Millennials are the generation that don’t, and likely won’t, own houses. There’re a lot of theories that people – especially politicians and journalists– have come up with to explain this: unemployment, underemployment, huge student loans, mum and dad don’t charge rent, or sheer laziness. In Australia, it’s well known by politicians (or made up) that millennials have collectively decided to buy avocado toast instead of houses. These all sound like compelling reasons, but they’re wrong. The real reason is that vans are better.
Your response at this point is probably, “of course, I already know that, but how can I afford to live in a van? And also, remind me why I want to live in a van again?” To which my response is, “Woah, hold up, one question at a time please!”
1. “Should I rent or buy?”
Everyone knows buying is better than renting. Have you seen how expensive those wicked campers are? Ask better questions.
2. “How do I buy a van I can live in comfortably?”
Look for a campervan on Craigslist, Kijiji, Gumtree, or your local Walmart car park. If you can’t find one within your budget, you’re going to have to get what we in the business refer to as a “fixer upper.” Find a cargo van from the internet, car yard, or a stoned guy under an overpass, and put your DIY skills to the test. Thevanual.com is a great guide for turning your van into something you could charge $400 a week rent for in Sydney, or $20 a week anywhere else.
3. “Why do I want to live in a van?”
Are you kidding? There are SO MANY reasons you want to live in a van. In fact, I’m going to ignore your questions from this point on and just give reasons you should live in a van because clearly your questions are dumb anyway.
4. Free rent.
Once you’ve bought the van, you pretty much never have to pay rent again. Sure, you’ll spend a few nights sleeping in Walmart car parks or down creepy forestry roads, but you won’t be paying rent.
5. It makes mundane activities, like using the bathroom, way more exciting.
You might think finding a place to pee would be a challenge. You’d be wrong, if you can’t find a toilet, the ground is generally a pretty acceptable place to pee as long as you’re not in a Walmart car park, or inside.
Pooping, on the other hand, can be turned into a great van game. Once a day, or every couple of days (I don’t know your schedule) you get to play a game called “Can I poop here?” There’s a lot of ways to lose (grocery store doesn’t have a toilet, café’s toilet is too close to the kitchen and makes you feel weird, there are children in the stall next to you and that makes you feel weird, drop toilet at the trailhead doesn’t have toilet paper) and a win is usually awkward (gas station) or dark and smelly (droppers). It’s a great game for all ages.
You can always get a portable chemical toilet, but, isn’t that just giving up before the game even gets started? And also gross?
6. Vans can pretty much go anywhere.
This is the most compelling reason (other than the poop challenge) to get a van. You get to fill your house with toys- like bikes,kayaks, and stand up paddle boards- and drive till you run out of road. If you’re in Australia, you can get all the way to a different part of Australia. If you’re somewhere that isn’t an island, get out a map and look at the place furthest away that’s still connected by land or ferry. You can go there.
I assume you’ve already left to go buy a van from that guy on Craigslist, but, if you haven’t and still need convincing:
Travelling in a van is way better than backpacking.
7. Bold statement I know, but:
You never have to worry about where you’re going to sleep that night. You know who slept in your sheets and how gross they were. You don’t have to carry everything you own on your back. You get to own more toys (try fitting a kayak in your backpack). You still get to go to a bunch of places.
When you get to a new place you don’t have to figure out public transport, because your house is a van.
See? Now, go get a van.
Genevieve Dwyer is a freelance travel and copy writer from Australia. For the last 3 years she’s been collecting vaguely rude sayings in other languages in the notes app on her phone. Follow her on Instagram @gendwyer.