I recently read an article written by someone who had been excited to try vanlife. Having jumped in with both feet, I wondered how someone might go about researching by fire as one might say. You can read the article here – I tried living in a luxury camper van for a weekend during the winter, and I’ll never do it again.

Image by Jason Lawrence – Creative Commons

I found it interesting that the author chose the winter to have a trial run. And especially in Philadelphia. Not that someone living the vanlife lifestyle wouldn’t eventually have to live through a cold winter at some point, but why make the first test run during what could be considered a difficult time of year at best?

The author, who hails from Brooklyn, NY, started out by writing how shocked they were with the immense size of the van. I find this amusing since the luxury van they rented was a Mercedes Sprinter. It is definitely taller and longer by a considerable amount but it is far from being immense.

At the same time, they lamented how tight the space was inside the van. Traveling with a friend, they found that the space was extremely tight with the pair learning they needed to choreograph their movements and up their communications.

I think what bugged me the most about the way the author portrayed their experience was how seemingly out of touch they were about the lifestyle. Especially since they supposedly have covered tiny homes and vanlife for over a year. I truly can’t believe how little they picked up about the lifestyle in that amount of time.

The entire weekend reads like a comedy of errors. A quick run-through of the heating, water, and electrical systems without some kind of manual seems shortsighted at best. Not understanding why a generator or an electrical plugin might be necessary is just silly. REALLY? A year of writing about vanlife and tiny living? Okay.

Again, I’m not at all saying that everyone is cut out for vanlife. They really aren’t. And this person sounds to not be a rubber tramp. That is perfectly fine and I do not judge them for that. But if you are going to try a lifestyle you have glamorized after sharing other’s experiences of life on the road and you didn’t pay attention to what was beneath the paper-thin veneer of shiny bliss? All I can do is shake my head.

Vanlife is a choice to experience an alternative lifestyle. There are definite give and take scenarios. It really is no different than living in a house and having a vehicle. You still have upkeep and repairs. You still need to learn the quirks of your space. And, when it comes right down to it, you need to be able to say, “Hey, this really isn’t my cup of tea,” if that is indeed the case. There are other ways to travel and see the world. That’s the beauty of choice.

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