We’ve transitioned from full-time vanlifers to being landowners (we are incidentally temporarily in a much larger van on our property for now). During this time, we dove into nostalgia in guided reflection on what we learned living on the road for a year. There are lessons only living in a small van with a baby can teach us as people and parents. Here are five of them.
There are no options, only principles. When you have a lot of options, your principles can quickly become compromised. You have more room to change your mind and do things you wouldn't normally do. Living in a van helped us refine our principles as people and parents because we didn't have the same options people living in a standard home are afforded. We choose more from a place of principles rather than of uncharacteristic options.
"Less is more" is an often thrown around phrase we hear these days when it comes to having many possessions. This is true living in a van, but on another level, you begin to notice the space you have within when you have less physical space. For us, we discovered our internal capacity was more extensive than we initially thought. We wouldn't have learned this if we didn't have less room physically. We were able to tap into what else we had to offer each other and our child with having so little things. A quick shoutout to organizers with the clutter assist!
Accepting the Unexpected
"Practice makes reality" is another phrase we experienced. Living in a van isn't the norm of society, no matter how popular it may be on YouTube for freedom-loving 20-somethings. We'd known because we lived in a van in our 20s, too! Doing it as 30-something-year-olds with a 3-month-old brought on challenges within ourselves about what it meant to live this life.
We were now practicing a new way of life, and our reality (or lifestyle) had to shift according to our living space. We renovated the way we ate, thought, spend our money, spend our time, and more. The version of us in people's minds had to be reinvented, too.
Similarly, our sense of personal empowerment increased from living in a van. As we reduced our possessions, other things in our lives began to shrink as well. The noise too much clutter begets revealed itself. The things that held us back from seeing our real overall purpose and goals for ourselves, our relationships, and our lives grew clearer.
This lesson goes in line with having less unveiling more. We were able to create the life we've always wanted with more focus and vigor, at times without realizing we were doing it. Simply by the process of living differently, or in a way that spoke to the values we wanted to embody, how we wanted to live became the consequence of those actions. We're confident that's why we were able to get our land.
Life will continuously teach us all lessons. We must remember to choose to be open to these life-altering moments. There's a lesson in everything, and if you miss the point, it'll come back around in a different way because you can't live life without learning.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.