Hey y'all. Newbie here... I'm afraid I'm going in the wrong direction

Hi guys, my name is Leah and I just graduated high school . . . getting ready to go to college. For years I have been intrigued by tiny houses and every time I mentioned them my parents tried to pry me away from the idea.
Well, for the past year and a half I have wanted to convert a van and travel the United States. I have been undecided for college since day 1 and my parents refuse to agree (or even think) that a gap year would be good for me. When I am dedicated to something, I am dedicated, so I don’t think I would lose motivation to make money on the road.
I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist–refusing to buy things because I simply don’t need to follow trends or spend money, and definately the free spirit/odd one of my family.
I know it would be hard for my parents to let me follow my dream, for I would be a young female traveling alone, but I can’t help but think that after college I will have no money left because I’m in debt.

Any comments or reassurance is greatly appreciated. Also I love following van pages on Instagram, so feel free to follow me :slight_smile: Insta: leah.armstr0ng

Greetings & Welcome!

I’m no longer a big fan of college, but gap years are a REALLY bad idea unless they’re to work and earn money, NOT PLAY!

But you’re not ready to travel or be a vandweller either. What’s your work history? Without experience or marketable skills, getting jobs while traveling is almost impossible.

You should have been working full time all through high school, and if you’re going to go to college you should be working full time so you can graduate debt free.

There are no shortcuts, you OWE society 40+ hours of work per week until retirement age. I was a traveling construction worker for over 30 years, working 60-80 hours per week, and still had plenty of time to explore the areas I was in and enjoy life to it’s fullest. MONEY iss what makes all that possible. There’s no enjoyment in being a broke deadbeat no matter what you see on InstaSCAM or BOOBtube. Those people are getting PAID to convince others to make bad choices.

The best way to work and travel is to work remotely online. You can work from anywhere with an internet connection. That’s what I do now.

Other options include building an absentee owner business, so you’re making money even though you aren’t there. Many full timers have gone this route.

If I were you, I’d be spending every waking hour learning how to make money, both online and offline, and then put them into practice. Build a firm foundation for your life and your future, with multiple backup plans. I’m making $100/hr working online, and learned how to do it in a 3 hour class. I have friends selling ebooks making $20k+ each, within a month. That was a different 2 hour class. I made more money while taking those classes than the classes cost. There’s big money to be made, all you have to do is find a need and fill it.

There’s plenty of time to travel and enjoy life AFTER you have gained financial freedom. High school drop outs are making millions, while people with college degrees are working at McDonald’s for minimum wage. Learn how to really make money, not just how to get a job. Find something that you enjoy and turn it into a money making enterprise. Many billion dollar businesses started on someone’s kitchen table. Opportunities are everywhere if you seek them out.

I always suggest people get a regular full time job to support themselves, while they learn how to make the big bucks. That minimizes risk while maximizing rewards.


"Smiles are contagious, pass it on!" ~ Van_Dweller

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yeah! talk to ur parents more on this… think your parents are concerned. its not that they are wrong or you are wrong. just different perspective and i think whatever you decide in the end, your parents will be sure to support you.

however, do reassure their worries and concerns! :smiley:

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If this is truly your passion, you will find a way to make it happen. You have your whole life to work and be tied down, this is probably your only chance to have this kind of freedom. Taking that into consideration you don’t want to ruin your life so make sure you can sustain that life. You may even want to just take a few college classes and travel during the summer and don’t go into debt that WILL take away your freedom. This is close to what i’m doing. Im going to college and traveling during the summer. Best of luck to you! keep up updated!

Also your parents will be a great asset, show them all the great things about van life that you love. You will want them to be there for you!

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Do both. Stay in school, get educated.

Get some van that works also as your daily driver. Start first planning and then converting it on evenings and weekends. Learn from your mistakes and do over as many times as needed.

Then take it out for weekends, both alone and with friends. It doesn’t have to be complete at that point but you will soon learn if plans need to change again. Repeat that until you graduate, van is “finished” (it will never be) or you decide to do something else and sell the van-project for profit to the next person.



Sorry, but you have this backwards… You have your whole life to travel, but if you don’t establish your work ethics and income early, it will plague you for the rest of your life. Things like a gap year without a solid work history to go with it has ruined countless lives, resulting in lower wages and fewer promotions. The homeless epidemic is a perfect example of people who put pleasure before work in their early lives.

I know people who work in HR, and without a solid work history starting at age 18 or before, even college degree’s won’t help you much. After seeing your message, I discussed this with an HR friend this afternoon over lunch. He works for a large national company that recently had an opening for a $50k/year position. Out of hundreds of applicants, all with qualifying college degrees, the applicant who tipped the scale and got the job had gone to work right out of high school, and worked full time all the way through college. His work history is what landed him that job. The moral of the story is “build a solid work history”, this can’t be done later, if you miss the boat on this, you’ll likely never get another chance.

Travel is better kept for later, when you have more money to actually enjoy your travels. A traditional life with a job, a house, a spouse, and possibly kids, doesn’t limit your ability to travel, camp, or enjoy life to it’s fullest. In fact, any or all of those things can improve the enjoyment of those things.

#VanLife promoters have an agenda, and it isn’t in anybody’s best interest but their own. The good life is built upon a solid foundation, and that foundation is your work history. Your first 10-15 years out of high school will establish a pattern that will follow you forever.


"Smiles are contagious, pass it on!" ~ Van_Dweller

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so true!
if u love it, you will find a way to make it happen!

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Hey, have you decided on a path you’re going to take yet?