Transitioning to full-time vanlife: Lessons learned
SEPT. 9, 2022 | BY INGRID SCHNADER
"Everyone wants to do something that they’re not doing. Then they see that you’re doing it, and they thought they couldn’t do it. I always take the time to tell people that I’m a normal person."
The first month was the hardest for Emily. But once she got in the groove, it got better and better. Now two months in, she says she’s so glad she stuck it out.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, you’re so brave.’ But getting in isn’t the hard part – it’s staying in. There were two times where I was almost ready to give up, and that’s the part I’m proud of.
“But I’m glad I stayed in it, because now I’m on the other side of that. You gotta get through that hump, you gotta lean on your community. If I didn’t have friends who were in it, I wouldn’t be able to bounce questions off people. It’s working out more and more. A month ago I wasn’t this happy.”
Meeting new people is her favorite part of the adventure. “I went to Seattle to meet up with a friend, and she goes, ‘I think you’ve met more people this week with your van than I’ve met in my three years here.’”
Someone else told her that her van was like her superhero cape: it’s something they can see that opens the door for a conversation, and then she encourages them to try new things, too.
“Everyone wants to do something that they’re not doing,” she said. “Then they see that you’re doing it, and they thought they couldn’t do it. I always take the time to tell people that I’m a normal person. I talk to them about financing. It’s been awesome pouring back out to people who aren’t in this yet.”
Follow along with Emily’s adventures at @vanlifevoorhees on Instagram.