van life

All photos: courtesy of Vanderlust

What if the #vanlife trend was more than it looks? More than dreamy Instagram shots, more than pretty blog posts, more than exciting YouTube videos? And what if the #vanlife trend was actually a result of the Quarter Life Crisis?

The Quarter Life Crisis, a one-way ticket to #vanlife

20-30 year-olds are so-called “millennials,” a generation trying to change the rules, the work approach, and the planet in general: we want to do it our own way. We don’t want to sacrifice our personal life for a big career, we don’t want to have a mortgage for the next 40 years of our life, and we don’t want to embrace the old model our parents or grandparents followed.

But still, we are not quite sure of what we want.

What do I really want?

Or, in other words, the Quarter Life Crisis.

And it seems like the best answer looks like: “I don’t know what I want but I will find out while traveling.” Or so we think.

The Quarter Life Crisis sounds like a smart term to describe very common and simple symptoms: being a bit lost, disappointed by the job realities, wondering what we can do with our lives that would make sense and still align with our values. And as, through growing up, we just feel our life is not matching our expectations, all that we want is new adventures, experiences, and to meet different people. If our life is not good enough for us, let’s go somewhere else, let’s leave.

The phrases, “#vanlifer” or “digital nomad,” are so full of promises that they are becoming the new dream, the new door to happiness and fulfillment. We hope traveling will bring us everything on a silver platter. In theory, it sounds like a brilliant idea.

And then all the sudden, here we are starting our #vanlife. Goodbye former life. Let’s go and find our truth somewhere else. Well, we bought a van, but others will buy an around-the-world plane ticket or take their computer to Bali.

And of course, traveling is amazing. Of course, all the dreamy Instagram shots, the pretty blog posts, and the exciting YouTube videos are happening. It is wonderful, we are having the time of our life: this is an incredible experience, maybe even a once in a lifetime adventure.

Is #vanlife really the answer to our crisis?

But as a surprise, (is it really a surprise?) we’ve realized that just as in real life, sometimes, while traveling, we still wonder what we will do with our life.

Without even noticing it, it is happening again. The same questions, the same doubts, the same uncertainties. They are all back. After the euphoria of the beginning, there is some space again for our brain to freely mess with our thoughts. Back to square one.

That is because living the #vanlife cannot answer all of our questions and problems. Just because we go somewhere else does not mean that we get to leave our problems on the doorstep. Chances are that our former problems were not all external: they probably had little to do with our jobs, with our bosses, with the busy tube, or with the bad weather. Chances are wherever we go, the same things will happen again.

So, before blaming the external factors, wouldn’t be a good idea to take a few minutes and to take a good look at ourselves? To understand what we like, who we are, and what makes us deeply happy?

Getting to know ourselves while living the #vanlife

And that is why embracing the #vanlife is amazing; because it has forced us to realize our questions will follow us wherever we go. We understand that our former environment was not fully responsible for our Quarter Life Crisis and now we are ready for the best journey of our life. Through putting ourselves in uncomfortable and challenging situations, travel is pushing us to go to a point where we cannot ignore what we have deep inside.

The show must go on!

We are growing faster and stronger than in any routine life. The #vanlife is a life accelerator, a game changer. There is no way we can come back the same way as when we left. We are getting to know ourselves and we are working hard to get what we want. Trying to be ready to retire from our wonderful #vanlife when the day will come.

Because, in most cases, traveling is only a transition. I don’t think I will spend my whole life in a van! At some point, I will come back to “real life.” And a bit like waking up from a dream, I will have to face the reality … but reality is better with this dreamy taste. Because I can be sure that all the experiences I am having while traveling will help me in my future life. A life I am creating for myself that will fit my expectations and my needs.

There will probably be more and more “#vanlife” Instagramers and I am actually looking forward to that. Because, by wandering, by looking for something else, by challenging ourselves, I do believe that we are becoming better individuals. It does not have to be with a van, we all have our own ways to deal with our internal crisis. But day after day, I am surprised to receive so many emails from young adults looking for answers by exploring #vanlife options.

And I would say: Go for it! This is an amazing experience, but it is not a magical recipe to answer all your questions. This is not a runaway option: you will have to face your realities sooner or later.

But what better way to do it than with a van? 🙂

Happy Quarter Life Crisis, Happy #vanlife.

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