Culture, Van Life
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What Instagram Doesn’t Tell You About Living the #vanlife

While it’s easy to believe that the #vanlife movement is all sunshine, mountain views, and Insta-worthy pictures as proof, there is a not-so-sunny side to being a full-time nomad. Here are a few things to know before surrendering to the allure of the open road.

1. You will probably wait days (or a week) without bathing

When all your belongings fit perfectly into a box on wheels, there usually isn’t room for an indoor shower. Most #vanlifers forgo this comfort of home because a shower and its water tank take up too much precious space.

2. Eating healthy is hard if you don’t plan ahead

Sure, van lifers embrace freedom. But what if your fridge only fits one grocery bag of produce and you don’t know where you will sleep tomorrow? And no, Fruit Loops aren’t a food group.

3. Rainy days are a bit cramped

Living in a van is all fun and games until it rains for a week and your spine forgets what it feels like to stand straight. 

4. Prepare to step on your significant other’s toes

Adopting van life as a couple promises a few bumps along the road. It’s not all fun and Instagram likes. We recommend making “you-time” and always remembering it’s all about the journey and you entered into this together.

5. Temperatures range from freezing cold to steaming hot

Not all nomads want to invest in high-end heating and cooling systems for their old-school Volkswagens, so beware of fluctuations in temperature that could prove uncomfortable. 

6. It gets messy

Most van lifers hit the road as a pair. Two people, two sets of clothing for all types of weather, outdoor toys, books, digital necessities to work on the road, plus basic food storage and prep space? You get the idea.

7. Expect mechanical issues

Especially if you opt for the classic van versus a truck and trailer combo, your home will break down. If your campervan is older, the proper parts might be a bit tricky to come by. Hope you’re handy!

8. You are more independent than you think

You will learn a whole lot about yourself—your needs, dreams, and capabilities—while on the road. Enjoy.

Have you traded an urban jungle desk job for 24/7 mountain views? Tell us about your #vanlifeproblems

Filed under: Culture, Van Life


Jill writes in her sunny, teal coloured home office Monday through Friday. On weekends, she’s outside exploring with her fiancé and their furry, floppy eared son. Find them hiking through forests, floating in lakes, and picnicking on mountain peaks. See more of her work at

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