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Most of us were brought up to believe getting a job, getting a house with a mortgage, and filing our money away for retirement is the best option for our lives. Every generation in the past had the same values, and who can blame them?

It’s a safe bet to a secure, comfortable way of life.

But it’s not the only option. Alternative living is a concept not everyone grows up thinking about, and for some, it might never be something they’d consider.

The thought of going against tradition, against the set way of doing things and striking out on your own is scary. But the more I read about alternative living, the more I know it’s for me. For others like me who are looking for a way to make an alternative lifestyle a possibility.

So, I want to share what I’ve found. If you’re not convinced by the plan of buying a house and getting stuck with a mortgage (and I don’t blame you), check out these alternative living choices instead.

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1) Become A Nomad

In the past, becoming a digital nomad with the ability to work and live anywhere on the planet was a fairytale dream.

Now, however, it’s a realistic goal to pursue, with numerous opportunities to work remotely, set up a remote business, and see the world while still earning money.

If you love seeing new places, meeting new people, and don’t get too attached to your personal belongings (aka don’t mind living out of a backpack), nomadic life could be the perfect alternative living option for you.

2) Van-Life

Ah, van life. Here’s my embarrassing confession: I’ve owned two vans, both bought with the intention of turning into my own home on wheels, and neither one has ever left the UK with me.

Apparently, this lifestyle just isn’t for me – but it has proved the perfect alternative to getting a mortgage for hundreds if not thousands of people across the world.

Van life is way, way bigger than you could imagine. I found inspiration from other van dwellers via Instagram and every day I still look at their photos.

Imagine jumping in your van – your home – at night, driving to the beach, a lake, a forest, and waking up in the middle of nature with no one around. Better still, you get all that and your home comforts are right there with you (a cup of tea on a deserted beach first thing in the morning? yes please!).

You have to be good with DIY, or at least very patient if you’re going to convert a van into a camper. I’m not going to lie, from first-hand experience, there’s a lot of work involved.

But once you’re done, there’s no rent, no bills, and no limit on where you can go. Your home on wheels can take you anywhere and brings back the true essence of outdoors, minimal living.

3) Bus Life

Bus life is increasingly popular with couples who have had children, and need to level up in terms of space.

Bus conversions look absolutely stunning, and provide far more room than a van ever could – but it does mean you have to sacrifice on mobility.

4) RV

RV life is for people who like the sound of van-life, but can afford to have a little more luxury.

RVs are a fully kitted out home on wheels, with proper bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and room for all your home comforts. However, this does mean you’ll be more limited on where you can go – campsites only.

5) Living on a Boat

Why limit yourself to the open-road when the sea’s out there waiting for you? Living on a boat has to be the ultimate way to see the world, with the option to set sail and arrive at the port of any country you choose. Canal boats are reportedly one of the cheapest ways to live in big cities such as London and Bristol, with the cost of a boat plus mooring far cheaper than getting a mortgage on a flat in the city centre.

Buying your own boat – whether it’s a canal boat or a sailboat for open water – is a big investment, and you’d need to learn to sail first if you don’t already. But would the investment be worth it for you? To rock up to a port anywhere in the world with all your belongings with you, to look at a map and pick your next destination anytime you feel like it? Sounds like the sweet life to me.

6) Tiny Houses

When you start looking into the number of alternative living options out there, you realise how many people are thinking outside the box. Tiny houses are an actual thing – downsizing from a regular-sized house to a miniature-sized version. Whether you choose to buy a small plot of land and literally build your tiny house from scratch, or convert a cabin or even a shed into a tiny house, it’s been done and is proving to be a most cost-efficient way of living.

Not only does living in a tiny house dramatically reduce costs such as mortgages, bills and maintenance of your home, but it also encourages a more minimal way of living. No more clutter, because there’s no more space. You’re forced to whittle your possessions done to the bare necessities, and suddenly living becomes a lot more simple. For sure, tiny houses are not for everyone, but they are are serious option for people who want a more permanent location while still avoiding expensive mortgage fees. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Tiny Houses and the advice you need when converting, check out TheTinyHouse.net for some great insights.

7) TreeHouse

Love nothing more than being in the great outdoors? Set up shop in the trees with your own treehouse home.I would love to meet someone who has actually done this!

8) Shipping Container

There are a growing number of young people living in shipping containers as a more affordable alternative to having to save up extortionate amounts for a house deposit.

Check out this cool interview with a couple on the BBC who converted a shipping container into their own home.

9) Yurt

A yurt is a portable, round tent – and an increasingly popular alternative living option amongst people who want to get back to nature and find a more simple way to live.

This interview follows a lady named Beige, who has been living in her yurt for two-years.

10) Earthships

Earthships are designed to be extremely eco-friendly, and able to last for years. If you’re creative and fancy making your own alternative living home from scratch, this could be an option worth considering.

There’s so Many More…

These are just a few of countless alternative living options out there. If you want a more minimal lifestyle, to see more of the world, or just want to mix up your life plan, any of these options are seriously worth looking into. They are all tried and tested ways of living – you just need to have a bit of an open mind.


Do you know anyone who has an alternative way of living to save money, or give them more freedom? Are there any I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments…