#VanLife is not what Instagram makes it out to be


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/24/vanlife-is-not-what-instagram.html


Fairly recently learned my dad owned a VW bus in the early 70s. It was a monthly repair back then as well.


On a related note, and somewhat more depressing note, it’s galling seeing all these aspirational urban nomad people repping #vanlife when people are now renting box trucks to live out of because LA rents are too high.

There’s this creepy sort of poverty tourism starting to creep around the edges…




Dammit! We don’t need Instagram to show what VanLife should be. Day drinking a walk over from San Quentin State Prison now that’s VanLife!


i remember getting really angry about an interview in guitar world magazine where jewel (go figure) shared that she was so happy when she got a record contract because it meant that she’d never have to sleep in her volkswagen bus again. at the time i was a homeless teen and would have done just about anything for a volkswagen bus (never mind an rv) to sleep in.


“Afterwards, my mechanic said that if I ever had the nerve to show him another picture of a once-beautiful vehicle subjected to an appalling hatchet job, there were going to be other fluids getting spilled.”

(Well, that’s where I saw it going. They are of course very nice pictures, but there are some purists out there, y’know?)


This is the van I would want.


The only time I remember hearing my dad swear during my childhood was when he was trying to schlep our family’s overloaded and underpowered VW microbus over the mountainous section of the I-5 known as “the Grapevine” during mid-summer.


The Grapevine has stopped me a few times.


Hell, it might even be the same van.


I heard it was writing motivational speeches down by the river.


In response to this nice gesture all the coolant dumped out of my engine.

I guess your mechanic has…

zero chill.


Put a Subaru flat four in her, and never look back.


No, I think ours was older than the 1987 Westfalia Jason describes. 1970’s era or earlier, I would guess. It may have even been air cooled, as those were sold up until 1983 or so.


The problem is that it’s not air cooled! My 1974 T2 has not broken down since October, though that’s because I stored it for the winter…


I’ve had 15min of error free runtime!!!


You didn’t choose the van life, the van life chose you.

(Speaking as a Fiat van driver, I feel for you.)





So I was rolling home, up over the mountain, and noticed the temperature at thermostat indicator is saying things are a bit hotter than usual. It is a rainy cold day. Shouldn’t be – WTF. Maybe the car has a bubble and wasn’t bled well when he replaced the hose in a hurry. I noticed Mike intentionally overfilled the overflow reservoir.

So I pointed her nose up hill, and let the car run til the fan came on. Then pointed her nose downhill. Checked coolant levels. No change.

Opened the HEATER control lever – let the heater heat up and blow hot air into the car. Temperature gauge dropped like mad. Checked the fluid levels – overflow res. dropped a few cups of fluid. Turned off the heater supply lever, let the car run. Temps were as normal and expected.

FFS. Vanagons.

#vanlife baby.