Hello. I’m Brendan & am new here. I’ve been interested in vanlife for a while. I’ve been rather stuck in life & need to free myself; I feel caged/restricted. However, I’m still in a lot of fear. There are so many parts of this the biggest one being that I’m not strong enough. In a long term outlook I would probably transition from weekend warrior to full time when comfortable enough within myself. I’m still just mentally preparing, contemplating & daydreaming. Any advice for overcoming the fear would be much appreciated!
Greetings & Welcome!
I like to tell everybody, FINANCES FIRST. While I totally understand that’s not always possible, it sure makes things a lot easier. With enough money, our options expand exponentially. Good paying jobs can be very hard for many nomads to secure. Many won’t even pay our expenses, let alone pay for enjoyment or savings. People switching jobs frequently rarely get seniority or pay raises either. For this reason, many nomads choose secure stationary jobs and only escape on their days off.
KNOWLEDGE is right up there at the top of the list too. We can learn from the successes & failures of others, or suffer through all the failures on our own.
Much of what you find online is more fantasy & fiction than reality. It isn’t all rainbows & roses out here, and very few people last very long at it. It has ruined many many lives. You have to be a special kind of self sufficient, unstoppable, creative, & resourceful person to make it work for you long term and enjoy it.
It’s been written that “FREEDOM’S JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE…”, but too many people are telling others to quit their jobs, sell their homes & belongings, and spend their life savings to pursue a nonexistent fantasy, and never look back. That’s more scam than reality. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, the problem is that when we get there, the reason that it’s greener is because it’s covered in manure and stinks to high heaven…
I’m not actually trying to discourage you, I just think people should make intelligent & informed decisions based on true and honest facts, not fantasy. Life is what we make of it, with our choices and decisions, good or bad, we’re in charge of our own destiny. Starting cheaply as a weekend warrior is probably a good choice.
I’m currently living well on about $800/mo. (Up from $600 due to inflation). I could live just as well anywhere in the USA on that, without being a nomad living on wheels. At my age, and with my knowledge & experience, I know how to make that happen. I’m not a nomad to live cheaper, I’m a nomad because I love the lifestyle. Many people spend more to be a nomad than they did in their previous lifestyle.
Being a nomad is actually much harder than more traditional housing. We have to create our own power, obtain our own water, empty our own toilets, and maintain our vehicles & the house portion, all while working, and doing all the other normal life things. If we can’t fix things ourselves, or figure out alternatives, the price goes up substantially.
DIY is often the most promoted, even though they frequently cost more, and are a worse choice than a factory RV. The statistics show that people in factory RV’s are generally happier & last longer than people in DIY rigs. Older factory RV’s can often be found pretty cheap, in excellent move in ready condition, and with low miles and in excellent mechanical condition. If you don’t get caught up in all this upgrade nonsense, and use them as they were designed, they’re truly hard to beat. They’re cheap, comfortable, convenient, and usually better designed than most of the DIY stuff.
People need to realize that the promoters & influencers aren’t their friends, their agenda is to make themselves money, not actually help anyone. The more they can convince you to spend, often on poor & overpriced choices, the more they make. They have no problem ruining their victim’s lives for their own gain. Even I fell for their sales pitch, and I wasn’t even a newbie. They promised me the moon, and only delivered heartache and misery that cost more than many people make in a year. It was the most miserable and expensive year of my life, and only selling that rig for a huge loss, and purchasing a cheap RV restored my life to it’s previously happy and comfortable state. Most of the advice to do DIY is hogwash designed to justify the promoter’s crappy but overly expensive advice. Don’t become another victim of the promoters!
DIY can be done right, and it can be done cheap. For the last 11 years, I’ve been living in a $750 van that I spent ~$300 on converting back into a camper. It was originally a high top camper van, but it had been gutted. The promoters had convinced the previous owner to gut it and start over, even though it was perfectly usable to start with. In over their heads, they bought an identical one, intact, for a fraction of what it would have cost them to follow the promoters advice, and they sold me the gutted one at a huge loss. With many years of experience, I knew exactly what I wanted, and what I needed, and was able to accomplish it very cheaply without compromising on quality, comfort, convenience, or reliability. It just turned 500k trouble free miles, and still drives like a dream, passes all smog & safety inspections, and is 100% reliable.
Hi & Welcome.
Maybe when where you are becomes more fearful than where you could escape to, you’ll gladly make that leap. I think for most of us it’s easier to stay where we are even if there’s pain and unhappiness involved. We have to be pushed through some event or tragedy, or because we simply can’t take it anymore. This is too bad but, at least, when we feel a change is coming we can begin preparing, like you and I are doing. That’s the next best thing if we can’t make the move without being forced into it.