Put yourself out there.
Van life is more than just living in a van, traveling around a city, province, or country. At first glance, it can be a very solitary lifestyle. However, I have interacted with more people since living in our van than I ever did living in sticks and bricks. Of course, just as in those homes, you can isolate yourself and not socialize, but the community associated with van life is probably one of the friendliest groups I have ever met.
It was hard in the beginning to 'trust' the people we met on the road and in parking lots. We are raised not to trust strangers, and van lifers are often seen as homeless or vagrants by those unfamiliar with the lifestyle. However, we found that once we embraced the idea that we were home wherever we parked, it became easier to meet the neighbors and share stories and ...coffee. I should explain that I don't drink coffee, LOL. I am a Coke A Cola girl at heart.
We have had some of the most exciting conversations about everything from the lifestyle to world events with strangers and have never had a dull moment. We have met a few unique people that we would perhaps not park alongside again, but those are few and far between. Just like in traditional life, not everyone clicks with everyone. Only once have I felt safety was an issue, and I was cautious going in and getting out of there.
The other way I put myself out there was by starting this website. I am a private person and am always behind the camera, not in front of it. Starting a blog sharing our life is exciting and the scariest thing I have ever done. Social media can be very supportive, but it can be ferocious. If you chose this lifestyle and want to start a YouTube channel or website, I would do your research and start with a template until you get the hang of things. I have only had an online presence for about ten days, and I learn something new every day. I watched as many van life videos as I could find and read as many articles as possible and chose to do my own thing in the end.
I want to tell my story and adventures my way in my own words, and either people will like my sites or they will not. I do this for me, and if I can help others along the way, all the better.
My father always said, "You can not succeed in your life if you do not step out and live it." I like to believe that he is proud of me for living my life and not just surviving it!
My advice: "Research, be prepared but take the leap, put yourself out there and live your best life."