A home on wheels: New college graduates should live in a van

Jayce Kadoun, Columnist

For many students, the time period that follows graduation is the first opportunity they’re given to be free as an adult. 

Between school, work and the obligations of everyday life, free time gets more and more scarce as time goes on. 

Students who have recently graduated from college should take their newfound and rare shot at freedom and use it to travel the country while living in a van. 

For those lucky enough to make it out of a university with a four-year degree and little to no debt, the option to get on the road and live simply without the rules and conformities of domestic life seems like a no-brainer. 

Later on, life will eventually catch up with them and they may have to settle into a career, but post-graduation is not the time. 

Life will not likely present a moment such as that which is presented following one’s completion of higher education. 

With no commitments and so many amazing places in the U.S. to see and experience, a van is the ideal way to get there and stay for as long as you want, rent free. 

For those on a budget, there are free camping options scattered across the United States. 

Property that is owned by the Bureau of Land Management or considered part of national forests are publicly managed and allow free camping outside of developed campgrounds.

Though these free areas often have no amenities, they are more than just free in the financial sense. These lands allow campers to break away from others and set up in wild and serene areas. 

Parking lots and rest areas are also open to anyone living the van life and cost nothing to stay at. 

The fact that someone could stay so many places without charge is all the more reason to start the adventure right after college.

With so many different styles of vans to choose from, there are a variety of options for configuring and customizing the space in the vehicle to suit anyone’s needs. 

Most vans offer plenty of room for those who can handle living simply and if set up correctly, they can hold all of life’s essentials. 

Van builds can be relatively cheap while still ending up comfortable when completed. They should be optimized with accommodations for sleeping, storage, lighting and cooking. 

Once set up, the majority of the gear that will need to be brought along on the journey is probably already owned by the average college graduate. 

The term “van” should be used loosely when referring to someone’s mobile house. There are a lot of variances in van types that would all work for a cross-country adventure. 

Sprinter and cargo vans, busses, campers and larger SUVs will all serve the same purpose and can be built to house a newly graduated vagabond.

Once the van is set up and ready for adventure, the only thing left to consider is the places to go. 

Oceans, beaches, lakes, mountains, canyons, monuments, cities big and small or national parks full of amazing sites and hikes are just some of the attractions on an endless list of potential escapades for a van-lifer. 

All things considered, the van life is the best way for a student who is fresh out of college to experience the real world, at least temporarily. 

Life is long enough to fit in a chapter filled with wanderlust and true freedom. 

If the day comes when a career, family and debt take up their time, they’ll look back and reminisce on the simpler times when they took a chance and took off in their van.