At the end of March, I pushed past feelings of anxiety and clicked ‘book’ on a one-way ticket from Manchester UK to Tijuana, Mexico. Since then my days have been filled with planning, excitement, and a generous helping of fear. Come August 16th, I’ll be packing my life into two holdalls and heading out to live vanlife in Mexico for the foreseeable future. I’ve previously lived in my van in California for four months, so I know what to expect when it comes to tiny house living–but Mexico is daunting.
When I first decided that I wanted to live and travel full-time in a van, I had to overcome a lot of confusion and judgment from others. Most people agree that #vanlife on Instagram looks like a dream, but when someone they know decides to do it, it’s a whole different story. So, in case you’re one of the many people wondering why anyone would give up the comfort of a bathroom, here is why I can’t wait to move back into my van.
It’s pretty obvious that when you live in a moving home there’s a lot of freedom. I can change the location of my house every single night. I can wake up by the beach one day and in the middle of downtown the next. I have the freedom to stay in one place for weeks or move on after a few hours. For someone who gets bored easily, this is ideal.
Then there is the more subtle kind of freedom. Freedom from the constraints of society. It feels so liberating to be living such an unconventional life. It fills me up with so much excitement and confidence that I feel totally unstoppable in the van. If I haven’t shaved my armpits for a couple of weeks, I don’t care. I’m living wild and free and that overtakes a lot of my usual self-consciousness.
While living vanlife in Mexico, I’m expecting this feeling of freedom to increase even more. On the Baja peninsula, there are secluded beaches where I can shower in paradise, skinny dip and be totally free. There is so much to explore that I’ll stumble upon experiences without much planning.
Vanlife in Mexico means I’ll save money
Like most people, I hate spending money on things like rent and electricity bills. I’d much rather spend money on experiences. Living in the van, I get all of my electricity from the sun, I use water very sparingly, and in the past, all of my dishwater has been free. And obviously, rent is non-existent most of the time.
While living in California, my grocery bill was always anxiety-inducing. This is because I love buying fresh produce and tropical fruits like mango and papaya. My decision to live vanlife in Mexico was partly driven by the knowledge that all of my favorite foods are going to be far cheaper.
Life is always better when you’re saving money right?
Doing my bit for the environment
I’m incredibly passionate about being eco-friendly. Being vegan is already very beneficial for the environment, but living in my van increases that even more. I still use gas to get around but not really any more so than if I lived in a house. On top of that, my utility usage is pretty eco-friendly as well. As I mentioned before, all of my electric power comes from a solar panel, and I am very conscious of how much water I use. In this new chapter of vanlife, I am also trying my absolute best to be as zero-waste as possible. While being in the van, I am able to reduce my impact on the environment and live my dream life at the same time.
Meet new people and open my mind
When traveling through Mexico, I want to be as emersed in the culture as much as possible. Being from England, we don’t have too many horror stories about Mexico, but after spending a lot of time in the US, I’ve heard my fair share of people telling me how dangerous it is. I’m not one to just listen to those who have never stepped foot over the border, and I am a firm believer that most people are trustworthy and kind. I want my time in Mexico to consist of interactions with local people, to hear their stories, and to really uncover the truth about Mexico.
To inspire everyone to follow their dreams
The life I am striving for is not part of society’s plan for me. I was supposed to graduate and then get a big girl job in the city, but instead, I do freelance work online making minimum wage. It’s been a struggle filled with tears and determination. Achieving my dream life did not come easy. It’s hard work and there are still so many obstacles to overcome, but I know it is worth it. I document my lifestyle not to show off but to inspire others. I’m not special–I just went for it with all I had, and I didn’t stop when people told me it was stupid or the going got tough.
No matter what your dream life is, it is not silly or unachievable. Give it everything you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. It is totally worth it to live a life filled with happiness and no regrets.
If you want to follow along with my vanlife in Mexico journey head to @routetothesoul on Instagram.
What big dreams are you working toward?
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