REAL LIFE IN A VAN
The world is changing!
Who says you need a fixed home, an apartment, a house?
Why not move permanently into a mobile home?
22-year-old Jannis Hübner leads the way.
He has swapped his expensive flat for a cool CLIFF.
Jannis, tell us a bit about yourself:
JANNIS I‘m 22 and come from the South of Bavaria in Germany. I work full-time as a hearing aid acoustician, training to becoming a master. I’m also a freedom-lover and since December 2019 I live in a Sunlight Cliff.
Hopefully, your parents didn’t throw you out?
JANNIS (Laughs) No! I lived in an apartment and it was pretty nice. Still, I didn’t really feel at home. So, I did what you usually do: I looked for a bigger place. But the rents are horrendous. I asked myself why I should spend all my money on that when most of the day I’m at work or hanging out with friends anyway. I started looking into alternatives. I liked the concept of tiny houses, but it is still rather complicated, plus I got bored by the idea of living permanently at one place.
So, inevitably you came across camper van life?
JANNIS Exactly. I looked at a few vans and was close to buying one, when I heard of the black XV jubilee edition of the Cliff – it’s similar to the current Adventure Edition. I asked the dealer to call me as soon as he has the first one rolling in. And on December 20th, 2019 I picked up my very own Christmas present.
Have you ever had any vanlife experiences before?
JANNIS No. My brother and his wife have travelled with their bus for a year. They had a few tips for me and a friend of my brother lives in Greece in a van and she had great input, too. And I watched a lot of videos on YouTube & Co. #generationinternet…
Do you have any special features on board?
JANNIS Not many. The 220W solar panels on the roof and an extra battery so I’m pretty much self-sufficient. For extra driving and lying comfort I got air suspension in the rear so I can always level out the bed.
You are still very young – how do you finance the Cliff?
JANNIS I haven’t built a complex excel sheet, but the funding of the Cliff amounts to the same as my previous rent. And in the end, it’s mine. Plus, I spend less money now, because I shop more consciously. When I was sorting through all my stuff, I realized how much of all this is just so superfluous and unnecessary. Clothes, furniture, gadgets. I don’t need 50 candles; I just need one. And in the supermarket I see that things are not wrapped in tons of plastic. But there is one thing that followed me into the van: I love sneakers.
And there’s nothing you miss?
JANNIS Nothing! Although one thing maybe: a playstation. It just needs too much power and would be a mere luxury good. I don’t have a TV either, I’m fine with my Laptop and iPad. With my unlimited mobile phone contract, I’m happy wherever I have a decent connection.
How did your environment react to you moving into a van?
JANNIS Very differently. My father and my brother were super stoked. My mum and my granny were more like: “Oh, boy, what’s he doing?” My grandmother still refuses to step into my Cliff, but my mum comes by for a coffee frequently. And I also have older clients at work who reacted really positively. Grannies that are still asking how thing are going.
Where do you park?
JANNIS In Kempten, where I used to work, I had found a nice spot on Park4Night and at home in Wangen I now stand usually on a scenic parking spot in the woods next to a river.
When someone approaches you now who is also consiedering giving up the apartment life and moving into a van – what would you say?
JANNIS Just do it! Listen to your feelings and just go. It might feel a bit peculiar in the beginning, but after two, three weeks it’s simply liberating. You will sleep better, because you’re always out in fresh air. And you have your peace and quiet. I’ve never had any problems camping, not with random people, rangers or the police.
Regarding the choice of van, you have to first decide which length and weight you want. Do you need a 4×4, what kind of bed do you want etc. I wouldn’t recommend a Coachbuilt or A Class as they are bigger and more striking than a van. Sunlight is packed with great extras. I would add the extra oven, which is great for baking.
How long are you planning to live in your mobile home?
JANNIS Well, currently I don’t want to change anything. I love my lifestyle and there’s nothing negative that comes to mind. I have a beautiful home and I can go anywhere. I mean, I can move to a lake in Italy for the weekend. My friends hang out at my place now and I have the feeling that some of them are thinking about getting a van, too. My brother and his wife have already exchanged their bus for a Sunlight…