okkii619 (okkii619) wrote in vandwellers,


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?
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