As I sit here drinking a camp cup filled with red wine, alone, I am left to contemplate vanlife as a single individual. Tonight I spent a couple of hours with my vanfriend Amy, with whom I am doing some work with down here in San Juan Capistrano. The topic of love and relationships was the main course tonight, and we delved into it fairly deep.
Her and I have different problems, but in some ways similar ones. She is dating a guy back in Oregon and is dealing with what life on the road means for a relationship. I am dealing with what it means to be single out on the road – which is really what this blog article is about.
I have been asked, more than a couple times, about how I deal with being alone out here on the road. In all honesty, I will admit it is not my preference. I would much more prefer to have a partner in crime in these travels. That being said, finding love when constantly on the move, and furthermore, when living in a van, really narrows the dating pool.
So what does one do? First, clearly, one sits around drinking some wine and contemplates their life choices. Two, one realizes that they are enough. YOU are enough. Yes, would it be nice to have someone else along for the adventure? Sure, but they are not, and should not, be a requirement. A significant other should be a bonus feature of your life, not the reason for it.
There are times of loneliness out on the road, just as there is when one lives in a house. We are simple beings, beings that need human contact and interaction. I am, generally speaking, an introvert. Being out the road is challenging for a person who, for the most part, really doesn’t want to meet new people. Out here, that simply is not an option. If one doesn’t interact with others, I honestly believe you will go insane – at the very least have long conversations with one’s dog; I haven’t gotten there yet, give me time.
In the past month I have met multiple couples who have been traveling in a van together for long periods of time. Part of me was blown away at the idea of sharing such a small space with another person for such a long time. I think that is how you know you found “the one” though. If you find a person who can live in 75 ft2, for more than a week, then you have found true love.
So, if you are single and thinking that finding a partner is difficult, just think about what it would be like to be single and living in a van. See, it’s all comparative. So you, like me, needs to get on with it and realize that if you are doing what you love, love will find you… hopefully 😉
Yep. I’m single, mid-thirties, active, and HAVE FOUR KIDS. Trying to get someone to sign up for that is pretty much out of the question at this point. So maybe a retirement relationship will be in my future, otherwise just going to try to be as badass as one can with four kiddos. 🙂 Good luck!
That’s all one can really do, it is truly all that is within one’s control – to do you, and to do you the badass as possible. Thanks for reading!
I know your not trying to get a problem fixed here…but maybe you could schedule a week every month or 2 with a friend or a family member and take them on an adventure with you? Put it out there in advance so people can plan it and you have something to look forward too.
Speaking of…we should pick some dates for the PCT hike!
I think being single on the road gives you a wonderful chance to connect with life and the universe. And a true connection with the universe is the cure for all loniness. Then when you meet a mirror partner there isn’t a dependency with pressures and expectations, you both can be free and connected…
Kevin, I definitely agree that being single out on the road allows you to experience this world in a different way. I think if someone were with me on this journey I wouldn’t have this motivation to seek out new people to talk to. It also makes for long days of quiet introspection, with no concerns about neglecting another persons needs. That being said, I think having someone to share your experiences and love of nature with is incredibly rewarding. That doesn’t have to be a partner though, it could be the people you meet along the way.
As a massage therapist, I treasure great conversation with many of my clients. Thought provoking and intimate conversations. I would always seek that in an effort to view things from many perspectives. Also totally agree, that if you are doing what you love and enjoy, you will eventually meet like minded people doing the same thing……
Hi Liz, thank you. Truly, talking with strangers and hearing their views on life, whatever that may include or mean, is a great way to better understand the world. We tend to seek out material that supports our existing viewpoints, so to meet other people and hear theirs can be an amazing opportunity to reflect on your beliefs, and to maybe have your challenged or changed.
This is a great article! I get asked so many times why I’ve not settled down and a big part of it is looking for a companion that likes the idea of living in a small space and traveling. I have a hard time finding men who have similar views on life. You just have to be you until you find your tribe of like minded people
Thank you. Yes, 100%, being you and connecting with your tribe is the only way. Luckily, the vanlife and tinyhouse movement has a pretty well connected network, so the opportunities to meet people with similar lifestyles and dreams is now easier than ever before.
Having just returned from the edge of eternity (near death experience) all we have is today. We needn’t bemoan what isn’t, but instead embrace what is! Thanks for sharing a well-written piece!
Hi Steve, thanks for reading it and thank you for the kind words. We are all one mistake away from death, I was thinking about it on my drive down from Capistrano to Del Mar today. If one person lapses in attention, or checks their phone, or a tire blows out, or whatever, it could be the end of my life, and or theirs. When you realize that at any moment your life could unexpectedly end, you really start to think a little different about what matters. Thank you for sharing your lesson.
One of the questions I feel we have to answer is “why”… Are we traveling “to” or traveling “from”. IOW, are we out there because we’re looking to explore our world, or did we hit the road because where we left was so unsatisfying. Answering that has profound implications in how we travel and interact with others. Over the years, I’ve met people traveling for both reasons (and been one too.)
Hi Roger, I could not agree more. I wrote a blog some weeks ago about wanting, and at the end my realization was that the difference lies in the why. The difference between being a positive and a negative. Thanks for sharing your experience!
At the end of May I begin traveling and one of the challenges I was worried about was being single. I love that you mentioned you’re an introvert who really doesn’t want to meet people but you kind of have to when you’re traveling. I’m now more excited to be challenged to get out of my comfort zone and meet people who share my same interest!
Hi Lauryn, thanks for reading and welcome to the van life! The road ahead will surely challenge you, but I truly believe it all will be for the best. Congrats on taking the plunge and going for it!
Are you still traveling? I am planning on hitting the road soon! After the Florida Keys. I am thinking about heading to the west coast. Your blog inspires me to just do it.. I think about how wonderful it will be to find that opposite sex travel companion too. Especially after you experienced it once. You tend to long for it again. So after a few years of taking time off I am ready to see what the world has to share with me on this photo adventure.
Hey! I am not currently traveling, but am currently living in the van. I miss the road though, and definitely could see myself going back out for a while.
Hi, r u still looking for a partner?
Hi Jessica! Thank you for reaching out. Oddly, this is one of two messages I have received about this of late. I am currently stationary, and in a relationship, but I think you have the right idea. Seems like simply reaching out to others that are interested in this lifestyle is a great way to potentially find someone interested in joining you on this adventure. Are you currently out there living the “vanlife” or just wanting to?
I am , and planning to travel with my Camper.
Hi, I’d really like starting a conversation about van life, traveling, tiny house stuff. What do you think about all of these things?
I’ll come live in a van with you. ?
Don’t think I’m serious? Try me.
Hey Jalissa! Currently living in a tiny house/ADU I built in PDX. Definitely been thinking a lot about going back out on the road though. Currently building out the new van for long term travel. Where are you currently traveling?
Will You live with me in my Camper and travel?
I liked the part “you are Enough” and ” others should be a bonus feature of your life not a reason for it”
Im dreaming a van life two years now but worry to be alone out there even in crete that im from its ok to live ouside.
But its even hard for me to find a SIMPLE person to like simple life.
I start living with no power electricity in the house and i find other solutions and the same with water cause i dont have a van yet put i like the style of having the basics and not always with the easy way..
I swim at winter also for bath..
At home im minimalist “empty” for others eyes..
But “enough” for my eyes..
And also vegeterian
strange for others ears too..
So at the beginning i felt alone for no one being like me (as a lifestyle)
But its ok because most of people have some difficult experience and end up in this point and to this chooses that other havent and cant understant and its difficult to find persons like them here in greece .
In two years i only met one couple that do van life with their dogs and i was so jelous but i was so happy for them ..
The point for me is….
Being free to be your self as you like to be
is what will make you happy anyway and thats the point to live a happy life alone or not.
Thanks for reading and for taking the time to write out that comment. It is true, finding someone that is interested in sharing a lifestyle such as this seem few and far between. But, they are out there. I think the best thing to do, in regards to living in a van as well as anything else in life, is to just go do it alone. Do if for you. In doing so, I believe you will find those people who want to join you on your journey. I hope that not having someone to start it with doesn’t keep you from starting at all.
Someone needs to create a tinder for van life people.
Ha, most definitely. I think it may already exist and goes by the title Instagram. 😉
Thank You Ronald For posting this ,
I’m Currently planning to travel and live in my truck Camper which is a little bigger than a Van I used to Have and looking for a partner to share this experience with but like you said things should happen naturally
Hey bro, not trying to step on your toes. I agree with the difficulties with finding a partner and the solitude of being alone.
You mention to a young lady about reaching out being one of the few ways to connect.
Just seeing if anyone’s if anyone’s in the Texas area reading this young man’s article who may want to coukout sometime.