Living content in a small space for an extended time is the goal for those who pursue van life. It takes some work to achieve this goal when sharing the space with others. We have the best experiences when we have a positive attitude and we go with the flow.
Like the Person You’re With
Many people are curious about our van Alice. When we are on the road, it’s not unusual for someone we don’t know to approach us and ask questions about our sprinter van. Common questions include what the interior looks like or how many miles per gallon we get when driving.
These conversations about Alice generally lead to other questions about our lifestyle and routines in the van. At some point during the discussion, I will often tell them it’s important to like the person you are traveling with.
I know this is obvious but it’s also savory advice. When we travel in our van, we are together all the time. There is very little “me” time for either of us. Whether we are happy or upset, our emotions are always on display for the other person.
It Works Best to Be a Giver
When one of us needs to move from one end of the van to the other, we often ask our travel mate to move aside to let us by. The phrases, “Excuse me” and “Thank you” are in our daily vocabulary often.
Other times, we just ask each other for a favor like, “Can you hand me my shoes?” or “Do you mind putting this away for me?” These requests are generally about proximity and working together as a team rather than being independent individuals. When living in small spaces, we have learned we are more efficent and happier if we work together as a unit.
When living in a small space with someone, there is no room for selfishness.
In contrast, if we are at home in a more spacious enviroment, we are both more independent. Asking our partner to get our shoes for us as an example is less common. If it did happen, there is a strong possibilty the answer back would be, “get them yourself!”
Focus on What is Important
One of the things I like most about van life and living content in a small space is the simplisity of it all. We are in a survival mode mentally when we are in our van. This state of mind is not a feeling of danger or doom. Rather, an ongoing assessment of how we are doing and what we need each day. Do we have enough water? How is our food supply? Where will we sleep tonight?
Once we determine if we are low on water as an example, we decide to either ration our useage or decide how to replenish. Either way, once we feel good about our situation we forget about it and find something fun to do.
Spend Time Outside
The van life experience isn’t about hanging out in the van all day. On the contrary, the point of living in the van is to be in the outdoors as much as possible. For us, the amount of time we spend sitting or laying inside Alice is a small percentage of our daily routine.
Our best advice for living content in a small space is to be smart with your storage, be strategic with the gear you bring, be kind to your travel mate, and spend the majority of your time outside enjoying nature!