April 23, 2024

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Americans sold dream of 'truck life' by influencers reveals nightmare of living on the road, including no shower, heat, difficulty dating and risk of massive debt if a mechanic is needed

Americans sold dream of 'truck life' by influencers reveals nightmare of living on the road, including no shower, heat, difficulty dating and risk of massive debt if a mechanic is needed

  • Sienna Gohlin, 23, bought a minivan in August, with the intention of making it her forever home
  • She has since sold it. Her story is similar to the stories of others who followed the lifestyle
  • I talked to Wall Street Journal For a piece on the not-so-picturesque facts of the subculture

Van lifestyle practitioners reveal the harsh realities of their unconventional lifestyle—many of which are harsher than influencers would lead you to believe.

Take Sienna Gohlin, 23, who bought a white Ford cargo van last summer and has since sold it after intending to make it her home.

Her story, like others who may have adopted the lifestyle prematurely, is one consisting of accidental showers, sweltering heat, a questionable dating life — and a $5,000 bill from a mechanic that made her rethink the whole thing.

“First, everything went according to plan,” she said The Wall Street Journalfeaturing Juhlin and others in a Saturday piece centered around the not-so-picturesque realities of the viral subculture.

Juhlin and Caleb Smith — a 29-year-old who lives outside the remote Isuzu community in Park Slope, Brooklyn — were among those who spoke out, though both were quick to say they still consider the harsh lifestyle in some… Sometimes it's worth it.

Sienna Jolene, 23, bought a white Ford cargo van last summer, but has since sold it after intending to return to her forever home.
Gohlen, who traveled after the breakup, explained to The Journal how the lifestyle isn't for everyone
However, the 35-year-old aspiring engineer told the publication it's not something he could see himself doing in the long term. “It's not like I want to live in a truck forever,” he said.
Gohlin and Caleb Smith — a 29-year-old who lives outside Brooklyn's remote Isuzu neighborhood — spoke to The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, dishing on the not-so-glamorous realities of the viral subculture.

“Everything is 10 times harder,” Juhlin said of the lifestyle that has recently attracted attention online. “But it's also all amazingly beautiful and useful.”

She went on to recall how she took to the road in August after the breakup, fascinated by the idea.

It was enough for her to leave her job as a waitress in her native Missouri to explore the West Coast, living off her savings for uncertain years.

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She said that this dream only lasted two months.

In California, transmission stopped, leaving her stranded about 2,000 miles from her home.

Not letting her dream die, she's worked three jobs including one as a social media coordinator for an outdoor brand that mostly posts content related to her life since then — and is looking to get back the missing $5,000 to fix it.

That dream ended two days ago, her social media posts showed, with one broadcast on Thursday revealing how she sold her custom creation that likely cost her a whopping $30,000 for a truck and camper.

“Everything is 10 times harder,” Juhlin said of the lifestyle that has recently attracted attention online. “But it's also all surprisingly beautiful and useful.”
It was enough for her to leave her job as a waitress in Missouri to explore the West Coast, living on her savings for uncertain years. She said that this dream lasted two months, after the vector of infection died in California, leaving her stranded 2,000 miles from home.

She explained that although it is less mobile than a truck, it will allow her to continue exploring the country without some of the unexpected realities of living in a confined space for months.

“The end of an era…” she wrote to her nearly 3,500 followers who followed her travels.

“The van has been sold, the van has been purchased, and the camper van is coming soon.

“It's sad to say goodbye to my beautiful home,” she continued. You took me everywhere and kept me safe. We've seriously been through a lot together.

“From no brakes one day, to bumpy roads in the desert, to no transmission the next… [s]It took me from Missouri to the mountains, all the way up and down the coast.

'Great ride and best truck… but it also needed a lot of love.

“I'm excited to make the truck and camper my most permanent and reliable home,” she added in the end. “Life is too short to let logistics get in the way.”

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“Love, your favorite pickup truck and your favorite lady of the night (maybe).”

Her story — one that featured young people in need of housing amid an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis — is not unique, the newspaper found, focusing on her colleague “Vanlifer” Smith.

Vanlifer Caleb Smith appears in photos from his Instagram page. When he's not traveling, the 29-year-old lives in an upscale area of ​​Brooklyn, pausing between two brownstones.
However, last summer — his first in a truck — he put the native Kansans' mettle to the test, when a record-breaking heat wave hit the Big Apple and made it impossible to sleep next to it.
He soon found himself so desperate that he spent $120 to install a window unit air conditioner in anticipation of next summer — even though he had to run an extension cord to a nearby building.

He parks his cargo truck at his house in a driveway between two brownstone buildings in an affluent part of Brooklyn — all at a cost of $460 a month.

However, last summer — his first in a truck — he put the native Kansans' mettle to the test, when a record heat wave hit the Big Apple and made sleeping near impossible.

He soon found himself so desperate that he spent $120 to install a window unit air conditioner in anticipation of next summer — even though he would have to run an extension cord to a nearby building.

“I love where I am now,” Smith said instead on Monday, where the average rent in New York is still more than five times his monthly rent.

“I'll stay there as long as I can.”

He, like some of the other people interviewed by the newspaper, was a homeowner in his home state, but now sleeps in the back seat.

He also works as a systems specialist for a company that sells and outfits campervans to make them up to the task of being a means of transportation and life, working alongside his friend Robert Walker.

He also works as a systems specialist for a company that sells and outfits campervans to make them up to the task of being both transportation and a lifestyle vehicle, working alongside his friend Robert Walker, shown here outside his Ram ProMaster, which he has since sold
He told the newspaper how he started the lifestyle after suffering from colon cancer. After overcoming the disease, he said he had an endless desire to travel
Although living in a van isn't for everyone, it can be a rewarding experience, and that still beats being in an apartment, Juhlin told the newspaper.
She didn't let her dream die, working three jobs including one as a social media coordinator for an outdoor brand that often posts content related to her life ever since – and is looking to get back the $5,000 she lost to fix it
That dream ended two days ago, her social media posts showed, with one broadcast on Thursday revealing how she sold her custom creation that likely cost her a whopping $30,000 for a truck and camper. “The end of an era,” she wrote in an Instagram post, as she continues to chronicle her exploits

Walker, one of the “Vanlivers,” also told the newspaper how he got into a Ram ProMaster truck five years ago, after suffering from colon cancer.

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After overcoming the disease, he said he had an endless desire to travel.

“Cancer for me was like, ‘What if I die from this,’” recalls the 35-year-old, who works as an independent contractor for Brooklyn Campervans.

“I wasn't going anywhere, so the idea of ​​having the truck, even if it was just driving north to see a waterfall…it was the best of both worlds.”

He said he recently sold his camper to buy a brand new one — a Ford E-350 cargo van worth about $38,000.

Like Smith, he parks his car every night on the street in Williamsburg's more fashionable area, but he acknowledged that finding a spot can often be a nightmare.

He said he likes the lifestyle, but added that it's not something that's possible in the long term — citing factors like the ups and downs of gas prices and back-to-the-office mandates, which make endless wandering more difficult.

“It's not like I want to live in a truck forever,” he said.