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Is Van Life for me? Part 1: The plan

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Where does the time go? Since renting the van, being the week before xmas, I have been flat out shopping and getting ready for the holiday season. My deepest apologies for the delay in writing this blog... It has been a very busy week!


Early in 2022 I was contemplating a serious lifestyle change from the hum drum life work/house/sleep repeat, to the lifestyle of the freedom of the road with retirement & full time Van life. Like anyone contemplating Van Life, I researched, watched lots, and I mean lots of Van Life YouTubers from all over the world, and planned. Could I ? Can I ? Should I ?


To help with making such a massive decision I decided to hire a Van to "test out" Van life and see how I would manage on my own for a week. Travelling alone was not new to me. For most of my life I have been a solo traveller, so that part of the test was not a problem, it was more could I live in a confined space for a week? Could I ration the water? Could I manage to live in a van?


Unfortunately when the original booking was only a few weeks away I got Covid and I had to postpone my trip until the next earliest vacancy to suite myself and the owner, which happened to be the first week of the December school holidays. In the mean time I did everything I could to research and plan for a massive change in lifestyle. Many things contributed to my lean towards the change in lifestyle.

My Job: Being a teacher over the last few years had been extremely demanding and very stressful,

more so than any other year. More so than the public know about. The pressure of expectations and the lack of resources to meet those expectations will take a toll on any teacher, especially one already struggling with her health and stress levels. Could I keep going for the next 8 years like this? Even though I love teaching. The answer was a huge NO. I did not want the 'job' to kill me. It had come close over the last few years and no job is worth that.

My House: Over the years due to declining health issues, I was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain my house by myself and also, with health issues, some days I could not work, which affected my income, which affected my ability to pay the bills. The house also needs a lot of maintenance which I am unable to do alone, nor am I able to afford someone to fix it for me. A house has the same bills even if you have one, two, three or four incomes. It needs to be maintained. This house to me, is no longer a home, it is four walls and a roof, that is an expensive burden, ball and chain that I can not afford and I haven't been able to afford for many years now.

My Health: Over that last few years my health has declined, I will explain more in a My personal journey blog. Anyway, the health issues have affected my mobility, my ability to work and I am in pain everyday. I can no longer walk very far, climb steps or ladders or go down. Stress was a trigger for debilitating attacks where I could not even move let alone walk.


Who? What? Where? When? How? & Why? (Sorry it is the teacher in me)

The Why?

When it came down to it I did not have a choice. Every year my health was getting worse. My stress levels and anxiety levels were getting higher. If I didn't change something or every thing, I would not survive. I know that sounds dramatic but that was exactly where my mindset was at. My government retirement age is 67. If I keep going the way I was going I honestly do not believe that I would make it to 67.


The When?

This is when I started to think about what I could do. I had a notification from my superannuation that at the age of 58 I could access my superannuation. Looking into it further I did find out, yes, I could access it at 58, however, If I did before I turned 60 I would be taxed 15% of the amount taken out. A 60, I could claim my Superannuation and not be taxed, I could take early retirement and claim my dwindling superannuation. So with that knowledge, I had a date/ year to work towards.


The How?

I bought a book and started researching and finding out the costs of a Motorhome and the costs of living in one full time. I calculated on the average growth of my superannuation and calculated if I could afford to do it. Because I was late to teaching my super is not very big, and I needed to use about 1/2 for a Motorhome. Every time some new happened or something can up that affected my super I needed to crunch the numbers again and again. Covid hit and the price of Motorhomes jumped up in price, for example before covid you could buy a new 4 berth Motorhome for around $140,000 to $160,000, now you can not even buy a 2 berth for under $200,000. Motorhomes became out of my price range, especially as my super was decreasing not increasing. I took all the information I had and planed the how. I crunched the numbers over and over again, and put a plan in place. The plan changed and evolved as the world changed. I looked at my different ways to make it happen and many different vehicles. My plan, from working to Retirement and Freedom. Originally I could buy a Motorhome and Retire completely. Now the plan is to buy a new Motorhome/Van and I will still need some sort of part time income to make it easy. I will explain more in My Personal Blog.


Who? Myself, Kahra & Nahla.

What? Retirement to Freedom.

Where? Australia

When? 2024.

How? Buying a Van & selling the house.

Why? Because my life depended on it!


Once I accepted the plan, and believed in my heart and soul that I could do this, there was now a light at the end dark tunnel I had been in and it gave me a goal and purpose again. It was like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It gave me a way out. It gave me a way to totally change my life for the better. Is the next year going to be scary... Yes, but well worth it.


Is Van life for Me? Part 2 ...


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Disclaimer

This blog is intended as an information only. Any opinions given are not meant to upset or insult anyone. Information given is correct at the time of publishing but may change at any time. Travel Adventures Australia or the author in no way accepts responsibility and/or liability for the facilities, actions and services of individual operators mentioned in this blog. In no way does Travel Adventures Australia or the Author endorse any specific venue.

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