A reader wrote to me about vandwelling -I got long winded and decided to share with you all
I appreciate that everyone goes through changes in life. My friend Wolf recently reminded me that homes and stuff like that change all the time. It reminds me that I grew up with the idea that I had to research and buy stuff to last a lifetime. When I left home as a teenager I thought that the boots I needed had to be a great purcase because I could only have one pair of boots in my lifetime. Or the coat I needed would be a one-time in my life purchase. It was quite some years before I learned differently. Maybe it was because of my family's church beliefs about the world ending in 1969, 1970 or 1972 ... or really soon and people my age would never grow up to have families or grow old. ..maybe. anyway Vandwelling advice and ramblings.
Just build and pack your van the way you would go on a vacation. Pack once then take a break. Remove half the stuff and take twice the money you planned to.
Wish I had not been trying to make this van a home, that i Had planned for it to cost twice what I thought, and had kept my whole life more simple. Plan as my friend Al does, to take a vacation every few weeks - even renting a campsite or hotel room. I think he is onto something there. You might plan to cook every meal to save money and then find yourself at a McDonald's or Coffee Shop for coffee many mornings to have the personal interaction.
Find your own lifestyle by getting to know yourself and your needs. Work with that information. I'm very social. I need people. I make friends easily. I can't stand owing people, especially money. My life is better when I lived debt free. I get sick when it is wet rainy and cold - yuck. Mosquitoes love me. Food doesn't. I am a long-term relationship person - should have been a wife, girlfriend is a temporary throwaway term and comes with no safety net. I get bored or overwhelmed with a project or sometimes just get itchy feet and have to go explore and see something new. I want to visit friends on a whim. Stuff ties me down and costs me money to keep or care for. I CAN do anything. I don't like to do everything and especially hate to do it alone.
I need or want a home base. I had one low income Section 8 apartment in NYC that was a good home base for a few years while I was back and forth in Costa Rica. That was nice. But I could not ethically justify keeping it. Homelessness sucks. The definition of Home is way more than just an apartment or building. I have entertained thoughts of having a place to come and go from - it seems that it would be better if it were near someone in my closest circle of friends. Because Home is more than a place its a relationship with others - community, family, a group, a place. Escapees, ExPats, Veterans, WINS or LOWS or Sisters on the Fly - these groups provide a sense of belonging to thier members. I haven't found that group in my life. So even a place to park and regroup for a minimal amount of money may help. I'm tossing ideas of a Tinyhome through my thoughts constantly. I pick out and sometimes buy great 'home' pieces like kewl vintage dishes and small stuff that dont really fit this mobile lifestyle. Then I find people or places in need and donate them - once in a great while I will make a few dollars by reselling. But geez I don't have the home to use this kewl stuff. I built a Tiny Home once when my kids were less than 5 years old. I have homesteaded a number of times but the land was never mine - rent to own sure benefits the owner when a job is lost, or the exhusband changes his mind and gives it away, or the friend just changes their mind. I don't believe that poor people are supposed to do and give to rich people. I think self responsibility is important. I made mistakes mostly in who I chose to trust. I learned to not trust myself and then learned that I have to trust me because everyone is looking out for themselves. It's best to know myself well - so I know my limits and necessary boundaries, I tested myself. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I don't get taken too badly because I only give others limited opportunities to affect my life. That's why my circle of friends is small. Friends to me have been tested and I know in a general sense how they will help or hinder my days.
Here's some pictures of some of the homes I have lived in.
I would love to hear other people's thoughts. ...comment away.