When their landlord told Dave and Angel Caudle that rent was going up at their apartment in Littleton, Colo., they decided to move out and join the movement known as the “van life,” according to 9 News.
“We had seen and watched YouTube videos on it, and we figured that we liked each other enough that we could live in a van together,” Angel Caudle said.
The Caudles believe that living in the Denver Metro Area is becoming unaffordable for hourly workers. They were feeling priced out.
“I’ve always been a server or a bartender. My husband has always worked for irrigation companies and done sprinklers,” Angel Caudle said.
They decided to move into a work van to save money and stop “spinning their wheels” in life by rolling on wheels as a home.
Van Lifers have been growing across the country. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated 140,000 homes listed as boats, recreational vehicles or vans. In 2016, that same number was around 101,000. Social media posts suggest even more people joined the van life movement during the pandemic.
“Pay your rent. Go to work. Rinse and repeat. So many of my family members are doing that back East,” Dave Caudle said. “We came out to Colorado to try to pioneer and do something different.”
The Caudles spent three years living in different vans or trailers. They set up a bed, a portable stove, and carried all their belongings. They said the key is to look like a work van and stay away from neighborhoods. During the day, Dave Caudle said when they were not at work, they would hang out in parks near bathrooms with showers.
“You only have to find a place to be overnight and that’s kind of the hard part,” Dave Caudle said.