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Is living in a van the New American Dream? I aim to find out!  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Permies,

I'm working on a new documentary about a topic that's very dear to me. That subject is van life. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s exactly what it sounds like van life (i.e. everything to do with vans). I’m a van fanatic and geek out on everything in this genre. I find vans appealing because they offer easy access to adventure, spontaneity, and freedom in a package that’s affordable. For example, if you own a van and want to go away for the weekend, you can pick up and go without expending a lot of money.

In recent years, vans have seen a big increase in popularity. The reason for this massive spike is anyone’s guess. Major publications such as, The New Yorker, Time, and Vice have their own speculations. In one-way or another they all claim that vans are trending because: "VAN LIFE IS THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM!"

This intrigues me for several reasons:
 
1.) It’s a big bold statement that I automatically want to challenge.
2.) It might be true.

Is van life really the next American dream? I was curious and decided to find out. Last summer, I jumped into my Sprinter van and crisscrossed the entire Western United States (logging over 18,000 miles). I traveled to meet with 40+ key figures within the van community in order to get the inside scoop on whether or not van life is a fleeting trend or here to stay.

Now, I have enough original footage to make one heck of a documentary about the sociology of van life. That's exactly what I aim to do.

At this time, all the hard work is done! Most of the film production budget has been raised, everything has been planned, and all the traveling / filming has commenced. I just need to raise a little bit more money to cover post-production costs.

That's where Kickstarter comes in! I'm pre-selling copies of Van Boom (along with other cool products) on Kickstarter in order to raise the necessary fund to finish my movie.

Check out my project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sergeiboutenko/van-boom-is-van-life-the-new-american-dream?ref=50zhir

You can also watch the Kickstarter video here:


And the film trailer here:


Warmly,

Sergei
 
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Very interesting.

I have reposted this on my group.

https://mewe.com/group/5b6c9a1c191e4a10f8e8d50b


I also suggest post here ->

https://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/


Looks like you have some links to people I did not know existed, I will have to investigate.


Cheers!


 
master steward
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Wow.  What a neat idea.  I can't wait to see the movie.

We have two eurovans.  One is a bit beat up and nearing the end of its life, but we haven't had the heart to send it for scrap yet.  We love it so much we bought a second one.

I've been thinking of taking one of these vans and refitting it for travel.  I would love to be able to go places for classes but travel makes things too expensive.  It would be good practice for me to live with less stuff.  I'm thinking it would also make a good place to sleep after an earthquake because I doubt the house will still be standing.

Looking at some of the new ideas that are coming out for electric vehicles, I wonder... I have this crazy dream of transforming the old van once it finally dies.  The body is still good as they don't salt the roads here.  Could it be transformed into an electric vehicle?  Or maybe there are better options for it?  

I'm looking forward to seeing the film and getting some good ideas.
 
master steward
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Sergei, I've heard that a lot of people are now living in their vans in major metropolitan areas, like Seattle, because renting, let alone buying, a home is so expensive. These people don't use their vans for traveling so much as a place to live. Does your documentary look into the lives of those that stay more stationary in their vans and use them more like apartments and less like traveling homes?
 
raven ranson
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total noob question: can people live in a van in the winter?  Are there ways to heat a van that doesn't involve a lot of fuel?  
 
gardener
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raven ranson wrote:total noob question: can people live in a van in the winter?  Are there ways to heat a van that doesn't involve a lot of fuel?  



Depends on how much you are willing to either heat, or deal with the cold vs how much insulation you have (oh, and where you are geographically.) I lived in a VW bus for 2.5 years, and didn't have a whole lot of problem, although when I was in Michigan, I pretty much never took off my snowmobile suit :) Slept in it too. I think my answer would be "it depends on a lot of factors."  I did have a catalytic heater, but rarely had fuel for it. I carpeted the whole inside, for insulation, and that helped a lot. But other than that...  

There are people who live with even less than I had, and survive, like I said, depends on what you can/will tolerate and still consider it "living." I was also much younger then :D I'd not prefer to do it again, unless I stayed south.

Catalytic heater is safe, but requires some fuel. Candles are not safe. Parking the van in a sheltered are a helps a LOT. Putting a tarp cover over it, with a dead airspace, helps a lot.
 
pollinator
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I'm in a few Living in Your Van facebook groups that are good sources of info. Many people use a Little Buddy propane heater.
 
Sergei Boutenko
pollinator
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denise ra wrote:I'm in a few Living in Your Van facebook groups that are good sources of info. Many people use a Little Buddy propane heater.



I just bought a Mr. Heater propane heater and it's been a game changer. A lot of folks get a diesel heater installed into their vans. Such heaters come from the marine industry (sailing) and are extremely efficient.
 
Sergei Boutenko
pollinator
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Sergei, I've heard that a lot of people are now living in their vans in major metropolitan areas, like Seattle, because renting, let alone buying, a home is so expensive. These people don't use their vans for traveling so much as a place to live. Does your documentary look into the lives of those that stay more stationary in their vans and use them more like apartments and less like traveling homes?



It sure does. In fact, rising cost of housing was my initial hypothesis for why vans are booming again. While this is definitely a big factor in the trend, there is more to the story. I don't want to give away too much just yet though. :-)
 
Sergei Boutenko
pollinator
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raven ranson wrote:Wow.  What a neat idea.  I can't wait to see the movie.

We have two eurovans.  One is a bit beat up and nearing the end of its life, but we haven't had the heart to send it for scrap yet.  We love it so much we bought a second one.

I've been thinking of taking one of these vans and refitting it for travel.  I would love to be able to go places for classes but travel makes things too expensive.  It would be good practice for me to live with less stuff.  I'm thinking it would also make a good place to sleep after an earthquake because I doubt the house will still be standing.

Looking at some of the new ideas that are coming out for electric vehicles, I wonder... I have this crazy dream of transforming the old van once it finally dies.  The body is still good as they don't salt the roads here.  Could it be transformed into an electric vehicle?  Or maybe there are better options for it?  

I'm looking forward to seeing the film and getting some good ideas.



I think you should do it! electric vans are the future. Mercedes is about to launch an eSprinter next year. I know some cats from Ashland, Oregon that are successfully electrifying old VW vans. They call themselves: "Solarrolla." Check it out: webpage
 
garden master
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I have heard of several van livers who rent a unit in storage facility during the winter so they have access to electricity.  They go to work during the day, come home to the unit and pull the van inside.

This probably would not work with units that have on-site managers.

These van livers also use truck stops, etc to take showers.
 
raven ranson
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95% funded!

Well done Sergei!

 
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Useful and fun gifts for a homesteader
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