Nine-To-Five Nomads: The Vaneffect

Spending over two years building a renovating their tiny home on wheels, Laia and Aitor have been planning and preparing for an alternative way of live to suit their love of travel. Having moved into their van in early October and with no set return date in their mind, Laia and Aitor are planning on living the van-life for as long as they can. Although they can finally see the end of the long restoration tunnel, the couple share their initial inspirations that got them to where they are now.

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“Neither of us have ever felt fine with the typical lifestyle that we had always been living,” the couple shares.

“The one that society tells you it’s right. Study, work, socialise a bit on your free time, save money so you can get away on the weekends or on holidays and repeat. We’ve tried to fit it in for many years, we’ve tried many things thinking that it was just that we hadn’t yet found what we liked to do.”

Initially, Laia says she was going to apply to university to study English philosophy, although she stopped at the last minute as it didn’t feel it was the right move. After taking a year off to find her passion she discovered that she wanted to add a creative element to her career, so Laia went onto study a degree in illustration and graphic design. This career was almost perfect, although Laia felt it was missing something.

“I loved it, but then again, working in an office was not what I wanted. During all those years I had also been working part time as an English teacher in a language school. Aitor went from becoming a massage therapist, to nutritionist, to study photography and video making while working the whole time as a full-time waiter.”

“All we could think of all the time was taking the van, getting away from all the pressure of society, near nature and silence. That’s when we both felt more productive, creative and full of ideas and projects. We truly felt free and it just felt right.”

“We realised there wasn’t just one right way of doing things, there’s a whole lot of greys between black and white, so we were like, why not? If they can do it, why not us? So instead of dreaming, we started planning. And here we are today.”

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While working on their van, Laia and Aitor had to establish an income plan for themselves so they could sustain this way of life for as long as possible.

“This lifestyle takes even more work sometimes than the average job but for us it is all worth it because for once, we sincerely enjoy what we are doing and even when we get stressed out or have pressure to finish things we have no time to finish, in the end we are enjoying the process and that’s what it is all about.”

“Our plan is to have various sources of income because you never know how it’s going to go. The income can vary a lot from one month to another so the more sources we have, the more chances we have to be able to sustain ourselves.”

“We are creating different info-products to help van-lifers with their conversion based on our experience. We believe that having started with zero knowledge, we can help others who are as lost as we were in the beginning.”

“We also get a small income through monetising some of our content, both on our Instagram and website with affiliation links or promoting products that we use on a daily basis and believe that can be good for other people.”

“I still do freelance work as a graphic designer and with Aitor we create WordPress based websites for companies or other van-lifers who wish to get started and share their work or life through a blog or website.”

“We have also been saving some money to start everything with a back-up in case we need it. All of these may or may not work in the end, but we are very confident about it and we are going to do all of our best to make it work. If it doesn’t, well, the goal is to keep traveling so we have no problem at all to stop for some time somewhere, work any job, save money and continue our journey.”

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For any van-life dreamers wishing to adopt this way of life but not knowing where to start, The Vaneffect offer up some advice through their own experience.

“There’s NEVER a right moment or the right circumstances to do something you want to do, you have to create them yourselves. Instead of dreaming, start planning and step by step you’ll realise you are closer to your goal than you thought you’d ever be.”

“Many people tell us ‘oh yeah you can do this because you are young and don’t have responsibilities’ and it couldn’t be further from truth. By doing this we are also giving up many things, like building ourselves a stable future, a career maybe and many other things.”

“You will be giving up important aspects of life whether you follow your path at a young age or at an older one. We know families with little kids and not so little ones who are doing exactly what we are doing, who have a mortgage, a job and maybe more responsibilities than us. So after all, if it really is what you want, stop making excuses and just do it.”

“Everyone we know agrees, there really is NEVER a right time to go for a different path, whatever yours is, and it requires a lot of courage to be the fish swimming against the current.”

Keep track of Laia and Aitor’s adventures through their Instagram page @thevaneffect and website.