Van Life: Minimalist Living in Sobriety

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By Derek Peters Tree House Staff

For starters, I would like to begin with why I even chose to live in a vehicle. It can seem very strange to one person, and pure genius to another. What attracted me to living out of a vehicle was the freedom — the freedom to see new places, meet like-minded people, and also the freedom to get creative while building myself a home on wheels.

I have spent a few years evaluating why I wanted to explore this lifestyle along with countless hours researching people’s experiences and their own van builds. I soon decided to let go of other peoples’ experiences. Why? Well, I am not them and they are not me (simple as that). Some people would speak of the freedom and others would speak of the agony and loneliness. I didn’t want their words and experiences to taint my own. I wanted to create my own experience, leading me to live a more conscious life.

The attraction of the minimalist lifestyle.

I have never lived a clutter filled or ritzy lifestyle. So letting go of things that i didn’t need or have not used in a few months was easier for me than most. I soon began to notice how it felt when i had less material items. I felt lighter to the stress of if some of my things go missing and also to the need that I must have these material possessions. This experience of lightening my load became contagious, I found myself exploring and asking myself “what else can i get rid of?” The hunt was on. Now I didn’t go overboard with this. I still like my stuff and I wanted to be comfortable. I just didn’t see a purpose in having 30 T-shirts if I only wear 5. This became an eye opener and an encouraging factor to explore different areas in life.

Let the traveling begin.

I have always been interested in road trips, hikes, nature and experiencing new cultures. Before the van I built a bed in the back of my Subaru and when the weekend would be approaching I would pack up the car and hit the road for the weekend, roaming dirt roads and checking out new areas to explore. The vision began to intensify, This lead to the exploration of different types of living. With keeping all options open I soon found my thoughts were leaning more towards the Van dwelling culture and lifestyle. Seemed much more simple and enjoyable in my Eyes. I began to create a plan of action. This involved vehicle research, finances, creature comforts and layout.
Now that I have a home on wheels I am not tied down to one area, If i want to wake up next to the ocean or high in the mountains I can do this and there is not much in my way to stop me. A bit of money began to free up and the excitement is at an all time high, the possibilities are endless. Hitting the road is the idea and that’s where I plan on starting.

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474

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