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  1. #1526
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by technoD View Post
    Van living is sort of fun once you get used to it. Well, I guess technically I'm homeless since I just rent a room from my buddy who owns the house and I have a job , but in past years I camped in my van since it was much simpler than trying to pay the extreme rents around here. I did manage to get by pretty cheaply like that for awhile.
    Eventually the trans started giving me fits, so I sold it but I may buy another in the future. There are entire forums about people who live this way, some are more extravagant than others.
    I rent a room for only $300 per month. I believe this is the cheapest way to live with a roof over my head. I don't consider it the same as being homeless. Living in a car or van wouldn't be this cheap. The benefits I see to living in a vehicle are that it belongs to you. Nobody can evict you. It is portable. Your home is always with you no matter where you go.

    I did read about a guy who is a computer programmer. When he had a job at a big company that gave him his own office he lived in it. When he stayed late the boss just felt he was a dedicated worker. His job was temporary and so was the living in the office. Some people have lived on college campuses but not in a dormitory. They spent their nights huddled somewhere in small rooms in the library or a different school building. They used the shower in the gym. That is the only way to live indoors that is cheaper than renting a room, though always needing to buy restaurant food must add quite a bit of money to that lifestyle. It must be stressful to always be hiding. At least in a car or van all one needs to do is park in a neighborhood with apartment buildings and nobody will notice the strange car in the area. Tint the windows dark and put up customized sun shades in the front and rear windows for extra protection.

    Living in any type of conventional vehicle or small RV requires simple living principals to be in place. It just wouldn't work if one bought things and didn't at the same time get rid of other things. For Christmas I'm buying a new laptop and a new exercise device. I'll be selling a larger desktop computer and a larger exercise device (if the new one is an improvement over the old one). For my birthday I bought a small pressure cooker to replace a much larger one. Since I don't have refrigerator space to store leftovers I must cook my meals one at a time. This is how I've adapted to a simpler living lifestyle.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  2. #1527
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    I don't want to live as simply as some of you, because I really like stuff. But I do want to get rid of anything I don't use or love. I got rid of about fifty percent of my stuff when I moved into the four hundred square foot efficiency. My biggest storage problem are my art supplies. I am a hoarder when it comes to my arts and crafts stuff. I got rid of all my books and just go to the library once a week. I would love to own a home, but I don't make much money. I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen.

  3. #1528
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Chuchi how did you feel when you got rid of half of your stuff?

    When I sold my last car I was a bit anxious for a couple of days. Then a wave of relief and giddiness briefly came over me and I felt greater freedom. I didn't expect that to happen at all, yet it did. In May I put out half of my stuff and tried to give it away. After all of that effort was over and the things that weren't taken were still with me, I thought about it all. I would miss some items only because the familiarity of seeing them was gone. What was better was more relief and more freedom. The trade off was worth it. I expect to experience the same thing once I've completed my purge.

    Every time I get rid of things I feel better. Two months ago I sold several musical equipment items. All of them were at one time useful to me. I haven't used them very much for many years. Even though I didn't get top dollar for them I was glad they were in the hands of somebody who would use them; and the meager cash was still a good thing to have. The less unused stuff I have around me the better I feel.

    As time goes on I have learned that even some of the things I thought I needed aren't in fact needed. Only time will tell how much stuff I eventually keep as essential and needed.
    Last edited by Smallwheels; 12-25-13 at 04:32 PM.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  4. #1529
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    Mostly I just regret having spent that money in the first place on a lot of stuff that didn't really make my life better. There is stuff I wish I didn't have to let go of, because I think I could use it once I can afford to live in a normal size place again. But it was just too claustrophobic being buried in the clutter. And now that it is gone, I don't really miss it.

  5. #1530
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuchi View Post
    Mostly I just regret having spent that money in the first place on a lot of stuff that didn't really make my life better. There is stuff I wish I didn't have to let go of, because I think I could use it once I can afford to live in a normal size place again. But it was just too claustrophobic being buried in the clutter. And now that it is gone, I don't really miss it.
    Look at it this way. You didn't spend all that money on stuff...you spent it on a valuable lesson about stuff.

    Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  6. #1531
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Look at it this way. You didn't spend all that money on stuff...you spent it on a valuable lesson about stuff.

    Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!
    That's a much better way to look at it, Roody. Marry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to you too!

  7. #1532
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by technoD View Post
    Hmmm, I see people at the local library blogging using public computers all the time. I have my own laptop to blog with if I wish,and smartphones can be had very cheaply now and take up very little room in your pocket so they're excellent for minimalists.
    If you don't have a card in my town you are relegated to one of two non-DSL PC for 30 minutes vs. 1 hour on the fast Gates Foundation provided DSL computers. That is one hour, per DAY, and the library has limited hours, almost closed for good.

    Malheur County, Oregon is the poorest county in the state or close. The library doors have weapons detectors and backpacks must br checked in. All 12-15 computers have people waiting, regardless and you cannot think enough to get email caught up sometimes much less blog.

    We have one public library in Ontario, just spent money we didn't really have to build a modern middle and high school and the true reason jobless rates are lower than October 2008 is that everybody left town that couldn't get a job and could leave.

    Smartphones are a pipe dream that cost a lot of money and that's why the wireless assistance program Virgin operates uses TEXT-ONLY cellphones. If my computer moves, I am either cleaning or it's being stolen. I am not sacrificing my food budget nor my bike budget nor the small amount I spend to feed my cats as I LIKE my cats and I don't need a cellphone vs. friends and somebody paying attention when I'm not doing well and helping. If nobody responds or they hide behind them, cellphones are weapons, as surely as a nuclear bomb. One useless wired phone is more than enough and I've got the total bill down to just over 72 dollars a month or nearly one tenth of my fixed income and covering the DSL and unlimited long distance as well for four more years. I will not accept any more subsidies than I already have, the heating assistance and food bank are as far as I will go beyond my rent and oh sheesh. I have better medical coverage than my poor mother as she can't qualify for full Medicare/Medicaid and I have both and the LIS so all I have is co-payments but then again my mom is debating getting a full 'erector set' for her back that has more broken discs than the Disco record explosion at that famous ballgame years ago.

    Make sense now?
    Last edited by Rollfast; 12-30-13 at 09:46 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
    They can't fix expansion joints, because they expand.
    Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!

  8. #1533
    Senior Member technoD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
    If you don't have a card in my town you are relegated to one of two non-DSL PC for 30 minutes vs. 1 hour on the fast Gates Foundation provided DSL computers. That is one hour, per DAY, and the library has limited hours, almost closed for good.

    Malheur County, Oregon is the poorest county in the state or close. The library doors have weapons detectors and backpacks must br checked in. All 12-15 computers have people waiting, regardless and you cannot think enough to get email caught up sometimes much less blog.

    We have one public library in Ontario, just spent money we didn't really have to build a modern middle and high school and the true reason jobless rates are lower than October 2008 is that everybody left town that couldn't get a job and could leave.

    Smartphones are a pipe dream that cost a lot of money and that's why the wireless assistance program Virgin operates uses TEXT-ONLY cellphones. If my computer moves, I am either cleaning or it's being stolen. I am not sacrificing my food budget nor my bike budget nor the small amount I spend to feed my cats as I LIKE my cats and I don't need a cellphone vs. friends and somebody paying attention when I'm not doing well and helping. If nobody responds or they hide behind them, cellphones are weapons, as surely as a nuclear bomb. One useless wired phone is more than enough and I've got the total bill down to just over 72 dollars a month or nearly one tenth of my fixed income and covering the DSL and unlimited long distance as well for four more years. I will not accept any more subsidies than I already have, the heating assistance and food bank are as far as I will go beyond my rent and oh sheesh. I have better medical coverage than my poor mother as she can't qualify for full Medicare/Medicaid and I have both and the LIS so all I have is co-payments but then again my mom is debating getting a full 'erector set' for her back that has more broken discs than the Disco record explosion at that famous ballgame years ago.

    Make sense now?
    Wow, yeah it does.
    I guess your public library there is run like a "police state" ! By weapons detectors, I take it you mean BOOK detectors?? Damn, dangerous place to study I guess...
    We have limited hours at our library here too. 1 hour at a choice of 14 computer stations, but all day wi-fi for those of us with laptops. I have a half-smartphone which gives me triple minutes for life with NO contract at $20 every couple months so cheap is possible with some research!

    Sorry to hear about your mom too. I have a ( sort of ) girlfriend who has a plate in her spine so I feel for ya.
    I have future aspirations about moving to somewhere around the Portland area someday, if nothing else but for a shot at some of those awsome bike trails I keep reading about, and bike-friendly climate since I'm REALLY hating the the snow here!
    Last edited by technoD; 12-30-13 at 12:30 PM. Reason: additional
    Ride to live, live to ride!

  9. #1534
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
    Smartphones are a pipe dream that cost a lot of money and that's why the wireless assistance program Virgin operates uses TEXT-ONLY cellphones. If my computer moves, I am either cleaning or it's being stolen. I am not sacrificing my food budget nor my bike budget nor the small amount I spend to feed my cats as I LIKE my cats and I don't need a cellphone vs. friends and somebody paying attention when I'm not doing well and helping. If nobody responds or they hide behind them, cellphones are weapons, as surely as a nuclear bomb. One useless wired phone is more than enough and I've got the total bill down to just over 72 dollars a month or nearly one tenth of my fixed income and covering the DSL and unlimited long distance as well for four more years.
    We had smartphones. Then life happened and we ditched the service plan. Now we have pocket supercomputers, no phone service on these devices. Anywhere there is free wifi, we are connected online. I see used phones like I have -- Apple iPhone 3G -- going for very much less than $100. Plus, I get a clock w/ alarm, MP3 player, camera, ebook reader, game player, voice memo recorder, notebook, sketchbook, etc. all in a pocket size unit. When I was 10, I'd have given my left nut for something as cool as this.

    You don't have to use the phone part of smartphones for them to still be remarkably useful little devices. Like getting online at the library utilizing their free wifi when all the public workstations are occupied...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  10. #1535
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I would also point out that in many places Straight Talk smart phones are cheaper than land lines. This what my brother has and seems to really like it over the old house phone.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  11. #1536
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I would also point out that in many places Straight Talk smart phones are cheaper than land lines. This what my brother has and seems to really like it over the old house phone.

    Aaron
    There are many less expensive cell phone options available. Discount stores offer many pay as you go plans, with or without data plans. I'm currently using a flip phone from MetroPCS with unlimited talk & text for $25/month. With a smart phone it's going to start at about $50 at MetroPCS.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  12. #1537
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    There are many less expensive cell phone options available. Discount stores offer many pay as you go plans, with or without data plans. I'm currently using a flip phone from MetroPCS with unlimited talk & text for $25/month. With a smart phone it's going to start at about $50 at MetroPCS.
    Straight talk is $45 a month which includes unlimited talk and text, with 2.5 gigs of data. FWIW my company phone has unlimited data and even with sending and receiving A LOT of pictures I seldom exceed 1 gig. On my personal plan which has 4 smart phones and a cellular iPad we seldom exceed 2.5 gigs. My wife is a very heavy user of the iPad, one thing we do is use wifi when at home or on the road, if we can connect.

    I also love mconlonx suggestion to use the phone on wifi only. My Nexus tablet does the same thing and if you set up a google voice account you can make calls from it over wifi.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  13. #1538
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    All my life I've worked my way up the corp. ladder to make lots of money, house with pool and family. Recently the wife left because she never saw me, kids grew up and moved out and there I was alone with only material possessions. I'm getting rid of everything and hitting the TransAmerican trail next month...Free at last!!!! I want to see the beautiful country God has made, meet "real" people and hopefully find a nice eco-commune to reside where I can contribute and live with nature. My future is near....

  14. #1539
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Welcome Nola62. Enjoy your trip. Maybe it would be better to wait for warmer weather for such a journey in case you get into trouble you won't freeze to death before somebody can find you.

    Enjoy your new freedom. Read about minimalism. Maybe you might like to build a tiny house somewhere if you can't find a commune or community that suits you. If you live in an RV or a tiny house on wheels you could try out different parts of the country until you find something that you really like. Have fun.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  15. #1540
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    http://www.tosimplify.net/ This is my favorite blog. It isn't an instruction manual. It is an entertaining view into a life of a musician that lives in a Volkswagon Vanagon van. He started in a Ford van with a high top. Then he moved into a Class C small motor home. He downsized to the VW within the last few months. He is happiest in the smallest van. He custom built the interior. Read his blog from the beginning to understand his process and motivation. He is self employed as an arranger. He arranges the music for the TV show "Family Guy." He also performs as a session player on recordings.
    Quote Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
    I've been following this guy's blog from the beginning when he was just moving into his first van.
    Quote Originally Posted by technoD View Post
    I camped in my 1 ton ford van for almost a year, it's a mixed bag at best. Sometimes carefree living, sometimes not!
    Wife and I had been downsizing our life for the past six months or so, facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Plans were to live real small, build a Tiny House piecemeal as time and resources allowed. Then we decided to split up.

    Last week and through the weekend, I finally had a bunch of time to read through the tosimplify.net blog. Which led to other van dweller sites...

    And so, I am in the market for a full-size cargo van. Which (after purchase price) will be cheaper/mo than even some of the cheap roommate situations I've been eyeballing for a few weeks previous.

    I'm very much looking forward to this change of lifestyle. Probably will pick up a van in Mar, outfit it through the month, and then start living in it April timeframe. Real rough, simple, and spartan at first, but probably will build it out bit by bit as time goes by. Or I decide it's not for me.

    In any case, should be an adventure...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  16. #1541
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Wife and I had been downsizing our life for the past six months or so, facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Plans were to live real small, build a Tiny House piecemeal as time and resources allowed. Then we decided to split up.

    Last week and through the weekend, I finally had a bunch of time to read through the tosimplify.net blog. Which led to other van dweller sites...

    And so, I am in the market for a full-size cargo van. Which (after purchase price) will be cheaper/mo than even some of the cheap roommate situations I've been eyeballing for a few weeks previous.

    I'm very much looking forward to this change of lifestyle. Probably will pick up a van in Mar, outfit it through the month, and then start living in it April timeframe. Real rough, simple, and spartan at first, but probably will build it out bit by bit as time goes by. Or I decide it's not for me.

    In any case, should be an adventure...
    I like your sense of adventure and willingness to experiment. Where are you going to park your van when you get it? What about kitchen/bathroom access?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  17. #1542
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I like your sense of adventure and willingness to experiment. Where are you going to park your van when you get it? What about kitchen/bathroom access?
    Look into RVs and see how they do it. Water can be collected from any spigot under which a water jug can fit. A sink could be just a big container that drains into a different water jug.

    Portable camp stoves are small and fit anywhere. Numerous toilets are available for RVs. Some are connected to water supplies and others don't use water at all. Hospitals use bedside toilets for some patients. All they use is a bag inside a bucket. When the patient is done the bag gets tied at the top and thrown into a trash can.

    Bathing would be different in a regular van. Wash cloths and a water basin would be the simplest method. For people staying in just one city it would be easy to have a gym membership and shower there every day after exercising. Laundromats would be the place to wash clothing and linen.

    Electricity can be made with a generator or solar panels. If staying by a friends house an extension cord could be plugged into the van.

    I've read about many people living in vehicles. I think it is a good idea to rent a storage unit to keep all of the possessions that won't fit into an RV or van. In time all of the stuff that really isn't needed could be sold. Eventually one might find that a storage unit isn't necessary after all. They make the transition to living in a vehicle easier.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  18. #1543
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    It may be an RFID sensor, just like Walmart has...and YEAH, with such limited funding it makes sense to scan the books and prevent 'unauthorized borrowing', doesn't it?


    Quote Originally Posted by technoD View Post
    Wow, yeah it does.
    I guess your public library there is run like a "police state" ! By weapons detectors, I take it you mean BOOK detectors?? Damn, dangerous place to study I guess...
    We have limited hours at our library here too. 1 hour at a choice of 14 computer stations, but all day wi-fi for those of us with laptops. I have a half-smartphone which gives me triple minutes for life with NO contract at $20 every couple months so cheap is possible with some research!

    Sorry to hear about your mom too. I have a ( sort of ) girlfriend who has a plate in her spine so I feel for ya.
    I have future aspirations about moving to somewhere around the Portland area someday, if nothing else but for a shot at some of those awsome bike trails I keep reading about, and bike-friendly climate since I'm REALLY hating the the snow here!
    Wi-Fi? Everything at ours is wired.
    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
    They can't fix expansion joints, because they expand.
    Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!

  19. #1544
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Lots of places to get "free" WiFi these days, many chain restaurants (MacDonalds, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc), malls, coffee shops, even some downtown areas. Just have to look around and see what is out there. I was out on a ramble one day and the little corner country gas station was offering free wifi.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #1545
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Lots of places to get "free" WiFi these days, many chain restaurants (MacDonalds, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc), malls, coffee shops, even some downtown areas. Just have to look around and see what is out there. I was out on a ramble one day and the little corner country gas station was offering free wifi.

    Aaron
    Many/most places (hostels, campgrounds, hotels, libraries) have removed all/most of the old computers now because there's free wifi.

    When we travelled in 2007, we paid money for 15 minutes of internet access in various places, and had just enough time to jot off a few notes to family now and then ... when we travelled in 2012, those computers were gone, those fees were gone, and the only way to access the internet was through the free wifi. And there were only a very few places where we had trouble finding free wifi.

  21. #1546
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Lots of places to get "free" WiFi these days, many chain restaurants (MacDonalds, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc), malls, coffee shops, even some downtown areas. Just have to look around and see what is out there. I was out on a ramble one day and the little corner country gas station was offering free wifi.

    Aaron
    I can't wait until Google gets those balloon things up in the sky and the whole world will have free wifi. Or at least the whole northern hemisphere. (Sorry Machka!)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  22. #1547
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    I don't live very simply. I pay for my own water, sewage, electricity, data, etc. Someone has to.

  23. #1548
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I can't wait until Google gets those balloon things up in the sky and the whole world will have free wifi. Or at least the whole northern hemisphere. (Sorry Machka!)
    We've already got free wifi down here ... and if we don't want to go roaming around for a hot spot, a little usb stick gives us internet anywhere we want to go.

  24. #1549
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I like your sense of adventure and willingness to experiment. Where are you going to park your van when you get it? What about kitchen/bathroom access?
    Smallwheels hit a lot of it, but...

    Cargo van so I can camp stealth. Office where I work is in an industrial zone, so there's plenty of white vans parked at different locations where I could sneak in for a night. Otherwise, anywhere there's legal parking is where I can stay. Many municipalities have ordinances about not sleeping in your vehicle or restricting RVs to specific areas, but stealth overnights involve blackout interiors so you really can't tell anyone is sleeping over in their vehicle. This will be what I'm aiming for.

    Kitchen: propane camp stove initially; built-in marine range/oven if I go that far. Small sink with gravity feed cold water from 7gal water supply draining into pretty much anything, to start; dreaming of a 20 gal tank, 12v pump, and running water. Simple, 1-pan meals.

    Bathroom: 5gal RV portapotty, or Luggable Loo over 5gal bucket. Sponge baths most of the time; showers at FT and PT work. Laundromat for clothes... but I can take my home with me to hang out there...

    Heat (New England, in the 10sF today...): Mr Heater Buddy propane catalytic, sleeping bag rated to -20degF.

    Electricity: Alternator-charged aux battery and an inverter. Ultimately, a generator or solar.

    All this is in my head from what I read online about van dwelling. Reality could change how I deal with everything drastically. I'm actually renting a van over the next few days (car-lite...) to check things out before buying. If it works out, new timeline is getting a beater van in the next month and getting it at least insulated if not completely built out so I can be out of the house by Feb.

    I find it totally hilarious that I stumbled on this whole idea in the "Living Car-Free" subforum, which is leading me to consider owning a car for the first time in 4 years...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  25. #1550
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    I find it totally hilarious that I stumbled on this whole idea in the "Living Car-Free" subforum, which is leading me to consider owning a car for the first time in 4 years...
    Living in a vehicle is a very efficient use of it. The space is always occupied. It is cheaper to heat than an apartment. No rental agreements. No evictions. It can easily be traded for a newer or more suitable version. Your house is always where you are, so regular commuting like most people do isn't necessary. Job opportunities in any part of the country can be taken without a second thought.

    Living in a van or other form of RV requires simple living practices. To me it seems like an environmentally conscious way to live for one or two people compared to owning a 1500 square foot house.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

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