If you spend time on Instagram, you probably know about #vanlife. A quick search of the hashtag pulls up millions of photos of people living carefree lives in their decked-out camper vans. It looks like paradise, right? Well, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided I wanted to see what van life was all about.
Since I don’t own a camper van, I rented a Volkswagen Westfalia from a place called VanGo Automotive just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. The company essentially furnished a hotel on wheels, so all we had to bring – the four of us who went on the trip — were clothes, food, and some sleeping bags.
During a three-day weekend, we hummed up Interstate 35W toward the great North Shore in Minnesota and loved every minute of it. We drove all the way up to Cascade River State Park but stopped off here and there along the way.
When you command the oversized steering wheel onto the open road you immediately feel connected to an entire generation of adventure seekers. Everything from the adventure to turning heads with our classic VW van was so much fun. However, there was a bit of a learning curve.
Here’s What I Learned About Van Life
Stay tidy, stay sane
Wow does a van with four people get out of control quickly? Make sure that everyone gets into the habit of putting their stuff back inside their bag all the time.
Bring a heavy cooler
Yes, the fridge we had worked great, but we needed a little more room for beer and food.
Take your time
This was truly a situation where it was all about the journey and not the destination. You can hit 70 mph in a Westy, but 60 is so much more enjoyable. Enjoy the back roads and the view.
Sleep wasn’t an issue
We all slept great and thought that there was plenty of room while traveling. The rear seat is set back far enough to where it feels like its own little universe.
Designate a cook
Cooking is best handled by one person, but there is plenty of room for four to hang out and play cards in the evening if it’s raining or too cold outside.
Van life is awesome
By the end of the trip, we all agreed to make van life weekend an annual event.