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|Sunday, December 16th, 2012|
AN AFRICAN-AMERICANS TIP FOR NEW (VAN DWELLERS) LIVING OFF THE GRID
Hello my name is Shawn, I'm 39 years old and new to this forum. I've been a "vanaboder" off an on for the past few years. My life has been very adventurous, but not to elaborate on it much, I just wanted to express an alternative to conventional living and how to survive economical hardships so that you can survive another day as comfortable as possible until better days. There are many stories why people are living in a van, some do it because they want to be set free from this stressful system, others because they are trying to survive economical hardship, divorce, or save money etc. I'm living in my van for some of the foregoing reasons and other causes like relocating back to America after living in Japan for many years since 2001. Back in the days, I use to live in public housing in southern California near the border of Mexico, when I turned the age of 24 years old, I didn't see much of a future where I was living because the jobs were very scares there. Fortunately, I did go to school and obtained some marketable job skills and got a job working up north in the bay area at a Hospital in nursing, but before I made that move, I wanted to make sure that when I left home for the first time I would have an emergency back up failure plan. I told my dad one day, I'm leaving home and never coming back, I packed up my 1970 Volkswagen Bus and got ready to leave, my dad told me that you can never make it in life without friends and family. I think everyone should remember that when you decide to leave home and live in a van, making friends and keeping in touch with family and society is important, I found that to be very true when I ended up flying to Japan, but that's another adventure story. I had a White "Hippie" friend that lived behind a building car sales lot in San Diego, he always walked around bare footed with black dirty feet, he would fix peoples broken Volkswagen Buses and paint them with some pretty cool colors. He told me that his girlfriend had his kid and that he was making plans to drive to Alaska to be with his child, he said he would sell me his 1970 Volkswagen bus for $1500, I notice that he had a old Toyota truck with a shabby camper on the back with a pet dog. I bought his van and wished him the best of luck on his trip to Alaska which was going to be a long journey. When I got the job in the Bay area, it turned out not to be what I had expected, I was terminated but didn't care because I was not happy with the job, however, I found myself not having money to pay for my rent. The only thing I had was my 1970 Volkswagen Bus which had a bed in the back and plenty of space in the center of the vehicle. I remember I was shocked to know I was going to be homeless, I felt like a total failure, but after a while of sitting and thinking, I accepted my plight and decided to purge most of my stuff to ease weight off my van, I felt only necessities were the best way to my next destination which was San Francisco about 35 miles from Palo Alto. This is my advice for you being in a perceived homeless situation, get yourself a mini-van or better a full size one, if you have a car sell it, it is crucial that you get a van. I think the best van to get is a 1998 Chevy Astro van because of the power and wide space in the back, do not get a 1970 Volkswagen Bus, when I had one in year 2000 it was still accepted as cool, but being near the year 2013, the 1970 VW Bus is looked at as trashy, some may not agree with me. The reason why I say don't get the VW bus is because it brings to much attention to itself, and the police often insinuate the 1970 VW bus with drugs and misfits on board. The VW bus is good on gas and oil, but does not have enough power when going up steep hills. On various occasions I barely made it up steep hills, and sometimes the engine overheated and I had to sit for a few hours until it cooled down. When you get your van whatever it may be, take out the back seats and buy an eight inch futon, its important to be able to get a good nights sleep while your searching for employment, sleeping in a small car is not good on the back and legs. Go to the "Army surplus" store and buy a black military duffle bag and laundry bag where you can separate your cloths, clean cloths in the duffle bag, dirty cloths in the laundry bag. I recommend that you get three heavy duty sleeping bags with big pillows, when it gets cold at night you can just get under more of the sleeping bags until you get warm. I recommend that you buy yourself a "Passport Potty" toilet, you can get one online at "ebay" for about $65 and it doesn't take much space, I have mines in the back on my passengers seat. Another good thing to buy is a roof rack storage, I bought one at "Pepboys" called the "Sports Explore", its a hard plastic shell with locks. I usually keep stove burners and camping gear inside the roof storage with a 22. Semi-Automatic Long Rifle with a scope, I suggest you buy only "Blazer" 40gr ball ammo, for night protection, I keep ready a USP HK 40. with an LED light just in case a Zombie decides to break into my van at night, I also carry a 38. Derringer that holds two 38. Special rounds, its a get off me gun for van protection, small and concealable just in case your in an area you don't feel safe. While your out there surviving in no mansland, pick a city where there's jobs, and open yourself a P.O. Box, make sure you have a cell phone or a laptop handy. You can charge up these items for free at "McDonalds" or "Starbucks" and use there free internet services, for the nomads like me if your not sure where to park on your unknown destinations, find a "Walmart" to park or a gas station with plenty of light. It is very important to take care of your hygiene, find a recreation center or YMCA where you can take showers and work out with weights. Furthermore, it's important to eat as healthy as possible, that is a challenge for me also. I try to eat fruit and raw vegies as much as possible, cucumbers with Ranch dressing and carrots are good. For entertainment, you can buy yourself a portable DVD player and watch DVD movies in your van, tint your windows limousine black, so that you'll have some privacy, its not good for people to be able to look inside your van and knowing your living in it, be stealthy as much as possible. Keep the outside and inside of your van clean, go to the do it yourself car wash. Keeping the inside of your van clean is important for health, there are various particles of dirt floating around in the back of your van, that dirt can get into your eyes causing and infection (Pink Eye), especially when you get up in the morning and rub your eyeballs, try not to rub your eyes as much as possible, keep a towel and two jugs of water handy. In the morning use your water bottle jug to pour water on your towel and clean your eyes. Find a Welfare office and get on EBT, that will help you save money for buying food and gas until your reach your destination or unknown destination. Use the internet to find a girlfriend, you can put an ad on "Craiglist" or "POF" singles ad, some girls will accept your living situation, I met a cool Latina girl that gives me great sex when ever I want it, she's cool with me living in a van, we enjoy laying together in the back and having conversations about life. I have standards when living in a van, (1) Never live in a van without working, (2) Take care of your health, (3) Never smoke pot without working or going to school, (4) You must go to school if you don't have a job. If your not working, find the nearest junior college and apply for federal grant money and survive off that, do your homework and take a vocational certificate course that's six months to a year, nomads like me can't do A.A or B.A degrees because many of us don't have the patients like a Van dweller. In my view, living in a van is not an excuse to leave society and become a good-for-nothing-lazy cretin, that's just what I believe. Definitions of being homeless - Van Dweller: Is a person that makes there van a permanent residence. Vanaboder: Is an individual that lives in a van, but stays in society, the difference between the van dweller and vanaboder, is that a "Van dweller" usually has air conditioners and solar panels on top of there roof, they usually stay in a certain area for long periods of time, such as six months to two years. A "Vanaboder" is a nomad, we travel a lot, and don't use the toilet system, solar panels, and air conditioning systems fixed on our van like a "Van dweller". I hope these tips help out anyone no matter what situation you may be in, and hope you continue to have better days and peace, always think that things could be worse. Also, don't be telling people on your job that your living in your van, co-workers will get jealous of you and some will cause you problems on your job, you have to understand that many people are under a tremendous amount of stress in this system, and they will persecute you for getting the easy way around from paying that greedy landlord rent money. You will have the ability to save money and eat delicious meals many can't afford due to the high cost of living, on weekends rent yourself a sports car and buy some new cloths, enjoy the extra money you have. Living in a van whatever definition you fit, only special people can live this way, and we are lucky to be humble enough in our situation and blessed to do this. Jesus Christ said, all you need is sustenance and covering. Being out of the elements is the most important thing, no matter your situation, you can recover if you have a van, but its very hard to recover if your out in the elements, to me being in the elements is like game over. You can get free meals at the "Salvation Army" and meet some pretty intelligent homeless people there with lots of experiences in life. I had a Thanksgiving dinner at the "Salvation Army" in Texas and it was great, they gave me a free blanket to. Another tip, is to buy yourself a chain wallet, I was offered a job and lost my wallet the day before I was going to start work, I lost my drivers license, social security cards and everything, take my advice, buy a chain wallet or you can be in a serious rut. Use gas treatment additives for keeping your vehicle internally clean, use STP oil treatment to keep your engine lubed every oil change, take care of your engine and keep your injectors clean, buy a GPS so you can find things like Hospitals. Try to stop smoking, save yourself money, or switch to cigars like I did, try "Black & Mild classic, there are two cigars in a plastic package for $1.25. Any comments? Current Mood: Survival mode/Chevy Astro Van "aka" Starship.
|Friday, August 24th, 2012|
|Thursday, August 23rd, 2012|
|Thursday, January 31st, 2008|
Cheers to all you mobile, untethered humans!
I started a community for RVers for those wanting tips, support, or just an outlet for your RV experiences, check it out: RVers
|Monday, January 28th, 2008|
This looks like the only remotely RV-related community that's still alive, so I'm joinin' if that's all right.
I'm a full-time RVer, have been for just over two years. My partner & I live in a 22-foot '89 Chevy El Dorado. We have our own web design business we run out of the 'Beastie' as we call it.
We could've rented an apartment or something, but the mobile lifestyle is SO convenient; we just put everything away and go. Anyway, my partner has really bad allergies, so it's better we bring our own house for him to sleep in if we go somewhere for the weekend.
|Thursday, January 24th, 2008|
Hello from the UK *waves*
Good morning, people of the dreamtime...
I am a poetic, nature loving soul.
I wish I was back in the days of harps, lore and story telling by the fire.
I will drag you to the clifftops and sing tales of mermaids and sirens to you in a sweet, beautiful voice.
I will philosophise by the campfire.
I will dance in fields of meadowsweet, calling to the spirits.
I am guided by nature and love trees more than i love most human beings.
"Wishmaster" by Nightwish is my favourite song.
If you would like to get to know me better, feel free to talk. I would love to meet kindred souls!
I try to save the world, by being carbon-friendly :) oh, and....
I juggle knives, spin fire and am a classicla singer in my spare time. I am a student of sociology full time, until June, when I want to go off in a van on ADVENTURES!!!
|Sunday, June 24th, 2007|
Cooking on the engine.
Does anyone have any experience cooking canned food on their engine before? How do you do it? I heard that people would cook canned soup and chili on their engine all the time but just sticking a normal unopened can inside sounds dangerous. I don't want it to explode and ruin my car. I also heard that you could poke a couple of holes on top of the cans but wouldn't spillage be a problem?
|Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006|
Why do you live in a vehicle?
I don’t (currently) live in van or even own a car, but I think my main motivator would be to lower my cost of living so I can go camping more often, and car living seems a lot like camping anyway. I know there are other ways around this, but nomadic living has fascinated me ever since I was little. I also love the idea of the simplified alternative lifestyle, and the freedom to live where you want. I spend most of my time outdoors anyway at the library, gym, park, beach, church, work, recreation centers, and friend’s houses. Then with the freedom van dwelling seems to provide I could finally splurge on extended hiking trips and other outdoor activities. So here’s my question... is it cheaper or more expensive to live in a van (compared to renting while not owning a vehicle) and why did you do it? Also if you stopped, why?
Thanks for reading, and great community! Too bad it's a bit slow and there aren't more around like it, heh.
|Tuesday, March 28th, 2006|
A new web forum on the subject of survival
There is a new web site that started up a few weeks ago called near death experiments. It's sole subject is survivalism and all things related to it. I've been posting there for a couple of weeks and it looks like it's going to do well. I thought I'd spread the word to anyone who might be interested.http://neardeathexperiments.com/
Take a gander when you get the chance. Has an entire subforum on the subject of shelter.
|Thursday, October 27th, 2005|
Hello fellow vandwellers! My name is Thrashbear, the heavy metal teddy bear. I currently live in Denver with my mate, Anya, and work as an airport shuttle driver to and rom Boulder, CO and DIA. I have been an off and on vandweller since 1999, when I got a 1987 Chevy van for $500 from my boss. I have been an RV enthusiast since I was 13, and since lived in 2 travel trailers and 1 motorhome.
I enjoy the van and RV lifestyle and prefer to live out of one than an apartment or a house. This January, my mate and I expect to embark on our first major roadtrip of 9 months, circumnavigating the U.S. and Canada in our 1999 Dodge conversion van, the proverbial living room on wheels:http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/thrashbear/detail?.dir=mail&.dnm=fece.jpg&.src=ph
We have some modifications to make before it's "livable", but I sleep in it 4 nights a week since I work 25 miles from her house. I've been shopping for a class-c motorhome or a travel trailer, but even that seems "too much" for us, we like things simple and economical.
The perspective I'm taking in this lifestyle is that I spend most of my time outside of the vehicle, working or playing or spending time with my mate. The van is simply sleeping quarters with some amenities like cooking and rudimentary running water. When we need a place to hang out when the weather's bad, we'll snuggle up inside on the futon and pop a video in the DVD player. Who could want anything more?
I also collect pictures of vanity plates, hoping to publish a book about it in a few years. I expect my travels to yield a lot of fascinating stories behind them.
Anyway, that's enough from me. I'm hoping to garner some info from this group, and share some of my own, about making the vandwelling lifestyle as comfortable and economical as possible. See y'all around!
|Monday, August 8th, 2005|
I am new to the community and am looking for some information about living on a boat. If anyone here has lived or is currently living on a boat I would love
to talk to you about it. Also, if anyone has suggestions of websites that might help me learn more about this, I would appreciate it. Current Mood: excited
I'm glad to see a car living group on here. I've only been driving for a couple of years now, and before that I was just plain homeless and thought I'd never own a car. Well in a couple of weeks I'll be taking off for my first car living adventure and I'm really psyched. I've considered the fact that I'll never be able to put a roof over my head and I do wonder how come so many people are able to live in their cars perminantly, how they afford to keep it legal with no mor eincome than other homeless person - the insurance, stickers, upkeep, gas, etc. Because I know first hand how much harrassment the homeless get and how easilly you can end up in prison simply for being homeless even if you're doing absolutely nothing wrong at all.
|Tuesday, June 21st, 2005|
looking for other young travelers.
I'm looking to buy an old airstream(or similar) to restore and live in. Im a young(28) single and wonder if there are any others like me. Single or not, whatever. I won't be shoving off until next late spring or early summer I approximate. Just looking to network,share experiences,advice ect... Add me on Yahoo mesenger(true1977) or AIM (truebebeblue)
|Sunday, May 8th, 2005|
Hi... I've just joined here, and on the Yahoo (v2?) as well. Picked up at 81 Westfalia earlier tonight, all stoked about getting back to van living. Somewhere in the wandering, I saw a post from a guy with a Westie who had wind and solar power, but I've lost track of the URL. He was recommending the place he got his generator & solar panels from. This ringing a bell with any of you? I'm gonna scour the History file, but it's been a LONG night.
Glad to be here, good to see I'm not the only one this kinda crazy.:)
|Saturday, February 19th, 2005|
I lived in my camperized Volkswagon van off and on for several years (until some kids lit it on fire). I also lived in various types of stationwagon over the years. My latest plans are to convert a school bus into a heated garage on wheels (back tilts down to make a ramp) with a small living quarters in the front (behind the drivers seat). I have ideas on a hybrid vehical system that uses pneumatic motors and pressurized air tanks (made of PVC pipe) instead of electric motors and batteries. I can also have a single phase alternator powered by controlled-speed pnumatic motor for high efficiency AC power. For a quick power fix, I am putting a second large alternator with a driver controled relay to connect it to large deep cycle batteries in the 4WD Toyota Tercel I plan to park in my "heated garage" bus-motorhome. I charge the batteries while I travel from my portable home to university (where I could never park a bus) and back. I've got lots of untested ideas for solar and wind sources of energy in the form of pressurized air that could be incorporated into the hybrid vehical system or on a larger scale for land-based systems with very large burried air tanks. This pneumatic system sounds just perfect for boats too because air tanks should be far less dence then batteries (should float) and will not be damaged by being upside-down, splashed with salty water, hard blows and jerks, etc and are safer (no sparks from the energy storage, no acid). Feel free to email me at annvole at-thingy hotmail.com but put the word "vole" somewhere in the subject line or it is automaticaly erased.
|Tuesday, January 25th, 2005|
I bought me a van tonight! It is older and not a campervan like I was thinking, but I like it and the price was right. I am going to do a little to convert it to more of a camper van but it is pretty cool the way it is. (1994 GMC Vandura 2500, with a starcraft conversion)
I pick it up on Saturday. I gave the guy some money to hold it for me until then.
|Sunday, January 16th, 2005|
I've been reading Vandwellers for nearly a year now when I started living in my car for part of each week (I was commuting between San Diego (my parents house) and Los Angeles (my job)), but this is the first time I've posted.
I'm working on a magazine article for a class (though if it works out I'll submit it somewhere) on living in your car. In it I'm trying to explain why people who don't have to for financial reasons whould choose to live in their car (or van). I'm looking for people who would be willing to talk (or email, or comment here) about your experiences, especially if you've lived in your car in LA.
Out of curiousity what have you found to be the most common question people asked when they found out you were living in your car? For me it was "Where do you shower?".
I went to the RV show in my Area yesterday. They had all kinds of awesome motorhomes and 5th wheels even a few very cool trailers (I especially liked the TAB teardrops, they are designed like traditional teardrops but a little larger, but can still be hauled by a normal car http://www.tab-rv.com/index.php
). But if you are a van person there was not much to see. I thought It would give me lots of cool ideas, but not really. I don't think the designers of the van conversions can break out of the RV mentality to offer what most van dwellers want (simple, open, efficient, and useful), instead they try to cram everything into such a small space and so much is not useful. The best designed van conversion was the gulf stream vista cruiser http://www.gulfstreamcoach.com/bvans/index.htm
unfortunately the dealer of pleasureway's did not bring in a ford traverse http://www.pleasureway.com/
which is the closest to a regular conversion van decked out that might have been in the show (at least that I know of). Of course VW was not there, but they never are. I always enjoy going to these shows anyway and they do at least let you see what is good and what is bad as well as just what the hell is out there. They also had several venders of camping equipment and accessories to look at to help come up with new ides.
|Wednesday, January 5th, 2005|
This is more than I can afford, but it is nice to dream. This is a new class B by airstream. I like it because it has the looks of a VW Westfalia but the size and comfort of a full size American van converted into a class B motorhome. In two weeks there is an RX show where I live (Denver) so maybe I will be able to check one out in person and see if I still like them. The last time I went to an RV show I left a little depressed since the big RV’s were so cool, yet I know that for practical reasons I want a van (I want to be able to boondock and urban camp as well as not have to deal with a tow vehicle). Plus this vehicle starts at 51,000 quite a bit of of my league.
( Click for pictureCollapse )
|Tuesday, January 4th, 2005|
The ULTIMATE travel vehicle
How's this for the ultimate in travel vehicle? Forget RVs. Forget yachts. Now you can buy your very own submarine.
If you want the smaller version with a 1000 nautical mile range...http://www.ussubs.com/submarines/nomad_1000.php3
Or, if you prefer a larger ship with a transatlantic range of 3000 miles...http://www.ussubs.com/submarines/seattle_1000.php3
Or, if you want to go top of the line...http://www.ussubs.com/submarines/phoenix_1000.php3
Size wise they are 65, 118, and 213 ft long respectively. The biggest one has over 5000 square feet on 4 levels. Wow.
Oh, they run about $8, $20, and $80 million dollars apiece. But hey, whats a few bucks between friends? Say, uh, brother? Can you spare $20,000,000?