Life is a Circus

Van life - Free spirits on the move

Montreal anarchist, photographer and free spirit Benoit Paillé has been called a proponent of “van life” – a new movement that’s been spreading across North America and the rest of the world for the last several years.

Van Life started as an unofficial social movement of nomadic individuals who reject conventionality in order to embrace minimalism, simplicity, adventure, and reassessing what is truly meaningful in life. Resisting the status quo, those who live it choose van life as a way of living more truly in harmony with themselves.

Yes, Van Lifers do live in a van (or other form of transportation) full or part- time. However, there are no other official rules other than being true to one’s self and welcoming freedom and new experiences.

People in North America have lived in their vehicles since at least the 19th century. However, the term van life and the van life movement grew in the public consciousness when it became widely covered and shared in social media, beginning in 2010 and spread through the hashtag #vanlife. The Oscar-winning 2021 film Nomadland provided a starker glimpse into the lifestyle.

Paillé, however, rejects all labels as shackles, true to his anarchist spirit. In his view, associating him with Van Life is just another way to try to control and define the undefinable.

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