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Corndogging: The #VanLife Checklist

Five steps to ensuring your trendy nomadic lifestyle gets you the likes you deserve

1. Buy a van (duh), preferably one that rolled off the factory floor between 1961 and 1990. For a good deal, ask your neighborhood elderly people. It's a known fact that they all have vintage, low-mileage vans in their garages, and they don't even Instagram them. Crazy, right?

2. What do all the best #VanLife vehicles have in common? Wood. Lots and lots of wood. For maximum vehicular relevance, you'll need to gut the interior and install wood floors, side panels, and a nautical porthole or two. What's that? You don't even know which side of the hammer to use? Of course you don't. So hire a professional carpenter to take care of the actual work. Just make sure that he's out of frame for your #VanInProgress selfies, and try to hold the hammer knobby side forward. Actually, best not to hold the hammer at all. You could hurt yourself.

3. Two words: Mexican blankets. Throw them on seatbacks or on the floorboards, use them as curtains and tablecloths, or sew them together to make board socks for your in-van quiver. F–k it, you could even use one for warmth if you get cold. Point is, when paired with the Valencia filter, these bad boys pop. Oh, and one more word: succulents.

4. Amass a mighty quiver and fill your van with it. Remember, the first rule of #VanLife is that you're only as good as the possessions you've meticulously curated, and you want the contents of your van to tell the story of you. Are you an expert in design, a scholar of historical craft, and a roguish freethinker? Too easy—just buy one balsa log, two fish, one five-fin, asymmetrical, carbon-wrapped shortboard, and a handplane. For extra cred, give each of them obtuse names like "Bandit," "Aurora," and "Jabberwock" in photo captions.

5. Sell everything that doesn't fit in your van. Not because it's romantic, but because at this point you are surely in the crippling vice grip of debt. After all, if you can't afford a data plan to post the shit out of your new wheels, then what was the point of steps 1 through 4?

[This feature originally appeared in our May 2017 Issue, “Frontiers,” on newsstands and available for download now.]

[Editor's note: "Corndogging" is a satirical column in which we take serious surf issues, dunk 'em in the ocean, and roll them around in the sand for awhile.]