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Eating the Elephant: Changing Your Life

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Twelve of us gathered at “Man-camp” and built a fire and welcomed in the New Years. As usual, a fantastic time was had by all!

Today is New Years Eve and many of us are reflecting on the year that just ended and making plans for the New Year that is just about to begin. For many of us this is a time to make resolutions to change our lives. Personally, I’ve given up on making resolutions because I never keep them! But even more, I love my life just the way it is!! I am remarkably happy, happier than I have ever been. Of course there are lots of things I would change, I need to lose weight and be more disciplined, but all in all, my life has exceeded all my expectations!!
I know lots of you, my readers, are going through some very tough times. The economy has devastated many people and I know others are going through heartbreak and health problems. Others of you are trapped inside the system desperately wanting to be free and feeling like there is just no way to break out. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better, but of course I can’t. It would be nice if I had some great wise words that could turn it all around for you, but I don’t.
I can tell you that many of us have a found a solution by living in our cars, vans or RVs. It is one of the very best answers for how to live on an extremely small amount of money. For many of us it was also the only way we found to feel truly alive and free. It was a way out of the drab mediocrity and nothing-ness American life has become. I remember so well the bleakness of getting up every day, fighting traffic, working at a job I hated, fighting traffic to get home and then sitting in front of the TV dreading having to do it again the next day. It went on day after tedious day; year after dreary, soul-crushing year for the rest of my life. It became unbearable.
I know many of you are there now and you read my (and others) blog to live vicariously through us. And I know breaking out seems like an impossibly long journey right now but you can’t let that keep you from beginning. It seemed impossible to all of us as well, but we started by putting one foot in front of the other and before we knew it, we were where we wanted to be. You can do that to!
How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time! How do you take a journey of a thousand miles? By beginning with that first unsure step. How do you radically change your life from a house-bound, traditional American to a simple, free vandweller? One step at a time! What are you doing right now to make your dreams come true? I know many of you are just a few years away from retirement age and are waiting on that. Others of you have kids nearing the age when they will leave the house. Many are trying to sell your house. Like the majority of Americans, some of us are so deeply in debt we simply can’t make any changes. No matter what your current situation is, there are things you can be doing right now to make your dreams come true. Here are some ideas of things you could be doing to get ready:
1) Resolve Family Problems: I know some of you are married to a spouse who is not interested in mobile living and others of you have young kids. That is remarkably common! I don’t have any miracle cures, but I know many people have faced the same thing and worked out a compromise. On way is to start looking for baby steps you can take to ease your family members into mobile living. Start with day trips in your area to the beach, zoo, museums, and historic places; anything your family is interested in. You want the trips to be as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. Once they are looking forward to the trips, see if you can get them interested in overnight trips. Start by staying in motels so it is easier for them. Then begin to introduce the idea of camping instead or getting a pop-up trailer to overnight in. Can you expand that to weekend trips? What about a week long trip? They key thing is to take out all the frustration and difficulty of it so it is as enjoyable as possible. With a little luck, after a while they will look forward to it and want to go further and more often. If they don’t, bring up the possibility of you traveling alone. Some relationships are strengthened by time apart.
2) Make a Detailed Plan! Begin by outlining everything you need to do to transition from house-dwelling to vehicle dwelling. That is going to mean doing as much research as you possibly can. Right now you have more time than money so take advantage of it and read everything you can find. The internet is a treasure trove of information so start there. Of course you should start with my websites but don’t stop there. Read every blog you can find and join the many forums and yahoo groups on the various aspects of mobile living. But don’t stop at the internet; I recommend going into your local RV stores and ask questions like a newbie RVer would. Go to sporting goods stores and learn all you can about camping gear. Find a local solar installer and go in and learn everything you can. Go to the library and find introductory books on cabinet making, electrical wiring and anything else you may need to know to convert the van.
As you gather information you can start to reach conclusions and formulate a plan. Begin by asking questions about every tiny aspect of your vehicle dwelling life: How will you live in the vehicle? How will you cook, clean, eat, poop? How will you make money? Where will you travel? After you have a very specific vision of exactly what your mobile life will look like, decide on all the steps you need to take to make that goal come true. As you formulate a plan, break it down into smaller steps. Then, break those steps down into even smaller steps. Then break those steps down into even smaller steps. Keeping reducing the plan until you can’t reduce it any further, and then apply a timeline to it. Finally, take step one and you are on your way!

Will you do me a favor and email me a copy of your detailed plan? If you will, I will post them here so everyone can benefit from it.

3) Getting rid of stuff: For most of us this is the hardest part of moving into a van, so having time to work on it can be a blessing in disguise. Turn the excess stuff into money by holding garage sales and listing more valuable things on Craigslist. With extra time you have the luxury of being patient and getting the most money possible for the many, many things you will be getting rid of.

A very good friend of mine stayed too long in the Sierras and got trapped in by a big snowstorm. Something came up and he needed to leave. So he got out his snow-shovel and shoveled his way out. It was a long tedious job, but one shovel full at a time, he made it. In the same way, one step at a time, your dreams can come true.

4) Learn new skills. There are many ways your life as a vandweller can be improved by taking this time to learn some new skills that could be helpful in your new life. Your first response may be that you don’t have the money to take classes, but many Communities Colleges, clubs and business offer classes in all these subjects for free or very low cost. Chances are very good you have friends or co-workers who are very skilled at some of these topics and would be extremely happy to share it with you for free. Many things can be self-taught with what you learn on the internet and with a little guidance from a friend. Don’t forget your local library, it is an incredible source of detailed information on every imaginable topic; much better than the internet!!
Most of us have lived our whole lives in a tiny little box (pun intended) and closed ourselves off to new possibilities. Break out of those prison walls and think entirely new. You are a much more capable person than you think you are. Pick a topic you have had some interest in or you think you will need and find a way to learn it. Here are some possibilities:

  • Basic auto mechanic skills,
  • Carpentry,
  • Cooking,
  • Camping,
  • Container Gardening,
  • Hunting and Foraging,
  • Navigation, GPS and Map reading,
  • Motorcycle or bicycle riding,
  • Renewable Energy like wind and solar power,
  • New hobbies: music, art, hiking, etc.
  • Teach yourself a marketable skill: writing, photography, arts and crafts, etc

5) Go Camping: traveling in a car van or RV on a very tight budget is very much like going camping, so if you have never been camping before, get out and go. There are almost certainly areas very near to your home where you can camp for a night. Getting the practice will show you areas where you are lacking skills and need to learn and what supplies you need to gather to be more comfortable. Its main value is to show you the lowest level of comfort you want for yourself in your new life. It’s easy to say you can forage for food, poop in a bucket and shower with baby wipes. But sometimes the truth is you simply can’t, and it is much better to know that now.

Happy New Years from me (standing) and everyone here! (Photo by Sayward)

5) Research and Buy a Vehicle. I know some of you don’t have the finances to get a vehicle right now, but I suggest you start the search anyway. I hear all the time about the most incredible deals people sometimes stumble across. They were lucky and were at the right place at the right time and found astounding deals. But luck favors the well prepared so the more you are out there looking, the more likely you are to come across some fantastic deal by pure “chance”. So spend time on Craigslist every day searching for your vehicle of choice. If nothing else you will learn the ins-and-outs of vehicle buying and learn the best prices you can get in your area. Expand your search to areas a little further away and you may find you can save a third of the price by driving a few hours to buy a vehicle.
Another thing you can do is to join forums about the vehicles you want to buy and learn the problems different models and model-years have. So you might find that a 1999 Model Y has terrible problems with its fuel injectors but those problems were solved in 2000. Knowing those kinds of things can save you lots of trouble and money later on and the fact you have to wait to move into your van lets you do the research now, so take advantage of it. Even if you can’t buy now, all the research will make it much easier when you are ready.
6) Start Converting the Vehicle. By now you should have done all the research you need to know how you want to convert your vehicle. So begin the process one step at a time. All this extra time will be a huge advantage allowing you to learn new skills to make the vehicle exactly what you want it to be.
I hope this post encourages you that you don’t have to just live vicariously through other people’s lives. You can start right now–this very day–to change your life. Then, one of these days, you can have a life that other people read about and wish they had!!!! As a bonus, having a goal and working towards it will make your life happier right now!


  1. Anna

    Great ideas. With respect, however, taking a partner on a short trip and making it as pleasant as possible seems just a little bit deceptive. Living mobile is a beautifully simple, easy and simultaneously complicated and difficult way to live. Your partner should know this in advance and be ready, willing and able to join you in this lifestyle, knowing what to realistically expect. Just like those of us who have discovered the American Dream of a big house in the ‘burbs can be a nightmare, there are those who think living mobile is the dream, and discover that for them, it may be their nightmare. I told my mother once, “Mom, you raised me to believe that if I grew up, married, had a family, I would live happily ever after. That was a lie!” She replied, “That was revenge.” Meanwhile, atill culling through stuff; I just thought I was a minimalist! Soon I will be one, for sure.

    • Bob

      Anna, glad to have you comment! You’re right it is a little deceptive. But I think of it as more of a white lie instead of dark deception. If the spouse starts to like traveling and doing it more there is no keeping the problems from becoming obvious. My goal is to overcome their initial fear and reluctance so they can give it a fair chance. If they never try, they can’t know if they might actually like it. Once they start to enjoy it then the problems will start to be more obvious. And, if the spouse decides the mobile life isn’t for them, then you have to look at issues of comparability and compromise. I know many people (especially women) who simply say to the spouse, “I’m taking trips and you are welcome to come or not. See you when I get back.” Ultimately the problems can’t be concealed and will become obvious.
      You are so right, lots of people think they are minimalists but when it comes to making it all fit into a van, the truth comes out!

  2. john

    i have no excuse! i have been living in my RV for almost 3 years and i still have not committed to leaving my base for more than a few days at a time. i still nervous, seems it never fails me to get me there but, it also never fail to make me call a tow truck to get back lol! then i have to pay rent , grrrrr. i have been dumping money every month to make it more dependable. long story short i think i have finally beat it. its like it testing me to see if it can break me. i will not let it do that. i will kick its i butt all the way to the rtr and back, see you in jan :)i am excited to be in the company of people like me.
    John. ps i love bacon haha

    • Bob

      John, your determination is coming through loud and clear! I’m sorry your RV is fighting you so much. Maybe after the next visit to the mechanic you should take it to an exorcist or a shaman!
      I’m looking forward to meeting you in a few days even if you get towed in!

  3. Charlene Swankie (aka SwankieWheels)

    Again, Bob, a well-written article. If not for your help a few years ago when I met up with you and six other “vandwellers” at the Slabs and you helped me install my vent fan, (my number one priority in getting my van ready)… I probably would not have gotten off the fence and into the van. I’m still struggling with stuff (most of which is papers from an old hobby-genealogy and a new hobby-rock, neither a ‘lite-weight hobby”) and have decided to take this season off from playing with rocks in Quartzsite (i.e. making jewelry) to get rid of 12 Rubbermaid tubs of genealogy. It’s a tedious task. Yesterday I figured out the connection between the two hobbies… (joking) one of my ancestors was the first woman off the Mayflower to step foot on Plymouth Rock. So there’s my excuse, it’s in my genes. But I have no regrets… like you I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. And you are right, living in a van is like camping or even backpacking… but we have so much more room. I camped and hiked the Tetons in 1977 for three weeks with everything on my back that I needed. Heck fire, living in a giant box with four wheels under it is like the Ritz in comparison. Very doable… and thanks to you folks now have all the information needed at their fingertips. You rock, Papa Smurf.

  4. Calvin R

    Great article! I’m your example, I guess. I have done some work in retail because they invariably have high turnover, but now I’m going back to my first “love,” temporary work (always hiring). My wife has moved out, so that’s not an issue any more. I have camping and minivan travel experience, so I know I can poop in a bucket and clean up with baby wipes, but foraging for food is way beyond me. I need to learn at least the basics of cooking; thanks for the reminder. I have no useable vehicle right now; I’m running on the faith that Greater Powers will provide or tell me to use a bicycle/trailer setup.
    Speaking of Greater Powers, you did not directly address spiritual preparation this time. Regardless of religion (or not), people need to prepare their own attitudes for the times they will rely on a friendly universe to solve problems that are beyond their (or any individual’s) ability to solve. Those problems are solved all the same, in my experience, but it’s important to avoid the panic, resentment, or easy ways out that lead to bigger problems than one had in the beginning.

    • Bob

      Calvin, being a mobile traveler is pretty hard without a vehicle! A bicycle can solve that problem but are you still in Ohio? Ohio is getting some really bad weather right now and living on a bicycle doesn’t sound very appealing!
      You are right, I didn’t include spiritual preparation because that is such a very personal thing I wanted to leave that to each individual. Even more importantly, it was a very long post, I packed abut everything into it I could without people falling asleep!

      • Calvin R

        Bob, the bicycle/trailer setup would not start during winter and would not stay in Ohio. I’ve been out in too much winter weather already. Most likely something else will pop up anyhow.

        • Bob

          Calvin, the right thing will come along at the right time!

  5. cedric

    Nice post Bob. I think #4 the list of skills would be an excellent itinerary for an RTR.

    • Bob

      Hi Cedric, I’m really glad you liked the post. I’m not sure I know what you mean. Do you mean a seminar on how to learn new skills? I’m not very knowledgeable on that topic and wouldn’t feel qualified to teach on it. Plus a lot of it is luck as to how much is available in your community. All the seminars are teaching new skills but in that brief a time they aren’t very in-depth.

  6. HoboBerg

    Thanks for another great post! A little over 3 years ago I was in the system, and deeply in debt. I use to read your CheapRvliving site and dream of such a life. In 2009 I got rid of all my belongings quit the 9 to 5 grind, and headed west. Was a bit scary at first taking the first steps into the unknown, but is one of the best decisions Ive made. Thanks for the inspiration

    • Bob

      You are very welcome Hoboberg. If I played any role in your new life, I am very grateful for that! And now you are inspiring others to follow you in your blog. That’s how the world becomes a better place.

  7. Fred

    Your many points are good and well taken Bob. Many people received setbacks such as loss of job, devaluation of their homes, are facing illnesses, divorces, and whatever other malady life may inflict. This is not to dismiss in any way those misfortunes, since let’s face it, it is a harsh & non-forgiving reality. Vicarious or otherwise, many people do live or have a fantasy about the life we live.
    I believe, however, the most difficult part for many, if not a majority, of the people who never seem to jump into this life resides in the 6 or 7 inches between the ears. They often cannot, will not, or do not come to grips with what needs to be done and then do it, even though they extensively research it. It is a sweet treat that they will never savor. There will always be an excuse regardless of their good intentions, so they will always live vicariously through others regardless of the project. It will always be a wish, hope, or a golly wouldn’t it be nice type of thing, but never an implementation. Not to get off topic, but I would offer that is a good thing, in many cases, because out here there are indeed many harsh realities that need to be addressed.
    However, even though well intentioned, taking the wife/husband and/or kids out slowly, as you suggest, is a good way to start. Not informing them of your possible ultimate goal is, in my not so humble opinion, not being upfront and square with her/him/them right off the bat. Why have an ulterior motive, even though very well intentioned? Share with them your ideas as a family, and seek their help and ideas in the planning as well. Why do all the work yourself? That way they feel a part of it, and additionally, it would be much more rewarding. You might be surprised how quickly you may actually arrive at that ultimate goal. This might seem to be a picayune point, but I believe being open and sharing those goals with those closest to you is the best, most rewarding, and satisfying way and usually begets the sweetest fruits.

    • Fred

      I don’t know how to edit posts here. 3rd paragraph, last part of first sentence, s/b “I believe is NOT a good way to start.”

    • Bob

      Hi Fred, I think you are right, the majority of people can’t overcome their fears and step that far out of their comfort zones. I don’t intend that to be an insult in any way because I wasn’t able to either. I was forced into it a van against my will and only later fell in love with it.
      I said this in the post: “I know some of you are married to a spouse who is not interested in mobile living “ The assumption I made is that the couple had already had the discussion and the one spouse wanted to travel more and the other didn’t, otherwise how would they know the other one wasn’t interested? I was looking for a way to entice the uninterested spouse into traveling more and actually enjoying it. To my mind that is the only way marriages work if they can reach a compromise which works for both of them. Day and overnight trips are a compromise.
      It’s hard for me to see how saying: “Honey, let’s take a day trip to the beach.” or “Honey, the weather is beautiful, this weekend lets drive up to the mountains and spend it at a bed and breakfast.” is a harmful deception with ulterior motives. I just see it as trying to share a love of traveling with your spouse and seeing if you can’t get him/her interested in doing more of it.
      If the spouse refuses to do even that or if they do and hate every second of it, then you know exactly where you stand and you will have to make some hard decisions. Do you stay with an uncompromising spouse or do you give up your dreams, or do you take trips alone. That’s a hard choice to make and might require some very open and frank conversations.

  8. Martin Hamilton

    Great article!!!
    I was devastated by the economy. Starting on 9/11 working as a jet mechanic for United Airlines. How much I cried to see our precious aircraft do so much devastation.
    These statements by Bob really hold true to me.
    “For many of us it was also the only way we found to feel truly alive and free. It was a way out of the drab mediocrity and nothing-ness American life has become.”
    Even though United went bankrupt and we lost our retirements the freedom and peace of mind are worth far more than any amount of money can buy. I will miss my $2100/month retirement that I was supposed to get in 3 years but am working on ways to make money online so I can at least be semi retired.

    • Bob

      Martin, it’s heartbreaking to hear stories like yours. After all of those years of loyal service to have the rug pulled out from under you must be devastating. It sounds like you are rolling with the punches really well though.
      It’s so trite to say you have found a silver lining but it sounds like you have. That is greatly to be admired! I wish you the bet as you begin a new career over the internet.

  9. kitty

    People have a tendency to close their minds before trying something. I would go with NOT telling your loved ones of your ultimate plan. I would also be prepared to accept some folks are to enslaved to our thing mentality to let go of “stuff” and to let go of the “little box” life

    • Bob

      There is a lot of truth to that Kitty. I think there is a very natural human tendency to reject new and unfamiliar ideas, especially in our safety obsessed world. It just seems reasonable to me to ease people into the unfamiliar rather than to throw them into the deep end.
      I think you are exactly right, for the majority of people a mediocre, barely acceptable present is better than a risky and unknown future.

  10. Brad

    Great post Bob! It’s particularly relevant to me at this time as I make the transition to full-timing. I’ve completed most of the steps you list, with the exception of getting rid of MOST of my stuff. I don’t think that will be a big issue for me, but would have been in the past.
    For me the biggest hurdle was overcoming fears around deciding to make this transition. Once I decided and committed, the process began to flow.
    I share the following with the idea that it may help others to overcome their fears.
    It helped to write about them. First I listed the fears such as laziness, possible social stigma, the unknown, etc. I wrote about each area to be able to stand back and take a good look at it more objectively. I saw that most of the fears came down to some (perceived?) physical or mental discomfort. I then listed the benefits to making the change, most of which have to do with freedom. Finally I came to a place of being willing to accept the discomfort, if it shows up, in order to experience the freedom. My biggest fear now would be the possible regret if I didn’t give this a serious attempt. I also know that I could choose to return to a more normal living situation later.
    Two quotes come to mind – not sure where they’re from: “If you know what’s going to happen, it’s not an adventure!” And “Many people dislike two things; the way things are and change!”
    My first trip in my new “house” will be to the RTR. See you there!

    • Bob

      Brad, that was a really terrific comment! I love the idea of writing out your fears and viewing them objectively. That’s just a tremendously helpful suggestion.
      I love it so much I am going to steal it from you!! I’ll write a post on this but I will give you full credit for the idea. Thanks so much for sharing it!
      I’m looking forward to meeting you at the RTR!

  11. Izaak Diggs

    Another awesome blog. Thanks, Bob, and have an amazing 2013…

    • Bob

      Thanks Izaak! And may 2013 be all you want it to be! Bob

  12. MichaelinOK

    Once again, an informative and compassionate post.
    The old saying goes, “Mostly we change not because we see the light but because we feel the heat.” And that’s often true. But “heat” and “light” are not the only prods to action. Encouragement and warmth and inspiration are very important for many, too. And you consistently offer those…in addition to the “light” of awareness and information. (Life circumstances tend to provide the “heat.”)
    With reference to your list of items: I have the mixed blessing of being single without children, so no need for family negotiations or decisions. But items 2 through 6 definitely apply to me.
    Because I won’t be eligible for social security payments for quite a number of years, income is the hardest part for me to plan for. I have a marketable vocation in the conventional world, but I’ve grown very weary of it, and need a long temporary break at least. I may try to plan for a means of income, or I may decide to scrape together six months to a year’s worth of expenses and take the “leap” away from “stix ‘n brix” when other things are in order, and allow the element of income to clarify itself over time.
    Thanks again for your ongoing passion to assist, inform, and inspire others.

  13. Kim

    Good stuff. I’m on my last step – Step 4! Although I’m not full-timing, it took a while to reach this place. I feel so fortunate to have people like you showing the way.

    • Bob

      Kim, and now it has gone full-circle and you are showing others the way by your blog. That’s how the world becomes a better place!

  14. Cyrus

    I was going to begin my Vandwelling experience in 2013. So I moved all my stuff into my van January 1st, and I parked at my spot in the evening and settled down for the night. And I was woken up at 530 AM by a huge crashing and shaking. I go outside to find a few people telling me a U-haul truck had struck my van and driven off! I got a partial plate # from a witness, and called the cops. After the cop took my information for a report, and was a total jerk to me the whole time, he left. I knew he would still be around, so I got dressed and wandered around a little bit. Sure as hell I saw a Uhaul truck idling in the McDonald’s parking lot, and the plate matched the partial that I had. I confronted the guy, who was obviously drunk as hell and still had a Fluer Loco in his hand, but he said he didn’t know what i was talking about. He sped off real quick though when I started calling the cops again, this time with a driver description and a compete licence plate. He’s lucky he didn’t get drug out of the van and choked the fk out, but the world being what it is…. Sigh.. What an intro to urban vandwelling!

    • Bob

      Cyrus, what a crazy beginning to a new life of adventure! But, if it were easy and all smooth sailing it wouldn’t be an adventure would it? Hopefully this is the craziest adventure you have this year. Bob

      • Cyrus Palmer

        It’s only been a couple of days, but I LOVE vandwelling. It’s unbelievably convenient! In the evening I park on the street ten feet from the door of my machine shop in nice slanted parking spaces on a secluded and quiet street. I wake up, cook breakfast on my camp stove, then walk in to class. During lunch or whenever I need a break, my home is just outside the door.

        • Bob

          Cyrus, I agree completely, in many ways living in a van makes your life much easier. I have always especially loved having my home with me at all times. Keep at it, it just gets better and better! Life is good!

  15. McBe

    Hey Bob,
    I wonder if you’ve read this Rolling Stone article, dated June 2012, and what your take is on it. It’s about formerly middle class people who are now homeless and living in vehicles.
    It mainly profiles, Janis, a former business owner who now lives in her van in Santa Barbara, CA. There’s a huge disconnect in what she is presently experiencing in comparison to the many happy rubber tramps out there. I truly feel for her on many levels. She’s got no buffer as far as income or savings. I’m extremely surprised that she doesn’t qualify for basic food assistance. Should she sell the van in order to have some cash and pick up something cheaper? I don’t know…. I also see the van life as a psychological transition. For her it seems like hell and for others it could be heaven. Except for a consistent food source, she has transportation and a safe place to sleep, but her take on what’s okay includes a job and more.
    The goal of those assigned to help seems to be to get the homeless to live indoors (apartments) instead of helping them to be more comfortable in their homeless situations.

    • Bob

      Hi, McBe you are so right vandwelling is all attitude. To those people it is their very worst nightmare come to life. To my readers and I, it is our best dreams come to life, and the only difference is attitude. Neither of us are right or wrong, just very, very different.

  16. Angeli

    Hi Bob!
    Another great post! Thanks.
    I would add one thing tho, to the list of necessary skills. I think everyone on the road who is trying to or forced to live with minimal expenditure should have a working knowledge of first aid, and of using natural remedies in a first aid situation.
    So many of us cannot afford health insurance and certainly can’t afford medical care in this day and age. There ARE viable alternatives, and since rubber tramps are so adaptable, I’d think they would want to know how to treat themselves in case of injury, flu, or even treat their own chronic problems.
    Full disclosure, I’m an herbalist and master herbalist candidate, and I KNOW that it is possible for many folks to provide for their own essential medical needs. Everyone has their own take on this, of course. But wouldn’t it simply be easier to go scrounge some leaves of that red raspberry bush over there, and make them into a tea that helps you right away, rather than having to make an appointment to see a doc sometime two weeks from now and spend all the money you’ve got sitting in your coffee can safe under the passenger seat to get an anti-biotic that is probably the one your brand of flu is resistant to anyway? LOL!
    Or what do you do when you slice your finger and you are parked out on BLM land bleeding profusely? Got Cayenne Pepper in your camp kitchen? Put a pile of it on the wound. And, if you can, take a tiny bit orally with water, honey, lemon, whatever. Magic. These aren’t outrageous claims, they are just basic knowledge.
    Anyway, enough from me. I’m not trying to make a commercial, but just to say that it’s something that those of us who are living simply might want to think about and make part of the list of essential skills.

    • Bob

      Angeli, that is a very good idea! Learning basic first aid skills is such a good idea that I am embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself! Of course the Red Cross offers classes and they are a great way to start, but expanding your knowledge to natural remedies is a great idea as well. Thanks for bringing them up!

    • Cyrus Palmer

      Sounds like you should start your own blog. I’d read it! I’ve often thought the same things about our medical system. I wish instead of creating new, potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals we should instead investigate herbs and traditional medicines with modern scientific research. There is a lot there that has been overlooked.

      • Bob

        Cyrus, I agree, Angeli should start her own blog! A health and natural remedies oriented blog for mobile dwellers would probably be very popular!

  17. LaVonne

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been obsessing about finding the money for a van while ignoring the things I should be focused on instead. It’s so much more fun to daydream!

    • Bob

      LaVonne, everything will fall into place at the right time. The right van will show up at the right time. A saying I live my life by is to just put one foot in front of the other and leave the results up to the Universe. The results have always been better than I could ever have done with all my best planning! I hope that will be for you as well!

  18. Jon

    Hi Bob,
    Happy New Year! Another inspiring post. I don’t do resolutions either but you helped me plan some goals for 2013. Things are looking up for me here. I do have a place to stay after next week with heat AND running water next week, and boy will that be nice. And I do have a job, so I am very grateful. My goals are to learn new skills and improve on others like camping. I love camping and go every year, but I’m sure I can expand my skills. I like to cook, but will explore more mobile – living friendly dishes. ( I have gotten some great ideas here) I have a friend who has a cabinet shop near here and is willing to teach me a little about carpentry which I know nothing about, likewise map reading and renewable energy. We often have old issues of a renewable energy magazine that get thrown out at work, so I will start to study them. Thanks again for the ideas. I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year!
    Best, Jon

    • Bob

      Hi Jon, it sounds like you have a wonderful plan to make your dreams come true. Just keep plodding away at it and it will all fall into place at the right time. Every step you take says to the universe that you believe and belief is incredibly powerful and creative. Keep at it!

  19. CAE

    You’re helping a lot of people with your writings. I can tell.
    I am about to go back to my boat. Which is really a water RV. But I am still amazed how many people I talk to that think living in a very small space like an Astro or a 35 foot boat is almost incomprehensible. The number one remark….where would I put all my stuff? I just keep my mouth shut and say, “Yeah, it’s not for everybody.” And then thank my lucky stars that I like something that other people don’t. I will take freedom any day of the week.

    • Bob

      CAE, you have the true heart of a vandweller! Freedom beats deep and strong in your heart!

  20. Erika

    Dear Bob,
    This post is a nice gentle push to pursue our dreams and to choose a more conscious lifestyle. As you mention there are really no excuses to postpone action. We can always do something to get closer to our dreams, how little as it may seem. In the end life will give us a hand here and there. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    I’m on the edge of change. I’ll graduate within 6 months and know I don’t want to live the “standard” life. In the past I’ve already been a Foot Dweller. There are a lot of details I need to figure out before going on the Van Dwelling road. But step by step I’ll get there. I’ll keep you posted on a detailed plan 😉

  21. Robert Chase

    Hi, Bob.
    Thanks For Sharing This Awesome And Informative Post. How Can I Appreciate To Your Work I Can Not Describe It On My Language? Your Blog Help Me More To Survive My Disable Life and travel with it. I read the full post very carefully that gives me extra energy to survive my disabled life as a new human like a wheelchair user. Is this place mobility friendly? I am wheelchair users.
    Is traveling is easy with the wheelchair? Thanks in Advance.

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