What Is Vanlife and Why Is It So Popular?

on In Travel / by TheDelizze

‘Downsizing’ is a term that means replacing a whole lot of space with something cozier. For many of us, ‘downsizing’ is a lifestyle. There are many benefits to downsizing. The list includes less space to clean up, minimalism and the peace of mind that comes with it. It saves time, money and the stress of participating in the rat race that many call ‘living’. There are countless ways to downsize. One of them that we are proud of is Vanlife.

Vanlife, defined

Vanlife was born in the 1960s as people found more creative ways to live their lives. Not only were they using their vans for work, but they were also converting them to satisfy their desire to travel. The goal was to drive all over the country. Of course, some people had no problem easily converting their vans for extended road trips. Others, however, intended to spend the rest of their lives on the road.

Vanlife Movement

The #vanlife movement became so popular in the 1970s that there were festivals dedicated to it. Usually, these were fun events that spanned several days across the United States. At these colorful festivals you saw all kinds of vans with impressive customizations. They came in all forms, from simple flatbeds to love shacks to fancy vans with all the bells and whistles you could imagine. The craze went hand in hand with the hippie movement, which was all about freedom and movement – the ultimate motto of vanlife.

A short stop

Like everything fun, vanlife comes to an end one day. Well into the 1970s, vanlife was all the rage. Then, in the early 1980s, Chrysler introduced the minivan. It was the embodiment of form and function. This funky-looking vehicle was more fuel efficient, more sturdily built, technically up to date – and did we mention it looked super awesome? It got to a point where plumbers, electricians and delivery companies (i.e., professions that rely on transporting heavy equipment) were the only customers buying vans. Naturally, people’s interest shifted to the newer, better-looking and more cost-effective minivan.

The call of the road

Fast forward to today: life has changed significantly compared to the 1980s. Suddenly, #travel and #wanderlust were the hot hashtags on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. And so the vanlife movement was born again.

The reemergence of vanlife

The gig economy had a huge impact on the reemergence of this lifestyle. Millennials preferred high-paying freelance jobs to schlepping to their workplace and being stuck in a cubicle at a 9-to-5 job. They realized they had so much to see and so many things to do than spend their youth at a desk day in and day out. Taking a cue from the hippie movement, millennials put a new twist on vanlife, traveling around in trucks, busses (pretty much anything with ample space on wheels).