Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Van Land

Squamish has the most vandwellers per capita that I've seen so far. This was expected as a large chunk of their summer population are climbers - who more or less gave me this idea in the first place. As the sun sets, you see vans of all makes and models (gucci Merc Sprinters to creeper Dodge RAM vans) trawling around looking for a good spot to settle. I assume they notice me too...but so far I haven't actually had a conversation with anyone about it. It's pretty normal here so it's NBD. I am curious what the locals think - as this is a large part to economy (I would assume). I also think it would be really interesting to get a cross section of people who vandwell - what they do in RL etc.

Seeing how easy this has been so far, I can't help but feel this sort of living is going to grow in popularity. I recently read about a  football player taking flack about buying a conversion van. He has my vote!

I'm not saying everyone is going to go out and live in a van - that would be ridiculous. Hear me out:
  • The microhouse/loft trend seems to be gaining traction. The sheer economical strain home ownership and maintenance puts on people would alone cause this...however, combine that with:
  • The mobile employment.  Video conferencing has been around forever - however only recently has it been painless. Similarly mobile work is now similarly easy. Free wifi is abundant, cellular data is fast enough not to be a hindrance...not to mention it's coverage is expanding. This opens up living more remotely - without being a total technological hermit. Suddenly a 'cheap' lot out in the sticks or small island isn't so unappealing. The more people do this, the more services will adapt making it easier.
    Someone once said to me "Work where you live, not live where you work" - it had a profound effect on my attitude towards careers (both my "first choice careers" would have posted me where ever they chose).
  • Realization that the "American Dream" is a little flawed. House in the suburbs, 20+ year career, 2.5 kids - minivan (I have that part!).  I think the materialistic attitudes are shifting as cost of living goes up - not everyone is cool with accruing massive debt.  To boot, careers aren't as stable - so long term financial planning is a little trickier. I've started to hear from my square (for lack of a better word) friends how they are realizing living - more focused - has it benefits (I refrain from using 'simpler' or' 'frugal' here, as that doesn't need to be the point). Hear me out:
People generally have a set image of how their lives should turn out. I know I did - from grade 8, I aimed to become a pilot in the CAF. I figured I would be married around 24, have a degree, buy a house, have kids etc - even down to having a Jeep (not sure why, I guess I thought they were cool). In retrospect, it was more or less what my parents did. It was only after my release from the forces and bouncing around for a while, did I realized this wasn't going to happen - and that I needed to start looking at alternatives.

Whether or not I actually diverge from the standard path permanent is yet to be seen - it would be ironic if I end up with a white picket fence. One limiting factor is romantic partners - I know my ex had a hard time wrapping her mind around a microhouse - as it didn't fit her schema of the future. You know what they say "Women! You can't live without them - you can't live with a van".

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