>>720827586 I seldom do so because it means I have to stay somewhere long enough for a package to arrive. But there are mail services that do this, or general delivery. Or friends' houses. I know lots of people. >>720827591 I work carpentry/general construction. I never have a problem finding work anywhere I go.
>>720827680 Yep. In my vanhouse. Hot water and everything. >>720827745 Nope. Dad's dead and was bankrupt before he died. Mom doesn't have much. >>720827896 Cool, I know people there right now, I'm currently not far away headed towards San Diego.
>>720828896 There are all manners of ways to fund this lifestyle, I know people who do it bartering garbage they find or people who have remote tech jobs. I used to have remote employment, myself, but went back to physical labor.
It's not hard to meet people. I know people all over the country now. And I never have a problem getting girls. Long-term relationships obviously present logistic issues.
>>720829253 I've literally never paid to park my van, ever. I stay wherever I want, in the boonies, or on city streets, but never at a campground. I run everything off grid with solar, propane, onboard water etc. Never use shore power hookups.
What you're doing is living economically in a trailer park. I don't mean that to sound disparaging - to each their own - but it's why I do what I do and I don't want to be tethered to some cheap campground somewhere. I like to be totally self sufficient and free to wander.
A full size RV is pretty much only good for taking to a campground. They're designed to be hooked onto services and they're not legal to park in many city streets overnight. In the southwest there's plenty of empty land where you can stay in the boonies, but then you have a big RV to try to take to town or get a 2nd vehicle..... nah. Again, I like to be all contained in one self sufficient unit. That's my big van.
My van is 20' long, single rear axle, single rear wheels, original body width. This means it's legal to park essentially everywhere. It's also tall enough for me to stand fully upright and I have all the amenities I need.
>>720830369 Ahhh... over a year ago, my engine blew up on the interstate. I was stuck in Newport fuckin' News, VA, for three weeks, getting it replaced. Ended up getting the tranny replaced too and that deal cost me $8,300 out of pocket. I posted an AMA on /trv/ at the time, this is only the 2nd time I've posted a thread about my van on 4chan. Here's the engine getting replaced.
I've had other breakdowns of course... dead battery in the middle of nowhere, and I recharged it with my solar battery bank... just two days ago my van died on the interstate, thought it was the fuel pump, eventually traced one of the wires from the distributor cap resting on the manifold and grounding out. 5 minutes with electrical tape and back on the road.
Already mentioned working carpentry for money. P.S. I do good finish work.
>>720827509 i used to work as a sales rep, and lived in a dodge caravan for a couple months one summer. I really enjoyed it. Obviously van was not set up like yours but it was plenty comfy. I would get drunk in random towns, then pass out in the back. Wake up the next day, work, and do it all over again. Did a lot of fishing
>>720832083 Better question, how tall are you? I couldn't imagine being able to stand to full lay out on a bed in there. Also, is it just a driver and passenger seat? You said something about a girlfriend, was she a traveling companion? Do you pick up hitchhikers or weirdos you meet?
>>720832118 Jasper also sent me a thank you package with my order which included, strangely, a can of Jasper brand Cajun seasoning. So I peeled off the label and pasted it on my doghouse cover. >Intel inside
>>720832346 >how tall are you? 5'10". I can stand fully upright everywhere in my van, but, even as far as class B vans go (which is what this design is called) mine is bigger than most. It has a full 24" high top with overcab. Most class B vans you see, like Roadtrek, have a mid size top that only allows you to kinda stand in the middle. Admittedly if you're over 5'10" even in my van you would only be able to stand up in the front area.
>I couldn't imagine being able to stand to full lay out on a bed in there. I should clarify. The couch/bed in the back isn't where I sleep. I sleep in the overcab, above the driver's seat, which slides out on a drawer to the size of a "full" mattress. 75" long is plenty long enough for me and wide enough for two people to sleep up there.
>Also, is it just a driver and passenger seat? Driver and passenger seat in the front, kitchen/stove/sink area, then bath/toilet/shower, cabinets, back bed/couch area.
>You said something about a girlfriend, was she a traveling companion? That one became a traveling companion for a time, I've experimented doing this with a couple girls, it's not something I'm going to seek out again but if it happens it happens. I always have an easy time meeting girls in any city etc.
>Do you pick up hitchhikers or weirdos you meet? Oh yeah. Weirdos are my favorite. Lots of hitchhiker stories...
>>720832489 Nope, I don't have facebook/instagram/youtube/twatter or any other form of social media. However I have been interviewed by others and it's out there on youtube somewhere.
>>720832589 Exactly! I have no rent, mortgage or property tax. Some debt left but once that's paid off I can spend my money entirely how I like. Currently, my biggest expenses are gas and beer, and I can regulate my intake of both. I can work and travel or I can stay put and live for a dollar a day on rice and beans if I choose.
>Any advice for beginner? Yes. Start sooner. That's the only thing I wish I would have done differently.
I have exactly two pieces of genuine life advice to offer (for anyone in any context). 1) If you're not happy, it's time to move on. 2) Anything you've given serious thought to, just do it, as later in life you'll always have more regret for the things you didn't do.
Just jump into it and you'll figure it out. Necessity is the mother of invention, and invention and survival give perspective. You'll find out how it works for you. Practical means like solar, batteries, plumbing etc are all things I can answer but those are all in depth subjects.
OP is not being as open as he/she could be about income and work .. its really hard to find with when its hard to find a shower and could drive off any day with tools
most are really on SSI but well not be open about it
most BLM land and camp ground well not let you stay for 1 of many things.. think you well not pay for your site and pull away late at night . 2 dumping trash like your black tank on the ground . many many more
you get looked at as trash .. yes OP is not trash but if a cop has had to run off 20 vans in the last week his going to look at you as just the same
so the VAN life is a hard life over you cant go into town and you have to live in the sticks so this is why his programmed this way and if you live this way you well become that too
OP this is not a attack in any way but i feel you need to tell the truth about some of the bad
>>720833351 >are you at your van right now? where'd you'd stay at this very moment? Yes. Currently I'm in Blythe, CA, headed west from Quartzsite AZ, towards San Diego.
>also, how long are travel-stay intervals? Totally depends. I'm from Vermont originally and I tend to spend summers mostly there floating around Burlington area. In the winter I travel south and southwest and I might stay somewhere for days, weeks, or hours. Recently I spent 3 weeks in Lake Havasu and 3 weeks in Quartzsite and both of those were longer than normal for me.
>does the van is insulated? how the night moisture gets out? My van is not insulated well. I bought it as a class B RV and any factory RV or conversion is never done well. If I had built it from scratch, I would have insulated it, but I make do just fine as is.
I have 3 ways to heat it. Full RV style furnace, which cycles the air and eliminates moisture problems, but this is resource intensive. The small catalytic heater posted above under my couch uses very little propane and no electricity but is only 3k BTU. Most of the time, if it's, say, 30 degrees outside, I'll turn on my stove top and the catalytic heater and be perfectly warm. This does produce both moisture and carbon monoxide so some ventilation is required. I have computer fans installed in vents strategically to eliminate these issues.
>>720833665 I think I'll do that, thanks. My mothers house will be mine when she passes, so I guess I'll look for an affordable van like yours or small RV that can support solar panels on the top and buy tesla power wall and maybe jerry rig it into a future van/rv battery to give it extra power boost. Hopefully running on both fuel and electricity. That's just my starting idea.
I just want to make money and invest on something where I can lower my living expenses to almost little to nothing if I can.
>>720834221 >OP is not being as open as he/she could be >about income and work .. Well, ask what you want to ask!
>its really hard to find with when its hard to find a shower and could drive off any day with tools I actually have no idea what you're trying to say there and if there's a question I missed it.
>most are really on SSI but well not be open about it I've never been on any form of disability, unemployment, retirement benefit, or any other form of passive or government income. I work for all of my money.
>most BLM land and camp ground well not let you stay for 1 of many things.. think you well not pay for your site and pull away late at night . 2 dumping trash like your black tank on the ground . many many more Let me stay? Again, I've never paid to park my van, but, I can tell you that I don't go to places where there's someone to tell me what I can and can't do. Many people get into this with a narrow view of campgrounds etc. That's where they want you to park. There's a difference between what they want you to do and what you can get away with.
Yes, BLM is common free land in the southwest, but it pretty much doesn't exist in the northeast and that's where I spend half of my time. I still never pay for parking. Plenty of places to just go down a dirt road, be by a lake, or find legal street parking for free.
>you get looked at as trash .. yes OP is not trash but if a cop has had to run off 20 vans in the last week his going to look at you as just the same I don't dump my trash like a dink and I don't congregate where others do. Pretty common sense.
>so the VAN life is a hard life over you cant go into town and you have to live in the sticks so this is why his programmed this way and if you live this way you well become that too What? Not really sure what you're saying. I split my time pretty evenly between cities and the middle of nowhere, though.
>>720831812 360's are weird engines to start with... the motorhome variants have the extra buttery low end cam too - and that pic of the engine goin in made my blood turn to ice (did the exact same job with a chevy van a few years back) i own an 86 dodge d150 truck that ive put a few engines through... lived a similar lifestyle with a travel trailer in tow for ten years...
>>720834690 No, that bathroom area expands into the hallway via the curtain you see hanging... it creates a normal shower space and there's a piece of the floor that comes out to reveal the shower pan and drain. So I stand in front of the toilet inside a curtain. I have normal house pressure in that shower head due to a 12v pump and accumulator tank, 16 gallons fresh water tank, plus a 6 gallon water heater for 22 gallons total fresh water.
>>720835034 >1. Your average mpg. Ohhh boy. You've just activated my MPG nerdiness. I keep track of each fuel entry within a spreadsheet I wrote that automatically gives me MPG, lifetime averages, projections of cost if I enter a trip, graphs it all, etc... here are recent entries... >2. Did you ever used your rifle? Yes, I use my rifles. For target shooting. I like target shooting. I don't have them for self defense reasons if that's your assumption. If you break into my van in the middle of the night, I'm not going to try to load my .45-70, but rather roll out of bed with a baseball bat and club the dark shape until it stops moving. >3. Do you have more guns? I have many guns locked away in storage, but I have only the two rifles in my van. I don't want to travel with handguns due to some bullshit state laws. >4. Does chicks doesn't mind fuck in a shag van on parking? You'd be surprised how many chicks would climb into the back of a van with a bearded drifter they just met three drinks ago.
>>720835055 Go for it but my suggestion would be not to try to make some convoluted hybrid van thing. These vehicles are not streamlined efficiency machines... think more like 10mpg. If you really want to get into alternative fuel get a mechanical diesel engine. I know people who run filtered motor oil, ATF, etc they get for free (veggie oil is another commodity since the VW hippies got onto it). I know people who do this.
Also just for reference I've made somewhere around $40-$50k annually for the years I've been doing this. And if I made less I'd just spend less. Can kinda grow the life to what you want when you don't have rent.
>>720836422 No. Slab City. Squatter / traveler destination out in the desert.
>>720836320 Hmmm...I might need to make a deal with people around me that trust me enough to use their cars in exchange for services to avoid a constant need for daily travel. As long as I know how to do required services they need, I think I can arrange something. People are too quick to trust me, but I have no intention on breaking anyone's trust, so maybe it'll work out.
>>720836436 I have a Verizon jetpack on a contract with 12gb of data. Separate cell plan with GoPhone. But if I want to do something data intensive like stream netflix I'll go park outside a store with unrestricted wifi. I keep a mental inventory of which businesses are good for this.
I like to mix city/boonies. City for night life, nice lake destinations for relaxation, out in the middle of nowhere for seclusion. This is the benefit of "wheel estate."
Propane. It's not feasible to heat with electricity off grid. Not really, anyway.
>>720836460 Craigslist mostly, yeah, but also word of mouth. There's a regular company I work for when I'm in VT for the summer and when I travel I just find work wherever. There's a shortage of skilled trade labor these days.
>>720836669 What part of the country are you in? It's easiest to do this around the southwest. Plenty of BLM where you can stay for free. Ehrenberg, AZ is a good example, and it's not far from Blythe and Parker.
>>720836673 >Out of curiosity, how is your van weight? I know what I told the DMV when I registered it but I have no idea what it actually weighs.... one time, I put one of those basic mechanic's floor jacks underneath it, not an expensive one but it was a real floor jack. As soon as the wheels came off the ground the thing bent right the fuck over and crumpled up like a cheap lawn chair.
>What are you doing with dirty clothes? Using laundry services or bucket with a plunger? Frequently I'll wash a shirt in my sink and dry it out the window. This practice works great parked in the sun, but it works EXCELLENT doing 85mph past a Prius.
1. Picked up three hippies on the side of the road near Yuma. They said they had been sitting there for 3 days and 3 nights in the dirt and so they climbed enthusiastically into my van. My luck, the next road was a CA inspection station, and those guys love to bring out the dogs when they see a big white van. "Hey... you guys don't have anything illegal on you, do you?" Fortunately they did not.
2. Headed to Slab City. Picked up a French guy who was here from Paris studying. He wanted to go to the slabs. We got there and explored after dark, met people who gave up free mixed drinks and thc gummie candies, we took them because fuck it. French guy got all fucked up, ran into the desert, got chased by dogs, had a bad time. I had a great time. Never saw Frenchie again.
3. While driving 24hrs straight, picked up a toothless middle aged hitchhiker, the kind no one would pick up. I drove this guy like 400 miles to the middle of St. Louis while in the middle of a driving binge and not sleeping, dropped him off, kept driving another 12 hours, arrived, met a friend for dinner, left her place, went downtown to a bar, picked up a girl, brought her back to my van, got laid, finally went to bed after like 40 hours awake.
Not sure if those are sufficiently climactic. Just what came to mind quickly.
>>720837780 Hmm, recognize me from where? Online or in person?
>>720838191 Oh yes. I have way more tools squirreled away in here than you'd think. Full cordless tool kit, shop vac, finish nail gun, sawhorses, can carry 14' lumber inside and close the back doors, carry plywood or drywall on the side, ladders outside, shovel, comealong, and even have room left for a full 40' goddamn extension ladder on top of my side rack.
>>720838415 1999 Dodge Ram 3500 1 ton extended, with a 24" fiberglass high top. The RV conversion model name is "Phoenix Cruiser." They're not common.
If I were to do it again I'd want something with a mechanical diesel engine. For my next vehicle house I'd like to get some kinda older gnarly long bed diesel, rip the bed off it and stick build a house around it. But for jumping into the lifestyle a class B is faster.
The extended Transit Connect is a great option if you want something smaller-ish with standing height to convert yourself.
I know for a lot of people, overseas travel is the standard of travel, but for me I just like wandering self-sufficiently in my own space. Even if I were to find a job or place I really loved and didn't wander as a nomad, I'd still live in my van for the sake of being self contained and able to leave if needed.
Anyway, no. I've been places where people told me I'd be murdered for my van... stayed right downtown New Orleans on Canal St amidst homelessness and crime.... never had anyone try to fuck with my van like that. Most people are either oblivious to the life, or, if they're on to it they know that there's a vandweller inside ready to hit you with a bat.
The people I know who've had their van broken into were people doing it "stealth" in cargo vans. Junkies break into work vans looking for tools. I'm always out in the open and living the life.
I did once get stalked by some dude but that was my only real creepy experience.
>>720839235 I bought synthetic blackout curtains from Wal-Mart, cut them with a hot knife so I didn't have to hem them and affixed them with snaps. I did this whilst blind drunk in the middle of nowhere, Alabama. Turned out okay I guess.
>>720839372 I change my engine oil every 3,000 miles religiously for the warranty. I use a fumoto valve and grippy textured filters so that I can do the changes with no tools. Pop underneath, flip a lever into a bucket, spin off filter, spin on filter, close lever, fill oil from above.
Tires... not as often as I should. I have a fooked bushing at the top of my passenger side A-arm, which causes my alignment to be off, which trashes my front tires. I have to drive with the steering wheel to the left to go in a straight line. Gonna fix this sometime when I get around to it.
>>720839514 >are you saving making that much a year? Not really. I only have around $3k in the bank right now. When I need more money I go get more money. I call this goldfish spending. Growing to the size of one's environment.
>do you bring "normal" girls back to the camper? What, the hooker getup didn't look normal? ...ahh, I bring back all types. But not just bar sluts or whatever. I meet all sorts of people and yes that includes nice normal girls. But I prefer the crazy ones. I like to keep mixed company.
>>720839626 >can an electrician make significantly more?
I dunno, probably.
My going rate is $35/hr when I'm working for myself. If employed for someone else I take less.
>>720839981 Doesn't bother me really. I make new friends. And even my mom doesn't nag me about where I am, I might text her a couple times a month.
I seek out novelty and that is more exciting than familiarity. "It never got weird enough for me," as Hunter S. Thompson said. Remember the girl I posted the picture of? I told her she wasn't allowed to leave the desert until she had an in depth understanding of that movie. Long story short, she boarded a plane in Phoenix in tears.
>>720840252 >does the Van end up in the shop often with its age? No. >Seems like that would be a huge pain in the ass since it is your house Yes, precisely, and this is the reason I end up redneck engineering fixes for myself. It's less about the age and necessity of repairs and more about my own stubbornness. I dread any time I have to succumb and give my van to a shop because it effectively makes me homeless. In three years I've only done this twice (apart from waiting for an inspection, tires etc) and once was the engine breakdown I mentioned.
I end up doing stuff like... oh, my cat is plugged up and needs the exhaust replaced? Yeah, nah, I'll just cut holes in it with a sawsall on the side of the road until it runs. Later I hollowed out the cat and clamped it back together until I got it welded. But I didn't want to give up my van to a shop.
>>720840628 Like I said earlier I spend summers central to Burlington VT area but apart from that... spent two months in San Diego last year. After that, longest I've stayed anywhere was 2-3 weeks randomly... Arizona, Florida, South Carolina...
>>720840913 No, it isn't, it's my van and I just left an event with Bob last week, and he wouldn't call anyone gay. He's a very nice guy.
>>720841008 That's the main thing that throws me off the lifestyle. I don't know much about vehicles and while I am pretty good with my hands I don't think I would have the time to fix stuff like that myself.. maybe if I spent more on a newer setup it wouldn't be so much of a problem? .. fuck
>>720841259 You often meet completely stranger people. Do you ever made up histories or lie, just for fun, to scare, to amaze them? Probably you'll never meet again, so you can be a fucking liar or 100% true.
>>720841542 Yeah, that's the real worst case scenario. There are a few ways to go about it. I'm going to assume you have an income but not a lot of money (because if you have a lot of money it's not a problem).
Finance a newer vehicle like a Transit Connect, Promaster etc and convert the interior. Should have minimal breakdowns. (I advise against the Sprinter as electronic diesel repairs may outweigh the cost of the vehicle).
Get a simple conversion going in a cargo van and keep most of your setup removable. Keep an emergency fun big enough to buy a new van and transfer your stuff in a worst case scenario.
Keep a bicycle, scooter or anything in the case of emergency travel to get to a parts store or whatever.
And of course even in a breakdown, you're not homeless. Just go into the back and have a beer and figure it out.
Basically you're not going to get anywhere by being afraid to try.
>>720841724 No. Although everyone knows me by a fake name. That's not for the sake of deceiving anyone, it just came to be how people know me years ago. Funny though, there have been times a girl didn't know me by my real name until seeing it on a credit card receipt or something equally indirect, so far none have run screaming but it does raise questions.
>>720841903 If this is a suicide joke you would have been better served quoting a picture that has a rifle in it.
>>720841542 Not OP, but I did this for about 2 years, until I couldn't make enough money to support it anymore. Yeah newer is better, but even then my van didn't break down too often. It isn't the age, so much as the miles you put on it. The more you drive, the worse off anything will be, even a newer rig. You do need to have a fairly solid knowledge of mechanics though, since you may need to replace a head gasket, or change out a tranny, big stuff that can still be done by you. Unless you have enough money to bypass that.
>>720842609 I'm 29 and yeah, I think so. I used to think I'd do the wife and kid thing one day, and if that ever happens I'm sure I won't be living in a van, but otherwise I don't see myself ever changing. And I'm not seeking that out. Honestly, after spending a few years gallivanting around the country picking up chicks I've begun questioning my ability to have a long term monogamous relationship again.
Currently I'm still a normal person on paper. I report my income, have bank accounts, credit card, credit score of around 700, pretend to have a physical address even though I'm never there... I just happen to live in a van and do whatever I want. The biggest question in my life is whether, say, ten years from now, when I've paid off my remaining debt, do I want to keep being a normal person on paper or fall off the grid entirely and work under the table? I don't know the answer, but more and more I lean towards the latter. It'd only affect me if I one day needed a big loan like for a house or something and I don't see that happening anymore.
Gonna start posting some scenery along with the van shots.
>Portland, Maine. >City hates vehicles, so I parked and went about on foot. >It was after dark, not a great side of town, but idgaf. >Began to see the same car pass me. Crappy ass sedan. >Not a paranoid person but occurred to me to wonder if this person was following me. Just then he pulled ahead and parked. >To test theory, I ducked behind a tree. He pulled up to where he could see me again. Shit, he is following me. >Began taking pedestrian paths, around buildings, etc to lose him. Each time he would drive around on the road and meet me on the other side. >Kept up for like 30-40 mins. >Finally thought I lost him. Made it back to the van. >Saw his car pull in and park next to me. >Wtf >Middle aged negro gets out and starts walking around my van trying to peek in all the windows. >I was holding a baseball bat and a cell phone trying to decide which I should use, when he finally left.
No idea whether he was trying to rob me or buy drugs or if he was gay. Weird as shit. I stayed in that parking lot and he came back again and watched my van for a while. Then left again. I still gave no shits and slept there.
>>720842919 Nah I have references. I keep a stack of my resume very fucking professional looking, with references, on glossy paper with pictures of my work printed on the reverse side. Gotta sell yourself. The construction trades are desperate for good people because so many lowlifes show up just looking for a job. I actually enjoy doing good work.
I don't use drugs. But I do drink a lot of beer.
>>720843214 I don't really spend lots of time in bars to be honest. I like being outdoors, climbing, photography, target shooting, and other stuff. This is also partially why I went back to physical work, I don't like being sedentary in the van doing geek work. The bicycle in the pictures actually belonged to a girl but I'd like to get a dual sport dirtbike and mount it on a hitch receiver.
>>720843632 No. I think that'd be restricting (where I park, walking a dog, leaving unattended in a vehicle) but I know a lot of vandwellers who do have pets.
>>720843837 Had to look that one up. Not really. I don't feel apprehensive. I don't worry about anything, honestly. I mentioned earlier seeking novelty, and I guess that's close to what you're talking about. Another common phrase is "wanderlust," although I prefer a German word, fernweh, which means a longing for far-off places (opposite of "homesickness").
>>720844505 If you want to live somewhere stationary on a piece of land, build a tinyhome on a trailer frame. It's not considered part of the property and thus untaxed, it's built to proper home standards and not shitty trailer standards, and if you have to move it you can hitch up to a truck and go.
>>720844558 From what I hear this is harder to do in Europe. Less open land. Smaller streets and smaller vehicles. But I've never been there.
I can say that previous to my giant van, I lived several months out of a Suzuki SX4 hatchback. Not even enough room to lay down in one of those. And although I prefer the amenities I have now (hence, why I designed them) I could do it again in a small space if I had to. Shower at the gym, etc.
>>720846972 When living off-grid, everything is a resource. Space is a resource. Weight is a resource. Electricity is a resource. Fresh water, even the capacity of waste water in holding tanks is a resource. Which is to say, I could build a geek monitor set up if I wanted to, but I don't care to.
That may sound like a limitation but I prefer it. Some people like camping because they have to go collect firewood etc. Ever play a video game and love it and then turn cheat codes on and find it's no fun anymore? Because there's no sense of advancement anymore. I enjoy having to manage resources to live my life. It's not encumbering. I still have all the amenities I need. Shower, cooking food, a fridge full of cold beer, internet, what-have-you, they're just all resources and not things to be taken for granted. Luxury is a sliding scale, but there's a big difference between CAN and CAN'T, and I CAN take a hot shower in the middle of the desert.
>>720850252 >>720850477 Yes, I pretend to live at my mom's address for legal reasons. It's on my license, registration, and insurance. In addition to vehicle insurance, say your car is broken into and shit stolen. That is not covered on your auto policy. It's covered under a homeowner policy. So I also maintain a renter's insurance policy. This technically means I am committing insurance fraud, because I don't spend time at the address I list on my policies. But if I ever had to make a claim it would go >uhh yeah, I was vacationing in East Bumfuck, Ohio, and someone broke into my van
I pay for everything with my credit card or cash, so my bank doesn't know where I am, and my credit card has no reason to tell anyone. Pay the credit card electronically every month.
>>720850698 Dark Tower series. Yes, upset about the negro cast in the movie.
What about food preservation? I love buying ingredients, cooking food, then portioning it out into bags and freezing it. Saves a ton of money. How does your setup handle refrigerators / freezers? I imagine those probably are not compatible but I really want to be a nomad...
>>720827509 I think thats awesome bro. Ive thought of just running away and living in the woods or something. That would be too hard and i would be dead in a week. Might consider living the RV life and conquering the concrete jungle.
>>720852563 I used to have a refrigerator that used propane to operate. These style refrigerators have coils filled with ammonia that heat via propane and condense ammonia in the coils to make things cold. It worked. But, they are finicky and cumulatively damaged if running off-level. I ran mine off-level and destroyed it. Replaced it with a 12v DC compressor refrigerator. Technology to make a true compressor refrigerator work off-grid has only really existed for the last ten years or so.
The 12v refrigerator is free to me to operate, as it's powered by my solar panels, but if I have consecutive cloudy days I can't run it as it would overtax my house batteries. This has only been a problem towards the fall in the northeast; in the winter in the southwest, I have ample sunlight.
The refrigerator is basically a dormroom size refrigerator, plenty big enough for food/beer/etc, but the freezer compartment would fit maybe 4 water bottles. So I don't store a lot of frozen stuff.
Everything mentioned in this thread is just incredible and it's something I'd like to eventually work up to. I understand you're all about the off the grid/no social media, etc, but is there some way I could get more tips from you, possibly outside of this thread? Now that I'm realizing so much more goes into it than what I originally thought, I don't want to lose this damned thread and all the information in it.
One of the best threads I've ever seen. You're such a fascinating person. Have you ever thought of writing a book about your travels? If this thread proves anything it's that people are interested in this type of lifestyle. Also what's the most beautiful location you've ever seen in your travels and any recommendations?
>>720858544 Good question. Surprised it hasn't been asked yet.
For most who get into this lifestyle, it's for some nostalgic idea of freedom/travel/whatever. That isn't what got me here.
I came from a small town. The kind of place people talk about "getting out" - "I've gotta get out of town." Those were the people who graduated high school, got a minimum wage job, a trailer, had three kids and never left. And when you're in that situation, living paycheck to paycheck, it really is impossible to "leave."
I didn't have kids or a trailer but I was working retail. Eventually a girl talked me into moving in with her, and I did... gave up my apartment, packed my shit, moved in. Five days later it fell apart. Whatever. I left and that night I slept in the hatchback I mentioned earlier. Not even enough room to lay down. After a week, I figured out how to build from the dash to the back hatch over the seats so I could sleep horizontal. Got a gym membership to shower. Suddenly life wasn't bad. I just kept doing it. Didn't tell anyone. Went to work every day, slept in my car, it was fine.
Then winter rolled around and I had to get an apartment like a normal person. When I did, I had to buy all the shit to fill an apartment. Bed, couch, TV, desk, etc. I realized I resented buying things just because I had a space for them. I realized I enjoyed being self-sufficient in my own space, and figuring out how to do things like build a bed in the parking lot of Home Depot. So I started thinking about how I could do it again, but better, with amenities like standing height, showering in my own space, cooking my own meals, having my own fridge with cold beer, etc. I have all that now.
>>720858644 I file taxes for the income I receive on the books. When I work under the table for cash I just pocket the cash.
>>720859287 I've stayed all over San Diego. I'll stay right downtown Pacific Beach and party with people when the bars close. Or, choose a quiet neighborhood. I've stayed on Coronado. I've stayed on the beach. Even though it's not allowed it's easy to spot where it's enforced or not. I enjoy Oceanside a lot of the time. There's an abandoned drive in that's used for the swap meet I stay at. No one cares.
This is one of my guilty pleasures, rolling into a neighborhood among $2M houses and staying in my $10k van for free.
>>720859556 I'm 29. Most people who live this lifestyle are older.
>>720859797 Yes, indeed it is. Taken from an address on Sunfield Drive. I built these cabinet toppers, crown molding, inlaid tile etc for them.
Hi OP. You and your thread are cool. I really thank you for posting this, I'm happy for the opportunity to read this.
I'm going to bed soon so I just wanted to say that. But, if you have time to answer a "quick" question, this is mine:
>why do you do this?
I find this as an awesome piece of history to tell people. What you are doing is really awesome. But, really, deep inside your heart: why are you doing this? I mean, the most primigenial reason you can think of. The very best reason, the most important one. And also:
>do you think of quitting and becoming sedentary again?
>>720860473 First of all, it's illegal to occupy a vehicle in the whole of San Diego county. So let's make it clear there's a difference between what you're supposed to do and what you can get away with.
A city street with legal street parking? Sure. As long as it's not evident you're occupying the vehicle, you're legal. You know how they know whether you're occupying the vehicle or not? .....if you answer when they knock.
Private property and other places. Box stores. Not public. So, not allowed. But is it enforced? If you see a dink in a golf cart with a yellow light on it, don't try to stay there. Some white people paid him to keep the riff raff away.
Similarly, a beach in an upscale part of town may be policed, while a beach where upscale white people don't go at night may not be policed.
Use common sense. Don't spend your life worrying. The worst that happens is you turn a key and drive away.
>>720860717 Excuse me but wtf are you doing to my thread?
>>720860821 There was an entire vandweller build party hosted in LHC back in November. There will be another one next year and I'll probably attend. It's a cool little spot.
>>720860522 Bro you even look like a cool guy to hang out with. When do you usually pass by Florida and where do you go? What was it like driving around the country during the election? Did you ever drive by a rally or a protest? If you had to choose one place to permanently live in out of all the places you've seen, where would it be and why?
Sorry if I sound like a questionnaire, but I'm so fascinated by this
>>720861264 i'll add to that, i'm not ambitious enough to try this out without a good bit of money to fall back on if the fucking van breaks or something. 8,300 out of pocket to repair the engine is steep boyz. I would also wan't a newer van which would prolly be a good bit of start up cost.
I wouldn't do this to survive, even if it is a plausible option.
I would do it because it sounds like a fun alternative to by the books life.
So maybe someday if have good bit of money and no tethers I would totally do this.
>>720861975 manual labor isn't really a desire of mine. I can't think of any other solid work i could do out of a van on the move always.
>>720861975 I have always dreamt of following this type of lifestyle and traveling the world and being self educated using books and conversing with people on the internet and in real life. However, I will have to wait a few years to get such a van and I am afraid of it becoming a trend among normalfags and ruining the whole "dust in the wind" culture who predominantly lives in vans.
I can only hope that this remains a fairly small and hidden lifestyle, so people don't ruin it.
>>720861195 Shit really? I really have been out of the loop of LHC events, then. I visit family for the holidays during that time anyways, so I will totally keep an eye out for it. This just more and more looks like what I need in my life.
>>720862871 What I meant by that is people who don't have a foundation in the world and are travellers among us, similar to the homeless, no connections, but many stories to tell.
All it takes is for some large youtuber, celebrity, important figure, or a relatively famous person to pick up this form of living and then you will have an influx of thousands of people jumping on the bandwagon and you will end up with something similar to the "miniature houses", bullshit made specifically for people following a trend that is bullshit.
OP, have you ever came down to Arizona? Sedona is pretty comfy.
Are you familiar with Christopher Mccandless? What do you think about his story? Have you met anyone that lives your lifestyle that you randomly meet in diffrent locations across America? I'm sorry if that question sounds weird but I love the idea of that actually happening.
>>720861871 Yeah man. The last two years in a row I've been around Fernandina Beach for Thanksgiving. No reason really, just have. This year I trimmed a dentist's office in Jacksonville and the guy with the contract offered to hire me on to tour around setting up franchises with him.
Did not notice any great different with travel and the election, but I am one to guffaw heartily at liberal tears.
I'd probably pick San Diego. There's just so much diversity from one neighborhood to the next that it's easy to pick your vibe, and it's not totally built up and concrete like east coast cities.
>>720862447 Do what you want, just make sure what you're doing instead of this is the thing you want.
>>720862584 I encourage anyone with interest to live this lifestyle because I think it is freeing in ways that people would not otherwise be aware. But, I have some concern that as it becomes more popular the government will find a way to put a squeeze on it. Every person bugging out in a van is a person not being a good worker bee and paying taxes and being easy to track.
>>720862955 Yep, Jaime of Enigmatic Nomadics puts it on, he's a cool guy.
>>720863412 See >>720829931 That's a basic overview of why, can provide details if you have a specific question.
>>720863526 Yes, I know that story. He's more of the gypsy bum type. I still have an income and shower and things but I understand they made a movie out of him and he's the story people think of so that's fine.
One time, I met a girl living in her truck in Maine. The next weekend, I met a girl in NH living in her houseboat. The weekend after that, I ran into truck girl from two weeks ago on Lake Champlain, two states away, totally unplanned and without either of us mentioning it.
>>720861975 I know earlier in the thread you said if you were gonna do it again you would opt for a old gnarly diesel flatbed or something.
If you were gonna do another 3500 van mod would you pick gasoline or diesel If it was BRAND new and money WAS NOT an option (initial and future costs out the window)
a lot of reviews say engines today have closed most the gaps between gas and diesel engines
any other anons feel free to weigh in here, I can't decide what would be better if it was brand new. I guess diesels have been kinda nerfed with a lot of fuel efficiency and environment crap, or at least that's what i'm reading.
>>720864965 Well, when I said a gnarly old flatbed, I wasn't talking only of initial cost. I'm talking about long term ability to repair. Newer electronic diesels are expensive when something goes wrong and they also cannot consistently burn other combustible oils like motor oil etc.
If initial and future costs are out the window? Well, shit, that's almost like asking whether you'd choose Coke or Pepsi if they both *actually* tasted the same. But, I think I'd still choose a diesel, for more torque and ability to lug the engine, as I keep making this thing heavier and heavier. I sometimes lose speed on hills now. Gotta turn the overdrive off if I hit an incline with cruise on.
>>720864876 Hi, I live in Lake Havasu, thanks for the info on the van building meets in November I was not aware of this, I too am looking into your lifestyle, I am a bit older, will have some retirement income soon, until them I am going to get my van/rv together and make some short vacation trips, if it works out I will ditch the house and hit the road.. I have a boot making leather working background, and I know I can travel and get work just about anywhere,,, thanks to this thread I am encouraged and enlightened...
>>720866157 Quick question, when you are on the road, does food/eating out become your biggest expense after fuel.... I took a job in another city for 8 months, lived in my car since I had house expenses back home, with no fridge or stove, I found food my biggest expense had to eat out a lot, or buy a loaf of bread and peanut butter or eat canned food... what do you do?
>>720865764 >I like all sorts of girls but I can do without the underage ones Let's just say there was no repercussion on dating and marrying a girl. would you? We're on the internet so everything on this site is false.
>>720865822 My retirement plan is to die of a heart attack or hobo knife fight by age 50. If I make it to there will reassess.
>>720865835 Plenty of older people are living their retirement years this way. I know some who do it on $500/month and are happy. You're in a good place to meet people in this life if that's what you want to get your foot in. There are events around Quartzsite, Ehrenberg, Slab City, Yuma etc.
Oh wait. Here's my new fridge! ...the one before was my old propane one.
>>720866500 I said once here that my biggest expenses are gas and beer, which is true. If you separate beer from that then I don't spend a great deal on food. I try to keep my costs to around $5/meal.
I have a stove top, grill, pressure cooker, I enjoy cooking and I cook well, so I cook for myself whenever I like. But it's not always the cheapest way to eat. It's easy to go to a grocery store and spend $40 on ingredients. If you get two meals out of that and never use the remainder of ingredients, you just paid $20 per meal. If you order a pizza for $20 and eat four meals out of it that's $20/meal.
I don't like to eat pizza and garbage all the time though. I eat lots of fresh veggies, beans, tofu which are also cheap.
>>720866601 Oh sure I'd plow a young teenager if I knew I could get away with it, but not because I have any kind of special attraction to them (I don't), only because I'm an amoral deviant. I dare do all that may become a nameless vagabond.
>>720867220 I plan on doing something like this too anon. I've already hiked the sierra cascade route Mexico to Canada, & now I really want to go rock climbing & adventuring around the country in a van.
My question is, what kind of vans/campers should I be looking out for?
>>720867220 I am heading towards a minimalist lifestyle, getting rid of anything that is not a necessity...I find I have too much stuff and I hate it (now) but I do not want to get rid of family photos, some other sentimental stuff or my guns, I have considered a storage unit as I have no family to leave them with, what do you do with the stuff you do not travel with?
>>720866996 Hmmm..... I'm not sure I did use an address on my phone plan. But if I did, it's an outdated one.
>>720867061 Everything runs off of solar power, my auxiliary battery bank, or propane. I never hook on to services and I don't own a generator. I also rarely, if ever, use an inverter. It's much more efficient to use DC power when possible.
Any electronic that plugs into your wall outlet and has one of those power brick things on it (laptop for example) is converting 120AC to DC voltage. If you look at the output on the power brick (e.g., it might say 19.2vDC) and replicate that output, it's much more efficient than using an inverter. Instead of going 12VDC > 120VAC > 19.2VDC you're just going 12VDC > 19.2VDC.
I have both gray and black water holding tanks. I've never poo'd in my toilet, because I don't want to deal with emptying it. However just two days ago I installed remote actuated dump valves with switches in my cab, so I don't even have to get out of the van to empty my tanks. Did it driving through the desert just to watch the spray in the driver's side mirror. Might be useful one day in the event of a tailgater.
Propane is a permanently mounted 40lb tank. Lasts me about 6-8 weeks just for my stove top, propane heater, and furnace.
Because I don't poo in my toilet I empty my tanks somewhere away from civilization off road. It's just water from my sink and shower, nothing gross.
It's not a draw thread but I really liked that picture from earlier so I did this while I read through the thread. It's been an eye opener, reading through all this and it's nice to have a thread that's legitimately interesting and not BS. I know you already posted some but have any other strangers/weirdos stories to share from your adventures?
>>720867393 Sometimes, yes, but not nearly as often as I hear that joke.
>>720867464 Actually interested in that, will look it up later. I want something light because I want to put it on the front (the back would block rear doors) and I don't want to totally ruin the front suspension.
>>720867559 >what kind of vans/campers should I be looking out for? The problem is full height Class B vans like mine are hard to come by at any reasonable price. New ones are like 100k and even old ones are expensive. I got a good deal on my '99 at $10k.
If I wanted to do this on a budget I might get a pickup truck, put a cap on it, and build a wooden spacer to go between the cap and the bed to give more room...
But the options are limited to willingness and ingenuity.
>>720867584 My stuff is indeed at a family member's house. Behind a door which is rigged to shock anyone who touches it with a stun gun. Yes, really. But, storage units aren't that expensive and that's what I'd do with my guns if I didn't have family to hold them. Photos though? It's the year 2017, physical images are dead man.
>>720867613 Verizon jetpack. Though I do mooch wifi for streaming/torrenting.
>>720867865 Haha I'm actually real amused with that. Not sure if I'll show the girl or not. I might.
After I took that picture, I have about 20 more of me groping her with my bloody (Halloween) hands all up in her passed out ass and then fucking her. Not gonna post those though.
>>720867936 Yeah, really, no. If I'm working I might get up at 5 AM and work 10 or 12 hours. If I'm not working, I might be up all night drinking and sleeping until 2 PM. It's looking like the latter tonight.
>>720868120 There was a rooftop AC unit for the "house" when I bought the van, but I removed it and tossed it to the curb. AC is not viable to run off grid. I do have cab AC.
I don't miss AC in my "house." I like it hot enough I can take a cold shower and dry off without feeling cold. I installed a vent in my roof which runs at maximum 900 CFM, meaning it can exhaust the volume of the van quickly, and I can open a window to determine where I want the incoming breeze.
Besides a dirt bike? ...I'd like a limited slip differential. Honestly I really have what I need, and I'm just in the realm of add-ons now.
I have a divine formula for piss management, but I'm not sure the world is yet ready for it.
I poo in the woods. Or, I put a bag inside my toilet and poo into the bag and chuck the bag into a dumpster. Yes, all landfills accept human waste. It's the same thing you do with baby diapers, adult diapers, dog shit, and that one pair of hopelessly discarded underwear you hoped no one would ever notice.
>>720868492 Nah. I can drive to the end of South America if I want, but I don't separate from my van easily. It's my house.
>>720868567 I figured, just sayin'. Scan things? I dunno, anything that takes up unnecessary physical space is useless to me.
>>720868652 Of course. I mentioned it here some. But since you asked, here is an entire album of pictures I took at the Slabs. Click at bottom to load more. http://imgur.com/a/hr5Ks
>>720869330 I think you are able to blend in well because your Van looks like, its not run down or bubba'd up... if the paint were shit or the van looked bad it would probably attract more attention parked in the nicer areas
>>720869623 I've been there several times but those pictures were taken a year or so ago over a weekend. Meth heads were not accepted by the rest of the community. I didn't go inside the internet cafe, 1 because I brought my own internet, and 2 because the locals thought I was a cop (see picture of me clad in all black). I think I did meet Cy. Jack Two Horses gave me a tour of his place and some Jamaican guy tried to sell me drugs inside. The Range is still the event place, yes. They just had their big talent show two days ago on Saturday (I wasn't there).
>>720869644 I'd keep doing exactly what I'm doing, except I'd give out more beer at social functions.
>>720859603 Thanks for answering my question, OP. You sound happy. You sound liberated, and I applaud you!
Do you have siblings, or any other things that could've potentially been a "trap," or whatever you want to call it, to prevent you from leaving and being free to roam? I don't know if you've answered this before, but I'm curious.
It is difficult to convey this question correctly. You know how you can see trucks parked and packed to the windows with living supplies so you know someone lives there. Do you try to keep the van so that it looks like nobody lives in it to blend in?
>>720870410 It's better than fuckin' I-10 across Texas.
>>720870613 I am, and thanks. I have one older brother. Not sure how that could be a trap, but, we're not close, so that may be lost on me.
I had other things. Relationships. Work. Dunno. Left anyway.
>>720870617 The concept you're talking about is generally known as "stealth" in the vandweller community. I think stealth is overrated and a misnomer.
Basically, the stigma about the creepy van guy comes from the shut in dude in the rusted out cargo van at the end of the street. That's when parents hide their kids.
I'm the guy that's sitting on top of his van by the beach, shirtless, drinking a beer, listening to music and not giving a fuck. Everyone can see what I'm doing so no one feels threatened. They're just like, oh, that guy's living the life.
Obviously if I'm somewhere it's illegal to do that then I don't make a show of it but for the most part, I don't try to hide what I'm doing. I do keep my van generally clean though and not stacked with shit. Same goes for my own presentation. I've even had a police officer apologize to me because of my appearance, after someone called him on me for a suspicious vehicle. "...I can see you're clean cut, head shaven, you're not up to anything...." But had I answered the door in mustard stained sweat pants, might've been a different story.
>>720870141 yeah nows the time to be there ebfore it gets 110 everyday
i was there from early februrary to late march 2 years ago. what an experience, i used to ahng at the cafe all day and smoke weed and drink beers. shit was so cash. that lifestyle gets boring though, i love traveling i mean i really do but could never do it as a lifestlye fulltime like you.
This lifestyle sounds amazing! I'd never had the balls to do it. Now with a family, age, and complacency. I'd find it impossible to do since I actually love my life. But to think about the freedom to just up and go where the fuck ever you want, whenever you want. No bosses nagging you, nobody telling you wth to do. And all the while being self sufficient and off the grid. Thats fucking solid OP! If i ever met you, I'd buy a case of beer and smoke a bowl with you.
>>720871495 I-10 across Texas is infamous. It has to be the worst stretch of highway in the southwest. I would travel that stretch going out to Dallas about 2 times a year. At night - it's like flying through outer space pitch black in all directions.
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