I only see my husband once a month — but I love my van life

She’s in the driver’s seat — and she loves it.

Melissa Hungerford, 36, was exhausted and “burnt out” after eight years of working as a nurse. So, she decided to make a massive life change: buying a van and choosing to travel around the country.

Hungerford, who ditched her day job for a life on the road, has now visited 38 out of 50 states and plans to tick them all off by the new year.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors and I wanted the freedom to go to places I’ve never been before,” the Montana resident told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

“Life as a nurse in the hospital involved long hours and I worked nights so my sleep schedule was a little wacky,” she continued. “So I definitely had days where I was exhausted.”

However, the former nurse, who loves her new life on the road, admits that it has its downsides — one being she only sees her husband, Todd, who works in the music industry, every four to six weeks.

Van in snow woman standing on top.
Melissa Hungerford has visited 38 out of 50 states.
Jam Press/@melsvanlife

Dark silver van with door open and chairs out front.
The travel nurse loves her van life.
Jam Press/@melsvanlife

“I miss him so much,” she admitted. “He wishes he could travel with me but his job doesn’t allow it.”

Hungerford said she didn’t want to give up working as a nurse completely, so decided to work as a travel nurse, taking shifts in various children’s units.

It’s something she’d always dreamed of doing but was “too scared” to take the leap.

“I worked with adults for four years before switching over and working with infants,” Hungerford explained. “It is very scary to go somewhere you’ve never been, where you know no one and basically take a chance.”

Selfie man and woman.
As much as Hungerford loves traveling, she misses her husband.
Jam Press/@melsvanlife

Inside of campervan.
She spent $10,000 modifying her van.
Jam Press Vid/@melsvanlife

The nurse was initially nervous at the prospect of living out of a van, so she decided to purchase a fully renovated one for $75,000.

Hungerford then spent around $10,000 customizing it to make it even more comfortable.

“I lowered the bed, added cabinets, countertops and a skylight,” she explained. “I also upgraded the toilet to a composting loo and changed the fridge [then] ripped out the shower that I never used and created a couch, like a bench.”

Four photos showing inside of van.
She purchased an already renovated van then made it her own.
Jam Press/@melsvanlife

Inside of campervan, sink and bed.
Although van life has taken some adjusting, Hungerford has no regrets.
Jam Press/@melsvanlife

Nurse in hospital purple scrub shirt.
Hungerford now works as a travel nurse.
Jam Press Vid/@melsvanlife

The nurse loves her new digs, though some aspects have taken some adjusting.

“You have to worry about water usage, human waste disposal, trash disposal, smaller space and downsizing,” she said. “I sometimes miss having a bigger space of a traditional home but not enough to make me go back.”

Hungerford encourages anyone who wants to give the van life a try to go for it and be prepared for things to go wrong — and know how to fix it.

“I absolutely recommend my lifestyle! Just make sure you’re ready for it,” she warned, reminding everyone that what you see on social media doesn’t reflect the truth.

“You are going to hit your head on things or break your toe,” she said. “But the key is to not let that deter you from why you chose to live this lifestyle.”

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