How a young woman living in a van with her pet snake inspired me to put more effort into being a happy person


This was indeed the case with Jennelle Eliana, a 21-year-old YouTuber who lives in a self-renovated baby blue van and travels across California with her pet snake, Alfredo. Finding this kind of content as enthralling as I do may be rather questionable, but a simple click onto one of her videos will certainly help you understand.

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‘Van Life’ is a relatively popular category on YouTube. Content creators share videos of their experiences living and travelling in a van, usually comprising of topics such as ‘van tours,' ‘what I get up to in a day,' ‘how I shower in a van,' etc.

In a world of flashy YouTuber lives and PR package unboxing, I personally find these kinds of videos to be rather refreshing. Jenelle’s channel, however, takes it to the next level as her videos feel more personal and as if as viewers, we are journeying through life’s beautiful and challenging moments together.

What makes it even better is that this genre is typically dominated by younger white couples and their dogs, but Jennelle is doing an amazing job at, as our very own Miss Universe says, “taking up space in society," with her channel growing to over 2 million subscribers in only a few short months. This has earned her the title of an instant YouTube sensation and yes, we do love to see it.

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You may be wondering what I and a young lady living in her van travelling through North America with a wildly successful YouTube channel have in common and honestly, not much. But, what instantly drew me in was Jennelle’s ability to unapologetically be herself and share her unorthodox lifestyle with the world.

Watching her videos feels like living vicariously through her carefree nature. Her ability to comfortably be alone while remaining positive as ever is something so inspiring to me. From spending her afternoons by the ocean and mornings getting breakfast alone in cute cafes, I am reminded that there is so much to be grateful for and content with by looking within and truly connecting with yourself.

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How I feel about not having a dog.

A post shared by Jennelle Eliana (@jennelle.eliana) on

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A post shared by Jennelle Eliana (@jennelle.eliana) on

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Dude, life is great.

A post shared by Jennelle Eliana (@jennelle.eliana) on

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The video that inspired me the most thus far is one titled, “OUR BIRTHDAY w

In this video Jennelle takes herself on a trip for the day, sits in a forest and reflects on life. There she discusses how some of the bold decisions she’s made have led to her joy, saying, “because I made that decision so confidently [to switch up my lifestyle], so many other things in my life have manifested.”

She went on to say that on her 20th birthday she “made the decision to put in all [her] effort to be a happy person” and “be happy first before anything else," all while in tears of joy. Jennelle then shares some advice with her viewers, saying, “just do what you want with your life and not go the path that everyone else is going.”

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I know that this lifestyle isn’t accessible for most of us, but it’s  Jennelle's attitude and outlook on life that I feel is a reminder we all need. Making conscious decisions to better your life, leaving situations that aren’t helping you grow, finding comfort in being by yourself and taking risks that will make you happier — that’s the energy I’m channeling all 2020!

Have you tried out an adventurous live and enjoyed it? What do you do to keep happy? Tell us about it here.

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