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Meet the Van Dwellers – Archetypes of Vanlife

When your home moves on wheels, your neighbours are forever changing. Meeting fellow van dwellers is one of the most rewarding aspects of vanlife says Calum Creasey, author of The Culture of Vanlife with Laura Smith. They might be just like you, or wildly different. See if you recognize any…

The Adrenaline Junky

Kitesurfing, mountain biking, climbing. You name it, she does it. Her van is 90% equipment storage, 10% living space. Seriously lean from hiking every trail she comes across. While the rest of us are searching for the slow lane, she is free solo climbing sheer rock faces in the American national parks. Van of choice: Mitsubishi L300 4WD

The Digital Nomad

He runs a start-up, and as a result the van is more rolling office than rolling home. The latest in satellite technology keeps him connected anywhere on the planet, but failing that, he can pick up free Wi-Fi from a McDonalds a hundred miles away. Bouncing between LA and the Oregon coastline, he leads a reclusive lifestyle.Van of choice: heavily modified Volkswagen Syncro T25.

The Hipsters

Never has a couple been so in love. They spend their winters in Portugal wearing very little. But who could blame them? Taking snaps, updating their social-media feeds and sipping on cold beers. Life is bliss. He is an aspiring photographer and the tripod is vital for taking the perfect ‘just-woken-up’ shot. The van is stacked with surfboards and even has an envy-inducing herb garden on the dashboard. Van of choice: long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter.

The Eco Warrior

Her van interior is made from 100% recycled materials and is a wonder to behold. She spends her time volunteering on organic farms and promoting her type of ‘van feminism’. Trees planted to date: 1,000,000 … Van of choice: beat-up old Ford Transit van.

The New Age Hippies

Their converted horsebox smells faintly of hemp and incense. Shared with five rescue dogs, all of which have a story of their own, it is dimly lit but warm and cosy. Despite the fact that it is slowly becoming a part of the environment and that it may have been a long time since it was deemed roadworthy, this vegetable-oil-burning diesel will go on chugging forever. Does it run on magic? Who knows … Van of choice: converted horsebox truck.

The Golden Oldies

These guys are smart. They took early retirement and spent the kids’ inheritance travelling around Europe having the time of their lives. Their van of choice is a big white plastic motorhome with every mod con. Every single meal requires a full table set-up complete with chequered table cloth. They smile and wave when you pass them in the campsite, but don’t get too close, as ‘Ralph’, their miniature Jack Russell, guards the van with delight. Van of choice: coach-built motorhome.

Extract taken from The Culture of Vanlife by the creators of The Rolling Home Journal, Calum Creasey and Laura Smith. The Culture of Vanlife includes thought-provoking essays, interviews, illustrations and photography. Learn the basics of compact interior design, follow van conversions, and lose yourself in personal accounts of inspiring road trips. Explore the culture, vehicles, people, places and future of vanlife.