Preparing For Van Life: 3 Foolproof Strategies For Adopting A Minimalist Lifestyle

Hippie van in the woods. Van life - living a minimalist lifestyle.

To be a nomad and explore different parts of the world, one must adopt a minimalist lifestyle – especially traveling in a van.

Picture of a class A RV parked in the backyard under a  tree.

I remember when Kevin and I had our RV (we named Aesop) before we decided to get a van, Kevin told me there wasn’t a lot of room in the RV, so we were going to have to get rid of most of our stuff.

I laugh about it now because we had a lot more room in our class A camper than we do in the van.

A lot more room.

Honestly, though, the RV was a great place to hang out in.

It was comfortable, and we loved how we remodeled it, but I do remember thinking it was way too big.

I actually got overwhelmed when I thought about all of the stuff we would have in it.

It was still too much for me.

I was seriously close to having panic attacks just thinking about it.

I wanted to go smaller.

I wanted less stuff.

A white 2003 Ford E-250 van with a high-roof on it that doesn't fit the entire roof. It looks more like a storage compartment, but it works.

So, we bought a 2003 Ford E-250 and converted it into a camper.

It’s not ideal, but it’s fun to travel in and a great ride.

It’s also a challenge to see what we can fit in the White Rabbit (we named the van after the Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit song), and we’re looking forward to living simply.

However, we’re being smart about it and have been working on preparing ourselves for living the van life and came up with three foolproof strategies for adopting a minimalist lifestyle:

1.  Mindset

You got to have the right mindset to live this alternative lifestyle.

This is an easy one for us because we were minimalist when we first met, and I’ve never been a materialistic person.

So, the correct frame of mind to get rid of shit that doesn’t serve us or have no real sentimental value is a no brainer.

I will admit, Kevin is much better at downsizing than me.

Kevin in full Army gear, holding a rifle, standing with his platoon.

He served two tours in the Army and spent a lot of his time out in the bush, which required taking what could only fit in his Army duffle bag.

Most of my stuff I’m not attached to, but there are some books I want to keep. I’m also going to see how many clothes I can take.

I did get rid of a lot of them. I went from three closets of clothes to one.

I’m doing good, I think. 😊

2. Being Practical

Two years ago we began to practice being minimalists.

This is a long-term, life-changing goal for us.

We don’t recommend doing this overnight.

We made a plan, and then took baby steps working on it.

We started with our kitchen.

We got rid of a lot of silverware we didn’t need or use, along with a bunch of other stuff that was shoved in the back of our cabinets.

It’s amazing discovering the things we bought and forgot about and never used.

I bet a lot of you can relate to that.

While we were going through our stuff in the kitchen, Kevin had an epiphany . . .

. . . Why do we buy drinking glasses when we can use the glass jars that we throw away?

No shit!

Why throw away olive jars, when we can use them to drink out of, AND they have a lid you can screw on to make them more portable and to keep the bugs out.

We’ll also be less wasteful.

It’s a win-win situation.

We then got rid of our drinking glasses and are now using jars instead.

It’s awesome. 😁

3. Taking Trips

When we camped out in the van for the first time, it rained.

We were able to go hiking in the woods but got soaked!

We had fun, though, but realized we needed an outdoor living area to hang our wet clothes and to give us more space.

We were forced to stay inside the van that night and face the reality of how cramped it could be.

Here’s the video.

We discovered that evening and night, what worked and what didn’t work.

We know now we still have a lot to learn.

We’re not walking into this minimalist lifestyle with stars in our eyes. 🤩

There’s going to be a lot of challenges to overcome, and that’s where mindset comes in.

You have to have the right mindset in order to live this alternative lifestyle.

I already know the van is smaller than I want it to be and at times it’ll be cramped.

But we won’t be living in it.

An old map that a pirate would have.  A compass is on it and some gold coins.

We’ll be living in the world.

Also, this is our first van build.

We’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work.

We take trips in it every week, and we love it.

It’s important to get a feel of this way of life before becoming full-time gypsies, thus dramatically downsizing and taking road trips.

It’s not a shock to your mind if you take your time on adopting this lifestyle.

Once our house sells, I believe the transition to living a mobile life will be a lot easier for us because we took the three steps necessary to adjust to a dramatic change such as this.

Also, to be honest, ever since we decided to become minimalist and travel the U.S. in our van, a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders.

We feel liberated.

We’re much happier.

Less is more.

It truly is.

I don’t know where we’re going to be five years from now, but I’m looking forward to this challenge, stepping outside my comfort zone, and seeing where life takes us – inwardly and outwardly.

Preparing for van life and being a minimalist has been great.

As things progress, I’ll write more about our journey being nomads and what we learned.

You can also subscribe to our Dare To Live YouTube channel and watch videos of what we’re doing.

Over To You:

Do you think you can be a minimalist?

Do you think you can travel the world in a van?

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