“Living in a van, I can make money, be an artist, and travel three continents,” says Nathan Murphy, an accomplished amateur rock climber from Cornwall in the UK, who has spent the past two years fitting out and then travelling in his Ford Transit.
With the number of van conversions and purpose built motor homes at an all time high, what used to be a tiny subculture is going mainstream. The mobile life is no longer seen as a family vacation option. Improved technology, better camping gear, mobile phones and the internet mean it just as viable long term as owning a bricks and mortar home.
We have written about Nathan before, but recently he was featured in The Sun newspaper, and that was a reminder at how mainstream the lifestyle has become.
These days, retirees and students are just as likely to be buying a recreational vehicle if they can afford it, or converting a small van if they are on a budget. From snowbirds (the retirement generation seeking the sun) to snowflakes (as thin-skinned millennials are sometimes known) there is a growing realisation that a McMansion has too many overheads that eat into your freedom.Van living is a way to “make your life cheaper so you can do more with less.”
“Why engage in a system that is broken?” says Nate in an interview on the off-grid youtube channel. “I just don’t want to waste my entire life paying the bank interest.” There is a housing crisis affecting the generation that are leaving college now – because not enough homes are being built, and scarcity is keeping prices too high. “More and more people are choosing a different option,” says Nathan. “There are hundreds of thousands of people across Europe looking at alternatives – tiny homes, off-grid, van living. Its a huge trend.”
He was brought up in a big old house in Cornwall that needed constant works – which gave him the skills he uses van living.
“I can do a huge amount for very little money,and my rent is zero. I can do so many things that most people don’t dare to do – I just want to show people they can do it all,” by reducing their living costs to nearly zero, meaning they no longer need to be wage slaves.