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Author Topic: Where to start?  (Read 891 times)

Beffs

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Where to start?
« on: January 18, 2019, 12:46:50 AM »
Hello all,

I'm giving serious thought, and serious research, into packing it in and living in a van. It's a thought I've been having for years. I hate the fact that I spend more time working at a job I hate then I do enjoying my life, and the idea that I'll be doing that for the rest of my life is both depressing and infuriating.

I don't know a lot about construction, mechanics, or wiring so the work I have ahead of me is quite intimidating. Any tips as to where the best resources are would be awesome, as I don't even know where to start really.

Another worry I have is that I am a young(ish) woman who would be traveling alone, would anyone be willing to give me an honest appraisal of how safe this kind of lifestyle is? I figure I might get a dog so I won't be completely on my own, but I've also never had a dog...

Thank you for your consideration :)

Camper_Dan

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 07:17:08 AM »
Greetings and Welcome!

First off, this #vanlife thing is mainly just a huge scam designed to make a few people rich, at the expense of others.  Anyody promoting working less and enjoying life more is a scam artist.  99% of enjoying life revolves around having the money to enjoy life, which for most people means working longer hours and harder, and actually playing less.  Your living situation also doesn't relieve you of the obligation of 40 hours a week you owe to society.

Start by either finding a mobile friendly job you love, or starting your own mobile friendly business doing something you love.  A job and money should always always come first.  Once your finances are mobile friendly and stable, then it's time to explore how you want to live, keeping in mind that you still need to put in your 40+ hours a week of work in most cases.

Building your own camper van is more scammy type stuff.  Putting a ton of money into a vehicle that is going to rapidly depreciate in value is just not a good idea.  Older, fully depreciated, factory camper vans and motorhomes can be found pretty cheap, and they're usually much better built than any of the self built stuff.  I don't think anybody should attempt to build their own camper van without first having at least 5 years of experience living in one.  After 5 years, the picture of what you want and need will be very different from what you picture today.

Motorhomes should also be considered.  The only advantages of camper vans over motorhomes is stealth parking on city streets, and driving on narrow busy streets.  Most of the people considering this lifestyle want to avoid cities as much as possible, so vans don't really hold much of an advantage.  I have bought GREAT motorhomes for under $1k, that were move in ready, and driven them across the country with zero problems or added expenses, and sold them later for more than I paid for them. 

I can't stress the importantance of CHEAP enough here.  Your home on wheels is only a heartbeat away from being stolen or totaled in a car wreck, and you sure can't count on insurance companies to make it right with you.  The less you have invested, the less you have to lose.  You also want to have an emergency fund large enough to replace everything, and support yourself for at least 6 months.  This can buy you the time to recover (physically, mentally, financially, etc) from whatever life throws at you.  There's no such thing as having too large of an emergency fund.

I've spent most of my adult life living on wheels, and within a few short years of traveling the country and the world, I had gone everywhere I wanted to go, and done everything I wanted to do.  Without working full time, and still volunteering even more time, I'd go nuts with boredom.  It's not the same as living a normal life with lots of friends nearby to hang out with.  You're a stranger with no friends.  It can be very boring and lonely if you don't find something to fill your time with.  If anything, we have too much time on our hands to supposedly enjoy life, and that's when you're working 40+ hours a week. 

The dreams the promoters are peddling are fiction and fantasy, not reality.  Reality can be a harsh teacher, and very few people last very long in this lifestyle.  A job, lots of planning, and lots of money are your best friends.  Always plan and be prepared for the worst.

As far as safety, I feel MUCH safer in towns or campgrounds where there are other people around.  Every bad, scary, or dangerous encounter I've had has been when I've been by myself boondocking.  Boondocking by yourself, you're making yourself a huge target for every creep and criminal out there.  Even if you have great cell service, the bad guys know they can do whatever they want and escape before help could ever arrive.  Over the summer, boondocking with friends, unknown drones were checking us out, and if it had been a single camper, odds are trouble would have followed.  Dogs and even guns are no match for a truck load of hoodlums, and odds are you can't escape by driving away either.  Around other people, they will come to your aid, alone you're screwed.   

Hope this helps...

Cheers!
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Beffs

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 01:38:39 AM »
Thanks!

I got that feeling, most Instagram stars are full of it no matter what they're pushing. I work my forty hours now and I barely make enough to pay all my bills. I've been trying to think of ways to cut back and I figured if I can make it work in a van I might actually be able to save enough to do something and see something interesting before I'm too old and sick. Upon additional research the costs are really adding up, for example, a basic campsite with no hook-ups costs more per night than my apartment. Aside from illegal camping, it looks like it wouldn't save any money anyway.

A job I love, mobile friendly or not, is a dream I've been chasing for years. Any suggestions? What do most van-dwellers do? I've heard of some people who work for a few months to save money, then travel for a while and repeat. Kind of like a vagabond. Any experience with that?

That is a good point, I probably shouldn't start from scratch when I don't know what I'm doing. The older the vehicle, the more mileage, the more I would think maintenance would be an issue.  However, a lot of people seem to be buying older models so maybe there's something to that.

As far as time on my hands goes, that's not a big change. I spend most of my time by myself anyway figuring out ways to pass the time.

Yes, that's honest, thank you. I am appropriately terrified.

This does help, thank you.

Camper_Dan

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2019, 01:11:23 PM »
Greetings!

I work vacation relief for a national company, traveling to different towns every week to every month.  Besides a decent paycheck, all of my expenses are paid as well.  Often I can choose from multiple places to go next.  I choose to drive my home, but others stay in motels and eat out constantly.

I have friends who do traveling quality control for various stores, restaurants, and fast food joints.  They seem to travel at there own pace, and follow the good weather.  One who works for McDonald's travels the world, all expenses paid.

The jobs I really love are actually all volunteer positions, working with the homeless, animal shelters, the elderly & the disabled, and disaster relief.  I find all of them personally rewarding.

For many years, my favorite hobby has been exploring different ways to make money, both online and offline, in case the need should ever happen.  Today, I make about $40k a year from my regular job, about $100k a year online selling ebooks, and some years I make an additional ~$30k selling Christmas trees ( $27k this last Christmas, @ $10 per tree), and sometimes $5-$10k/year selling fireworks over the 4th of July ( $7k last year, it's commission sales).

I'm mainly a city camper, parking on city streets.  It's free, and close to many things to see and do.  In my free time, I like to find parks near rivers or lakes to spend my time at.  I really enjoy my life, my jobs, and my travels.  I don't always get to pick good weather, but I'm prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at me.  It's -18f degrees outside as I type this, but a comfy 75f degrees inside my van.

Here's a link a friend suggests for you: https://www.happyvagabonds.com/Jobs/Jobs-for-RVers.htm

You can also do a search for "remote jobs".

I would suggest building an online business in your spare time.  Build it up to whatever you want to make a year, then you're free to travel or whatever else you enjoy.  Selling ebooks, I spend about 2 hours a day for a week, about 3-4 times a year.  I typically make $20k-$30k per ebook within about a month.  Ebooks are neat, you make it once, then you can sell it thousands of times, and the only extra work is in the marketing.  A friend has been selling the same seasonal recipe books for about 10 years now, and makes BIG money from them, and all the content was absolutely free.  All the contents for my ebooks I get for free too. 

Cheers!
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Beffs

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 10:04:59 PM »
There's a lot of useful info here, thanks!

Lavabawl

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 02:34:11 PM »
And a little tip. Before take off always check the weather conditions as they change really fast and can cause many troubles on the route. I myself use the https://ru.needcalc.com/weather/greece source when in Europe, the data is always accurate.

Camper_Dan

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2019, 04:15:40 AM »
Greetings!

While checking the weather can't hurt, BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!  Only trust yourself and your preparations.  Always prepare for the worst. 

Cheers!
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eva25

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2019, 01:29:36 PM »
Hey!
Could you tell me how to increase fmcg sales? Thank you in advance for your help and all your valuable advice! :)