“Living in a van down by the river” may have been your worst nightmare, but even non-surfer-dudes, it is a dream come true. Today, as tiny houses are becoming more popular and more people are turning to the van life, people are realizing new ways they can save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and discover a whole new kind of freedom. Who’s living in vans and loving it? Lots of people, apparently, as Ford Motor Company recently shared stories of people living in its Ford Transit series of vans.

Entrepreneurial Women, on the Road

Teri Lou Dantzler purchased a Ford Transit after a vacation in New Zealand and spent four months outfitting it for life on the road to photograph landscapes across the United States. She has everything she needs, a place to sleep, keep food, and keep in contact with the outside world. YouTube loves it!

Rebecca Gross spends three-quarters of the year out on the road, in a 2017 Ford Transit, at and between cyclocross and mountain biking competitions. She’s happier having control over her time, coaching and working on the road. “Anywhere I choose – then stop when I want and go for a ride,” she remarks.

Tasha Rivard is a graphic designer and freelancer, living full-time in a 2010 Ford Transit where she has enough room to sleep, work, and travel if needed. She maintains a local gym membership for exercise and showers but living so simply gives her the freedom she needs to go out and explore.

What Does It Take?

You don’t have to be a surfer dude to love living in a van, but it isn’t for everyone. Single people would find it easier, to be sure, and couples might be able to find a way to make it work, but we can’t imagine Mom and Dad and one or more kids living the van life – they’d need something a little bigger, that’s all. If you’re considering the van life, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it Simple – You can’t carry that much stuff in a van, but it’s also been said that fewer possessions makes people happier. Such a drastic downsize is both mentally and economically liberating, so ditch the trinkets and take lots of photos.
  • Powering Up – Especially if your plans include working out on the road, you’ll probably need communications gear and electronics powered up for the job. Solar panels, backup batteries, and RV hookups will keep you juiced 24/7.
  • Vehicle Maintenance – Seeing as you’ll be living and driving your home, be sure to set aside a solid budget for “home” maintenance, such as regular oil changes, tire rotations, and other services.

Once you get out on the road, or even before, or even if you’re just considering it, hook up online with van and RV communities. You might be surprised how many people are out there living the van life, enjoying their freedom, and willing to share tips with the newbies. Just be sure to pass it along when you get the chance.

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