The travel trend that piqued my interest in 2020 was van life. Until then, I had never heard of the concept of people living out of their vans for fun. However, after a friend introduced me to the lifestyle, I soon found myself going down a Pinterest rabbit hole as I searched the hashtag #vanlife across social media.

Van life incorporated everything I love; decor, the outdoors, and the freedom to work and travel unconventionally. However, scrolling through photos and videos of unique vans equipped with TVs, a kitchen and shower, and all the amenities needed wasn’t enough. I wanted to test out the lifestyle for real.

New Year’s Eve was nearing, and I didn’t have any plans, so at the last minute, I booked a van to test out what it took to make this lifestyle a reality. I booked the van through Outdoorsy, a site with a similar setup as Airbnb. Over the New Year’s holiday, I traveled with my friend from LA to Malibu.

Here’s what the adventure taught me about life on the road.

Live outside of your comfort zone

Living in a van for the first time was definitely outside my comfort zone. I worried about the hot water, the small space, and exactly what I would do to entertain myself all day. Growth in life happens outside of our comfort zone. Living in the van for the weekend showed me the power of being spontaneous and how not to take life so seriously. 

Embrace minimalism

A lot of our confidence is rooted in the things we have or our titles. Detaching myself from all of my stuff to embrace van life showed me that I don’t genuinely need half of the things that occupy my life and space. I had just enough for each day, and I never lacked anything. Experimenting with van life helped kickstart my minimalist journey. 

Do it afraid

 As someone who is used to staying in gorgeous boutique hotels with a thoroughly planned itinerary before each trip, I feared the van life experience wouldn’t meet my expectations. However, throughout my travels, I’ve learned to pack the fear in my suitcase and bring it along for the ride. Allowing my fear of not controlling my decisions helps me build confidence in trusting myself. 

Related: This Black Woman Tried Van Life And Says It’s Just “Glorified Homelessness”