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Old 06-03-2011, 01:42 PM
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,094,514 times
Reputation: 2206


Wow, so many replies. As I said before I would most likely stick to the west coast from San Diego all the way up to Oregon. Winters in all those places are nothing like what I am used to (sub zero temps for months at a time). I work for the countries largest home improvement retailer (but can't say the name) so I could transfer wherever but that just dont appeal to me. Once I'm legally free to roam I just wanna be free. It's not "romanticizing" as some of you call it. How could living in a van be romantic? lol. I'm not running from myself, it's not like that, I know that routine/cliche. I just have grown over the years to despise my own existence which is like many of yours; pay the bills, stay put, punch in punch out etc etc. Just looking to see new things. Maybe I lost my mind here but it feels good to think about.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:30 PM
1 posts, read 2,628 times
Reputation: 12
Default I did it

I have done the very thing your asking about... we sold everything we owned! and bought a RV worked and saved and left I am very glad I did we meet wonderful people and see many things we would not have if we did not just up and travel to where ever .. I say go for it!
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:39 PM
Location: Northern NH
4,551 posts, read 9,574,897 times
Reputation: 3777
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
All the romanticism aside, I have to agree with Harry.

We have 2 fellows hereabouts that are technically homeless. Neither one works full time, but both do odd jobs here and there. One gets SSI (disability) and the other is on welfare. Both very low income. I see these guys a lot, even consider them to be friends.

One lives in a VW Vanagon camper; the other in a 15-year old motor home he got for $5K. The VW guy sleeps mostly in a Wal-Mart parking lot. He spends his days in a public library. The motor home guy pretty much has to stay on the move, as the cops around here (beach territory) know him and send him on his way just as soon as he gets comfortable.

Both guys describe their lives as "very stressful". Wintertime, especially, is difficult. Both eat canned goods mostly, with Chef Boyardee varieties being the main fare. They both eat it cold, right out of the can. Both are getting sizeable pot bellies. One belongs to a gym and showers there; both do their laundry at a laundromat. Neither one has a cat or dog (much less a woman!).

Toward the beginning of the month (check-time!) they can afford to get a little fuel. The VW takes diesel, sometimes vegetable oil if available. The motor home is straight gas, and very pricey to fill. They don't travel far -- can't afford to.

As for living next to a river, realize that you WILL be seen, and likely asked, no - told - to leave. After that, you will be "known", and hounded off all public property. My best advice is, save up a little bit of cash and buy or rent a small lot in the sticks where you can park, and not be bothered. America used to be a free country, but it isn't anymore. All of that is romanticism.

Yuck that doesn't sound very nice! I suppose and what happens if something comes up with your health. Even something minor when you have no money or home would be a major problem What happens if you have the runs....sorry for that picture, but, seriously no toilet would be awful!
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:22 PM
1,679 posts, read 2,406,948 times
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Originally Posted by jc76 View Post
So who knows that quote?
I'm 34 with no kids and not much family. Got into a little trouble (alcohol related or course) and by the end of the year should be all legally free to roam. Is it insane to have an idea to sell all my worldy junk, buy a van, make it my home and travel the country? I would stay mostly on the west coast so i dont freeze to death, plus I really love it out there but housing is unattainable.
I'm just sick and tired of the conventional life, it's predictable and I can't get ahead no matter what I do. So is this a "crazy" idea? I'm very frugal and have had this dream of doing this for years now. It would be such a simple existence. Thoughts? Opinions?
Are you in jail now?

Dumb idea financially no question. You need a job first and the source of income that provides. The second step is simply to limit your spending and living in a van could save you a lot of money potentially.

But going to such an exteme does not make any sense, sure you could scrounge and spend all your time widdling or you could make more money. At some point saving is not economical and it becomes more economical to make more money.

So no living in a van is not smart but getting a job and limiting your expenses is probably what you should be after.
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:39 PM
19,122 posts, read 20,593,998 times
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Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
I spent an entire summer camped out in a tent near the San Miguel River in the Colorado mountains. I was alone and had only my cat for companionship - and yes, cats can actually adapt to being campers! It was probably one of the most memorable summers of my life. The setting was beautiful - surrounded by high mountain peaks and fields of wildflowers. I cooked over a campfire or my Coleman stove and got to see every kind of wild life from bears to lynx to bald eagles to elk and deer. I worried some about cougars which were known to be present in that area, but I never saw one. The wild animal that gave me the most trouble was the field mouse and my cat took care of that problem within a couple of weeks!

I say go for it. If you find that the experience doesn't suit you, you can always find work and save up your paychecks until you get back into an apartment. But I bet you'll have a blast!
Was that BLM land?
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:22 PM
Location: Wandering in the West
818 posts, read 1,828,364 times
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Here's a couple of things to think about:

What physical address will you use for those things that require one? Do you have a friend or relative who will say you live there and forward your mail to wherever you are?

Are you prepared to return there if you get a jury summons?

Do you have a laptop and aircard so you can you do your banking and bill paying online?

Not saying it can't be done, but it's harder than it used to be to just live in a vehicle on the road. You could be comfortable enough, if you also had a tent and a portable shower shelter, but it still won't be as pleasant as you probably imagine.

The more comfortable and legal way to do it, though more expensive, would be to get a cheap Class C RV and become a full timer. Most of the full timers join the Escapees club and become a legal TX resident or there's a place in SD that does it too. SD only requires you to show up in the state for one day - to go to the DMV. Texas is a little more complicated (I think you need vehicle inspection there). These places will help you get your vehicle registered and forward your mail general delivery to wherever you are. They even accept UPS and Fedex deliveries, which a Mailboxes, Etc. place won't do. This service costs money, of course. Neither state has an income tax, they're both considered a legal address for all purposes and have jury commissioners who are (mostly) understanding of full timers and will excuse you.

If you went that route, there's plenty of places you can boondock for free or very little cost. An RV parked overnight isn't viewed with the same suspicion as a guy in a van by the river. Thousands of RVers spend the winter in Quartzsite, AZ, but there's places on the outskirts that are less crowded and dirt cheap to stay in. When you need money, you could get work camping jobs with the ACE, F&W or any number of RV parks and resorts that will give you a free spot and sometimes a little pay to work for them temporarily. Some full timers even do Christmas decorating and gas line surveys... all kinds of things you wouldn't probably think of. I've seen horse ranches that have one or two RV spots that take on a couple of helpers seasonally. You might have an advantage over the retirees, if it's a job that requires physical labor. And the best part is - if you hate the job, you know it's going to end soon.

Anyway, if you decide that might be an option, check out the Escapees forum and you'll learn everything there is to know, if you read long enough. Those people are very helpful to newbies and they seem to love that lifestyle. They get to see the country and make a little money to help pay for it. There's even young, single women out there living in RVs.

That was the plan DH and I were going to pursue a few years ago and circumstances prevented it at the time. Maybe some day soon.
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:49 PM
19,122 posts, read 20,593,998 times
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It can be done, but it isn't always easy. I lived off the land illegally for 3 full years. 2 in Md and 1 in NH, always moving in Sept of the years.

And again not living really in any one place but motorcycling the USA for 10 months straight with my wife towing a small mc trailer behind the bike. After going from NH to Cal making 9,000 in the doing , then going from Cal to Fla making 6,000 miles in that, we went to Arkansas to winter, but found there winter was real, not what we were told, making the bike useless.

We did have some money, and so bought a 1986 Dodge Conversion van for low dough and it was rust free. Rust free is a big deal when you live in NH. It also had very low miles, only 15,500.. I still own it, and it is still rust free and has 30,000 miles now. The interior is weak, but that's a no brainer for me.

We were forced to buy a bigger trailer in Ar too for the bike and the bike's trailer. With all of that we toured the TN,Va, Ky, Ga, NC, areas. At Cumberland Gap Camp ground we worked off $3.00 a day camp site rentals for 3 weeks. That was pretty easy work too. We didn't need to do that work as we could have paid, but it was so little effort and due to it we could meet more people, we just did. With the van parked we had the bike to saunter around all we wanted. With the bike locked in the trailer, locked we could take in other things, or get out in poor weather.

But it all is more work than living in a box. Buying and registering that van and trailer was a bit of a problem in Ar, and I lied thru my teeth to get these street legal. I had to re-new my NH gun permit there too, which caused more string pulling. But it got done.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:29 AM
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 8,842,801 times
Reputation: 9486
It sounds like fun, but I would never do it, although I have close friends who have and loved it. I like being comfortable, being on my own property, and being able to build a nice fire if I'm cold, or go to the river or even soak in a trough if I'm hot. I like my animals around me - the baby chicks are hatching in the incubator today - and doing all of the little things that make me happy, without asking permission or renting or seeking out a place where I can do those things without interruption. I have traveled so much, all over the country, on business that packing a bag and being mobile even for a night is a pain in my butt, even if someone else pays for it. But we each seek our own level of happiness and gratification - so, why not? Gopher it...Just bear in mind that ALL property is 'owned', and recently squatters have taken to moving in on private as well as public property. On Public property you can be invited to leave - on private property, you can be shot.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:53 AM
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SCG what river? I didn't notice any river near Chadron... Seemed like a real dry place to me. I noticed a creek or 2 up on Pine Ridge, but I wouldn't call them rivers.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:56 AM
Location: Wandering in the West
818 posts, read 1,828,364 times
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Mac - what did you do for your mail when you were living in the wilderness? Did you have any registered vehicles at the time?
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