Vanlife — 5 things I was wrong about!

Vanlife is not always like on Instagram. There are 5 things I was really wrong about.

I lived full time in my van for 4 months and traveled through Europe. It was a nice experience and it was definitely not my last time doing this. But there are a few things I will be more aware of next time!

I thought it would be much easier to meet like-minded people to team up with during my journey. Connecting with people is definitely not the problem, because there are a lot of people out there living in their vans.

Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

But the fact you are living in a van doesn’t mean you have shared interests or values. It’s like when you are a house owner you don’t share the same interests with other house owners. In the end, the only thing you can talk about is the van build.

Instagram is a major tool to connect with interesting people, but most of the time you are not at the same place as them. You have to plan ahead to meet them on the road.

As a freelancer, I have to get done some work on the road to make a living. In the beginning, I thought will be an easy transition from my office to the van because I just need my MacBook for work.

This turned out to be terribly wrong! The constantly changing environment and unforeseen things were interrupting my work. Even when you think you found a quiet place to work, it is not the same as in an office. Getting into a flow state definitely requires some practice and some luck.

For sure it depends on the work you have to do, but when I had to do some crucial work I was really mindful in picking the right spot. Which also costs some energy and time, which you wouldn’t have to invest when working from an office.

When you scroll through Instagram you are bombarded with those beautiful pictures of vans in scenic landscapes. No doubt there are a lot of spots like this out there. But there are also times where you have to sleep on parking lots or spots just beside the road.

Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

But when you finally find a beautiful spot you really enjoy it and you forget all the ugly places before.

And this is also the time when you pick out the drone and camera to manifest the spot!

This point definitely depends on how you live this lifestyle. When you stay at one place for weeks, it is cheap for sure. But when you actually drive around with your van to explore new places it gets costly. You have to pay for gas, tolls, services, mechanic, parking, camping, and so on. So the more you travel around the more it will cost you. But with this in mind, you can regulate your costs.

I drove 14.000 km (8700 miles) in an old Volkswagen T3, so that was really expensive. Especially in Norway.

Most of the time you are in public places with your van. This means you are visible to others. The only private space you have is the inside of your small van.

There is a lot of things that can happen to you.

Sometimes you just don’t know if the place you are staying is 100% safe and if you are allowed to park there. Someone can break in your van when you are gone or you get disturbed by someone who just doesn’t like that you are standing here.

You also have to constantly adapt to new surroundings, languages, and behaviors. This can sometimes be really exhausting.

Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

Have I forgotten anything?
Feel free to comment or contact me to continue the conversation. Maybe you also have some hacks to avoid one of those things.

But all in all, I love to live in a van and to explore new places. Also, the fact that tech is evolving enables us to work on the road and keep us connected with friends and family.

Thanks for reading and see you on the road,
- Daniel



Photographer and roadtrip ethusiast. 📸🚐

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