Ever heard of #vanlife? The movement is sweeping the globe with young people, priced out of the housing market, trading in the traditional goals of owning a home with a white picket fence for the wanderlust of life on the road.
Converting old school busses, vans, trailers or revamping caravans these young people are living on the road and you’ve never seen a caravan look this cool. With fully equipped kitchens, beds, living rooms and, we’ll level with you, a borderline insane amount of fairy lights – these young people have redefined the game. Check out their Instagram and you’ll agree some of these vans are nicer than most city apartments.
So, what’s driving these young people to life on the road rather than a traditional home?
The price of rent to live in cities has been constantly on the rise with the average rental price in Sydney coming in at $540 per week. These exorbitantly high prices combined with unemployment and under-employment crisis that see many young people either without work or having to work multiple jobs to afford to pay rent, leaving very little behind for living expenses or savings. The price of rent has seen many young people living with their parents for longer, moving out of the cities or turning to other options like vans.
Not having to pay rent is a major tick in the plus-column when it comes to the choice between vanlife and city life. As most people in the vanlife community will tell you, the biggest cost when it comes to living in a van is buying the van itself and the subsequent renovations. Luckily, the actual vehicles are often cheaper than you might think. Head to Grays and find the van, caravan or disused school bus perhaps that is ready to be converted into your dream home.
Love of the Open Road
As Jack Keroac would tell you, there’s something romantic about the open road. Whether they were inspired to this nomadic lifestyle like Keroac in On The Road, enchanted by the idea that “there was nowhere to go but everywhere” and that all they “needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road,” or they just felt a pull towards a life on the move, with no fixed address – the whole thing is incredibly romantic. With so many young people spending weeks and months backpacking, this lifestyle is not foreign to them but, it is far more cost effective!
For many young people the main draw of vanlife is the freedom of not being tied down to one place, one lease, one job. On top of the extortionate rents in many major Australian cities another thing stopping young people from wanting to sign year long leases is the fact that they have plans to travel for a few months and that dream is financially untenable if they have to be paying for rent whilst also paying to accommodation, flights and everything else that comes with travelling.
The vanlife lifestyle is often described as perfect for people who want to ‘own less and experience more.’ Married couples like the Armstrongs, the duo behind the popular account Mavis The Airstream said they turned to vanlife when they were tired of the monotony of everyday 9-5 jobs and city life. They now run the popular blog giving advice on van renovations and hacks to others in the community From single people, to young couples, married folk like the Armstrongs, even parents with kids have turned to vanlife, and the freedom is unbeatable!