Youtubers discuss the attraction behind van life

The discussion about this nomadic lifestyle remains as many people debate about the reality of why people live in mobile homes. Photo by Caleb George on Upsplash

Like many popular millennial and young adult trends, the van life (or van living) trend seems to be getting a significant amount of attention recently. Although this nomadic trend is growing in popularity, many question its merits. 

The idea of nomadic living is not a new concept, and many young people, minimalists and even retirees find living in their vans to be the best version of the lifestyle. However, choosing this lifestyle requires some modifications and upgrades to the owner’s vehicle. 

Photo by OceanProd on

Some of the ways people customize these vans include adding a toilet, a sink and a bed. With all of these interior upgrades necessary to make a van a mobile home, this conversion takes a lot of planning, saving and knowledge to prepare for this kind of life shift.

The many complications of van life have sparked a debate about whether van life glorifies homelessness or if it’s just a more convenient and cheaper way of living.

On one end of the spectrum, those who support van life are content with leaving behind their possessions, living minimally and traveling often. Many have boasted about waking up to a beautiful view and living on their own terms.

YouTuber Christian Schaffer shared a video describing how she started her mobile journey and tips for those interested in doing the same.

“I was coming out of a long-term relationship, and I wanted a fresh start, and I love the freedom of being on the road,” said Schaffer. “ There are a lot of things to consider, so I highly recommend trying it out first.”

Although living minimally is not required to pursue van life successfully, it makes starting a lot easier.

“It is really nice to have everything you need and love in your vehicle when you’re traveling, but a storage unit is always an option,” said Schaffer. “Another option is going through your things and decide what you might want to sell.”

In contrast, many who have transitioned from staying in a house to living on wheels have credited this lifestyle change due to low wages and unfair housing prices. YouTuber, Kristen Leo, has tried to change the narrative surrounding van life and discuss the realities of why many people live in their vehicles.

“Housing is unaffordable, rent is too high and with the rise of AirBnb’s, urban areas are becoming more gentrified,” said Leo. “Our generation is not only making less, but everything is also much more expensive than it used to be.”

Van life has not always been a praised lifestyle and was even frowned upon for quite a while. Leo believes that people are not glamorizing poverty and homelessness with a new perspective from the younger generations, but instead normalizing the frugal lifestyle.

“This generation [understands] that human relationships are the most important thing and not possessions and flexing,” said Leo. “We are aware that we can’t afford a lot of things, so we’re embracing this low-cost lifestyle.”