Van life means different things to different people. To us, the lifestyle meant a never ending adventure and freedom to travel and go where we please. Before setting off on our van life adventure around North America for about six months, Corbin and I had some preconceived expectations and ideas about what our lives would be like. So, after actually living our dream of being vanlifers for a month, we decided to check in with ourselves and each other in order to reflect on what we had learned and experienced from our new reality of living in a van.

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Here is what we’ve learned.

Van life is hard. You don’t realise all you take for granted in your everyday life plugged into our modern day conveniences. Just the bare basics are things we have to think and worry about on the road, like how much water do we have left and where is the nearest place we can fill up and dump our tanks. Likewise, everything is at least a step or two harder to get your normal chores done, such as, making a meal. Cooking in a van with little storage, you have to take out multiple dishes to get to the one you need, and don’t even get me started on having to wash those dishes when you’re done. Also, breakdowns are a very real part of our life now. During our first month we broke down at least once a week. It’s an intense experience being stranded on the side of the road with not just your vehicle but entire home refusing to start.

But, van life is one of our greatest adventures. We wouldn’t trade a day for anything. We have learned so much about ourselves, each other, and the world we live in. Corbin has learned so many skills from having to fix our van, and he gets better at it every time. We have adjusted to living in a tiny space and have become more patient and accepting of each other and continue to develop stronger communication skills to make sure we are both on the same page. We have learned the world is not the scary place many people would have you believe, as we have been offered help by strangers every single time we needed it.

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And that’s just the beginning of things we have learned. But, of course there are all the things we have seen! Just in our first month on the road we went to so many amazing places that would have taken us years to cross off our bucket list. We were surrounded by a herd of buffalo in Yellowstone, jumped into a glacier lake in Glacier, crossed the border into Canada for the first time,  enjoyed a cup of tea beneath glaciers in Banff, and hiked to waterfalls in Yoho National Park. These are places we will never forget with memories and stories we will continue to share with friends and family.

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So, ultimately, van life is really hard. The hardest thing we have done. But, it’s also one of the best things we have ever done. There are days that live up to our greatest dreams and ideas about what van life should be like, and there are days we wish we could just quit and go back to the easy comforts of home. But, we make it through those hard days and when the next epic day comes along, we can’t imagine doing anything else. That’s the reality of living in a van.

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Follow our journey!

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