These days I joke with my friends that if I won the lottery I’d use the money to buy a slightly larger van. Obviously I’m totally sold on vandwelling as a fun experiment, but what about as a permanent lifestyle choice?

Every time I try to list pros and cons I get stuck immediately, because every aspect of van life is both. For example, extreme limitations to my storage space means I simply cannot own a lot of stuff. I’ve already talked about how for me that was a liberating process, but even I get frustrated that certain things don’t fit in the van, like my bike. On the other hand I’ve learned to organize my few belongings in such a way that everything I need is close to hand (for me that’s a big pro). But I also can’t ever take advantage of buying bulk sizes of things. Even if I talk about pros and cons on a level of lower detail and higher abstraction, they still cancel each other out. So I could say that this incredible sense of freedom is a pro… but someday that will feel like a lack of stability, a serious problem.

In the end all I can say is that there are particular reasons why this experience of nomadism has been primarily a joyful one.

  • It was my choice: unlike many of the world’s nomads this lifestyle wasn’t forced upon me by persecution, poverty, or natural disaster, and I knew that if I really wanted to come inside that I could.
  • I had the complete support of friends and family, without whom I might have been quite lonely and miserable.
  • My life still had structure and goals, I wasn’t just goofing off (although I’m starting to a little bit now… I need a new project!).
  • The lifestyle inadvertently brought me some new joys, like swimming and the library.
  • The problems that came up were relatively easy to find solutions for, and the challenge of doing so added to the project’s fun. It would certainly be a different story if, for example, I hadn’t found a way to beat the mold.

Okay… but why am I talking in past tense? Oh! And there’s the warning that the library is closing. There’s no way I can finish this entry, so I’ll have to leave it… to be continued…