If you’re anything like me, before making a lifestyle change, you spend hours (weeks…months…) doing research. A major source of my van inspiration (both building and living) has come from Instagram. However, Instagram can also be a dangerous hole of false realities and heightened expectations if you let it. There are hundreds of accounts out there promoting the “ideal” #Vanlife: images of attractive couples lounging in bed, back doors open, overlooking a mountain landscape or a beach sunrise. Their vans are immaculate – no dirty dishes in the sink, no laundry hanging over the passenger’s seat, no muddy shoes on the floor, certainly no views of a Walmart parking lot. I’m the first one to admit that I have absolutely had some incredible Instagram-worthy views and moments; I’ve woken up on beaches, in forests, in the desert, and everywhere in between. I’ve also had so much laundry thrown about that I barely had space to sleep on my bed. As such, I can appreciate a really beautiful van photo as well as profiles that strive to remain honest about the pros AND cons of living in your van. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite van profiles on Instagram – ones that help with building, ones that will inspire you to travel to new places, and ones that keep it real.

Best Profiles to Help With Your Van Build

@gnomad_home

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(Throwback post, but still relevant) – "We'll figure it out.." – This has been our #motto our entire relationship. – John lived on the east coast and I moved back to the Midwest. He flew out to visit and we had so much fun that we toyed with the idea of trying out a long distance #relationship. – "How will we make this work?" "Idk, we'll figure it out!" – I was offered an opportunity to study in China for a semester a few months after John moved to St. Louis once we concluded our long distance stint. After researching it, we felt confident we could plan our own trip to Asia, learn more and for way cheaper than the school program, and spontaneously booked flights to Bangkok with no plans. – "How will we make this work?" "Idk, we'll figure it out!" – The seed had been planted in our minds to buy a house. We found one in the town I grew up in and we thought it was perfect. It had too many bedrooms and two full bathrooms, the dankest neighbors, a fenced in backyard, eclectic cut outs in the walls and a stupid amount of space. I remember toasting our champagne in the screened in porch the night we closed on the house. – "How will we make this work?" "Idk, we'll figure it out!" – We eventually got worn down by the house in the burbs and cutting our grass. We couldn't fake the pings in our stomach's before each shift of our jobs as if we actually felt a bit of ourselves kicking and screaming going "THIS ISN'T WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING!!" – Three years ago was John's final shift at his 9-5 job. It was a very exciting but also a very nerve-wracking and terrifying day. We were sitting at the bar drinking some celebratory drinks and we were super giggly but also had no words for the moment. – "How will we make this work?" "Idk, we'll figure it out!" – Even when we bought the van. And we drove it the 2 and a half hours back home laughing like maniacs repeating to ourselves "Wtf are we doing?! 😂🙈" – We still don't know what we're doing to be honest. We're just figuring it out as we go. 💖

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@findingfreshair

Most Honest Profiles

@soweboughtavan

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This year has been my playground for pushing boundaries. – In 2018, I needed stability. I was filled with pain, anger, and was craving identity, anything to define who I was or to help drive my decisions. So to escape the mayhem, I created rules to govern my life, including how I traveled, worked, and dated. I warmly welcomed these rules into my life as inviolable pillars that would build a safe environment for me to heal the necessary amount for basic survival until I felt strong enough to handle the complexities of life again. – This year, I began to feel a little stuffed within this organized box. I found myself pushing hard against the ceiling I had built and knew it was time for some growing. The structure that had recently been so necessary was now capping my personal development, ability to chase life, and connect to others in a meaningful way. I began dipping my toes into new hobbies, habits, and practices. My creativity and work ethic skyrocketed and I found a renewed hunger for the unknown of life. – Now, I allow myself to go more with the flow and pay even more attention to what I need, even if it goes outside of what I consider as part of my "identity". If I have major business goals, I allow myself the strong wifi and warmth of my brother's house without feeling like a fake vanlifer. I'll take an international trip to hike through the Himalayas, even though it's an entirely different form of travel than I'm passionate about. I've stopped clinging as hard to the identity of solo female traveler because I've fallen madly in love with the most handsome redhead that redefines the beauty of partnership. – I am no longer treading water in a desperate state of survival. Things that may be considered "out of my norm" now excite me, instead of making me sh** my pants. And while I definitely don't have everything figured out and the wind could just blow too hard and send me back into a downward spiral, I'm more comfortable on this playground. I know I can pump my legs on a swing, dive headfirst down a slide, and clumsily make my way across the monkey bars. Because life can already be extremely limiting and I'll be damned if I add more weight to the ceiling.

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@enjoythejourney.today

@vanlifediaries

@travywild

@homesweetvan

Solo Female Van Profiles

@womeonontheroad

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📣 Exciting announcement!⁠⠀ +⁠⠀ Not everyone scrolling knows this team, but these are the women behind @womenontheroad and our sister community @she_explores. We are small but mighty, and we are uber-dedicated to sharing our talents in a way that put YOU in the spotlight when it comes to road travel and the outdoors.⁠⠀ +⁠⠀ When you're a small business, especially in media, it can be a roller coaster. And sometimes you move so fast it's challenging to point out the milestones– kind of like being on a freeway driving! Without landmarks, things can become one big blur (albeit a beautiful one).⁠⠀ +⁠⠀ Today, we are so proud to announce that we have formalized our teamwork into a small media company called Ravel Media. Why Ravel? Because we are obsessed with finding the threads that weave a story together and helping to craft them into meaningful connection points, comfort, and celebrations of who we all are in the individual and the collective sense.⁠⠀ +⁠⠀ Will you be seeing anything different from us now that we're a media group? No, not really. At least not because of this change. We're continuing to evolve as our communities do, but this update alone will not change who we are or what we do to support you all. We are simply excited to come upon this landmark in our growth together, and we wanted to invite you in on the celebration.⁠⠀ +⁠⠀ Because who you are, is why we're here. So thank you so much for being a part of our communities: for sharing your stories, lending your support to one another, and tuning in as listeners, readers, and followers. You mean the world to us and it's why we will continue to work tirelessly for you and alongside you. And now, we get to do it as @ravel.media.⁠⠀ ______________________________⁠⠀ 📷: @toriduhaime with snap from @womeninoutdoorwork⁠⠀ 📍: Indigenous land of the Ute⁠⠀

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@vacayvans

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#12daysof2019 • July July was spent on BLM land & at vanlife gatherings. Speaking of gatherings, the complete guide to all vanlife events is LIVE on the blog (link in profile)! 🚐 I had a great month but I felt hungry for a change. As a 100% remote worker and digital nomad, I am location-independent. This is amazing and can also feel a little disorienting if I don’t have a clear path forward. 🔮 And so I brought back Yes Monday, where you choose my vanlife adventure by voting on what I do & where I go in my stories on Mondays. I love letting your collective mind help guide the way! 🧠 We put it to a vote: should I go to Burning Man or Bali for yoga teacher training? You overwhelmingly chose Bali and I burst into tears with excitement (and a little fear). Thank you for sending me across the globe for this new unknown adventure. 🙏🏼

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@wander_woman_go (that’s me!)

@samvanzam

Profiles About Traveling With Kids

@simplyusandabus

@ourhomeonwheels

@ourvieadventures

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Soooo we did a thing and we haven’t told many people about it 😶 I don’t know why we haven’t said anything until now, maybe because I haven’t felt like it, or I’m afraid of what it does to our perceived “identity” on here, or if we’ve just been busy traveling and we haven’t been sharing as frequently. Whatever. After 5 years, we parted ways with our beloved RV – Vie 😭. It was so bittersweet, but something we knew needed to happen in order to crate space – mental, emotional & physical. We need room for new projects, new adventures, new endeavors. Vie needs a fresh start with someone and new roads to ramble down. So we cleaned her up, said goodbye and thanked her one last time for showing us the wonders of our beautiful country. We went around the U.S. twice with her on our epic journey to visit all 59 National Parks. She’s been our family member, our car, our home, our worst enemy (y’all already know what I’m talking about when they crap out on you in middle of nowhere USA), but mostly she’s been sooo good to us. Thanks for the memories 🤘🏼 #buslife here we come (jk, not quite yet, gotta still save up for that. But… we’re excited!)

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Profiles About Traveling With Dogs

@briannamadia

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Dashing through the no 😑

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@shetravelswithdogs

@wheretheroadforks_


Have any others that you love? Let us know!