SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Would you give up your house or apartment for a more mobile lifestyle? It’s a trend that’s getting more and more popular as people with good jobs are choosing to live in vans and school buses.
News 8’s Kelly Hessedal explains the “van life” phenomenon in this Your Stories Report.
News 8 has done stories on tiny homes, people living in decked out RVs, but living in vans or even school buses has become the next big movement.
Young people who are educated and have good jobs are saying “goodbye” to the mortgage or rent payment and saying “hello” to the freedom of the open road.
Hannah Uhll, Chevy McClellan and their dog Tex traded in their apartment life for van life.
"We’ve made this decision, it wasn't something we had to do,” said Hannah.
"Somehow I convinced Hannah to do it,” said Chevy. “Now I think she would say it’s one of the best decisions she’s made.”
They pair are part of a growing community on social media documenting their journey. In fact, the #vanlife hashtag has more than 4.5-million posts on Instagram.
"Because of social media you’re able to see it’s possible for people just like you,” said Hannah.
Some of the vans seen online have been converted into beautiful modern living spaces.
Many of the people who choose to live this way are young people like Hannah and Chevy.
"I went to college for four years, I have my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I’m starting my own business as a women’s health and fertility coach,” said Hannah.
Chevy is a carpenter-welder.
"If you can work the same job and live in a van, your cost of living is drastically reduced,” said Chevy.
There are also “van life” meetups that draw hundreds of people from across the country.
But if you think the amount of space inside a van isn't enough, there's also “bus life.”
“We wanted to make it as homey as possible,” said Chase Green from Nashville, Tennessee who lives in a 40-foot school bus with his fiancée and dogs, and they travel across the country.
"I thought it was crazy myself before I saw the conversions,” said Chase. “I thought no way there’s no way anyone would want to live on a school bus."
Chase is also young and educated.
"I had the education, I had the career, I had worked for a company for 10 years,” he said.
He says finding a place to park a school bus is more challenging than a van, but he says the freedom he has now is incredible.
"We can truly put our intention and our focus into things that we want as opposed to going to our jobs and coming home living for the weekend,” said Chase. The issue of bathrooms comes up a lot.
In their van, Hannah and Chevy have a composting toilet that slides out and slides back into place.
A van like the ones in this story can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $250,000.