My Dream Job is a Lifestyle — #vanlife

Success comes in many forms, and most people have much different ideas of what it means to them. For some, success means high social status, and to others it means a big house to hold all their things. My idea of success is being paid to have total creative freedom. The best way for me to achieve this goal is through freelance work, and no disrespect to those who want the big house, but my ideal dream job comes in the form of an indefinite road trip.

Thankfully, there is a way for me to sustain myself through freelance photography and videography while living on the road. Many people within various careers are already paving the way for this concept called ‘van living.’ In fact, this idea is becoming more and more popular. Those carrying out this lifestyle have jobs in sales, photography, writing, and pretty much any freelance career you can imagine. Check out James Barkman, for example. He’s a young dude making a living creating photos while traveling around and working from his van. He’s one of my biggest inspirations and you can check out his work here: http://www.jamesbarkman.com/

Image by James Barkman
Image by James Barkman

These literal trailblazers obtain anything from converted small school buses and 16 passenger vans to camper vans, which are pretty much ready to live in. There are a few obvious risks involved with van living, like parking legalities and maintenance of the vehicle. Risks aside, there are also some great benefits to living on the road. Here are a few reasons why I think living in a van would be the coolest.

  • Money
    After the start up cost of buying a van and making any necessary repairs and conversions, living on the road is much cheaper than traditional residential living. You pay for car insurance but no rent or house payment, and no property tax. Constantly being outdoors means there is hardly ever a fee for entertainment, well apart from a year-long national park pass and a season pass to some ski resort. Using less space means spending less on cleaning supplies and heating or cooling. Overall, van living allows for spending much less than you would in any house or apartment.
  • Minimalism
    The idea of van living might seem unrealistic to those who are dependent on daily showers and retail therapy… And it is. But for those interested in a minimalistic lifestyle, this is the way to go. Living in a van is basically the next step down from living in a tiny house, except you have the benefit of being able to travel with all of your things (what few things you have). It’s a great way to practice self-sufficiency and use less to thrive. You will also save even more money because you won’t have room to buy useless things that take up space.
  • Travel
    With all the money you save and available time you create, life can be a semi-permanent vacation. Most people who practice van living (by choice) describe it as the optimal holiday. If you budget efficiently and have some sort of income, you are giving yourself the opportunity to do something different and see something different every day.
  • Street Cred
    Van living teaches you a ton about how adaptable and innovative you are. Aside from the educational experience living in a van would provide, you would also have quite the story to tell others about your survival tactics, struggles, and also enjoyable moments. You can tell your friends about all the interesting places you went, all the weird people you came across, and how your bladder became twelve times stronger while living on the road.

While van living might be untraditional and not for everyone, it would be a great learning experience and an ideal way for me to carry out my dream job.

While I don’t currently have a van to live in, I can still get some practice in my Subaru. Here is a recent experience I had with Trey Brockman, and a few steps you can take to have a car camping experience of your own..especially the last step.

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