Long story short… I am not very happy with life. I have been watching people who life nomadic on youtube for years and I think I’m ready to get started but I have no Idea how. Can someone give me some honest advice about how they gor started? I dont have much money to start just 1500$ is that enough?
Greetings & Welcome!
Income first, vandwelling later… Get all your debts paid off first. Everything gets exponentially harder once you become a nomad. All the garbage you’ve seen online is fantasy, not reality. Somebody else is footing the bill for all those Youtubers, instagrammers, and bloggers, and often a large part of their income comes from convincing others to become vandwellers and build their own rigs. They’re getting paid to promote a lot of bad choices. Building your own camper is usually the worst choice possible, and a cargo van is is also a worst choice scenario that will cost you many thousands more to build out than a passenger van, and they make horrible campers. What you’re seeing might look good, but they’re totally impractical and inconvenient in real life.
Figure out your income first, I wouldn’t start with less than a $2500/month reliable mobile income. Reliable is the key word here, finding jobs on the road can be difficult to impossible. If your current housing and bills are too expensive, move into a cheaper place. If the area is too expensive, move to somewhere the cost of living is cheap, but you can get a good paying job.
$10k emergency fund saved up first, then save up enough for a cheap RV or factory camper van to get you started. Then if you want something newer or better, try to save an additional $1k per month towards that goal. That usually means cutting out all booze, drugs, or paid entertainment.
You’ll need to break all your bad habits, and time wasting activities and concentrate on working. If 40 hours a week isn’t enough, then you need a second or third job, whatever it takes to make at least that $2500/month mark.
Once your current needs are met, start spending all your spare time building an online, mobile friendly income. It’s likely to require long hours and hard work, but you can do it. While keeping your regular job and housing, use your new online income to pay off all your debts, and then start saving your emergency fund, and finally the last step is to buy your camper. While keeping your job and housing, move into the camper, and camp locally, branching out a little on the weekends. This is when you can decide if the lifestyle is even right for you, it really isn’t for most people. If it isn’t, you can resell your camper without much of a loss, and you will still have greatly improved your life and your income, while taking minimal risks.
There are also mobile friendly regular jobs, I was a traveling construction worker for 30 years. Some people do jobs for nationwide chain stores or franchises. A friend does surprise quality control for a national restaurant chain, another one does similar for a national motel chain. Some people work the fairs, carnivals, or trade show circuits. Some people follow the harvests.
Between online work and regular jobs, you have almost unlimited options for working while traveling, but you need to get all this figured out in advance. It’s the proper planning, and hard work, that helps people succeed.
There is no hurry, the road will always be there. The only hurry is how quickly the promoters want your money in their pockets. Take your time and do it right the first time.
Thank you. You have been much help
Some good info posted above… but also a tinge pessimistic and a LOT about how far off you are. I disagree with both.
Yes, there is much work to be done… but much of that work can also be done while living in a van, while traveling more than you’re used to and while enjoying some aspects of the lifestyle.
If you’re unhappy, make change.
Living in a van can be a great way to do that because it means minimalism and focusing on simpler things while also trying to buy back time for yourself (at least, it meant those things for us).
It’s true that part of the (often) unspoken truth about vanlife is that most of the lifestyle has nothing at all to do with the van.
Much is about working towards being debt free, minimal living and eventually some amount of financial independence due to the fact that overhead is so low.
For us… it’s the lessons we learned and work we did to downsize, free ourselves from debt, purge our belongings and learn to make money outside of a 9-5 that have stuck with us and made the biggest impact even after we moved out of the van.
Start taking steps to free yourself, but as soon as you can afford one buy yourself a shell of a van and start the process of working on it (and if moving in right away means you suddenly save more money every month, you certainly wouldn’t be the first to build out the van WHILE living in it!!) =]