Unexpected things I love about living in a van.

unexpected things I love about living in a van. VanlifeUnexpected things I love about living in a van.

I’ve been living in a van for 5 years now, and there are some unexpected things that I’ve come to love about this way of life.

  • The smell of the gas hob first thing in the morning. Chris is an early riser, he gets up and lights the stove to boil a kettle. The smell of the burning gas drifts through the camper to me in my cosy bed. It is a subtle yet distinct smell that I totally associate with living in a van. We never had a gas stove when I was growing up; this smell reminds me of family holidays staying in static caravans in Wales: mum cooking breakfast in the tiny kitchen.Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • Room with a view. For years I had a postcard framed on my bathroom wall (when I lived in a house): it had this caption and a picture of a 60’s VW campervan. To me, this is the most apt phrase of all for van living: where the view is always changing and there is always something new to gaze at.Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • The close proximity to nature. Being able to watch wildlife from the comfort of my home is wonderful, whether it be a tiny wren singing from the hedge we may be parked alongside or watching gannets wheel beyond the cliff.Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • Sitting on the step, my hands cupped around a hot mug of coffee, breathing in the new day.
  • The sense of community. Van lifers and camper owners of the world unite, and what a friendly bunch we are! Plus, I love to peek in other peoples’ vans because I’m totally nosey, like!Van dwellers
  • The joy of listening to the radio. We don’t have a tv and often no internet either, I’ve found great joy in listening to the radio instead. Usually the radio is on in the background while we’re driving, or I’m cooking or blogging. There is also something rather lovely about listening to it to relax, with no other distractions, often while gazing out over a beautiful view.Unexpected Things I love about living in a van
  • The sound of light rain on the roof. Heavy rain can be deafening but light rain fizzles and I find it very soothing.Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • Birds tip-tapping on the roof. The avian tap dance on the roof above my bed makes me smile as they go about their business – picking off bugs I presume. Starlings are light on their feet while pigeons are a little less graceful.Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • The satisfaction of solar. Whether it’s charging my phone or my laptop, there is something rather satisfying about powering it through the solar panel and not doing it through the national grid!
  • I can make it spick and span in moments! Living in a small space, with minimal clutter, makes housework a breeze!Unexpected Things I love about living in a van
  • The crisp sound of morning is always changing. Waking up to the dawn chorus; waves crashing; sheep bleating; rivers babbling; gulls calling. This sure beats waking up to a blaring alarm clock!Unexpected things I love about living in a van.
  • Being Offline. While sometimes it can be really frustrating trying to find wifi or a mobile signal, it is very freeing to be disconnected. It makes you live life in the here and now. I’m old enough to remember travelling before the all-consuming desire to be online 24hrs a day, living nomadically in a van has taken me back to those days and I like it! Sure, I need to get online, I’m a blogger after all, but when I do there is often not time to faff on all the other distractions the internet has to ensnare you. It has made me realise how much time I waste online (for instance, when I’m house sitting), and how easy it is to become addicted to being connected! Demountable Camper, Truck Camper
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unexpected things I love about living in a van. Vanlife

Room with a view, unexpected things I love about living in a van. Vanlife
Try these posts:

6 Ways I’ve Made My Truck Camper More Homely.

Sunday Musings: Snow Vanlife. Brrr, living in a van over the British winter!

Our New Tiny Demountable Camper Home Introducing our Truck camper before we moved into it.

Saying Goodbye to Our Nomadic Home After four years Juan the Transit goes to the scrap-heap in the sky.

Homes With Wheels: My Life In Campervans From vintage VWs to the present day.

By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

Did any of those surprise you? 

24 Responses

  1. Geetanjali says:

    Lovely post. Beautiful!

  2. I love the post Rachel. I’m as nosey as you are. I love seeing how other people live!
    I like being close to nature and the nomadic forum of just “get up and go” and I can quite imagine the closeness of the camper community. I’m also quite partial to the tapping of rain on the windowsill and a blustery curtain! I live in Germany now so let’s forget that shall we! 🙂
    Great stuff!

  3. This all sounds blissful Rachel – especially the easy cleaning! It must be so lovely to have a different scene to look at every day. Our living room window looks out on a huge tree and I love seeing the changing seasons through it.

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thank you! I gave it a big spring clean this morning and it only took an hour or so! How, lovely to watch the year pass through a beautiful tree. xx

  4. Lovely post Rachel! The first reason really made me smile, the smell of the gas hob always gives me fond memories of my childhood holidays in the family caravan. Funny we listen to our digital radio 99% of the time, the TV only really goes on if we want to watch a movie or documentary. Well next year we will try van life for a few months when we come over to Europe 🙂

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Jayne! Yeah, I’m way more of a radio addict, I only watch TV for movies and the odd series, most of the stuff TV broadcasts is filler: I don’t have the patience for it. I’d rather be singing along to the radio!
      That’s going to be a great summer then!

  5. Meghan says:

    Oh, I love the sound of rain on a camper roof!!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Aww Rachel, I love this post! I spent the last 3 weeks in a hired van and it was so hard to say goodbye. Everything on this list is so true!!! I’m hoping to do an extended trip around Australia next year, but until then I’ll have to live vicariously through you 🙂

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I bet it was sad to say goodbye, I bet you’d just got into the groove with it by then too! An extended trip round australia would be awesome, I’ve done quite a bit of it but not in a van (camping). It is one of the ultimate road trips!

  7. My husband has been trying to convince me that we should get a camper van / caravan. I feel like I’m still too young for that stuff! Also, it would be quite inconvenient during winter time in Finland – but maybe we could move to Southern Europe for the winter then. However, this post got me excited about the whole living in a van-life. I’ll share this post to my husband as well! 🙂

    Ugh, and the whole being connected 24/7.. Recently I’ve started to pay attention how much time I spend online. I’m on my phone 24/7 and sometimes I notice how hard it is to lay the phone down just for 10 minutes and not to watch if there’s a new message in FB. It’s terrible!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Hei Anne!
      I don’t think you are ever too young! I had my first camper van when I was 19, it was a vintage VW and it was awesome, it made perfect transport and accommodation to festivals like Glastonbury!

      Our current one is well equipped for winter (well down to -20ºc anyways, which is more than fine for UK) but I know a lot of van lifers who head south when winter arrives.

      We shall be bringing the truck camper over to Finland in June if you or your husband want to have a look at it, for inspiration!

      I know what you mean, I’ve been house sitting for a week and a half now, with as much wifi as I can handle, and I’ve been online the whole time. It’s pretty scary, I like to think I’m making up for the times when I don’t have any internet. You’d think I’d loose interest in it, but it becomes so addictive again so quickly! I purposely haven’t put internet credit on my phone so I’m not tempted to use it when I’m out and about. I’ve been taking my Finnish studying down to cafes in town, to work without the distraction of FB etc and it works really well: I find I’m more focussed (I know of at least one cafe where my phone never connects to the sketchy free wifi!).

  8. Oh god, this post made my heart beat like hell! 😀 I am fancying the idea of renting a caravan, or actually, not even a caravan, but something smaller like yours, for our 4 days in Iceland. It would give us so much more options rather than renting a normal car and booking accommodation based on the route. I’m so afraid I made a huge mistake by booking such flights that we only have 4 days in Iceland… 😀 The more I look for inspiration and tips, the more sure I am I want to stay there for a month!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      I’m happy to make you’re heart skip Saana! Only four days, yes: get a van! You will be able to be out there in the great outdoors more than you would with the comfort and restrictions of hotel accommodation! While those hotel guests are eating their breakfast you could be sitting on the step of your campervan holding a steaming cup of coffee in some amazing location! DO IT!

  9. Ayla says:

    This does sound slightly blissful and I’m so looking forward to staying in our campervan when we visit Yosemite next month! I’m not sure I could do it permanently though but you clearly love the van life so don’t ever change! 🙂

    • Rachel Davis says:

      It is blissful Ayla, I’m sure you will love staying in one in Yosemite! I know this life isn’t for everyone full time, but it’s great fun even for trips and holidays. For us it was a means to an end that ended up being a way of life!

  10. Really interesting points Rachel! I hadn’t considered just how quick it would be to clean – that’s a serious bonus!

  11. Kylie says:

    I absolutely love this post! It takes me back to my childhood holidays when me and my family would go away in our caravan! Sounds amazing 🙂