What do you do for work while living in the van??
What do you do for work???
This question is probably the most asked above all concerning van life. What I'm about to tell you are my own personal experiences since moving into the van full-time in August of 2017.
Let's break down the concept of typical "work" just so we can see the comparison later. A "typical" work life experience is something like this:
-Work 40+ hours a week for X amount of money
With X you pay for:
-Insurance (health, car and rental/homeowners)
-bills to power and live by
-and maybe a little fun
And that's probably not even the half of it when it comes to real life.
This is where my mind started to break, after years of doing "the normal life" I just couldn't find a purpose in this style of life anymore. Work 40+ hours a week to pay for a house/apartment that you won't be in more than half the time, a car and all its fixin's ie: gas & insurance to get you to and from said job.
What's the point?? Why do we fall for this systematic way of life when it honestly doesn't please most people?
I was getting so tired and literally sick of the mundane, go to work, come home, maybe afford to eat something, sleep for a couple restless hours and go right back to it. Not to mention the seriousness of depression that comes along with attempting to stay afloat through every day life.
That doesn't seem like much of a life to me, it seems more like an external prison. The government has built such an exoskeleton for us to live by, it is the cause of most poverty in this country today. Which brings me to....
Van Life!!! And ALL its glory!
Taking off in a 93 Chevy G20 I picked up for $1500, it offers a 16 square foot living space with a small kitchenette, no bathroom or shower (another blog about that coming soon.)
What my bills actually looked like when I started out:
-Car insurance ($60)
-Cell phone ($40)
-Gas (to gigs and depends on wherever I feel like going)
And just like that, saying "No" and making a choice not to live with all the unnecessary space and amenities, the second and third bedroom, the extra bathroom, that garage space that inevitably fills up with junk, the office space, all the closets, just GONE!
How do I make money living in a van??
Does it look like I really have to?
Granted bills have more than doubled since Emily entered my life, but that's OK.
Work is all about what you are or aren't willing to do, at least that is how I see it now. I LOVE working hard, wood working and manual labor have always been a big part of my life, but somewhere along the line it wasn't good enough. Whether it be from the constant nag of society, "be better" "you need this" "oh, you don't have a NEW car?" That constant push from family and society, get a better job, make more money blah blah blah... for what???
(great insight @ becomingminimalist.com)
Try living with less for once, try purging your items down to absolute necessity, just for a week and try living. Whether it be in a van or other smaller situation, I can guarantee you will come back with at least a glimpse of "wow, do I really need 8 bottles of lotion?" or "Do I really need a TV in every single room?"
Van life is far from easy by any means, but what you gain is self reliance and the ability to see your true value. I came into this entire process with the thought that we over use and create billions of environmental pounds in waste every year, and I want to change that, for myself at least.
What do I do for work?
I do what I want, when I want, and for as long as I want! But I do it so freely because I absolutely trust in the universe and all the beautiful souls along the way that have helped me gain that trust in my self. I am capable of ANYTHING, and everything I set my mind to.
Being able to live mobile you see things far more valuable then how to get paid. You see a man on the corner asking for change, when in reality he just wants someone to talk to or to have lunch with. Or an empty park full of trash, well guess who has time to clean it? We do, without filling our days filing papers, answering phone calls or ultimately just making money for someone else we have all the time in the world!
How do we make money on the road?
We are artists, pure and simple, we sell our creations made from up-cycled materials at markets, pop-up events and on our online store. We both also work in Harm reduction for music festivals
(some paid) mostly volunteer,
and I pick up set design and small construction gigs along the way, but only when I have to. Also Emily is an AMAZING performance artist picking up dance and hooping gigs along the way.
Working for trade has been by far the most valuable and profitable experience on the road. The ability to help others while being helped in return is a feeling I believe we have lost in this society. Abundance is truly everywhere sometimes it's just not in the form of green paper!