What's #vanlife like?
This blog post has been festering for a while, I am finally posting it, releasing it and allowing the next thing to drop in.
Please note that my #vanlife experience is completely different to anyone else’s. Everyone comes to van life with a different intention. Mine at the moment is to be able to live off the grid and be able to save easily. Having a bus for a home allows me the freedom to change my intention - when I first started I wanted to drive up and down the east coast selling my jewellery at markets. And I did that. Then it was to live in Melbourne rent free and go to art school. And I did that. And now its to live in Tassie, work and save as much money as I can. Once I have a financial leg to stand on again I reckon my intention will also merge into weekend trips to different places in Tassie, as was my intention when I arrived down here. And then was hit in the face with the ignored realisation that my financial situation was totally fucked.
ANYWAY, without further ado, my pros and cons of #vanlife.
Freedom. I can go anywhere! Right now I am in my home state of Tasmania. I spent a few weeks grape picking in the north and then decided I want to be in Hobart. I’ve never lived in Hobart before, my home is on my back, and all I have to do to “move house” is drive there. Of course that is the incredibly simplified side of it. The other side of it is Ungroundedness. Where the fuck even is my home? So I wanted to move to Hobart, now I’m here with all my worldly belongings and I know about 5 people! The incredible freedom of #vanlife comes with great price if I use it too flippantly. Hence for the foreseeable future I will be in Hobart sinking my roots in.
Not having to pay rent. This is a big one. I am so grateful that the money I earn can go straight to my living costs, amenities usage and becoming debt free! However the other side of it is not having anywhere permanent to live. I have been so lucky in that I have always found like minded folk with flat driveways who are more than happy to have me. This brings me to my next point - throwing yourself out into the open for the world to care for you. I lived self contained on a quiet street in Melbourne's Clifton Hill for 4 months before I found somewhere permanent to stay. I was safe that whole time and was never bothered.
Vanlife, just like travelling, has really opened up space for the universe to deliver all kinds of interesting experiences to me that I would have never had if I didn’t live in this way. It can be nerve racking at some points but most of the time, I’m so grateful for the amount of people I have met and experiences I’ve had. Ive stayed with all kinds of people. Hallucinogenic cactus enthusiasts, families, artists, a leather worker, gypsies, healers, ferrals, goddesses, conscious homes, old helpful people at caravan parks, share houses, eco-retreats, cities, bush, roadside stopovers, lush rain forests. You get the picture. My double-Gemini-ness comes out in the diverse range of people I stay with and get along with. All these people have something to teach and show me. Interactions to have and conversations to be had.
These people evolve me.
Getting to know many places through slow travel, I get to live in a place - in the whole place. I will see many different neighbourgoods and demographics of the one place. See all the little nooks and crannies that I may not see if I lived in the one house in the one neighbourhood. I fall in love with every place I go and often find it hard to leave.
Not being able to have many things is a blessing and a curse - a lot of my larger things are in storage in my parents garage, but the things I do have with me are the things I really want with me. There is no space for a “maybe” object. Its either a huge fuck yes, or a huge fuck no. I’m always trying to find new spaces for my things to live and ways to organise my life. Vanlife has made me SUPER organised because anything out of place immediately makes the whole van insanely messy very quickly. A dear friend pointed out to me that this also means I can clean it very quickly, which put a whole new spin on it for me!
The bus is my own little world and I can decorate it how I want. If I want to paint the wall, I paint the wall. I don’t need to ask a landlord if I can do something. I can get paint everywhere all over all my stuff and it doesn’t matter. I like to think it adds to the ambience ;)
It's not all roses but for the way I like to live my life the pros outweigh the cons and I wouldn't have it any other way. The way I live evolves me and challenges me in ways that living a fixed life could never, and I love the journey I’ve chosen, for however long it lasts.