Ahhh, the Lottery question. A surprisingly common question coming from both friends and strangers alike. Most nomads and vandwellers have heard it more times than we can count. I often wonder if people are trying to test our resolve when they ask us. Perhaps they want to find out how dedicated we are. Maybe they don’t understand how this could truly be a choice. I was asked again recently so I thought it was a great time to explore the question.
I showed a stranger the inside of my van.
What began as a polite conversation at Starbucks evolved into talk of lifestyles, travel, and remote working. The man was my age and had abruptly quit his job due to overwhelming anxiety and stress. He planned to sell almost everything he owned and put the remainder in storage. His plan was to rent his house and live on the monthly income.
I asked him how he planned to travel and he wasn’t sure. He wanted to keep his expenses low. He mentioned he might buy a used Class C.
I gave him some of the resources I knew, like Bob Wells site, AdventureVanMan’s YouTube, Enigmatic Fanatics YouTube, Patrick’s YouTube, etc. Of course, I told him about the RTR in January and suggested he come.
I don’t usually share my story with anyone (in person) I don’t know. Let alone show them the inside of the van. Mostly for safety reasons. However, I felt like the Universe put him in my path for a reason. So I made an exception.
We said our goodbyes and he began to walk away. Suddenly he stopped, turned back toward me and asked the question. I’ve heard it over and over since starting the planning process nearly 3 years ago: “If you won the lottery, would you still live in a van?”
A Quick Backstory About Me
When married to my second husband, we were fairly well off. In the beginning, he doted on me and bought me anything I wanted. By the end of our 9 years together, not so much. I am not proud of it, but during the final years of our marriage, I became obsessed with spending money. Money became my comfort.
I was flat broke by the time I got the final copy of the divorce judgment in January 2007. I had traveled across the country from Atlanta to Portland, spending the last of my divorce settlement in the process. The next 2 years proved a valuable life lesson for me. I would completely change the way I thought of money and things. Those newly learned philosophies would continue to develop until they brought me to the place I am today.
These days, I am primarily concerned with having enough money to pay the bills, buy essentials, eat, fuel the van, and keep an emergency fund. My answer to the lottery question has a lot to do with my personal evolution over the last 10 years.
My Answer To Winning The Lottery And Vanlife
There is only one scenario that would make me leave this lifestyle: Being physically unable to drive or take care of myself.
You might be thinking: “Yeah, but I bet you would buy a big fancy Class A with all the amenities and conveniences”. Nope. I would not. I LOVE my van and I love the stealth factor. The biggest thing I would change is the ability to stand up inside!
I could have a high top installed on my van, though I’m not opposed to a well-constructed gasoline powered Class B van. Once I have the solar and vent fan installed on my current van, it would rival a Class B in stealth. However, newer Class B vans lack character. They look and feel sterile to me. I know that must sound weird, but they just don’t feel homey to me. Lack of cat fur and mess perhaps. Hahaha.
A converted short or mini bus would be very suited to my taste as well. Though I think you lose stealth (depending on the type of bus). I became interested in them recently when Jamie from Enigmatic Nomadics built a bus for a vehicle dweller. LaVonne sharing her dream of a minibus keeps me thinking about it too.
Other than doting on the important people in my life (buying the Monster a little house and the parents a new truck and travel trailer), I would not change my lifestyle except for a’ standing up’ upgrade. Whatever that might entail.
Vandwellers And Fellow Nomads Answer The Lottery Question
I asked a few vandwellers and fellow nomads the question too: “Would you still live this lifestyle if you won more than a million dollars (after taxes) in the lottery?” Here are the responses of those who replied in time for me to post:
LaVonne Ellis: “Oh, hell yes! I would just upgrade my rig to a Skoolie and use the money to travel more.”
Patrick from The Paddy Wagon: “Absolutely! I love the freedom this lifestyle brings and the ability to be mobile and travel around the country. If I won the lottery I may not be as stressed about money and could have options that perhaps I do not have today. But, the bottom line is this lifestyle affords me with the ability to live free and on my terms. So – yes, yes, and oh … did I say yes?”
One Awesome Inch: “No, I would not continue to live in a Campervan if I won a million dollars. However, I never play the lottery so the chances are nil. “
Blaize Sun: “I think I would live a modified version of the life I live now. If I had a million dollars, I wouldn’t have to work, even seasonally, and could focus on my writing. At the moment, I think I’d like to have a modest home to go back to after explorations, which I could do if I had a bunch of money. Maybe what I really want is a van better equipped for writing comfort, and I could do that too if I suddenly had a pile of money. I don’t mind living in my van, and I like being mobile, but I guess I crave a little more comfort in my life.”
Random Bits of Trial and Error: Mike responded with “Hell yes, but I wouldn’t maintain my full-time job on the road. I’d just travel.” Dawn answered with “Definitely.”