6 Reasons to Live in a Van

A close look at the motivations for van life

There are many reasons to live vanlife. Adventure. Simplicity. Paying off debt. Here are our top reasons.
Our life since January 2013 has consisted of 80 square feet of living space, 90,000+ miles, 48 states, and 2,000+ 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 the type and condition of the van, your mechanical expertise, van maintenance, fuel prices, how far and often you drive, and additional expenses like food and personal expenses. However, living in a van means living without paying rent or a mortgage. In many states, there’s free public land to camp on. Many people choose ­to live in a van to simply get ahead in their finances.


2. Feasibility

According to a study by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, the number of people telecommuting to work has increased 80% since 2005, with 3.3 million Americans calling home their place of work. The technology of today has made it possible, for many people, to work from anywhere.


3. Personal growth

Living in a van cultivates new perspectives. Van life has taken me into the unknown, from sleeping in the woods and Walmart parking lots, to not sleeping, unexpected breakdowns, and severe weather. Consistently facing my fears has gifted me a greater sense of inner peace amidst the ups and downs.


4. Freedom

Van life affords the freedom of location and time. Essentially, a van is a home 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 less, and thus have more time to do activities that we find intrinsically rewarding. This is freedom, or at least it feels like it.


5. Inspiration

People and nature inspire us beyond imagination on the road with compassion, ideas, innovation and natural beauty. This country, this world, isn’t what the media portrays. There is far more good than bad. Far more magic than fear.


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 dog Penny, we each get 26.7 square feet to claim our own. We consume less, simply because of limited storage space. Purchases such as clothing, accessories, and home furnishings are rare to nonexistent. Less consumption means less wasted resources 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.


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  • Tambo Levi September 6, 2015  

    I recently found your site and I am hooked.I will be returning to my gypsy lifestyle soon and I am so excited to read about your adventures.I have spent a lot of my life living aboard boats,campers,house sitting,couch surfing,etc.Now looking for a cargo van to turn into my forever home.Thanks for helping me hold tight to my dream!

    • Emily king September 8, 2015  

      Thanks for the comment! Hope to see you on the road! <3

  • JoAnne October 16, 2015  

    Hi Emily

    Re: Work
    You are very blessed to know your passions.

    Like you, I have always been a seeker.
    I recently closed my medical practice after 20 years
    and am asking myself many of those same questions!
    I’m nearly 59, A year ago I bought a 13′ Burro
    and have been scouting the coast, with plans for a move.

    List of things I wish I had known were Mega-Important!

    1. Personal Boundaries
    I am very service-oriented and allowed too many toxic situations into my life.
    Children should be taught that boundaries are power!
    Everything else is just distraction.

    2. Saving Money.
    I would have started while still in college and considered ethical investing.
    While married, I would have kept my bank account and credit separate, in my name only
    and kept my name, too!

    3 Do what you love…what energizes you!

    4 Develop Partnerships
    Get to know people who can deal with aspects of your dream/work
    which you may find stressful or draining.

    5 Build a strong Trustworthy Tribe

    You are a strong beautiful spirit!
    Hope this was helpful.
    Best to you and Corey and Ms Penny Rose,

    • Emily king October 16, 2015  

      Hi JoAnne!

      Thank you so very much for your insightful, encouraging words. It really means a lot to me know to know that I’m not alone in this work-life journey!

      A 20-year medical practice is quite the accomplishment. Congrats on it and also on transitioning into your new life. As I’m learning more about being empathic and how I too take on other’s stuff, I am full of complete admiration and respect for people who have chosen a role in helping heal others. It is not an easy job and yes, depending on the processes you’ve developed to protect yourself (boundaries), can be dangerous. I feel the same way about simply living in this world and completely agree, children need to be taught boundaries… and if I may add to it, emotional intelligence and self awareness. How to stay in their power AND help people be whole and healthy and happy.

      All of your shared life lessons resonate with me and where I’m at right now! Especially the idea of outsourcing parts of my dreams/work that I find stressful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Are you on Instagram or Facebook?

      All the best on your journey! Love and light and namaste. 🙂

  • Andrea November 20, 2015  

    Thank you…you just my heart break wide open <3

  • Juscinete Silva January 14, 2017  

    Magnífico. Uma forma maravilhosa de viver a vida. Acredito que no mundo inteiro existem pessoas que resolvem se aventurar dessa forma. Não existem nada mais gratificante que a sensação de liberdade.