Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions
This Black Woman Tried Van Life And Says It's Just "Glorified Homelessness"
Thirty-three-year-old Natasha Scott of Atlanta used to daydream of living the nomadic life. Like many of us, she watched others on social media ditch their homes and take on van life. She never expected the simple life of fun and adventure living in her vehicle would be akin to homelessness.
According to Fortune, Scott was employed as a pilot recruiter and also running her own small business on the side when she finally decided to give van life a try. Receiving a notice that her rent would soon be going up was the push she needed. She purchased an unconverted van using $5,000 from her savings and set out to live as a nomad.
Not all it’s cracked up to be
However, it didn’t take long for Scott to discover the lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Gas was expensive and her van frequently needed things fixed. On top of that, she found that it was quite lonely out there on the road. She started chronicling her struggles on TikTok, on her page @nomadgonewrong. (It has since been renamed to @nomadgoneright.)
Scott was soon laid off from her job and had to rely on freelance work to get by. Without a reliable source of income, van life became even more challenging. With inflation, food and gas began to cost more. The renovations she was still doing to the van became more expensive also.
“Van life is harder than what it seems like in videos. It’s harder than I would have ever thought, honestly,” Scott told Fortune. “If you do try to cut back on finances, you’re just eating junk.”
Van life influencers often paint a different picture
Scott says social media fails to show the real struggles of van life, such as living off of gas station food, having to find places to shower and use the bathroom, and dealing with extreme weather.
Soon, homeless people began asking Scott if she needed help, leading her to a realization: “Outside of social media, no one saw it as van life—they saw it as homelessness.”
For those considering giving van life a try, she recommends doing your research beforehand so you’re fully aware of what you’re signing up for. She says to give it a three-week trial before committing to see how you feel about it after the “honeymoon” phase.
Scott continues to share the realities of her experience, as she believes it is important to show the complete picture. After losing a lot of money in the process and experiencing what many viewed as homelessness, she has left van life behind. She is currently staying in a hostel while saving to be able to move into an apartment. She would also like to go back to school and get a job in a more stable field of work.
Related: Noami and Dustin Grevemberg Encourage BIPOC: You Don’t Need A Van To Start Vanlife