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The True Value of Van Life

In 2015, after moving to the US from Europe, my wife and I took off on a one-year road trip. I wanted to see America: the regional differences, the people, the National Parks. We had purchased a van during a prior visit to Colorado, and literally carried all our belongings on the plane, which we then moved straight into the van. 24 hours after immigrating to the US, we hit the road.

We camped almost every night, once in a while stayed with friends and figured out a plan for the day when we woke up (after coffee, obviously). We met so many people, interested and often jealous, as we were 'young' people traveling full time. We worked hard for years, we saved up, we planned for this adventure. It didn't just happen. The main response from others on the road was "I am so glad you are doing it now, while you are young and able. Don't wait until retirement like we did."

We definitely took that advice to hart. The next question was often about what our favorite state or place was, the best national park or greatest campground. I never had a good answer - there are so many great places, each in their own way. The real value of living on the road isn't in the places you visit. It's the simplicity of the lifestyle. 

As we get bombarded with stuff, ads and distractions during our daily life, van life showed me a simpler way of living. Stock up on some groceries, cook simple meals, stay warm, be active, spend time outside every day, use everything you have and cherish the basic things in life. It is very satisfying to pack your best gear, and use it every day. Decision making might be focused on where to go that day, but picking out your outfit is easy. Experiencing this way of living changed me, and to this day I make some kind of effort to simplify something in my life every day. It's hard - but so worth it. 

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1 comment

  • Some day I want to grow up to be like you, Rene!


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