There has always been something romantic about living life on the road — no ties to brick and mortar, no boring nine-to-five, no final destination in mind. It’s a life associated with the Woodstock generation, populated by free-living, free-loving hippies more concerned with banking memories than checks from the man. It’s an existence glamorized by musicians, writers, Bonnie and Clyde-style love affairs, dusty roads, and sunset-filled landscapes.
The road-trip aesthetic has inspired countless movies, lyrics, and collections, with brands such as HUF and Stüssy hitting the road in recent years to display their latest garb in front of motels or hanging from ’70s Volkswagen campers. For many, however, van life is more than an image of freedom — it’s a reality, a way of life, a mindset, actual freedom. And it’s a hashtag, too.
Over the past seven years, the #vanlife hashtag has exploded on Instagram, having been attached to 3.5 million posts and counting. A swift scroll through the tag’s feed reveals polished, Scandi-style van interiors, retro campers parked before sprawling vistas, dinners under fairy lights, and beautiful people wrapped around each other, gazing out across the wilderness. Their lives are enviable, infinitely Instagrammable, and — for most of us drones — totally out of reach.