"It is our 1 year anniversary of living in a van. And our 4 year anniversary of dating. I, a daughter of traditional ""get married first"" parents and my boyfriend decided to live in a van before continuing our studies. Our reasoning meshed well, I couldn't justify incurring double my student loan debt and I have a crazy dream of having a mobile law office. He the more environmental type, was intrigued about living small, reducing our carbon footprint, learning how to install solar panels and building out a van.
I had never lived with someone so closely, had never lived with a boyfriend, never enjoyed having roommates, and moved far away from everything/everyone I knew. With so many new things, I now see it sounds like a disaster or multiple disasters waiting to happen.
It was rough for the first month or so as we would get into arguments over little things such as not being able to study while the other is watching something on their phone, not being able to sleep, being too cold, not putting stuff away (which is a big deal in a small space). We have gotten used to each other now, we can read each other's body language and know when something is wrong. In the end we are much closer. We don't have an assortment of 'stuff' we don't need and when we house sit it is like a mini vacation for us!
Living in a van makes you very comfortable in public spaces. I don't mind using public bathrooms or porta-potty's anymore. In fact, I have a mental list of bathrooms that are open late. We shower at the gym and get out more than we probably would if we lived in an apartment. Because of this, the van life feels bigger than the space we actually have. We study at coffee shops- feels just like a living room but bigger, sometimes our living room has a fireplace! I eat in grocery store dining areas- just like a dining room but with strangers! And I shower at the gym, which has endless soap, lotion, toilet paper- better than my old bathroom and hey, no emergency toilet paper runs!
I do realize I am very privileged to be able to choose to live this way while others do not have that option. I hope to one day help those who don't have the financial means to access our justice system an opportunity to do so. And I refuse to have to choose between paying my student loans and helping those disenfranchised. I don't want to risk my dreams being held down by debt.
In the end, our goal is to buy a plot of land, build a tiny house, and of course have plenty of animals.
My unsolicited piece of advice. I hope you say YES to those opportunities that come your way. I have always been one to always say NO because of my fear of failing, or my dread of new things and the nervousness that comes with that. I've not applied or turned down to certain jobs because I felt I wasn't qualified, I've not taken leaps to date someone because I feared rejection etc. A few years ago I started to say yes to the things that I knew would make me feel that way and I couldn't be happier. I have an amazing boyfriend (thanks to saying YES to being introduced to him), loving parents that support me in my craziness even though I thought I was disappointing them, and so many new experiences from jobs to vacations to injuries etc.
Finally if you are in the Washington Oregon border, get in contact with me so we can grab a beer or coffee. If not get in contact me anyway. Would love to hear from the Listserv!