Jasmine Wilson makes more than $300,000 a year and could probably afford any home she wants, but decided living in a van was best. The 28-year-old is not only defying stereotypes in the tech world as a woman of color working as a product designer. She’s proving that everyone who lives in a vehicle is not doing it because they can’t afford rent or a mortgage   

“Some people just want the experiences and that’s what I’m here for,” Wilson told Travel Noire. “I’m comfortable in this space.” 

Her comfort comes from an epiphany she had a while back, pre-pandemic, when she realized that she stayed in one room in her entire three-bedroom home. 

“I was in a three-bedroom house, just me and my dog. I was buying things to fill up space, but I was also not utilizing the space. I’d never used my living room, for example, and the Christmas tree was up all year.”

At the onset of the pandemic, Wilson decided to embark on an experience she always wanted to do: live life on the road, by living in a van.  Wilson says she was inspired by her upbringing. 

Black Woman Living In Van
Photo Credit: Jasmine Wilson

“When I was younger, we lived in Michigan. My grandma and my aunt, at some point, moved to California and Arizona, so we would take road trips across the country,” she said. “My mom would be the only one driving her SUV, and we would drive across the country every year to just hang out. That was probably one of my favorite parts of my childhood.”

But then life happened and the road trips weren’t as frequent until Wilson got the news that her grandmother was dying. She dropped everything to get back to her.

“I was in San Francisco, and she was in Michigan. I literally dropped everything and the next day I drove in my car almost 36 hours to Michigan. That was the most memorable drive I’ve ever had, obviously, because of the destination as I was trying to get there before she had passed, which I did. But also, I had time to think. At that moment, even though there was so much going on, I felt so clear-minded.”

That drive reignited a passion and shortly after, she gave up her three-bedroom home for living in a van. 

“I tell people every single day this is the best decision I’ve ever made because people can genuinely tell I’m much happier,” said Wilson. “This past weekend I drove through five states and my friends asked, ‘How are you still going?’ For me, it’s been freeing.” 


She admits that she learned everything about “van life” on YouTube but cautions people to start the same journey to stay true to themselves. 

“There are a lot of ways to do van life, and it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole on YouTube. I didn’t do exactly what those people did because it’s my van and I did what was needed.  I don’t have a traditional kitchen because I don’t cook. I have a portable sink that I pull out, so I don’t have to deal with dirty water.” 

Wilson says there are some ways to make van life cheap, including purchasing an RV campground pass, priced at about $615 a year when it comes to costs. This will allow you to park at more than 190 campground locations two weeks at a time. 

The other cost to consider is gas. Wilson says costs while living in a vehicle will cost you as much or as little as you plan to be on the road.

You can follow her journey and reach out to her on Instagram and YouTube.