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  • Writer's pictureLee Eel Eisler

Van Life: A Trade Off of Comforts vs Freedom

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

Ultimately van life is a trade off of comforts for freedom. Living in a van might not always be the most comfortable thing in the world but you have so much more freedom. With the good times there must be bad and everything in between. Living in a van isn't always easy, it isn't always comfortable, but the ability to move at any time, go anywhere you want. It's the ultimate freedom. That is actually why my van is named Freedom!

Freedom is an interesting concept. America, the land of the free but freedom is not free anymore. Technically it is illegal to not have a brick and mortar residence. What this means...yes. Living in a van is NOT legal in almost any town. Pretty much there is no legal area you can set up permanently which means you will always be moving. Even on BLM land and National Forest Service land where you are allowed to be for up to 14 days at a time you are always subject to having park rangers or some type of authority figures trying to find out who you are. In almost 3 years of living in a van I have been woken up by cops only 5 times and it has never turned into a problem. By societies standards I am considered homeless because my home is not what they want it to be. I don't consider myself homeless however. I actually own my own home which is awesome.

In the end of the day all we have is time. Time is the most important thing.

Money will come and go. You can always make more money. You can not make more time or buy more time. When you live in a brick in mortar residence that you own or rent it is expensive. Also you have to fill it with stuff. Things, possessions. You have the comforts, the security, and it takes a lot of money to maintain all this and keep this type of lifestyle. This requires a lot of work which takes up a lot of your time. One of the challenging parts about living in a van is actually maintaining that minimalistic lifestyle.

I always tell people that my possessions are not things but my possessions are my memories and my life experiences.

Ultimately when you life in a van you are going to live an ever changing lifestyle. New experiences, new things. You will spend some nights in Walmart parking lots and waking up in urban areas but you will spend time also waking up to nature. Sometimes I wake up in the mountains, sometimes I wake up in the desert, sometimes I wake up near the ocean. You get the idea. Living in a van is living a simple life.

The longer I live in my van and live the simple life, the more and more I realize how simple life actually is. People are the ones that make life complicated.

The environment you are surrounded by and live in is important to your growth as an individual. When you live in a way where you have about the same 12 basic steps to each day and you live a very repetitive lifestyle it doesn't offer very much opportunity to grow. You will just keep doing the same thing day after day slowly rotting away becoming an expert at whatever you do but not growing in any other way. Basically living this way is comfortable for people and its the comfort that stops them from growing and expanding.

Being comfortable stops you from growing and being uncomfortable helps promote growth. This is one of the lessons I have learned from living in a van.

Living in a van really promoted the growth of myself as an individual in many different ways. First of all I had way more expendable income to do more things. I also was able to go more places and experience more things. I wasn't a slave to the system anymore. Also because my van is my house I am comfortable and feel at home wherever I go. Furthermore my carbon footprint has been decreasing more and more the longer I live in a van. Really I am living a life more for myself as opposed to working to build others dreams and giving all my money away to rent and being a slave to the system.

Basically the question you need to ask yourself is do you want an ordered comfortable life or are you willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort for the freedom to go where you want and do what you want.

Freedom vs comfort. Which do you choose?


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