Why it’s Okay for a Girl to Live in a Van

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why its okay for a girl to live in a van

Why its Okay for a Girl to Live in a Van

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One of people’s biggest concern when I tell them I live in a van, is that I am alone and I am a girl. I tell these concerned people the same things;  I do my best to avoid sketchy situations, I have a weapon if needed, and I trust my instincts. Obviously, anything can happen to anyone but please do not let the fact that you are a female deter you from solo traveling or living in van/mobile living space. Here are some reasons why it’s okay for a girl to live in a van from a girl who lives in a van.

Why it's okay for a girl to live in a van

Related Posts:

Steps to Living in a Van

Why I Decided to Live in a Van

5 Things that Happen Once you Start Living in a Van

My $5000 Tiny Van Conversion

Van Resources

Girls can follow their instincts

There have been a few times where I have just not felt right about certain sleeping situations. Sometimes it has been something clearly not right like a bunch of high school kids messing with me like I discussed in Vanlife Fails. Recently, I was outside Telluride, CO attempting to boondock in National Forest land. When I settled in and went to lay down, I began to develop a terrible feeling. The best way to describe it was a racing heart and just a great fear, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what I was fearful of. I love the national forest and have spent a lot of nights boondocking in the national forest, but something just didn’t feel right, so I left for the night and found another spot that “felt” better aka Walmart. It’s very important to listen to those gut feelings when traveling!

Girls can protect themselves

Why it's okay for a girl to live in a van

I believe the number one way to avoid bad situations is to follow your instincts and use your common sense. However, sometimes you might need something more to protect you from the unknown. Whether you’re a female or not it’s always a good idea to have some extra type of protection for yourself. I, myself carry protection to assist with 4 legged or 2 legged assailants. One, I have bear spray; two, I have a flashlight taser. I definitely feel safer with these items but I must say, I  have never even had a thought that I might need to use one of these items.

Girls can understand basic car knowledge

I, by no means, am a van expert, but I know the importance of maintaining a vehicle. I once went to get my oil changed and when filling out paperwork the gentleman asked me, ” Do you know what kind of car you drive sweetie?” Yes, I do know what kind of car I drive and I even know how to start the ignition and put it in drive! [eyeroll] I digress, my point is that you don’t need to be a mechanic to live in a van. Sure, this would save you some money if you did know a lot about cars but its certainly not necessary. As long as you get regular maintenance done by someone qualified to work on cars you should survive.

The world is not such a scary place

Why it's okay for a girl to live in a van

It seems like every day you’re bombarded with bad and/or depressing news stories. This can bring on more fear and doubt about hitting the road. I have to say that being on the road has given me a new perspective. I am surprised by how many people offered to help and are genuinely interested in the lifestyle I am living. People tend to be inspired by a life on the road as well as tiny living and are typically genuinely interested in learning about my van and my lifestyle. 

Girls are great communicatorswhy its okay for a girl to live in a van

My favorite thing about van life has been the community online and in person. I’m always happy to connect other van and tiny home dwellers. Don’t ever feel like you are alone in this alternative lifestyle. Reach out via Facebook and Instagram for support, you got this :)!

Would you live in a van alone? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author


Hi there! My name is Sarah and I am the creator of Tiny Van Big Living. I am a former traveling Occupational Therapist who lived in a converted camper van (Vanny Devito) full time for almost two years. I am collecting experiences, not things while slowly climbing out of the giant hole that is student loan debt.



20 Comments on “Why it’s Okay for a Girl to Live in a Van”

  1. My husband & I started to formulate a plan for after our last kiddo leaves high school; for me to take temp work assignments (I’m a cota) while checking out the state we want to live in, before we settle down, buy land, etc. In researching RV vs trailer vs a van, I found your blog and others, that made me realize, there are so many people doing this! Thank you for sharing your experience with others! If I were single, I would still do this! I’ve never been afraid to be alone; throughout my life I’ve traveled alone, camped, hiked & fortunately, have no bad experiences to share! I encourage everyone to take some time to be alone, no matter where you live. It makes those human interactions much sweeter!

    1. Hey Cat,

      Sounds like you got a great plan, can’t wait to see what you decide! There are so many of us, and I am so grateful for all the information people share about van life! The market is definitely getting a little tough right now but it always does when big Medicare/healthcare changes are coming. The best thing about living mobile is you don’t have the stress of finding housing if your job gets canceled or cut short. And yes, I think traveling alone is such an experience and makes you feel more confident about other life endeavors! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Heck yes a girl can live in a van alone!! While I’m firmly rooted in my home with my husband and son, something I’ve been toying with lately is going on a solo backpacking trip. I’m a very social person and generally enjoy being around (and living with) other people, I think there’s something very powerful about doing things alone.

    1. Hey Angela,

      I think you should definitely go on that trip. One of my favorite things to do is hiking alone (within reason and safely of course)! I think traveling alone is an experience that every person should have. Thanks for reading 🙂

    1. Kristin, you’re right. I wish I didn’t even have to write a post about this, but it’s something I get asked about constantly. I do believe that common sense and trusting your instincts is the best way to stay safe on the road for anyone.

  3. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your blog/sharing your experiences. I really admire your bravery — especially to do that first Alaska trip. I find you so inspiring. I’m about to buy a high-roof, long (170 inch) Sprinter, and the truth is I’m scared sh–less! I decided to do this after agonizing for more than a year about how I was going to be able to keep living in the Bay Area in California AND be able to travel when I retire. So I’m using some of my retirement savings to get a van and like you, paying for most of the conversion. I’m not even going to live in it right away — probably not for a couple of years — yet I’m feeling overwhelmed and at the same time super-excited by my decision. I don’t even really know why I feel so driven to do it now; maybe b/c it’s my emotional escape hatch from the rat race and the tyranny of the housing crisis in the SF Bay Area, and b/c it feels like prices are only going to go up as far as buying and outfitting the van. Your blog is really reassuring — and your advice very helpful. For instance, I like your idea of renting a spot rather than moving around for those times when I’m not not traveling, seems real smart. How did you find a spot — was it through craigslist? It’s also reassuring to me that you’ve done this even though like me you’re not really a handy person or up on how a composting toilet works. (neither am I but there’s plenty of advice available and nothin’ wrong with winging it). Please keep writing about your experiences. I find it a great relief to know others are daring enough to try this. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Trace!

      Wow, what a wonderful comment and thank you so much for reading! I lived in the bay area a few years ago (before vanlife) and I remember how ridiculous housing was! I think this is a great idea. I think it’s also a wonderful idea that you are going to take your time. There is so much information out there about having to do your own conversion, I’m sure you could get most projects done with help from friends and buying your own products. I even used resources such as task rabbit to get specific projects done such as installing the vent. If you’re in no rush I would definitely recommend getting creative, a lot of van conversion places will do amazing work but will cost you an arm and a leg. Spend lots of time to figure out what you NEED in your van conversion vs what you would like to have and start from there :).
      As far as finding spots to park, I have placed adds on craigslist. I also have networked through coworkers and friends to see if anyone might know someone. As long as your no trouble I think people see it mostly as a benefit for them, I’m literally just paying for a parking spot lol. I think its really worth it tho for the day to day. Free and stealth camping is nice for once in a while or when your just passing through somewhere, in my opinoin. Can’t wait to see how your van turns out let me know if I can help! 🙂

  4. I am nearly 50 so not quite a girl any more but I am in the process of selling my house and getting read to live long term on the road. I recently purchased a 96 Mitsubishi 4WD cargo van that already has a camper fit out, house battery and fridge. Health issues have forced me into early retirement but it looks like the vandwelling lifesyle will suit me. I have nowhere to be and no rush to get there, so I will take my time, see the country and have adventures. That said, everyone around me is losing their MINDS and thinks I have gone crazy and will be axe murdered in my sleep by roving bandits. I have been variously advised to get a gun, a shrink and a reality check. I admit that the unknowns of being out solo in remote areas give me pause and as I am Australian (and plan on travelling remote Australia) the movie Wolf Creek is a little close to home lol. I think that for me the practice of mindfulness and situational awareness is the antidote to fear. Having my van stolen with all my worldly possessions is another fear, but the solution to that is to have nothing that is irreplaceable in the van, digital copies of important documents, passport etc, and to have good vehicle insurance. I have a roadside assistance membership and will get a personal emergency locator beacon. I am actually more scared of our deadly snakes and spiders than I am of people. I think I saw you interviewed by Bob Wells on his youtube channel a few months ago, and then I followed a link to your blog from another blog. Thanks for sharing your vanlife with us!

    1. Wow! Well, I don’t think the world is as scary as a place as most people perceive. Having the van stolen would not be fun, but I don’t typically leave really valuable things in the Van, IE my wallet, passport etc. I’m glad you found my blog, thanks for reading!

  5. Hi, great artikel and great experience. I cross the fingers for you. I would like live in a van, I have some VW T5, where I can sleep, cook and have little storage, I dream about every day, but you know , I find million reason why Im scared to do it. Maybe next spring..? I really admire your bravery, for to start living in a van.

    1. Hi Daniela! Yes van life is not for everyone, but I think if you want it bad enough you can make it work. Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. The more time that passes, the more I want to give the van life a try. It’s so overwhelming even looking at types of vans to buy! Your blog has really put things in perspective and scaled down the mountain I’ve been looking at — so, thank you!! I’m not 100% sure I want to jump in full-time, but I was thinking of living in a van for a summer or a few months within the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to following along with the rest of your adventures! 🙂

    1. I was in your shoes not too long ago! Glad my posts are helping yo,u that’s why I wanted to start this site. Thanks for reading and let me know if I can help! 🙂

  7. Hi Sarah,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I have been reading and reviewing many van life blogs and websites for used vans. I hope someday very soon to be able to make the leap myself…what I lack is a good, swift kick in the arse. Once I get that, then hopefully I will have the impetus to finally make it happen.
    Again, thanks very much for your blog.
    Best, Dave

  8. I replied to your Alaskan trip adventure but I just read this one also. Am always so happy to see other women living and traveling in vans. I sold my tiny house last year and bought my tiny transit connect and am so happy with it. I am 64 and still have not solo backpacked, that’s on my list, done the JMT w 9 yr old grand daughter and am almost ready to solo it. Thanks for the great story!!

    1. Hey Joni, love all your comments! I don’t meet too many people with a ford transit connect, would love to see your set up! I am jealous of you completing the JMT. I tried for weeks to get a permit but couldn’t. Safe travels 🙂

  9. Hi Sarah. I grew up in Pleasantville, NJ with your dad and uncle joey. i am sure i met you when you were young at my brother Frank LaVerde’s home as your sister and Katie were friends. i went to holy spirit and occasionally hung with your aunt rita. i am friends with your mom, who pointed me your way. Jules is a sweetheart.
    you are my idol sarah! i am moving out to CO soon and am looking to buy a piece of land and live in a van until i can build a house. it is fun following you, especially since i just read a post by a 50 year old woman who said she was hit on by lots of sketchy characters in the van “tribe” and highly recommended no one try van life.
    SHE was sketchy!
    i will be in pueblo for the month of nov. looking for property. lets get together.
    i too love southwestern co, but for various reasons that won’t work for me.
    talk to you soon.

    Donna LaVerde

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