How do long term Vanlifers deal with lack of self worth?

Greetings!

Hmmm… I had to look that one up…

For me, I think it’s more logical & practical thinking than political. Without societies we’d have to turn the clock back thousands of years. Even ancient tribal communities were a form of society. Societies were formed to make everybody’s lives easier & more sustainable.

I wouldn’t enjoy being back in hunter/gatherer times. Even much more recently, I wouldn’t enjoy covered wagon times as much as I do our more modern times. Even with the myriad of societies flaws, I believe life is easier now than it has ever been in the past.

Society has come a very long way, even within my lifetime. When I started my adult life, there were no personal computers, cell phones, or internet. Working from home was nearly unheard of, fast food was in it’s infancy, and most cities rolled up their streets at 5pm even during the summer. We have a lot to be thankful for, and even though we may have only been a mere cog in society, society has provided us with far more than most of us as an individual could ever contribute to it.

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


I guess van lifers are just more easily satisfied with their lot

I don’t think that you mean this in an insulting way, but it did come off that way. There are many different reasons that someone might choose vanlife, many of them not simply because someone is “easily satisified” or lacks ambition.

Anyways, I think it is very important to define self-worth on values that you actually control. Contribution to society is a very nebulous ideal, and trust me, society doesn’t care. Besides, vanlife and being involved in society are not mutually exclusive. Many people raise children while traveling too, and while there are certainly difficulties in that, I personally think it’s a much richer upbringing than spending your childhood in suburbia.

Yes, apologies - ‘lack of self worth’ are clumsy words and don’t accurately convey what I mean. And of course there are many reasons people choose the van life way, entirely up to them. My issue is with those who choose to basically drop out of ‘normal’ life and go on the road for years on end doing absolutely nothing of any worth with their lives except satisfy their own whims but then feel perfectly happy to criticize those of us who do choose to live a more normal way of life as being somehow ‘victims of the machine’ or lacking in some abstract sense of freedom or adventure.
For instance, your hard nosed reaction to ‘society’ is telling, as if you feel that society is worthless and therefore you are justified in pursuing a singularly self centered vanlife way of life, basically just pleasing yourself. You ask me to ‘trust you’ when you say that society doesn’t care about people contributing to it. That’s horsesh*t I’m afraid and deep down you know it. It’s far far easier to make excuses about why you can’t do something to help others, as you have done, than to actually roll your sleeves up and do something worthwhile. I help out at a local scout group and we are raising funds to rebuild the hut which will take about 3 years and a huge amount of effort. Yet in your view I’m meant to think that nobody will care about this? Nonsense - many, many people will care for many years to come when we get it finished and that is a good thing.
And raising kids while vanlifing is a choice yes, but again a singularly selfish one in my view. Having kids should be about putting the kids first not indulging in some adult ‘travelling’ fantasy while inflicting the constant moving around, uncertainty of income, pressure to find somewhere safe to stay, tiny living space, ever changing schools and sets of friends etc. on the child, at least once they are at school age. If you think that’s a ‘richer’ experience for the kids then fine that’s your view. I would beg to differ - my cousin moved around a load while he was a kid as his dad was in the air force and I know he hated it, never feeling that anywhere was properly ‘home’.

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Greetings!

Society certainly DOES CARE! If you’re not fully supporting yourself and paying taxes, then you’re a burden upon others, and there is certainly no honor in that.

It is widely believed that one can not judge their own self worth, and it must be determined by their peers. There is a lot of validity in that belief.

While I’m not especially religious, even the bible addresses this. One verse states that “Those unwilling to work, shall not eat.” and many verses extol the virtues of hard work and supporting yourself, your family, and those in need who do not have the good fortune of being able to work. And let’s not forget the verses about “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” etc.

With all the evidence in, judgment by your peers is probably the most accurate depiction of your true worth.

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


I think when you’re young, and able, you should be working and contributing in some way; and at the same time setting yourself up financially for the future. That means not putting yourself into debt that’s difficult to climb out of, and living below your means. That way you’ll have the money to enjoy more free time later.

Of course there’s incredible pressure to “conform” in terms of bigger-better-faster-more, and most people get themselves into a rut that they can’t escape. I once had a CEO try encouraging me to get a big fancy new pickup truck and go into debt for it, thereby trapping me in debt and a never ending job. I quit that job like a bad habit and went into business on my own, but only because I’m retired military and have free healthcare. The system in the US is set up to trap employees in jobs they hate through employer-funded healthcare, especially if that employee or a family member has a chronic health condition. Large corporations lobby to keep that system in place because they know a certain percentage of employees would quit if healthcare wasn’t tied to employment in America. Set yourself up to avoid these traps if you can.

If you can do it while living in a van/RV, so much the better - if that’s your goal. If somebody values what you do enough to pay you, and you can comfortably live on that income, then you are contributing. Doesn’t matter if it’s flipping burgers at McDonalds or working as a scientist - it’s all contributing to the world.

Leeching off of society when you’re young and able-bodied/able-minded is a different story. Being a parasite should make you feel worthless. Same with trust-fund brats.

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It is their life after all, is it not? If you had the capability to not work and see the world, what kind of fool would you be for not seizing that opportunity? I certainly wouldn’t fault someone for that, they just got a luckier draw than you and that’s part of life. Or they simply have the wherewithal to figure it out and you do not, sadly this is also part of life.

That being said, I don’t know of any people doing “vanlife”, that I would consider to be leeches on society. Most of them are hustling hard every day to support thier travels, they just choose to do it differently than you and there is nothing wrong with that.

This idea that you need to “contribute to society” feels very archaic to me. Especially if your definition of that is working 9-5 every day.

Stereotyping a whole group of people as you are doing is dangerous and misplaced. Just because you live in a vehicle doesn’t mean you’re a leach on society. There are just as many people living in houses, buses, on the streets and under bridges you could add to the list. This would be better titled as, “How do lazy people deal with lack of self worth”

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As long as a person who is able-bodied (and mentally able) is not using money and services meant for those who have no choice due to disability of some kind, then more power to them - they’re not “leaching” from society.

I do have an issue however, with people who could otherwise work choosing to scam the taxpayer-funded system instead of working, leaving less for those who truly need it. Thankfully this is not as common as some would like you to believe (for ideological/political reasons), so it’s not as much of an issue as some might think.

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I think my words might have come off the wrong way too. I stand by my assertion that “society” doesn’t care. “Society” is a meat grinder that exploits people. But that’s a different topic.

However, I did not mean that helping others is worthless. Good for you for helping your local scouts, etc. People (mainly those you help and those in close proximity to them) will absolutely care about and appreciate what you do. I’m all for helping people, and I follow through with that in my own life as well. I’m not sure where you think I make excuses to not help other people, because that is not accurate. I help people because I want to, though. Not because I feel some obligation to be productive or contribute to society.

You criticize those who follow their own whims and say that they are doing nothing of worth. I think people who follow their own whims are the ones living life to the fullest. This is purely a difference in philosophy, I’m not trying to convince you that I’m right, only that you should be aware of viewpoints other than your own.

Travelling certainly isn’t for everybody, and parents should prioritize raising their children, I agree. I still think that for some parents and children, travelling around is a better choice than staying put. Some of the people I admire most had “nomadic” childhoods and liked it just fine. Quite often they even credit the wide experiences they had travelling around as catalysts for the way they turned out as an adult. Yes, there are difficulties, no choice is perfect.

I wonder, if in the case of your cousin, it had more to do with being forced to move on the Air Force’s schedule. Whether the part he hated was really the lack of freedom, more than the lack of stability. I grew up in the exact opposite situation. My entire life on one piece of land, in one small town, with one group of friends and one school. I hated that. It’s easy to find anecdotal evidence either way, that doesn’t really prove anything.

Lastly, I definitely don’t condone being a leach off of society. Whatever you choose to do and however you live your life, you are responsible for providing for it yourself. In the case of children, you are responsible for them as well.

It is widely believed that one can not judge their own self worth, and it must be determined by their peers. There is a lot of validity in that belief.

With all the evidence in, judgment by your peers is probably the most accurate depiction of your true worth.

I could not disagree more. Judgement by your peers is ultimately meaningless. It can make you feel good (or bad) about yourself, but the key concept there is how you feel about yourself.

By your logic, a man that lives a solitary life away from others is worthless. Maybe that’s even what you mean, since he does not “contribute to society”. I think that man has the potential for a very meaningful life, but that it hinges on his own goals and perceptions. He also has the potential to go crazy, or become suicidal. What actually transpires is completely up to him.

Greetings!

I’m sure the whole “Me First” movement would agree with you, but that doesn’t make it right or reasonable.

It’s easy to lie to yourself, and make excuses for your choices, but that doesn’t make it right or reasonable either.

How you feel about yourself, only matters to you, unless it is affecting others, and it’s selfish.

How others feel about you is the truth. Own it, and improve as necessary.


For the solitary man, I’m an optimist… I think most would think kindly of him. I grew up around several people like that. Our parents didn’t know much about them, but never spoke ill of them. For school projects, and Halloween, us kids would sometimes go door to door in our neighborhoods. They were all warm, kind, and welcoming. Our parents had just never taken the time to get to know them. Us kids were a hit, always invited back, and encouraged to bring our friends & family too. I like to believe that we improved each others lives.

Cheers!


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart