We Tried to Do Vanlife Right. It Broke Us Down.

Shortly before I got married, my sister rented an RV and we spent a couple weeks driving around Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon. We had no particular agenda, other than to drive around and have a sibling road trip. It was so relaxing. Great memories.

My wife likes to plan things out, so “driving around looking at stuff” was never something we did on family outings. There were times during our homeschooling adventure, often when I was doing some tedious chore like mowing the lawn, when I fantasized about selling the house, getting a houseboat, quitting my academic job, and starting a new life as “Boatschool Blogger.”

I never put any serious thought into it, though. (Well, beyond checking whether “boatschoolblogger.com” was available, which it is.)

Here is the story of one young couple that tried vanlife together, and learned unexpected lessons about privilege and stability.

We rode the roller coaster together. Two days would feel like heaven, the third, hell. Simple miscommunications over nothing exploded into bruising fights. Worst of all were the days when one or both of us felt crummy for no reason at all while we were supposed to be enjoying some massive natural wonder, getting the gloomies while driving through pristine Montana countryside, feeling blue while soaking up rays on a beach in San Diego. This was entirely out of character. We teetered on the edge of paranoia. Things were supposed to be perfect. What was wrong with us?  —Outside Online

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