We are Aitor and Laia, a couple on a journey to vanlife. We drive around in a self-converted Peugeot Boxer from 2005 which we’ve been working on from scratch for about two years while working and studying and we’ll soon be able to call our home.
We’ve been passionate about vanlife and nature since childhood, Laia was even partly raised in a campervan.
Since our project to become full-time vanlifers began, we knew that we wanted to do something to try and help the way that people view campervans and ACs. We come from a country where being a vanlifer is basically being treated as a delinquent. We didn’t only want to change that perception, but also our surroundings.
In many places, no matter if it’s a parking lot or the wildest spot we’ve been with our van, everything’s full of trash.
We made a pact with ourselves that we were not going to be part nor contribute in any way to behaviors that are both harmful to the planet and to us. That’s why we started to write a section on our blog called ECOVAN.
The environment is fucked up and there’s no denying that it is our fault. We firmly believe that it is our duty as human beings to do what is in our hands to help solve the problem. But we also believe that there’s a big lack of information.
Did you know that…
- Over 8 million tons of plastic enter into the ocean every year, that’s one garbage truck a minute! Imagine how much trash goes to landfills! We recommend you to watch the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ by Craig Leeson.
- Over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills and oceans each year, and they will most likely never biodegrade. Insane.
- Plastic bags take from 200 to 1000 years to break down and they release toxic chemicals when they decompose. Their incineration also produces toxic fumes. Then again, insane that we keep on using them on a regular basis.
Not to mention global warming and the abusive use of many types of resources that are going on nowadays.
Vanlife doesn’t take much. Living in a van is a lifestyle with a very low footprint impact. We consume less. Less water, less electricity, fewer resources, we buy what we need and living in a van makes you realize that you don’t really need that much in life rather than living it, right?
Nevertheless, there are still, of course, many things that we can do as individuals to help our planet and we can start by not contributing to this madness of ‘use-and-throw’ society that we have become.
ECOVAN pretends to be a personal diary in which we explain the changes that we introduce in our life and adapt them to our van, so we are able to live a more respectful and as waste-free as we can.
‘When I was young, I wanted to change the world. I found out that it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I realized that I couldn’t change my country, I then focused on my town. I wasn’t able to change my town and as an adult already, I tried to change my family. Now that I’m old, I realize that the only thing that I can change is myself and suddenly I see that if a long time ago I had changed myself, I could have had an impact on my family. My family could have had an impact on our town. Its impact could have changed our country and therefore, could have changed the world.’ (Unknown monk, 1100 AC)
No matter how small you think that your action is, it will always add up. Some of the small changes we have implemented in our van and our life are replacing one-use items to its reusable version. Not to mention that we are saving us a lot of money and let’s be honest, we love the aesthetics of our van now!
These are just some of the changes that we’ve made:
Extremely important and easy to use a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one! Don’t buy water in plastic bottles, use fountains and water sources and if you must, always get the biggest container possible, never individual ones, the less plastic that you use, the better.
We switched our Nespresso for a regular Coffee maker and we still haven’t died. Yes, Nespresso coffee is good and easy to make BUT so is the other! Plus it takes up so much less space in the van which is always a good thing! Every time that we feel like having a coffee somewhere else, take it as a moment to relax and have it there in a normal cup, but if you want to take it away with you, use a reusable coffee cup! Did you know that you can ask coffee shops to put it in there? Don’t be shy to ask!
We have changed our Tupperwares to Stainless steel lunch boxes or Mason jars which we also use to store all of our food in the van as we buy in bulk. And we can also take them with us whenever we go for a long hike or use the jars as extra glasses whenever we have friends over! We also use Beeswax paper instead of foil or plastic wrap. It is ecological and works great! it can be cleaned and reused for over a year and you can even learn how to do it yourself.
Dish sponges? Easy, there’s plenty of plastic free options!
For our personal hygiene as well!
When we found out about the huge amount of plastic toothbrushes that never biodegrade and are polluting our environment we didn’t think about it twice! We switched to a bamboo toothbrush, we are so in love with it!
The easiest thing here is not to shave but hey! In case we want to, we use a reusable stainless steel razor which basically will last you a lifetime and you only have to replace the blade which is completely recyclable! Plus, C’mon, look at how beautiful they are!
How expensive is it to be a girl? You can’t avoid having your period but what if we could avoid spending so much money and polluting so much? I was a bit skeptical with the menstrual cup at first because I thought it’d be a bit messy and disgusting to change it in the van or public toilets… I couldn’t be more wrong! I’ve been using it for a few periods now and I have saved so much money! Be patient with it at first, it really is great once you learn how to properly use it!
There’s plenty of easy things that we can do to live an even more sustainable and environmentally friendly vanlife.
Something that is also very important for us while traveling is grocery shopping. We believe that the best way to produce less trash is to prevent it from entering our van in the first place. That’s why we always buy in bulk and take our reusable containers. Never forget your Tote bags and jars!
Go to local shops, farmers markets, there’s bulk everywhere! You just have to open your eyes! Ask locals for advice. They will always be happy to help and show you their local products and businesses.
We have also started making some of our own products, like toothpaste. We obviously realize that not everyone has the time or want to do so, that’s why we encourage you to look for brands that are chemical and cruelty-free and that preferably work with reusable or even nonexistent packaging.
As vanlifers we are people who want to experience nature, we should do whatever is in our hands to give back and take care of it.
If you are a curious person who wants to contribute to a more respectful world and you don’t know where to start from or simply would love to learn more, follow or changing process through our blog posts.
See you on the road!
Laia & Aitor