excluding these, there are many younger members of society that have chosen to work remotely.

These go-getters have decided they are getting up and going. They have created jobs that suit their passions and abilities in order to make an income to support their lifestyles. The bonus factor of living in a tiny portable house is that your overheads and expenses are vastly reduced, so you don't need to earn a huge income to follow your dreams and find a way to support yourself in doing just that.

A case in point is our own situation. We have been living in the Caribbean for 6 years on a sailboat. I used to joke with my son that he could come to visit me but he would have to find me first. When I informed my 30yr old son that we would be returning and I was excited to be seeing him soon, he reluctantly informed me that that would not be happening, because he was off to Spain and intended to travel the world for a few years. Does he have a big source of income? Not really but his line of work can be done remotely and he was worked from home throughout the entire Covid pandemic without batting an eye. This is the new norm and the younger generation is embracing it.

In Conclusion

We love this lifestyle, the friends we have made along our journey and we have no intention of giving it up. It has enriched us in so many ways and the people we have met have impacted our lives in profound ways. To be frank, it is impossible for me to return to normal. For me, it would be a slow and painful death.

And so our adventure continues with its many twists and turns, each day being different and never really knowing what the future holds for us and we are OK with that.

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