I know that many of you started following my blog and YouTube because of your interest in vanlife, and as some of you may have noticed by now I no longer live in the van.
It's not that I didn't love my nomadic lifestyle for the two years I wandered around in my little camper home - things just changed.
Truth is, vanlife was only a very small fraction of my life,
it was circumstantial, it served the purpose for the time. It allowed me to be fluid, nomadic, unattached, free to be whereever I needed to be while still being contained in my own little bubble of home. But aside from dwelling in a van I am a musician, artist, writer, mover, and I prioritize my desire to develope those skills and my passion to create more than anything else.
Limitations of Vanlife
As carefree vanlife may appear to be it also comes with it's own set of challenges.
Simple daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, going to the bathroom, doing laundry end up taking longer.
I realized that it makes more sense for me to just be able to meal prep and do these chores quickly and easily so I can utilize the rest of my time to work on my arts
Limited space to create
The thing with being in a van is that it's small, and it moves. This means that everytime I wanted to paint, work on music, edit a video I had to set up and then put away everything since I can't just leave it out (it takes up all my living/counter space, and also if I drive it will end up flying everywhere). It was becoming apparent that having a bigger, more stable space, would allow me to more efficiently focus and practice.
Cold, wet winters
The last couple of years in the van I've dealt with winters by sticking around for November and parts of December, then travelling down south where it is warmer.
However, this year I spent months travelling around Indonesia, Singapore, Japan for artist residencies and music tours, so by the time winter was rolling around I was feeling ready to come home to Vancouver and ground down to integrate and work on other projects.
Vanlife in the dead of winter here isn't easy. It's doable, but it takes quite a bit of extra effort espcially when you don't have a heating set-up.such as a wood fireplace.
I knew that I would rather be working on my arts than trying to keep my hands warm and shoes dry.
Some of you may know that I am an online Life Coach and Counselor part time. I was also doing online live interpretations between english to mandarin. Both of these jobs require steady internet access in a quiet environment, which is not always possible in a van.
Moving into a house
I got back to Vancouver in October and was busy with various creative collaborations and conferences. After things wrapped up with those, I found a room to rent in November. Unfortunately that situation wasn't ideal, so I moved again on New Years Eve to the house that I am currently living at with 4 lovely roommates.
I'm happy and cozy here. I have space to do yoga, dance, work on music, and hide out beside a wood fireplace when it's a blizzard outside.
Lately in this time of the Covid-19 self isolation situation it's also been a relief to not be constantly using public bathrooms and showers, especially now with various non-essential services being shut down around the city.
What does the future hold for me? Who knows.
I still have my van, and I use it more as a commuting vehicle right now.
I do miss living in it and going on adventures and do consider transitioning back once it's warmer and also the situation with the pandemic is resolved.
I appreciate the support for you all, and hope that you can understand why I made the choices I did.
Is Vanlife right for you?
As for those who are thinking of moving from house life to a van one day don't let this be a deterrent for you.
I have NO REGRETS about my time with my van, and will likely return to it when the time feels right.
Vanlife is a lifestyle. It's not a solution to your financial problems, and it's not the key to your happiness and freedom.
Be realistic in your expectations of what vanlife looks like for YOU, since everyone has their own way of doing it.
Be honest with yourself what you want to gain, and what you're willing to give up.
Like anything else in life there are pros and cons to the choice, and ultimately it is up to each individual to assess whether or not it fits their needs in that period of life.
It's okay to experience new things, learn, change your mind, and make new choices - just because you try vanlife doesn't mean you're committed to do it forever.
At the end of the day it's just a space to put your things and sleep in, it doesn't define who you are.