Living the van life was supposed to be a high, but it felt more like taking the low road.
A woman quit her safe 9-to-5 job to live her dream — but it turned out to be a nightmare.
Allison Sharpe quit her job and gave up her home in California in 2019 to live life on the road.
She lived in her car before buying a Chevrolet Express van, which she thought would be a dream, but came with a whole new set of problems she never thought about.
The travel influencer — who shares her adventures on her account @TravelSnacks on YouTube — admitted what the van life is like as a solo female out on the road.
Sharpe is always looking for new food, scenic places and different adventures across the states, but it’s not as exciting as she thought it would be.
In a video she titled “5 LIES of Van Life Nobody Talks About | Solo Female Living in a Van,” she shared some negative aspects about her new lifestyle — one of which hit her “like a ton of bricks.”
The nomad initially believed that living in a van meant she’d be able to travel anywhere she wanted no matter the weather, but her first summer on the road left her feeling fatigued and “very heat-strokey.”
“I felt like I was gonna pass out, it was just too much. I was sweating constantly,” she admitted.
After looking for anything that might keep her cool and researching tips online, she eventually realized cooling off while in a van was not going to happen.
“It’s not as freeing as one might think,” she shared.
There’s also less freedom in the sense that they have to constantly be moving their cars — even if they happen to enjoy the spot they chose.
Drivers are urged to move their cars nightly, and finding new parking isn’t always the easiest task.
Sharpe admitted that having to constantly be on the move “is hard on your body and also hard mentally.”
Another misconception that Sharpe didn’t realize was, despite people living on the road sharing their own videos of meeting up with other roadies, these meetups don’t happen all the time, and it can get lonely.
“Everybody’s not built to be alone 100% of the time, none of us have been built that way,” she said. “It’s not healthy to isolate yourself all the time.”
While she has met some great people along her journey, what she saw online wasn’t the full experience.
“When you see these videos of people gathered at the desert at a bonfire…that does happen – but that’s not all the time.”
She’s attempted meeting people through apps, but most of them are mostly into smoking and partying, something Sharpe doesn’t like to do.
“That’s not the vibe for me, it’s not a perpetual party here out on the road,” she shared.
And while living in a van might be cheaper than owning or renting a home, there are still plenty of expenses that need to be taken into consideration such as gas, food and other essentials, as well as potential health issues and accidents.
“Things are not always gonna go as planned, so you’re going to need to set some money aside,” Sharpe advised. “You should definitely have a plan in place so that when something breaks you are prepared for it.”
Sharpe has been living the van life for three years now, and she truly believed it was something she would do for her whole life, but she’s now realizing this isn’t the dream she thought it would be.
“I’m tired…It’s not the small space – it’s all the other things that go with it,” she admitted. “You still have family issues, health issues, relationship issues, all the issues. Every issue that you have in a house or an apartment, it’s all the same issues you have in a vehicle.”
She added that at a point, she’s going to want some stability.
“I’m gonna need to find a place to rest,” Sharpe shared. “I’ve got a good few years left in this van life and then I’m gonna want to do some different things.”