My fellow Van Lifers, I am so glad you have chosen to join me on this journey of self-exploration and adventure. I hope being here will inspire you to broaden your horizons and find what truly makes you happy and fulfilled. Let’s strive to live the best life, the Van Life!
I’m Mariska, and I’ve been living the van life since August of 2018.
Before my Van Life journey began, I was like most young people, busy with the “normal” life. I worked in an office. I felt drained. I was stressed. I was unsatisfied. I knew there had to be more to life than the proverbial rat race, but I didn’t know what the alternative looked like. Every day I would leave the office feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. I was that hamster running on the wheel and moving nowhere… fast.
The job wasn’t the only thing leaving me feeling empty. I felt stress in every aspect of my life, and nothing I did seemed to make any difference. It wasn’t a life that I felt good about. It didn’t feel like me.
I needed a change.
The problem is that I didn’t know what change looked like. Every change I considered making was simply a different version of the same socially-acceptable lifestyles we’ve always been offered. None of those paths spoke to me or offered the kind of reset I was looking for.
It was a real wakeup call when I was forced to acknowledge that most of the things I had worked so hard for, for so long, were actually other peoples’ dreams. An honest self-examination helped me realize that if I was going to live my best life from here on out, I first needed to give myself a time out.
Here is where the journey really began for me.
I stopped pursuing all goals for a period of time. I needed to understand for myself, what did I truly miss? What didn’t I miss? I had enough faith in my plan to be patient and wait for the answers to come to me. The result is that I found myself thinking a lot about my childhood love of travel.
What had happened to those dreams?
Once I clearly identified this long-suppressed passion, the idea of Van Life crept into my mind and never left. It seemed both financially attainable and aesthetically appealing. Once I had decided to commit to my new adventure, I never looked back. I spent the next year preparing my van, preparing my mind, and getting my affairs in order.
I realize that people choose Van Life for a variety of reasons. Personally, one of the greatest motivations for me is that I continue to learn about myself and the world around me in ways I could not have anticipated. Trust me, it won’t always be easy, but keep at it! The rewards always out way the sacrifices.
Through Van Life, I have gained a greater appreciation of my strengths and capabilities. I have learned to depend on myself when there is no one else around to help me, making me more confident and self-reliant. I have also learned how and when to ask others for help, instilling in me a greater awareness of community and inter-dependence.
I regularly witness the kindness of strangers. I also experience and accept rejection. I’ve looked into the eyes of homeless men and women and given them the dignity of acknowledgment. I’ve been treated like a homeless vagrant myself and walked away with a greater appreciation for what they must go through on a regular basis. Experiences like these can bring up tough emotions at times, but I try to hold on to these moments of reflection long enough to challenge myself. It has surprised me how allowing myself to stay in these moments can provoke deep emotions without spiraling me into despair. I am grateful for this awareness.
Each and every experience, good and bad, has had a profound effect on me and is slowly molding me into the person I want to be, the best version of myself. My personal values have become clearer, and I understand now what things in life I truly cherish. This is a personal journey I intend to continue, whether from the comfort of my van, or into new phases of my life. A life that feels like me. Van Life has been a good start toward that ultimate goal. A good reset.
Our goal at Van Life Wanderer is to inspire people who have a passion for the Van Life, for travel, and for exploring.
Whether you are new to the Van Life or have been living your best life for years, I hope this site will prove to be a helpful resource along your journey.
We are a team of knowledgeable and passionate writers who strive to share current and practical advice on all aspects of Van Life.
Some of these articles include must-see attractions at destinations around the world, helpful how-to guides, tips and ideas, and answers to common questions. Have you ever thought about how you might get your mail while living in a van, or wondered whether your cats would enjoy living in a van with you? Wonder no longer because we’ve got those concerns covered!
Our team aims to be a reliable stopping point along your travel-planning road or a resource to come back to time and time again. There are so many incredible destinations to visit and experiences to be had, deciding where to go and what to see can sometimes be overwhelming.
Don’t worry, we are here to help. We want you to get the most out of every trip and stay inspired for the next one. We wish you success on your future journey.
*Our editorial team is dedicated to providing authoritative, trustworthy information. To achieve this, every article goes through a robust editorial process, including peer-review, fact-checks, and editorial independence.