Van Living

For the next few months, I am living in this 1985 Toyota van.

I am compelled to do this for a few reasons. I’ve always wanted to minimize my life in a drastic way. To live free of the rent cycle. To experiment with what home is. To minimize my life, give away or sell my possessions until all of them fit in the space of a car. All of these ideas have piqued my interest — I love pushing myself and testing the boundaries of what’s possible. What do I actually need in life?

I also want to have an adventure van! I’d love to take the van to national parks, up and down the coast, and on local excursions too. I’m taking the van to Yosemite with my family soon.

I also love the idea of using my life in an obvious, tangible way to express faith and solidarity. I have faith in Jesus: he loves homeless people, refugees and asylees. I see him minister to the most sidelined in society, the most distrusted. Choosing to live in a van is my act of solidarity with those who are don’t have a permanent home. I am sacrificing a few creature comforts and conveniences to redirect focus toward people who need help.

What I’m doing is hardly sacrificial, because I have the privilege of coming and going from a life of dislocation. Most people who live with vulnerable housing conditions don’t have that choice, which is why I want to redirect my resources.

Most of the money I am saving on rent and cost of living I will be donating to both local and global organizations that are working directly with refugees, migrants, asylees, and the homeless. If you are interested in joining in with this cause, donate here:

Or if you don’t want to put money in this pot, donate directly to organizations doing amazing work:

Internation Rescue Committee

World Vision

Bay Area Rescue Mission

Just to clarify — this money isn’t for me. I have covered the costs of moving into a van and none of the money I’m asking from you is going in my pocket. What you donate is for the cause of training refugees and reaching out to the homeless.

Thanks for looking. Join me on my instagram @arleyy if you’d like to follow along #vanlife

Photos by Devon Meadows


Q: Where do you shower? A: At Planet Fitness gym. My shower comes with a personal trainer.

Q: Where do you go to the bathroom? A: At my office, gym, or any other public facility.

Q: Where do you park/sleep? A: In the van, in a flat, quiet place.

Q: What about cooking? A: Jetboil.