Living in a van? Are you out of your mind?

We've done the RV travel; now it's time to Vanabode!I bet you are having flashbacks of Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live talking about living in a van down by the river – right?

Before you conclude that living in a van is a ludicrous, wacky and absolutely crazy way to live and travel … hear me out. It’s a fun way to travel further, much easier and lots cheaper. And, it is a way to begin living to travel NOW!

Ask anyone what they would do if time and money were no object and 95% would answer, “TRAVEL!”

And yet, most people have a distorted perspective of what it means to travel. A two week vacation to Hawaii does require you to travel there, but it’s only a temporary escape and an expensive travel experience that ends as soon as you walk back in your front door after a long flight home, sit the luggage down and heave a big sigh, because it’s back to the routine, the same ol’, same ol’ life, day in and day out.

Without a doubt, you had a wondrous time in Hawaii and have pictures to keep the memories alive. But within a short time of being back in the rat race, it feels like you never really were away and you begin to long for the next vacation … which won’t happen for another year.

Meanwhile, you work your ass off to either pay for the vacation you just had or to save up for next year’s trip. Maybe next year, you’ll just go to Florida because Hawaii was quite the expensive vacation. In 2015, a one-week  “budget” trip to Hawaii cost approximately $5000 for a couple compared to $1120 for a “budget” vacation in Florida for one week. So Florida it is … but it is still a year away.

Oh, there are so many places you want to see and experience, but the limitation of one or two weeks of vacation time a year greatly reduces how many you’ll check off your list.

Sigh. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just go? Go with no restriction on time? Go anywhere, go further, stay longer?

Wouldn’t it be absolutely fantastic if every day was a vacation?  

“But wait, that would cost a fortune!” you think.

I have just one question for you …

How bad do you want this dream?

When I share that I can show you how to live and travel for $20 a day, you’ll lean in and eagerly be all ears. I know you’re already doing the math in your head and second-guessing the dollar amount. You know the price of hotels and flights and meals and souvenirs and those exorbitant tourist town taxes.

“Impossible!” you say.

Let me introduce you to the Vanabode lifestyle … the way you CAN live and travel to all those places you have on your list for $20 a day while living in a van.

Now, before you read any further, let me be clear about one thing. This lifestyle may not be for you if you cannot simplify your life, if having a dozen pair of shoes, a closet full of clothes, a kitchen full of appliances and a house full of stuff is more important to you than a travel lifestyle.

Yep. Lost a few readers with that disclaimer.

The American Dream is a lie.

We  have been programmed to believe and put all our time, money and energy into the American Dream … get a degree, get a job, buy a house and spend the rest of your life waiting for retirement so you can relax and do what you have only been allowed to do for two weeks every year.

Living in a van is a perfect solution if you desire to own your life instead of your life owning you.

In this video from Business Insider, James Altucher, author of “Choose Yourself” speaks bluntly and clearly about the lie of the American Dream.

Don’t subscribe to some mass hypnosis dream that was designed to get us to spend as much money and time on other people’s dreams as possible.  – James Altucher

The only dream that matters, the only dream worth building is YOUR dream.

You don’t own stuff, the stuff OWNS you.

It’s a crazy madness that takes control over your life.  Society has programmed us to accumulate and fill our houses, closets, shelves and garages with more and more and more stuff – to the extent that garages no longer have space for cars and the storage shed business is growing rapidly.

We buy stuff at an alarming rate and then spend more time and money maintaining, repairing and replacing it, often getting a second job to help continue this endless, maddening cycle of materialism.

In the end, after you are gone from this physical body, all that “stuff” will be sorted, distributed and fought over by greedy relatives … because, well, because everyone has become addicted to accumulating more and more.

So, now imagine living a simple life where you have everything you need, but it all fits in a van. That is the Vanabode lifestyle. A simpler life that allows you to expand your life instead of expanding stuff.

Why the Vanabode Lifestyle is Less Stressful than the RV Lifestyle

Some will argue to the moon and back that the best way to live and travel the country is in a RV, and while it’s definitely a step closer to a life of freedom, there are some drawbacks that we have experienced on the Naked Hippies never-ending roadtrip.

The biggest drawback is that you have limited freedom and mobility. Even a small pickup camper like our Big Foot can’t always easily be pulled into parking spaces or lots. And, the bigger the RV, the more difficult this becomes.

While most Wal-Marts remain available for overnight parking, more and more cities are passing ordinances against RVs. We used to love going to Ocean Beach, California because we could park on any street and usually found a space a block from the beach. We would spend the day enjoying the town, the beach, the sunset and then crawl into our camper to sleep. That freedom ended when San Diego County decided to prohibit RVs this parking privilege by issuing fines – even to homeowners who had been parking their RVs in front of their house. It’s becoming more and more restrictive to gallivant around the country in an RV.

Of course, there are endless RV parks where you can stay for one night or for the season, or for years; but in our experience, these feel like a crowded suburbia with numbered lots drawn out in endless rows, the RVs sitting shoulder to shoulder like little soldiers. RV parks are no different than hotels … if you want more space around you, if you want a room “with a view,” you pay extra – lots extra.

And then, after you’ve parked your RV in one of these parks, in a constricting tiny space where there may or may not be a patch of nature to soften the harshness of all the asphalt, you will need some mode of transportation to get you to anywhere else in the surrounding area – the grocery store, the trails for hiking, the museums and restaurants. You leave your home in RV suburbia just as you do when living in a house or apartment in any town. The only difference is that you now have a home on wheels, but wait a minute, the wheels aren’t moving, so there’s really no difference.

When you are living in a van, you never leave your home, it is always with you, like a turtle. Everywhere you go, you always have everything you need. Your bed is always available for an afternoon nap or movie on a rainy day when plans for the beach or a hike are halted.

Another drawback to consider is the expense of owning and maintaining an RV. As with anything, the more bells and whistles, the more there is to maintain and repair. RVs are one step closer to freedom, but they still can cost you tons. Buy a new one, and it’s like you’ve taken on a new mortgage. But a used one, and you will be investing in repairs and replacements, just like buying a “fixer-upper” house. Plus, there will be additional taxes, licenses and insurance.

It really comes down to what you want and why it matters to you. If luxury and gadgets and size matter, this article has already bored you.

But, if simplicity and freedom to go anywhere without stress or worry is your dream, you’ll keep reading and you will get the Vanabode book.

How the Vanabode book will help you, even if you don’t want to live in a van.

When we first began planning to live fulltime in an RV, we found Jason Odom’s book about the Vanabode lifestyle. We learned tips that became part of our lifestyle as we took off in our pickup camper. And while the book focuses on living in a van, it has been our “Bible” for learning how to live simply and cheaply as we travel full time.

This is no ordinary “how to” book. Jason has covered every aspect of living in a van and not just from ideas about how to do this, but from his own experiences of actually living this way. He addresses getting out of debt; he suggests ways to create income on the road; he illustrates and explores the simplicity in eating and clothing. He shares the essential tools and products he uses for creating comfort and ease of Vanaboding.

But most of all, he proves that the life of travel is affordable and so very rewarding, especially as you take the back roads, the scenic highways and have the freedom to stop anywhere and embrace the beauty and splendor of what nature is expressing in glorious display.

Bruce and I travel to see, explore, discover and be immersed in the wonders and essence of nature. We’ve been on the road since 2013 in our pickup camper and it’s been the most amazing, fulfilling and enriching experience. And now, we’re in the midst of planning for our Vanabode. We’re ready to simplify even more and have the ultimate freedom to go anywhere, park anywhere as we continue to live on our never-ending roadtrip.

Jason not only provided our Vanabode “Bible,” when we bought the book, he shared access to an extensive location specific list for each state. Each state listed contains pictures and information that cover things like what to do when you get there, what time of year to visit to avoid the crowds, temperature ranges from night to day, expected budget, and safety concerns if any.

Whether it’s a big city you are going to visit or an adventure into the woods, it’s like having your own travel concierge.

He recently published a new book about his trip along the East Coast – written to prove the naysayers who said you can’t possibly live and travel on $20 a day in the East.  He documented the trip – 18 weeks, 7500 miles on $20 a day along the breathtaking and beautiful East Coast. The book was a delightful read and has inspired and lured us to make that trip the first one we take in our Vanabode! We’ll use this book as a resource on our East Coast trip for Jason shares many insider tips that he and his wife discovered about every stop they made along the way.

But, it’s the original book that gave us the push, the ideas, the solutions to help us live and travel and work easily and cheaply on the open road, even though we were living in a pickup camper, not living in a van.

In my new book “RV LIVING: THE NAKED HIPPIES WAY: Live YOUR Dreams, Don’t Wait for Someday,” many of the ideas I share about how we live and travel cheaply were inspired by what we learned from the Vanabode book. Jason’s book is a catalyst that gets you  thinking outside the box so that you can begin now to break free and travel … to exciting big cities, to quaint little beach towns, to remote areas where it’s just you and Nature.

Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences in life … right up there with giving birth! It calls, it nudges, it pulls you to come, to do, to break free … like a song playing over and over in your heart with a melody that expresses joy and freedom and delight. Do you hear the song? It is calling you, urging you, pulling you to come … see … explore … experience the wondrous life of freedom.

Living in a van allows you the freedom to go anywhere and everywhere.

The question that remains is WILL YOU?  Only you can answer that question, only you can sing your song of freedom. Don’t wait.

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Get the book … see what you can do starting now to travel further, easier and cheaper.

We’ll be living in a van soon … see you on the road!