We’ve all heard that social media isn’t
real life and everyone knows that van life isn’t as glamorous as what it’s made to
look like on instagram. This video isn’t gonna be me stating that
as if it’s new information. But as someone who has been a van life youtuber, I know, based on all I’ve seen and read, that people really don’t understand the
full extent of how different van life is and in which ways it’s different then how it’s portrayed on social media. So with my insider knowledge as an ex van
life youtuber, hopefully I can point out some things that most social media van lifers aren’t gonna talk about so those of you interested in van life really know what you’re getting yourselves into. In order to know if van life is for you, you have to be informed about all sides of the lifestyle, not just the beautiful views overlooking the ocean, and not just difficult border crossings and flat tires. You have to know about the smaller difficulties that don’t make the final cuts of anyone’s videos and the things that don’t even get filmed in the first place. The problem with van life content being different from how it’s shown online is not due to every van life youtuber being dishonest and just trying to cash in on a trend. The problem is that even the most authentic, genuine people, those who show the good and the bad side of van life, cannot possibly portray what it’s like to live in a van accurately. No matter how hard one tries to show all aspects of their life, it’s obviously impossible for viewers to really know what their lives are like because when someone’s 24 hour day is put into a 15 minute video, a lot is left out, and what’s left out is whatever is not very entertaining. The more interesting a video is, the more
of it people will want to watch. So creators show what’s interesting. The good is interesting, the bad is interesting, but the boring mundane parts of the day aren’t shown. Channels who leave more of the boring stuff in usually don’t end up with as many views or subscribers as the people with drones and TV-show levels of production going to foreign places in their vans and color grading all their footage. So that’s what most people do. They aim for creating interesting videos that people enjoy watching, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as they’re being transparent about the goal of their video just being to entertain. With these creators, you don’t see the days
where they spend 8 hours editing a vlog, you see maybe 10 seconds of it or they just don’t vlog on those days, why would they, that would be extremely boring to watch. In general, the more entertaining and engaging a vlog is, the less realistic it is. The more entertaining peoples vlogs are continuously, the more subscribers they will get. So in my opinion, it’s often the less edited
and, I could even say more poorly edited, videos from smaller channels that more accurately portray what van life is really like. Many people do van life to save money and
when that’s the case, you’re probably not going to be able to afford to have someone professionally convert a sprinter van for you for $60,000. If you can afford a $60,000 sprinter this
probably isn’t the video for you because almost none of the problems I’m about to talk about will apply to you. The cheaper your van and build are, the less luxuries you will have like running water, a toilet, electricity, or being able to stand up, which are likely not things you’ve ever considered luxurious in your life before. If you only have $10,000 to buy and convert
a van, it’s not going to turn out looking like this. Maybe closer to this, which was my van that
cost just under $10,000. No toilet, no shower, no running water, just a leaky pump faucet, not enough solar or battery power to allow for me to have a heater or an a/c system, and definitely not enough room to stand up. Before I began van life, I really had no expectations for how it was going to go. I wanted whatever came my way, good or bad, as long as it wasn’t ya know being kidnapped, but really I was excited for the challenges and subsequently the personal growth that I knew van life would bring. But, I found that there were many things that happened that I’d never heard anyone talk about and, trust me, I had watched a lot of
videos about the cons of vanlife. One thing was how much the weather influences your quality of life. Yes, most people with more expensive builds have a/c systems and enough energy to power a heater, but anyone who doesn’t better be prepared to suffer when the weather is above 80 or below 60. I planned my entire trip around the average
temperatures during the time of year I would be going to each place and I still slept with a hat, mittens, thermal socks, two pairs of pants, long sleeve shirt, sweater, sweatshirt, a comforter and a blanket, at least a fourth to a half of the nights I was in the van. I’ve always been an early riser but man did that change when it was 42 degrees in the morning and getting out of bed meant feeling like I’d just stepped out into a polar vortex. Making breakfast meant having to take your mittens off and watch your hands turn red as you shiver while making your non toasted bagel for the 17th day in a row because that’s the quickest thing to make and you gave up trying to make anything fun for breakfast weeks ago. And then doing the dishes means putting your poor little hands in ice cold water until they go numb. Sure you can turn on your vehicles heat but
you can’t just leave your van running for hours everyday. And then when it’s hot out, those without
solar can keep their van cool by parking in the shade but if you have solar panels, you
can’t be hanging out under the trees all day long. You have to be aware of how much electricity you’re using and how much you’re getting. If it’s been cloudy for a week straight
and skies aren’t suppose to clear up anytime soon, your options are drive somewhere sunny or you won’t have electricity in a couple days. The weather pretty much rules over your life when living in a van, especially if it’s a simpler build. Being too cold or too hot can make it really
hard to do what you need to do and really easy to lose motivation to do anything that would make you even more cold or more hot than you already are. A misconception many have before they start van life is that they won’t mind the small living space of the van because they won’t be in it that much. They’ll be travelling and spending most
of their days out hiking or sight seeing because that’s what van lifers lives seem to be
like on youtube, or they’ll be staying in one city but spending most of their days at work or college. We have ideas of what our lives will be like
in the van but they almost never end up being that similar to what we expected. If you spend most of your day in school and are basically only in your dorm to sleep, then that will likely stay the same when you
start van life. You have to look at how much time you spend in your home currently and try to imagine spending that much time in a vehicle. If you work online, unless you want to go
to Starbucks or a library 5 days a week, you’re gonna spend some days just sitting in your van working. Some people think they’ll just sit outside
and work everyday. But it rains, sometimes it’s too sunny to
see a computer screen, and the temperature is often going to be too hot or too cold to make enjoyable to sit outside all day trying to concentrate on your work. Also think of the days you have where you
just want to sit inside all day and rest or read a book or watch TV. You’re still going to have those days when
living in a van, maybe even more of them. If you currently spend everyday outside hiking, biking, kayaking, and exploring places, then it’s a little more realistic to think you’ll be doing that when in the van, but if you enjoy your lazy days in, then there will be days where you sit in your van for the whole day. Maybe you only get out to go to the bathroom but otherwise spend the whole day crouching around your 15 sq ft “walking” area and sitting on your bed or a seat doing work or watching Netflix. People don’t show those days online. And I guarantee everyone has them because travelling full time is very tiring. It’s not like going on vacation to a resort
for a week and getting a break from life. Travelling for months or years really wears
you down physically, mentally, and emotionally and it can be easier to neglect one or more
of those areas of your health in a van compared to a normal living situation. I think this is in part due to the constant
change of location and lack of space that makes it a bit harder to have much stability or routine in your life. It might be hard for anyone who wants nothing more than to live in a van or travel full time to imagine that people doing van life
full time will almost certainly at some point experience burnout and want nothing more than to be able to take a break from travelling for a while but that’s the reality for most. Christian: “This is something that obviously feels a little goofy to talk about to anyone who’s not traveling, but travel burnout is a thing and it’s something that we have to manage all the time.” Chad: “You’re gonna burnout. Like you’re going to get to a point where you don’t really want to travel anymore. And that means you can’t really feel like you’re making videos anymore because people expect you to be traveling.” Zaynah: “We wish that a lot of the people who were bigger on social media at the time when we were coming into the lifestyle had been a bit more transparent about all of the aspects instead of just showing those backshot window Instagram shots that are so beautiful and so enticing because when you actually get in it, you can start to feel like ‘Oh, maybe this isn’t for me because I’m struggling and I’m going through a lot of challenges and this is really hard.’ And when you look around on social media and everyone seems to be thriving and loving life and just having the most grand time, it can make you feel even more isolated.” Toward the end of my travels, I stayed in
a hotel for two nights and just that short amount of time out of the van was really refreshing and that one full day in the hotel allowed me to finally feel grounded enough to be able to plan out what I was going to do from there. Another reason people might not talk about this is because they don’t want to sound ungrateful or seem like they’re complaining
when they’re living other people’s dreams. This makes sense, but it’s important to
know that even the most sought after lifestyles still have their difficulties. Max: “You can absolutely love what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tiring and a lot of overlanders we meet on the road, they’ll travel for a few months, and then they’ll take a month in one spot and just really relax because they’re buggin, they’re really tired.” Something that not necessarily everyone will experience but I would bet happens to at least some extent for most people is that the physical atmosphere of living in such a small space makes it harder to motivate yourself to dothings because they’re often a little more burdensome. Take cooking for example, you probably won’t have an oven or a microwave, probably just a propane or induction stove, so you have to take that out, set it up, maybe spend a minute hand pumping water into a pot and then sit on the ground and cut up food on the ground. You’ll probably never take the time to reheat leftovers on your stove if you even have room in your fridge for them in the first place because it’s just way too much of a hassle. And it doesn’t take 12 seconds from start
to finish to make a meal… there’s no jump cuts in real life or fun upbeat music playing in the background while you’re doing your dishes. All you can hear is the noise of some lady
yelling at her kids on their way into Walmart. And you’re at Walmart because you’re in
a small town in Wyoming and that’s the only place you could find that you know allows overnight parking or you just feel safer being in a place with cameras and lights. You thought before starting van life that
you’d always be cooking outside but then you realized that it just makes the process
more complicated and time consuming, and it’s definitely weird to do at a Walmart. And all of these things I know sound like
1st world problems. That’s because they are. But nevertheless when this is your reality
day after day, the small inconveniences really add up and over time can begin to become a huge annoyance. You may see youtubers cooking outside all
the time so think you’ll be doing the same, but what most people don’t realize is that
being a youtuber and having to put out interesting content is sometimes the only reason people
will do things. Some people who do 30 day challenges wouldn’t do them if they couldn’t make a video that they knew was going to get a lot of views recapping their experience. Sometimes a person may just want to sit in
bed and eat fast food for dinner but they’re vlogging that day and you can’t make a good slow motion montage of clips of you making an Instagram worthy meal if you get McDonalds. Or someone might plan their entire day around what’s going to make the best content for a video. You never really know if a youtuber actually
likes what they’re doing or if they would still be doing it if they weren’t making bank from their channel. For those working from smaller vans, it might be hard to motivate yourself to work because maybe you made your bed an inch too high and you can’t sit all the way up in it. Don’t make that mistake like I did. But even if you measured right, sitting in your minivans passenger seat or on your bed leaned up against the wall for hours on end is much different than sitting at a desk with a proper chair in an apartment where you can get up and walk to the kitchen to take a break and grab a snack or don’t have to walk to a portapotty in the rain to pee every other hour. And those who do decide to have some form of toilet in their vans have to get use to not being able to just flush the toilet and never having to think of it again. Nope, you guys gotta take your waste and dump it somewhere every couple of days. And it may or may not stink up the van depending on what kind of toilet you have. That’s another thing no one talks about. Smells. When living in such a small area, a little
bit of a bad smell goes a long way. When I would get a new rag out to do about 10 dishes with it, that whole van would smell bad within a couple minutes. I actually had to put my used rags in plastic
ziploc bags when not in use because they smelled that bad. Grey water tanks can get pretty smelly as
well. I had a 5 gallon tank that would take about
2 weeks to fill up on average and toward the end of that second week, I could definitely smell it. Also, not everywhere you stay overnight is
going to be beautiful. Depending on what country you’re in or what part of a country you’re in, you might not have many amazing options. The less touristy, the less options you’ll
have. If you need a toilet, that’ll limit your options because that means you can’t just park in a random neighborhood. If you don’t want to stay out in the middle
of nowhere because you’re a solo traveler or you want the safety and security of having phone service and other people around, that’ll limit your options too. If you don’t want to pay $20-40 a night
to stay in a campground, you’re down to Walmart, maybe the occasional Home Depot or Cracker Barrel, some quiet parks that you checked ahead of time online to make sure they allow overnight parking sketchy rest areas that you’re technically
not allowed to park overnight at, and maybe some cool trailhead parking lots. Having to plan out and worry about where you’ll sleep every night is not something most people have ever done and it can be kind of stressful when you’re in areas that don’t have many options. Take a look at the San Francisco area on the app iOverlander. It’s not going to be difficult to find a
nice place to park there. Now look at the same exact sized areas in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Columbus, and Atlanta. It’s not gonna be as easy in those places. You also probably won’t experience waking up to the sunrise streaming beautiful golden light into your windows while you’re parked on the beach listening to the waves crash into the rocks, unless you’re not covering your windows while you sleep which is weird and dangerous unless you’re on private property. And even if you are parked overnight on a
beach, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be waking up to the sound of the ocean every night. Instead, you might wake up one night to the sound of someone trying to break into your van or perhaps stealing your bike. It’s important not to expect that traveling
will fix all your personal issues. Your problems follow you wherever you go. If your problems are centered around that you can’t afford rent then, yeah, van life might solve them for you. But any internal problems you have are coming along for the trip. Van life is not an escape from or a solution
to your problems. Christian: “I feel like it doesn’t solve a lot of the emotional, purpose driven questions that people think it might solve. Like people really sometimes feel these voids and they think ‘Hey, maybe this is gonna be solved by travel.’ You’re just not gonna be fulfilled by going to do van life or traveling to the next country or whatever.” And new problems can and will develop on the road. Things that you could never expect to happen will happen and will make life harder. For me, two things I couldn’t have prepared
for were developing driving anxiety and hives. Prior to van life I had absolutely loved driving but about a month into it I became so scared that I was going to cause an accident or that the van would break down to the point where it became a huge effort to drive anywhere at all. This happened after I lost power steering
in Yellowstone and could barely turn my steering wheel on a windy road and then a couple weeks later drove over a bridge that wasn’t meant for vehicles and got really freaked out by both situations. Being alone a thousand miles away from home at 18 years old driving through cities like Seattle and Portland when I’m from a city with a population of less than 20,000 didn’t exactly help. And then after that I developed what was likely stress-induced chronic hives that lasted for 7 itchy months. And having driving anxiety when living out
of a vehicle definitely doesn’t help stress levels. Something I’ve never seen anyone talk about that I don’t think anyone thinks about before starting van life is that your whole life can start to feel like it’s about living in a van, and this is especially true for those who make money on youtube from posting van life content. You drive, sleep, cook, and work in your van, your income source is filming and talking about your van, most conversations you have with family or friends back home or random people you meet along your journey are going to revolve around your life in the van. For some this might not be a problem, but
I know for me personally, I felt like there was nothing about my life that wasn’t in someway intertwined with van life and it got kind of old. Most people do and love van life for what
it allows you to do, not because hanging out in a vehicle is just so much fun, so be prepared for your life to be more about van life than you may want. Now I don’t want to sound like I think that
no one enjoys van life and everyone on social media just pretends to, because that’s not my opinion at all. But since I have had the experience of living in a van and having my only source of income be from making youtube videos about living in a van, I think it’s very likely that many van life creators out there worry about what would happen to their income if they were to end van life and therefore have to change up the type of content they’re making. Christian: “You know you have these moments where you’re just like, ‘What would come next?’ And you feel kinda trapped by it. And I think YouTube plays into that too, obviously our content’s kinda based around van life.” When you’ve built an audience around a certain type of content, especially when that topic is very trendy, and then you switch to making videos about other things, your views will go down. There’s no question about that. And even if the new content is very similar
like filming the process of building a tiny home, the views are gonna drop and you’re going to make less money and that can be a scary thing to think about after you’ve spent months or years putting so much time into building your channel around van life and travel. Even those who don’t care about the money as much might feel like they’re letting their viewers down because they’re not providing them with the content they subscribed for. Kaia: “I haven’t traveled in the last year. I felt like my audience was here for travel videos and there was like an insecurity there that my lifestyle, what I’m doing now, isn’t monetizable enough because I guess that’s the indsutry of Instagram and YouTube is that you look like you have this lifestyle that is really cool, and trendy, and don’t you wanna do it, and that’s why people tune in and watch and click on your videos.” But a problem can arise when creators stop living for themselves and start living for their viewers. Feeling like they always need to update their followers on what they’re doing or where they are. Planning out what they’re going to do around what’s going to look best on instagram or what will make a good thumbnail and title on youtube. Bec: “You may also notice a cheeky costume change. That’s A, because I was really cold, and B, if there’s a second photo location of the day you gotta make try to make your Instagram look like ya know you’ve been in Paris for a while.” Instead of truly being able to enjoy their travels, their first instinct whenever something interesting happens is to whip out the camera and start filming. It’s more important to get some unique animal encounter on camera then for them to experience it in the moment. It’s more interesting to travel from Alaska
to the tip of South America then from Delaware to Iowa, so I’m willing to bet there have
been a few people who’ve planned their trips around what’s gonna make for the best title on a video instead of where they actually might want to go. But when your job is Youtube, that’s just
what you have to do. This is something that a lot of creators can
relate to, not just those who post van life or travel videos. People can start out making videos for fun and then once it becomes their full time job, they can begin to feel a lot of pressure to make videos when they don’t want to or act upbeat and happy in front of the camera when they’re really not feeling that way. This doesn’t make them bad or misleading but the amount of pressure one can feel when they have hundreds of thousands of people watching them can certainly lead to them feeling like they have to show up and be the person people subscribed to every time they come on camera. Youtube, just like van life, is something many people dream about that still has its difficulties. Is it the hardest job in the world, no. Should people feel pity for those who are making 6 figures from talking to a camera about their morning routines, nope nope nope. But that doesn’t mean that there are no
hardships that come along with it and it’s important to be aware of how those hardships can affect what people show about their lives. It’s not difficult for people to start seeing
patterns of which videos are doing best and lose themselves in the game of getting more views and making more money. People want to be entertained when watching videos, no one wants to see someone sweeping their floor in real time with no music playing. No one wants to watch a creator sitting on the ground scrolling instagram for 15 minutes or scouring 3 different apps trying to figure out where they’re going to park that night. People want to see beautiful nature shots, cool human interactions, maybe a little bit of drama. So that’s what people are going to provide. When you watch a vlog of any sort, you’re
seeing the highlights. When you go out and actually live the lifestyle yourself, you’ll see that the highlights are quite a small portion of your life. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Van life is an amazing experience and I’m beyond grateful I got to do it. I was able to grow so much, or I should say
I was forced to grow so much in such a short amount of time and especially at the age I did, it was definitely an experience that I think has and will continue to only positively influence my early adult years. Traveling can be a very transformative experience for anyone, especially younger people who haven’t really experienced much of the world yet. It can teach you independence, strength, and
responsibility. You’ll see how difficult but rewarding it
is to go out of your comfort zone. The affordability of van life allows so many
people to travel who would’ve never been able to go to all the same places if they had to stay in hotels. The places you go, the things you do, the
freedom you have, and the people you meet are what everyone looks forward to when they think about van life but it’s important to know that those things do come at a cost. Ignoring or not knowing about the cons can
lead to a rude awakening when you hit the road. But if after weighing all the pros and cons
you still hear van life calling your name, then go out and find yourself a van or a car or a bus and be open to whatever experiences it brings you. If you do that, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

100 thoughts on “The Reality of Van Life on Social Media”

  1. I don’t want anyone to take this video as hate towards any other influencers and I know people aren’t idiots and know social media is just showing the highlights but I think being a youtuber gives a person a whole different perspective into just how true that is. When I made vlogs in the van, it was always on days where I had planned to do something that would make it interesting (they still never turned out that interesting though). Whenever I’ve filmed what I’ve eaten in a day, I’ve always planned ahead of time what I would eat to make it interesting. I don’t think that’s wrong to do.. but I began to feel like what I was sharing wasn’t real even though being authentic is one of the most important things for me and I never felt like I was glamorizing anything I did (I definitely wasn’t, my videos were never very well made lol- hope no one cringed as much while watching my clips in this video as I did). 

    Over time I came to the conclusion that it’s really not possible to not make something on youtube look better than it really is without making it extremely boring. Many people think that they want or like creators who show all sides of their lifestyle accurately. No they don’t. Van life and travel vlogs are entertainment. They’re enjoyable to watch because they allow us to dream of a life we don’t have or can’t have. If you were to see what van life was actually like the majority of the time for anyone who’s not rich and not working or who’s income doesn’t come from making their life into a “reality” tv show so people can live vicariously through them, you’d yawn and move onto the next video.

    Van life allows people to do amazing things but the physical act of being and living in a van is not fun. The less luxuries you have, the less fun it is. Overall it’s a challenging way to live. I could make this video an hour longer going over things that are hard about van life but that’s pointless because no ones gonna listen me talk for that long.

    If someone were to ask me which van lifers I think are genuine and which aren’t, I wouldn’t be able to answer that (but I will say that if I had to guess, my first picks for most genuine probably wouldn’t be the ones who pose in bikinis in every other thumbnail). It’s really hard to tell who actually loves the way they’re living and who pretends to because they are scared of the criticism and hate they’ll receive for bringing up their struggles after hiding them for a long time or is worried about their income plummeting once they have to change their content. It’s really hard to tell if someone is super happy or pretending to be because they haven’t posted in a while and need to get a new vlog up so they have to maintain a facade while the cameras on. And it’s impossible to know what activities people would do and places they would go if they weren’t making money from showing their lives. 

    Since doing van life, I literally haven’t watched any van life creators (or any vloggers in general) because I realized through my own experience of vlogging that it’s so easy for even the least scummy of people to start doing things just for content. And it’s cool when people make beautiful videos showing the most amazing parts of their lives, I like watching those types of videos every now and then, but when you feel yourself starting to compare your life to what you see of theirs, it’s really important to take a step back and remember that everyone's life is more boring than how they show it on the internet.

    I’m interested to hear your opinions on the topic, especially those of you who live or have lived in a vehicle. Have any of the hardships you’ve experienced in your travels come as a surprise? Have there been times when you felt like you were the only one struggling because everyone online seemed to have so much fun all the time? Have there been times where you questioned your decision and felt like you needed a break or wanted to end your journey? Those who are no longer in their vans, what made you move on to the next stage of your life?

    Those who want to do van life, I hope you really take all the downsides of living in a van into consideration before jumping into it with sunsets on the beach and driving through national parks being the only things on your minds!  There’s always a little bad in the good… and good in the bad. All the hardships you experience will hopefully only benefit you and help you grow so if you know that there’s no way to prepare for or know about all the tough times you’ll have until they’re happening- but you’re as excited for those as you are for the instagram worthy moments- then I think that’s the best mindset to have going into it!

    If you’d like to see the videos I still have up of my travels, here are links to my van tour and van build and in the descriptions in each of those you can find links to a few unlisted van videos.

    How I Converted a Van Into an Off Grid Camper For Under $3,000: https://youtu.be/3YcD5XJNzkM
    My 1997 Chevy Gladiator Van Tour: https://youtu.be/rx5M1r0sBAg

    You can also dm me on IG (@veganearthandsoul) if you’d like to ask me any questions about my experience or van life in general 🙂

    And for anyone who’d like some stats- keep in mind that the amount of money a person makes per view has a very wide range but typically if someones channel isn’t getting demonetized frequently (which van videos usually don’t- none of mine ever did) they will make $2-5 per 1000 views

    The most views I’ve gotten in a month was about 800k and from that I made over $4k so the channels in the range of 300/400k+ subs getting a million+ views a month are making prettyyy good money.. and when you take brand deals into consideration which they’re making thousands from as well, I think it’s really important for a viewer to know that that monetary incentive can really play a large role in peoples actions, how they portray themselves online, and what they choose to do in their real lives.

  2. We're taking a full break from van life and living in an apartment for the next 6mos just to re-group and re-set. Love this video so much, it is soooo unbelievably accurate! Thank you for bringing light to the realities of van life 😊👏💫

  3. I'm 70 and one thing I've learned is life is hard. No matter what life you choose it's not always going to be easy and this lifestyle is no different. I do understand that those watching need to realize what you've said and I'm certain many only see the upside and think that's everday life on the road. One piece of advice is do your homework before choosing this or any other lifestyle. It's not always a bed of roses!.

  4. I think a lot of people jump into it too quick. I've been looking into tiny living for years. First looking at tiny houses, then van life, but now after considering all the options my family and I are quite happy with the lifestyle we live. The single thing I would change is our oven. It burns everything. But that's such a nitpicky thing

  5. this is such a great and informative video! i was totally enamored with all the van life content a few years ago but after some reflection i decided that it’s not for me. really cool to hear your perspective, thanks for keeping it real✨

  6. I have driving anxiety so I completely understand. I have to always know I can get back home in some specific way whenever I leave

  7. well explained i like if someone is honest and told the reality and shows i dont like fake people who make everything look nicer than it really is they make other uncertain jealous that is not healthy it is again about money and selfishness of the human

  8. Nice video. I started watching you during your van life . It was more of the alternative lifestyle not just because it was a van . It was at the beginning of our lifestyle change. We went from a 1500 sqft house to a 400 sqft shed to house conversation and starting a YouTube channel. Oh boy I get what your saying. Sometimes it sucks the fun right out of it n you forget why your doing what your doing. People also showed living tiny was easy n fun . But I got news for everyone it isn't. Most the time I hear when your next video. Lol not how are yall doing. When can we get a tour of your house . Which is all good . But anyway. I'm glad your back .

  9. Some interesting points. I was also interested in this concept and that's why I made a full documentary called the reality of #vanlife in 2018. I do think it's good that people think deeply about why, and how they want to do something before you commit to it.

  10. i’m writing an essay about van life influencers not putting out honest/authentic content and this video is great for my research. thank you!!

  11. I have been flirting with the idea of van life for about 6 months and this made me realize that it would be a great summer trip/vacation but definitely not a lifestyle change I want to make.

  12. Thanks for the reality check. I wonder how much of this trend is due to the economic climate. I think ideally people would like to have a more traditional home coupled with a vehicle that could take them on adventures. It used to be a joke "I live in a van down by the river" to now being in vogue. Here's to a good future.

  13. Ya-
    I was a van lifer… it's booooring!!!!
    And I had my parrot along to entertain me.
    Driving around, looking for a place to park and sleep, waiting out storms… waiting for parts.. waiting for your solar to charge fully 🙄… can't get too far away from your job.
    Can't stand up, can't leave the windows and doors open, bugs.
    I don't regret it, I saved a ton of money, my parrot adored the stifling, muggy heat, but I would definitely have a class b next time.
    Outstate Minnesota is semi- friendly to van lifers… But if you are in the metropolitan area, forget it…

  14. Basically this is common sense and it pertains to pretty much every Youtube, Instagram, and any other social media account that successfully exists. Engaging content is key. This seems like it should be self explanatory.

  15. It’s really cool to hear you talk candidly about the drawbacks to van life, I’ve always lived my life with a wistful melancholy and have often pondered the downside to life on the road, I currently am just over the half way to saving enough money so that I can fly to Canada, buy and convert a van and drive the Canada highway coast to coast over an 18 month period, I do plan on stopping off and staying a few day’s here and there for my own sanity’s sake, and I suppose having the finite knowledge that it’s only 18 months will help because at the end of the day the clock is ticking so I have to make the most of it while I can, but seriously thank you for posting such an honest candid video, I never expect greatness 24/7 but if I get to experience a couple really cool things a week then I’ll be a happy chap, hope that life is going well for you and keep smiling ☺️🇬🇧

  16. This girl is the real deal, I absolutely love you. It looks very intimidating on YouTube, not for me,and I see so many people leaving van life it seems cool to do part time. And if you are traveling you will be spending tons of money.

  17. Wow… thanks for this extremely insightful video. But I have to say , if you haven’t thought this lifestyle through without thinking of anything other the “Instagram “ shots , you actually deserves what’s coming. I mean, there’s a reason why people don’t live in Vans down by the river. It’s not gonna be awesome 90% of the time . To believe this is gonna solve more problems than you’d have to overcome, you’re str8 crazy. I mean, it’s glorified camping after all. Camping is great but after a while , you’re just homeless. That’s the other thing, you have to have crazy good survival, modification and other very real skills. Or your just avoiding what’s to come . Inevitably, you’ll without skills your vulnerability increases 10 fold. Being vulnerable is the biggest reason why people have homes which deceases vulnerability significantly. Without a plan , other than chasing Instagram shots , it seems like an ultimate fail. Thanks for giving the people who didn’t, haven’t or won’t think things through a better idea of “living the Dream” thanks.

  18. Thank you for sharing the other side of living full-time in a van, trailer, etc. very eye-opening and I’m really glad that you were very honest about what goes on and I always have thought that it must be a lot of pressure. 🙏🏻❤️

  19. Love that video ! What is cool is the fact that Susi Cruz actually made a video about her birthday today and she has talked about it a little bite. Love seeing honesty ♥️

  20. This was probably my favorite video on #vanlife to date. I was wondering how many would come forward with the full picture. While I’ve seen a few van lifers portray potential for burnout, I love the way you laid it out. I’m not a van lifer, but I did buy a school bus with the intention of building it out. However, it has mechanical issues and my life as an over the road truck driver, consumes most of my time. That said, I live out of my truck with my husband and my tiny chihuahua. We’ve been out here for the last nearly 6 years. And we live in an even smaller space than in a van. It hasn’t been easy. Because it is my career and my home. To keep from losing our minds, we regularly get a nice hotel. Usually a nice one that has the look of a 1 bedroom apartment. Nicely decorated. Two days ago, and there are several reasons for this decision; we decided to say goodbye to our state (California). And we signed a lease on an apartment in Springfield Missouri. We’re getting rid of most of our things in California and starting fresh. The moment we got our keys I felt peace of mind. And I used to be a you tuber as well. Everything you described was accurate. Burnout, fatigue and feeling the pressure to produce is real. I just wanted to say thank you for this reality check. Most truckers that live out of their trucks can do van life. We do this already. But a person fresh out on their own….it can be challenging. Thanks again. I’m sharing this for sure💗🙌💗👋💗

  21. Fist of all welcome back, Was wondering how you were getting along. Glad your making it.As a ex trucker of 25 yrs I know that life on the road isn't all that is put out there, A lot of things are missing. But as also being ex navy the sea is still calling so off I go I'll drop a line now and then. If I don't have a fish on it LOL.

  22. i always knew living in a van couldn’t be that perfect, it just seemed too good to be true. every living situation has its pros and cons so choose wisely !! a home, big or small, is a big investment !! don’t live somewhere just for the ‘gram.

  23. Instead of taking your short time living in a van, and applying it to all other van lifers….it would have been good to interview others about their actual life. I think a persons experience living any type of lifestyle, depends on their overall personality. Someone who is a nervous, depressed, low mood type of person who is living in their vehicle because they have too, is going to be different from another person, who loves to get out and adventure, who has the personality to go with the flow, those who financially can afford certain comforts, and the ability to travel with the seasons….and there are many van lifers, who don’t do any social media….maybe they are enjoying it more, because they are not focused on trying to make a living out of van life….life, no matter where we live is both exciting at times and harder at other times…full of challenges, and adventure….it all depends on your perspective and what you make of it.

  24. I have one pic from traveling for 7-years starting in '79…Hitchhiking, vans, buses, whatever…I did it. I wasn't doing it for money but rather on a quest to search for the nature of reality ( I know, sounds pretentious)…But I did find the answers and they are not pretty.
    This Vanlife today is being promoted and endorsed by those who don't give a fuck about humanity! They are promoting homelessness as a way of life as they privately purchase the earth via their billionaire holding companies… Nothing these archons do could be more hypocritical. Another aspect of this is that it's the continued 'inheritance/consequence ' of the Rockefeller legacy of fossil fuels which is a death energy destroying the earth. If every van lifer promoted economic ethics and called for the end of homelessness in their videos they would be demonetized…WAKETF up people. You're being played by sociopaths.
    I can guarantee you that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these van lifers will eventually want a home!

  25. I get your point that those living a van life are not showing everything on social media and my question for you is, why would they show their day to day living for? Also, how do you know that their van life living is as boring as yours?

  26. My van is nearly finished..I love it..cost me bigger all..not fair yourputting your experances on others ..ftt notfinishing video..and unsubbed.

  27. I definitely still consider van life as one of my bigger goals in life (when i get enough money, i'm still in high school) I know there are businesses that have a basic build that you can rent for like a few days- a week+ and i want to do that first and see if i get sick of it in just a few days so i don't waste like $45,000 or more trying to make something that wont work for me. I love nature and being outside but i never go anywhere because there isn't much to do where I live and I dont have much freedom between school work and living with my parents. I also HATE bugs and i've always liked exercise like hiking and rock climbing and i just need to get over my whole bugs/wild animals fear. I want to visit a landmark in each US state. Do you think it [van life] would be a bad idea if i like nature but have a fear of bugs and getting mauled by a bear on a hike?

  28. this was a great video. I watch a lot of Van life videos and I often wonder about things like doesn't it smell with the toilet so close to everything, is it a big hassle to try to prepare food in the tiny space with a little crappy stove and limited water, and so on. I think your point about having a lot of money to have a really fancy van versus what most people have can afford is also well taken. These are definitely things I thought about a lot and it's was really nice to hear you give voice to them. Another one is the whole living for the content versus just being present and experiencing life. I am well aware that YouTube influencers have to sell part of their souls to make a living. At least that's how it seems to me. That they must constantly be thinking oh wait, I could do this or I could show that or I could talk about whatever. And like their life is becoming a performance and not just their life anymore. I see it happening with people with their cell phones who aren't on YouTube but who are more interested in filming something or taking a picture of their meal or whatever then and just being present and eating their meal. I certainly have to watch these Trends in myself but it is one of the concerns I have about social media and the way it's changed how we engage with life. Including the fact that lots of life is boring. I have compared it to those animal shows where you see action shots of a leopard chasing a gazelle or something, but the reality is that for a lot of the day the leopard is just kind of lounging around sleeping or snoozing or wandering about. And the gazelle is grazing or just hanging out. In other words the content is boring. But what is showing on the specials is the excitement and Adventure. That's the same thing with the YouTubers. Anyway, thank you.

  29. I agree with a lot of this, but you can not travel and live on your van. Static Campervan lives in one city with a local job. You can also travel occasionally but still have a "home base" while living in your van fulltime. And YouTube about it. But being on Social Media does make enjoying just living simpler more challenging. Like many of my vanlife days would be super boring to watch. But I enjoy them. Van*life* doesn't have to be a travel trip.

  30. you have the most soothing voice ever 🙂 i just started traveling in my car, and I've definitely experienced some cons already! excited to see where this goes

  31. I spend some time watching van life content, and have learned a few things. A bathroom is necessary and the option of a shower, ideal. If you want the option of cooking, a practical
    Kitchen helps. The better you insulate, the happier you’ll be. It’s easier to do if you aren’t alone—at least if you don’t like being alone all the time when you’re stationary, you won’t like it on the road either. If you’re good with your own company stationary, you will be good with it on the road.

    I feel the van-lifers I watch most often do a good job of producing realistic enough videos. I’ve watched videos of entire days spent inside a van, or what someone’s kitchen looked like after not cleaning up for too long. I’ve seen video of a van broken into recently. I’ve seen a couple who didn’t plan their build we’ll have issue after issue. All that said, just like anything it’s probably not for everyone and that’s ok. I don’t own a car. I full time commute by bike. That doesn’t seem
    To be for everyone…and the reality is it isn’t always easy, and on cold, rainy days it can feel terrible. I’ve done it six years and I still love it. Find your place, live your life and thrive.

  32. I think you nailed it. I have never lived in a van, but have lived on a boat for 27 years. Sure, I could show the cocktails on the deck as the sun sets over the water or I could show cleaning a pile of gooey, shampoo ick hair out of the shower sump. What would sell? The sunset.

  33. Great video! When you talked about capturing the moment instead of living in the moment, it really struck a chord.

    Social media can be good but folks need to remember to live in the moment. Loud cheers from this subscriber❤💖💗

  34. You always have to remember that rich white kids are a little weird and out of touch with reality.

    So when they make these youtube vids you can't take them too seriously. Most of them are spending all of their money or their parents money on crazy expensive vans, then they trash those vans just so they can look "good".

    Then they love to travel to 3rd world countries so they can act "cultured" . To them it's all a game, and for most of us actual humans this is retarded and a waste of money.

    You have to always keep your head on straight. Cause some stupid kid is going to replicate this and figure out it's not all it's cracked up to be.

    In reality living in a van or travel trailer or rv, or converted cargo trailer mostly makes sense for those who are extremely poor. If you are an average person you will hate living in a van.

    Especially couples… Van living makes sense for us dudes and single older women, NOT young couples. You are going to spend all of that money on a van when in a couple years you will hate it and want to start a family, and because you trashed that van it's now worthless.

    So in reality it's just better for you to find a house.

    I know i'm going to offend a lot of you yuppie liberals, but women simply aren't built to live like this for a long period of time. They WILL want more, they WILL want kids and a house. So your $80,000 van is a complete waste, you would've been better off getting a house with a low payment.

    Let me put it like this there are women who can live this lifestyle, but those women are usually strong and independent and want to live alone…. They aren't these yuppie suburban girls who want their 15 mins of instagram fame.

    Reality hurts, get used to it.

    You have these "vanlife youtubers" who are completely out of touch with reality, and then you have real van lifers…. The real van lifers aren't as pretty, and usually their channels stay very small.

    Real vanlifers are people like cheaprvliving and the people he interviews. They aren't as pretty, usually they are forced into this lifestyle, and they have a different mindset.

    In this age of propaganda you really gotta be vigilant or else your gonna get lead around like a horse and carrot.

  35. So crazy to see me and my channel on this video! 😮 I love this video and it's everything you said is what I think too. I spoke a lot in my videos about the realities of van life and included lots of 'every day' footage and like you said, my videos didn't do as well as other channels that create them like a TV show. It's also not a convenient way of life, I would always remind myself when I would get frustrated "you're doing this to save money not to live live conveniently. If I wanted convenience I would live in a house not on a campsite in a van" 😂 Thank you for drawing attention to this topic and as you said at the end van life is a beautiful experience but it also has its ups and downs. I'm so happy I lived in my van but i'm also happy I no longer do! 🙌🏼

  36. Love this ❤️ people don't realise why we live inside buildings and the power of being grounded in one place haha van life is great for a weekend away but it's not really a sustainable way of living, especially if you want to produce less carbon emissions x

  37. I am so glad that you made this video. I suck at editing so I have been hesitant to create videos but I would love to tell the real side of Van life even though I live in a short bus and I'm able to actually stand up but I live in a vehicle full-time and it's not that nice all the time.

  38. Awesome video..drew me in quickly. Backup: title I was thinking NO not another video on what rv life is Really like.
    Very well stated. I'm retired and camp national forest many months out of the year. I get what it takes to spend long periods of time out as solo camper. Well rounded conversation.
    Safe travels

  39. "Whatever came my way, as long I wasn't being kidnapped…." That is a fairly low bar, so you had your expectations set right 😛

  40. Scrolling through all the comments and someone stated you're taking your experience and applying it to ALL van lifers. I totally disagree. They're correct that it is all about perspective and personality — how you experience van life (what you get out of it) can be based on who you are as a person.. However, I doubt you're applying your experience to ALL other van lifers. In fact, your disclaimer in the beginning and throughout the video made it clear you're not condemning anyone; only pointing out some of the pitfalls of van life that's not always reflected on YT or Instagram.

    Another person stated that if someone believed van life was exactly like it's pictured on Instagram then that person is basically foolish and deserves to struggle. The fact is, people can be easily influenced by what they see. That's the sole purpose of Instagram. So if you see a painting of a rose garden you may never think of the thorns unless they were prominently featured.

    I took this video as more of a "behind the scenes" sort of commentary rather than a broad stroke critique of what others are depicting. Besides, if what you mostly see are the pros, why wouldn't someone want to also know the cons of any given situation? It never hurts to show a different side of things.

    It also think you've provided a more complete overview of the things you've experienced in juxtaposition to what SOME van lifers show on their channels. And for the record, although I've seen tons of van life videos, I've never seen one of your videos prior to this. I just happened upon it accidentally. So I'm not a rabid fan, nor am I defending you for any specific reason. I just happen to think what you did here was fantastic, attention-grabbing, informative and much needed. So thank you!

  41. Older folks are trying, it is a very humbling experience, I tried it out in my driveway. Without a fancy RV. Just a cargo van built out basic. I truly enjoy the van. Repairs stop me from going on forward and other things, old sick fur baby and my cat. The cat could adapt not the dog she is not doing well. My friend who I helped hit the road currently building out her van in Memphis, Tn. , At age 70 it is quite hard. Owning a house soaks most of my income. Retirement isn't all it is cracked up to be. Still I dream of going.

  42. Thank you for making this video. I knew there was was to it but I’m from the country so I’m not that spoiled. Those luxuries of having a home can make you think twice. What if get sick? That’s a real problem. Probably better with someone with you

  43. Great video. Thank you for a well thought out presentation of the full van life experience. I'm still going to do it, but yes, with eyes wide open.

  44. Ok, this is my first time watching one of your videos, I'm halfway through it and I love the realistic aspects that you bring to the table. I'm really nitpicky when it comes to watch Van life videos since many of them are just unrealistic and a glorified portrayal of something that is not as easy or pleasant as it looks. Love the way you break it down and put the real life touch to it. Keep up the great work!

  45. Thank you for the video! It was very useful and have tons of informations 💜
    Thank God I planned van life for my retirement 7 years from now. So yeah, I could make plans, and already planned how my income will come. Not from youtube or any social media, but from other sources (yes, I already planned it from multiple sources). And for the cramped space, I guess it's because western people are used to live in a big place. Unlike in asia, especially Japan where small living space is everyday life so they used to it. Also many modern facilities makes cooking with gas stove seems so hard. I'm lucky that I am used to small living space and cooking with gas stove are my daily chores (I used to cooking with woods and kerosene stove when I was younger too). Also taking gun classes (one pro said that it took at least 4 years to build you shooting reflex) and matrial arts (I take judo, wushu and kempo) to protect my self. So yeah, I think living my retirement in van are definitely for me 💜💜💜

  46. Everyone thinking about vanlife should watch this. It actually applies to youtubers in general. Or even life. No matter what you want to do, life is tough. Owning a house or renting an apartment. Moving to a new city. Doing a bike tour. We all get excited by something. And we tend to idealize it. Or live it in our heads first. Which is cool. Sometimes visualizing in a positive way can help motivate us to make a change. Changing is tough. But sometimes the thing we’ve been daydreaming about is a lot tougher than we thought. There is no substitute for direct experience. So go out there and do it! Or give it a test run. Maybe rent out a van for a month first. See if ya like it as much as you thought. There is no one easy answer. We are all different. But i think videos like this are sobering reminders that the grass ain’t always greener on the other side.

  47. I think all van lifers are x van lifers, can’t b that good then, it’s all fake personality celebrity status nonsense

  48. i really appreciate your honesty. but i mostly spent this entire video laughing because i recognized every. single. clip. 🤣 i watch too much #vanlife!

  49. This seems based on a very specific type of van life based around travel. Admittedly that is the type most often portrayed on youtube

  50. On the thumbnail photo it says (THIS IS A LIE) I wouldn't say that this is a lie I would just say this is not the whole story or the whole truth, because it's not a lie it's just not the whole story!!!!! I like to think most people realize things on YouTube are not always the whole story or for real, just like TV and everything else in life!!! Everything comes back to making interesting and good content to make the mighty Dollar $$$ and that's what YouTube is all about, to make the mighty Dollar!! It's as simple as that!!✌️

  51. Thinking seriously on go vanlife and your video really helped me on making decisions
    nice to have you back btw n.n

  52. YES !! To this video. So refreshing, grounding and relatable- thank you, thank you! I write sat in my mittens, hat, cuddling a hot water bottle under 5 blankets as winter vanlife descends upon us….. sooo good to hear a discussion about the true reality of this lifestyle

  53. NOTHING on social media is 100 % real duuh
    if you compare yourself all the time, your not happy
    tip: boil water, put rag in a clean pickle jar, squirt in some yes/fairy,
    pour half full boiling water, stirr, wait 2 min, put on workglove (non slip)
    put on lid, check a youtube video while shaking,
    (if no greywater tank, i heard halv a lemon can work)

  54. Bravo! This was not only a balanced and well thought out essay, but it was also incredibly insightful and surprisingly informative. I use the word surprising because, like you, I have watched numerous 'cons' videos about vanlife (and ironically that's what they are: a con) and tbh I was expecting more of the same. But this was a much more nuanced approach and I really enjoyed and appreciated it. Thank you, Anna 🙂

  55. So happy to see you back dear Anna, your vedios always gives a good energy to me to be aware of anything around and the things that the most people do and affected by without even knowing like social media and looking for perfection on it

  56. Way to keep it real girl! not many honest van life videos out there! Noone ever shows the tiny house or van acouple years in. Everyone's always living their best life 3 months in when everything is working and things are a great.

  57. I’ve always been back and forth with vanlife vs box truck life vs tiny house life, and this video alone confirmed all of my fears (and more!) with living in a van. Lmao. The biggest thing I was worried about was indoor plumping and nightly parking, and crouching over bc the ceiling is too low

  58. If you base a major life decision almost solely from what you've heard from social media….. you get what you deserve. This is the era of fake news.

  59. Haha love it when you knocked up Sara and Alex James when you said "$60000 van." I feel those two have retired from Vanlife to become van builders which is quite a lucrative career choice if you hear what many van conversion shops are charging these days. The couple, I recall claims to have bought a home in Boise and have customers ordering van conversions until 2021.

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