NYTimes article - The #Vanlife Business is Booming

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In the "Technology" section of the New York Times July 3, 2020 is this article "The #Vanlife Business is Booming." <--Is it just me or do hyperlinks not really look like links here in OB Forums?

It's Interesting read, even if it is about Sprinter vans ;) and has a small bit about how "the Hipsters are coming!" The article doesn't go into depth on issues arising from stealth camping and beach town parking problems. It doesn't offer any tips on finding good stealth camping spots, if that's your thing. I was intrigued by the conclusion where the author suggests that vanlife parks are coming that won't be like the stodgy RV parks, but will have a more youthful vibe and business centers to help out with the "work from home" gigs we're going to stuck with for a while.

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Yeah...I saw that.

In general, it's a piece written by someone who is fantasizing about vanlife with no actual experience in vanlife, writing about others with big plans for their yet-to-be-delivered high-top van, or who have just started a vanmod or upfitting company. Not a lot of real experience quoted from folks who have been working off-grid for ages in vans.

It's not a new thing, not a new trend, though I suspect more folks will get into vanlife because of the suffering economy, having lost a place to live, or their job, etc. I suspect, too, we'll see almost as many quit the vanlife within months and that, like 'overlanding,' we will see a lot of great used gear up for sale cheap.

Having been a vanlifer going back several decades, in all sorts of vehicles from VW bus to diesel cargo vans and all over North America from the Maritime provinces of Canada to southern California and the entire Mexican border, I can say with all sincerity there is a lot of disillusionment that happens once folks actually get out and see what life on the road is like.

I often get emails seeking advice from folks in their vans with things like "How do you do it? We've been out here two weeks and the weather has us on our knees!"

The fantasy rarely matches reality.

Not many actually make it for very long out here, though pepper social media with the high points, similarly posed images (standing on roof, or feet in view looking out the back door) as if that's the way their whole time on the road is/was. And, usually, a ton of bad information in how-tos on everything from solar power to battery banks to build-outs. 2x4s have NO place in van interior construction, for example, and Reflectix is NOT meant to be glued flat to a surface.

It's the kind of public interest piece that often happens around vanlife, always trying to connect it with whatever is current in the news.

I was disappointed to see the article say it's a blue and red thing; that vanlifers are 'blue' compared to RVers who are 'red' - that's the sort of rhetoric that serves only to further narrow-minded stereotyping of folks who are just out exploring and adventuring. Helps create a divide instead of quoting the guy who says, like I honestly can, "vanlife is the big equalizer; I know people from all walks of life and beliefs who are out here adventuring in their vans."

Again, the author is trying to connect it with current news about political divides. I believe the article suffers because of it.

Glad you linked to it, though - I get the NYT (among other papers) briefing every morning in email and it usually doesn't do much for tech sections.

Stay safe, stay clean, stay healthy!


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