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Spreading the Good News of Vandwelling

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With so many people in chains, and I know the way out, can I in good conscious just leave them in slavery?

With so many people in chains, and I know the way out, can I in good conscious just leave them in slavery?

In my last post I announced that I am working on something big, which led to reader’s speculation that maybe I was going to be on a reality TV Show. You are all much too smart for your own britches, because that is actually what it is! It isn’t a series and I doubt if it will even happen. And if it happens I am concerned that they will turn me into a joke. This series specializes in strange people doing weird things to save money.
Almost universally your response was that promoting vandwelling too much was not a good thing. In fact some of you though it might be a very bad thing. And that is an extremely important question I have failed to address on the blog; am I doing more harm than good by encouraging vandwelling like I do? I can’t give an easy, quick answer to that question in the comments sections of the blog, so I am going to do it here in today’s post.
Basically we are looking at the future through our crystal balls and trying to determine what the future will bring if lots of people start vandwelling. And in the near term future, it doesn’t look good. If there are too many of us we will draw attention to ourselves and that goes against all the rules of vandwelling. Our primary goal is to always stay under the radar and avoid being noticed; and that is true if you stealth park in the city or boondock on public land. Ultimately then, my spreading the good news of vandwelling (proselytizing) is self-destructive and harmful.
But, in my opinion that is a narrow and short term look at the future. I am motivated by a broader and longer-term view down the road. When I look into the future, I don’t like what I see. In my crystal ball I see life as we know it changing drastically. So drastically that in 100 years the man with a plow-horse and a plow will be king. And in my Dystopian (Utopian in my opinion) world view, promoting vandwelling is the only right thing to do.
Before I tell you the things I see coming, let me admit that I may be entirely wrong about all of it—after all, I’m looking into a crystal ball, how accurate can that be? And I am no expert on any of this stuff, I do some reading and studying, but I’m no expert. It all may seem pretty far out, but I am not alone in seeing it coming (and I am not talking about fringe survivalists) there are many mainstream economists and scientists saying exactly what I am saying. It’s those scientists who gave me all these ideas. I am going to throw out some numbers and dates but it has been awhile since I did this research so they are all approximations from my memory. A simple Google search will give you the exact numbers and also show you that the basic facts are all true. Finally let me say, that even if you disagree with all my opinions, hopefully you can see that given my point of view, promoting vandwelling makes sense. Okay, here are my predictions for the future:

Capitalism is ultimately self-destructive.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a right-wing Republican Capitalist. I firmly believe it is the only economic system that can work. Socialism and Communism do not take into account basic human nature and so they both will breakdown in the long-run. But Capitalism has a fatal flaw; it relies on constant, continual growth. It’s just like a Ponzi scheme, if it ever stops growing, it collapses. In the past the assumption has been that there is nothing that can stop our growth, and that proved to be true. But today we are reaping the results of our incredible arrogance. All over the planet we have consumed our natural resources like drunken sailors with no tomorrow. The problem is there is a tomorrow and there is a limited, finite supply of all those natural resources. We may disagree about when they will run out, but it is a fact that they will run out. How will we know when they start to run out? Their price will constantly go up but the supply will never increase—and don’t we see that happening right now with oil and silver and other commodities? And an economic system that depends on constant, infinite growth will totally fail when it runs up against a world-wide, depleting, finite supply. I very firmly believe we have come up square against that wall of finite supply and we will be looking at a future of stagnation and collapse. And it is made all the worse because much of the rest of world wants the same living standard we have. Just as supplies are running out, world-wide demand is gigantically increasing. Common sense has to tell you that can only lead to disaster.

Oil is going to get scarcer and tremendously expensive!

Peak_OilWe are going to hit (I think we already have) what is called Peak Oil. That is the year when production of oil reaches its highest point, and starts to decrease every year afterwards. That happened in the United States in 1970 when we produced around 11 million barrels of oil a day. We have never produced that much again. Today we are down to about 5 million barrels of oil. That doesn’t mean we are going to run out of oil, it means we have already found the cheapest, easiest to get to and highest quality oil. Why are we “fraking” for oil in the United Sates? Because all the cheap and easy to get to oil is gone and so now we are going after the expensive and hard to get to oil. And even after the huge discovery of oil on Alaska’s North Slope and the fraking, we are still producing less than half of the oil we did 43 years ago. The exact same thing is going to start happening world-wide. I believe we have hit Peak Oil and from now on global production of oil will decrease every year. At the same time global demand for oil is going to skyrocket. The inevitable result is going to be incredible price increases for oil and ultimately real serious wars over it. And that is going to lead to total and drastic changes in the way we all live. An outstanding book on this subject is The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

Climate Change is going to get worse and increase in speed.

Places like this are inherently valuable. How long will they still be here if we do nothing about Climate Change?

Places like this are inherently valuable. How long will they still be here if we do nothing about Climate Change?

Very few people disagree that the climate is changing; the only real argument is “Is man causing it?” And my answer is “Who cares!” Whether we are causing it or not is unimportant because: 1) If we aren’t causing it then there is nothing we can do to change it 2) If we are causing it we will totally lack the will to change anything until it is too late. 3) And even if we started right now our efforts will be half-ass and accomplish nothing. 4) Even if we went all out to stop Climate Change we probably can’t stop it and even if we did we will still destroy the world economy in the process of trying. So no matter what, climate change is going to change the world as we know it.

We are running out of water.

All over the world there are huge underground aquifers that are being drained in order to water our crops and provide drinking water. They were so huge that we assumed that they could never run out so we have been pumping water out of them at incredible rates (and doing some really stupid things with the water). Many of those aquifers are about to run out of water (see this link: Notice on the map that China and the United States are two countries looking at serious problems with water. And as Climate Change gets worse, our problems with water will get even worse. It took thousands and thousands of years to fill those aquifers, and we have drained them dry in a few decades leaving us nowhere else to get the water. Again, common sense tells you that can’t work.


I want you to NOT buy crap!!

I want you to NOT buy crap!!

So here is my bottom line: I am totally convinced mankind’s near-term future is very grim; and I don’t see any way around it. So I have washed my hands of society and dropped out. Instead of living in and supporting the rat race (which is dehumanizing us and destroying the planet) I am trying to live in the least destructive and happiest way I possibly can. And vandwelling has done that for me. Living in nature has been tremendously healing for me. It has virtually eliminated stress from my life and brought me an immense amount of joy and peace. At the same time I am doing the minimum amount of damage to the earth (for proof of that, go here:
Because my life is so wonderful and so good for the earth, I want to spread the good news and tell as many others as I can. I know that for every new recruit I get to become a vandweller, another person finds peace, health and harmony with nature and a little less harm is being done to the planet. As far as I am concerned it is a win-win situation for everybody.
The only loser is the Rat Race itself because it loses some of its drones. But we are so small that we are nothing more than a fly buzzing around to them. And if they decide to swat us did I make a mistake by rescuing as many as I could? I honestly don’t think so. The best analogy I can make is to recruiting you for war. Our cause is just and noble because we are fighting for the soul of humanity and for Sacred Mother Earth. But in every war there are risks and the risk here is pissing off society. When I think of leaving so many people behind in the mind numbing, soul-sucking, living death that is the Rat Race, I know I have no choice, I must shout it from the roof tops.


  1. MichaelinOK

    Some thoughts on the negative predictions of this post:
    Predicting catastrophe, apocalypse, or the end of days, or “the end of the world as we know it,” has kept some segment of mankind busy and passionate for all of recorded history, and presumably always will.
    In our Christian-dominated culture, the New Testament has been most prominent in predicting the “Great Tribulation” or other upheavals and catastrophes in Matthew 24, and Luke 21, and Mark 13 which includes such predictions as: “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken…” And, of course, the book of Revelation is heavy on the apocalyptic theme.
    But in the Old Testament there are apocalyptic visions, too, in Daniel, and similar-themed prophecies of catastrophe in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, and Zachariah.
    And outside the Bible, too, throughout history people were busy predicting the end of times…in their own day–some with religious, and some with secular, reasons.
    Here is a list of only the smallest slice of doom-saying, end of the world, predictions that did NOT come true. This list of names and dates for predicted apocalypses…
    …includes everything from ancient Romans, to Pope Innocent III, to 16th century English astrologers, to Seventh Day Adventists, to Jewish messianic pretenders, to the Shakers, to UFO cult leaders, to Jehovah’s Witnesses, to Charles Manson, to many Evangelical and other radio and TV preachers, to Louis Farakhan, to Charles Berlitz (the linguist), and over a hundred more…just on this one list. And along with these earnest but false predictions by relatively well-known people, we may assume that many thousands if not millions of ordinary pessimistic men and women throughout history made similarly erroneous predictions—-with similar passionate certainty.
    So even before we examine the specific predictions of our kind and altruistic and good man Bob, it is worth noting the historical and cultural backdrop of multitudes of well-intentioned and passionate…but false…dire predictions.
    Any behavior that continues to pop up over the centuries and millennia we can assume is one natural propensity of human beings. And we don’t have to think too hard to see that vigilance and fear and imagination are some of our strongest survival equipment, and that some will have overdeveloped that vigilance and fear and imagination in the direction of being certain that we’re headed for catastrophe. (Other psychological theories for apocalyptic predictions are interesting, too–including how recognition of our own individual demise can be projected onto the world at large…)
    This doesn’t mean that at some point we won’t be headed for catastrophe. But as the old saying goes: “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” If there are always people predicting the end of the world as we know it—-and there are, and there always have been—-then at some point some of them may be right…but there’s no reason to believe that their predictions were any better founded then the millions of such predictions that were proved false.
    It should go without saying that these predictions always had “reasons” and “evidence” and “signs” either natural or supernatural to support their shrill warnings.
    And all such predictions are best taken with a heavy grain of salt…and history.
    In an ensuing comment I hope to address the specifics of the particular “end of days” predictions made in this post.

    • Bob

      Michael, but if you look at the gas gauge, and it is on “E” for empty, is it apocalyptic to say, “Maybe I should stop for gas?” That’s all I am saying.

      • MichaelinOK

        It doesn’t give you pause that for all of recorded history many people were absolutely sure that the end of the world as we know it was just around the corner?
        Mind you, this was well before any of the dangers you point to. Two thousand years ago and more, well before the industrialization and other “evils” of modern technology (without which vans and solar panels and blogs and cruises and modern dentistry anywhere, let alone in Mexico, would not have been possible) people like you were warning others, and running away to the deserts or joining monasteries…because they KNEW that the end of the world was here.
        I don’t see how the gas gauge metaphor addresses the issue. That’s the very point! Throughout all of recorded history people said things like “The gas gauge is on empty.” That was the very reason I pointed out that we had “peak horse” toward the end of the 19th century…where if people wanted to insist that their energy source was unsustainable they would have been sure that “EOTWAWKI” was going to happen when the world couldn’t produce enough horses.
        And just when we’re at “empty” is very much a matter of perception. Empty of what? Petroleum? Even that is quite arguable. But why should we conceive of petroleum as the last and only resource? It certainly isn’t. Heck, we didn’t even begin widely using petroleum until very, very recently. Did the world of innovation stop when we no longer used steam engines? Of course not. And we’ve continued to find other technologies and resources. Why the insistent negativity, that now we’re done, now we’re on “empty”?
        And we’re far from “empty” on all sorts of things. For one tiny example: You just published a book. Even 20 years ago, let alone in the “good old days” of lesser technology, that would have not happened. The world is advancing in so many positive ways, yet you are obsessing on negative ways of looking at it.
        Yet you don’t seem to wonder: “Hmm, if people were passionately predicting the end of the world–to occur in their own days!–thousands of years ago, and throughout all of recorded history, maybe my own passionate apocalyptic convictions are a bit suspect, too.”
        To me it’s a matter of intellectual honesty, the wisdom to learn from history and psychology, and of spiritual and intellectual humility.

        • Bob

          Michael, you misunderstand my argument. I don’t believe the earth will end, I believe the era of the Industrial Revolution will end. Probably the single greatest lesson of human history is that Empires, Eras, and Revolutions come and go constantly. They last a few hundred years then their flaws are discovered and they disappear. That pattern has occurred dozens of times in the last 6000 years.
          The Industrial Revolution is just another Empire and Revolution that came and was glorious and then it’s fatal flaw was discovered and it was washed away into the garbage dump of history. What is its fatal flaw? Total dependence on fossil fuel. Nearly every machine in use today still depends on fossil fuel-just like that first steam engine 300 years ago. A very few use nuclear power but an argument can be made that is even worse than burning fossil fuel and will not become a substitute for fossil fuels. A tiny, tiny number of machines use solar or wind, but they are not a valid alternative to the huge number (99.9)% using fossil fuels. (yes, I made up that number but it is a valid point anyway)
          Aren’t you embarrassed to be so staunchly supporting such a terrible idea just when all it’s terrible flaws are being so obviously exposed? Let’s look at the legacy of the Industrial Revolution:
          The utter Worship of Greed
          Staggering, incomprehensible pollution
          The utter destruction of millions of indigenous peoples across the world. And this continues to this day!!
          Child Slave Shops and other horrors of the 19th century that are going on right now in the 3rd world
          Wars upon wars upon wars
          Social injustice on a staggering scale
          Climate change (I think it’s true but it is debatable)
          Of course improvements have been made, but too little too late. History will not be kind to us and no one but us will mourn its loss.
          It won’t be abnormal for it to disappear, it would be abnormal for it to NOT disappear. It’s already been 300 years, according to history its old and time for it to go.

          • MichaelinOK

            Interesting how you have so much faith that the march of discovery and invention will end.
            The very technology you used to type and post that comment to a blog was not available to you 10 or 15 years ago. And a few years before then, the solar panels on your trailer and van were not available for you.
            A scant half century or so ago, the first computer was as big as an entire room, and even at that size it was only a tiny fraction as powerful or capable as the laptops available to the average 9th grader today.
            Why the rigid conviction that nothing else will be discovered or improved, that will enhance our access to existing energy sources or open up new ones?
            Famously, at the end of the 1800’s, the head of the US Patent Office supposedly recommended that it be shut down, because he thought that everything that could be invented was already invented.
            Of course, that was before airplanes, air conditioners, refrigerators, spaceships, and yes–even vans.
            It sounds like that cock-sure pessimist could have been you in a past life.
            Blind faith in good things is perhaps more than reason dictates, and I wouldn’t engage in it. But at least it’s encouraging, so I wouldn’t argue too hard against it.
            But blind faith in bad things? Why would one engage in that? It’s both unsupported by reason and also depressing to all…and rude to life and to one’s fellow humans.
            And I would point out that your use, in the comment above, of so many extreme words, like “utter Worship of Greed, Staggering, incomprehensible pollution, “utter destruction of millions…” and more in the same vein reflects, I’m afraid, a magnified and overly harsh perspective on what has been a mixed record for our civilization–a record that includes plenty of good, too.
            But to hear you speak, one would think we were all living in a Nazi death camp…huddled, starving, and beaten, our children dashed to pieces in front of our eyes by sadistic SS troopers, and we were being force-fed nuclear waste and liquid bleach, all of us desperately longing for death…because the “good old days” of “kindly” Adolf were over, and his sadistic younger brother had taken over and had established an ongoing “gentleman’s bet” with Stalin to see who could cause the most human misery.
            Yeah, civilization is “utterly” and “staggeringly” unbearable and destructive. Let us both meditate upon that on our comfortable beds tonight, as we enjoy our computers, and our food, and our TVs, and our friends, and our books, and our heaters or air conditioners, and our solar panels and and our music–or visit Indian casinos, or churches of any and all minority persuasions, or women-owned businesses–and as even the “poor” in our country have so much food that they’re obese…
            …and as we enjoy, too, our freedom to be as bitter and negative as we want to be, and to post such bitterness and negativity on public forums.
            Ah, yes, this must be the worst of all possible civilizations.
            But as I’ve recently written in a different comment thread below, you are welcome to have the last word on this. By now, you and I have seen enough of each other’s words on this matter to have clarified our differences–and any other interested reader has seen enough to do the same.
            And, again, I respect much of what you say–especially on topics beside your “utterly” and “staggeringly” negative assessment of civilization. 🙂
            And, as mentioned several times, I greatly admire your altruism and kindness.

          • Bob

            Michael, I find your reaction to my ideas much more interesting than the ideas themselves. Have you given any thought as to why you are reacting as strongly as you have? So I hold Western Civilization in contempt, so what? It’s just a crazy idea I have. I could very well be completely wrong, I often am!! If I were you, I would be fascinated in my reaction and look very hard at it.
            I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. These are all ideas I would love to discuss further, but I don’t want to get bogged down with side issues. I value your ideas though.

  2. MichaelinOK

    On “Peak Oil.”
    May I point out that in the year 1895, or so, we probably had “Peak Horse.” If pessimists of the day would have known that the human race was going to multiply six-fold over the following century, and become far more developed and wealthy—-so that not only would there be many more people, but a far higher percentage of them would insist on having transportation—-surely some would have pointed out that there’s no way the planet could support that many more horses. Thus, of course, apocalypse.
    Instead, we’ve had a hundred years of cars and trucks…and then airplanes…and now spacecraft…and none of it powered by the power source that was unsustainable—-none of it powered by horse.
    If you would have told those alarmists that hundreds of millions of people would travel far faster and far more comfortably and far greater distances…without any horses, but instead in metal chariots fueled by a slimy substance from deep underground that developed from decomposed pre-historic ocean plants and animals, etc., they wouldn’t have even given you the benefit of a laugh. But, of course, that’s what has happened with cars and petroleum.
    Our technology is developing so much faster than ever, and it seems to me that there’s no good reason to be so pessimistic that we won’t be able to harness other energy sources not yet identified—or the greatest energy source of them all, the sun. Solar power is in its infancy, but Bob himself uses it on his vehicles. Why must we accept extreme pessimism about the end of the world because we’re supposedly running out of petroleum, instead of engaging in historically-supported optimism that our species will learn how to develop and make use of more and better energy sources, perhaps more effectively harness the sun, the wind, atomic power, and other sources not yet sufficiently understood?
    On Climate Change:
    Who remembers the catastrophes of Y2K? Remember when our cities ground to a halt? When our nuclear power plants exploded? When the trains didn’t run? When food supplies ran out? And, in general, when the end of the world as we knew it came to pass?
    Yeah, I don’t remember it either. It turned out to have been a mostly-unfounded and alarmist prediction that made the nerds in all kinds of computer support companies quite a lot of money…but those of us that did not spend the money on the expensive and “critically important” Y2K fixes to our computers…yeah, they continued working anyway.
    Will climate change create some problems for some cities? Very likely it already has…and will continue doing so. On the other hand, it will likely make things better for some other cities. I know a lot of places on our planet that will be quite happy to be a few degrees warmer, or get more rain, or less rain. And if the way we build houses needs to be a little more careful-—whether that means not building so close to the water, or building them with more reinforcement—-then we can do that, too. Why the confidence that it will bring catastrophe?
    On Running Out of Water:
    This, too, is a challenge, but nothing that need bring upon us disaster. Our species has solved far more complicated problems. One obvious solution is the more careful use of water…and that will be done. Wasteful practices need not continue forever. Perhaps we won’t have huge green lawns. That’s not a catastrophe. Perhaps we’ll raise less beef. That’s not a catastrophe. Also, there are ever-improving water-purification and water-filtration systems being developed so water can be much more easily recycled.
    Also, there’s the vast amounts of water in the oceans. Desalination technologies are already in use in some parts of the world, and there’s every reason to believe they can be improved to make better and cheaper means of harvesting some of the ocean’s water for drinking and irrigation.
    Indeed, the ocean is so full of water that fear of its flooding has created much of the hysteria about climate change. The pessimists can’t have it both ways. If there’s so much water in the ocean, we can use some of it for our shrinking water supply; and if there isn’t enough water in the ocean, it won’t flood us all into the end of days.
    Or so it seems to me.
    And Bob is generally so optimistic and positive…that it puzzles me that he’d give up so easily on our species, and on things quite possibly working out well.

    • Bob

      Michael, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution modern humans have declared war on Sacred Mother Earth. We have devoted all of our time and energy and best minds to raping and pillaging her for everything we can get out of her with not the slightest bit of thought to the consequences of our actions.
      Because we depend on her for our lives, if we win our war against her we will have destroyed ourselves.
      If we loose our war against her then she will destroy us.
      Worst of all, I see nothing that will convince us to give up our war on her.
      I see nothing positive in that. Which is why I have dropped out of the whole rat race and washed my hands of the whole thing. Instead, I have set my mind on promoting the one positive thing I see; a life of simplicity and peace living in a van down by the river.

      • MichaelinOK

        Respectfullly, to say that we’ve “declared war” on Mother Nature is hyperbole at best. I know of nobody who sees nature as the enemy. And if you can find an example here or there, I can find examples of people who think they were not only abducted by aliens, but that they are, themselves, aliens.
        No, industrialization, and all the technology that has come with modern civilization has sought to improve life and to increase wealth. Not to “defeat” Mother Nature, but to to improve conditions or comfort or wealth for people.
        And don’t kid yourself: Tooth decay and polio and cataracts are nature, too. To live well, we must indeed overcome certain aspects of nature.
        Has modernization made some mistakes, even committed some “crimes”? Of course. Have some industrialists been selfish, and insensitive, even completely uncaring, about the effects of their projects on nature? Yes.
        But anything can be looked at only for its negatives…if a person insists on being negative.
        Modern technology has reduced and prevented an incredible amount of suffering, and has brought about enormous benefits and wonderful gifts, too. Abundant food, dentistry, improved medical care, books and e-books and the Internet making knowledge available to everyone, the eradication of so many childhood and adult diseases, communication with people across the country or across the world…to name just a very few of technology’s advances.
        It’s very easy to idealize what came before the industrial and technological ages.
        The truth is, though, that the primitive world was not only far from wonderful in its daily life, it was also far from kind and compassionate. And that applies to any fair history of Native American life, overall, as it does to Caucasian or African or Asian or any other flavor of mankind. Life always had its elements of danger, of ugliness, and of pain.
        I think it does a disservice to ourselves and others to engage in idealizing the past and catastrophizing the future.
        The past was far from ideal, and the future is quite likely to be fine…or as fine as the very fragile mixed-bag that life has always been. Some things get better, and some things get worse.
        Every age has its gifts and its glories as well as its burdens and worries. To think that we are in a unique age, at the precipice over which civilization will tumble, is the conceit of despairing visionaries in every age. A conceit that feels life prophecy.

        • Bob

          Michael, as I have researched the environment and how we got to such a dangerous point in human history, I have concluded their is a reason we have justified the way we treat the earth. there are two very powerful (and opposite) ideas that converged to create the war against the earth:
          1) The Christian view that the earth is fallen and inherently evil. It is to be hated, tamed and used and brought into subjection. The bible commands us “To Subdue the earth” and that is just what we are doing.
          2) The Reductionist, Mechanical Scientific view that the earth is just a machine to be studied and used in any way that is good for us. The earth has absolutely no inherent value in itself other than to be used and abused as a resource. Machines only exist to be used. “Go ahead, set off nuclear bombs in the atmosphere, we need to know what will happen even if it burns off the earths atmosphere!” There are scientists who actually said that.
          These are very strange bed-fellows but when those two ideas combined and began to dominate Western Civilization in the 1700s we set down a path could that only lead to the crisis we find ourself in. You may say, “But I don’t believe either of those things.” Yes you do! Every member of Western Civilization is infected with them whether you know it or not. In a very bizarre way we all worship both the gods of reason/science and of the Bible. It is very difficult to rise above them. And they both order me to dominate and subdue the earth
          There are a few who want to end the war on the earth, but not enough and they are written off as crackpots (they worship false gods!!). Today’s call is for “Resource Management”, because that is all the earth is, a resource to be managed. If we had started earlier down that path it may have worked, but in my opinion (based on my studying) we have passed the tipping point where that may have worked. Only radical action can reverse the damage done in time and the cure is probably worse than the disease and would make us very sick in the short term. And even if I am wrong, we are nowhere near ready to take any radical actions anyway. Things are going to have to get much worse before we will do much of anything. If we haven’t already passed the tipping point, our inaction will some day bring us to it. The war against the earth is not only going to continue, it is going to get much worse as the population increases and as third world demand for the good life becomes stronger.
          I don’t expect you to agree with me, but at least I hope that you can see that I have done some studying and reached informed intelligent conclusions, even if you disagree with them.

          • MichaelinOK

            Do you not see the irony of speaking about how we all worship the gods of the Bible even if we try to rise above them…
            …and then engage in the same stereotypically Christian “End of Times” rants that have infected civilization for millennia?

  3. MichaelinOK

    Finally, on the notion that “capitalism is ultimately self-destructive.”
    The original post says: “But Capitalism has a fatal flaw; it relies on constant, continual growth. It’s just like a Ponzi scheme, if it ever stops growing, it collapses…”
    I don’t know why we should accept that dark view of capitalism. Capitalism simply means that the means of production and investments are owned by individuals and companies, as opposed to the state.
    Capitalism need not be much more complicated than individuals or companies creating products or offering services. I don’t see why it needs to keep growing in order not to collapse. People trade their money—which they earn from providing products or services—for other products or services. A small town with a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, a hardware store, a plumber, etc., can continue to provide products and services to each other without needing “constant, continual growth.” The same is true in the larger example of countries.
    Of course an economic “bubble,” where hysteria has driven up prices, of houses or silver or gold or tulips, will ultimately burst, and many will be financially hurt.
    Also, if a particular economy uses up its raw materials, it will have to adjust itself to new practices and materials.
    Also, it may be that the stock of certain companies, or the stock market overall, won’t keep rising. But companies and individuals can continue to make a steady profit by providing goods and services.
    And it may even be that the government will not be able to provide as many “entitlements” to as many people.
    But none of that is related to the claim that capitalism will collapse unless it keeps growing. And none of this must lead to catastrophe.
    Again, Bob is generally so inspired and positive and encouraging…that I can’t believe he would hold on to dire predictions about our country and our species when there are more positive, and quite reasonable, alternatives.
    I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he has been temporarily seduced and misled by the many prophets of doom proliferating on the Internet, and that apocalyptic and profoundly negative predictions are not really where his own heart lies. 🙂
    It just doesn’t sound like the Bob “I’ve come to know and love.” 🙂

    • Bob

      Michael, I guess the bottom line is all my research and studying leaves me with little reason for optimism. I believe to the core of my being that modern civilization is so fundamentally flawed as to be unsavable and must end in its own destruction. That’s why my message has very consistently been that there is a better way to live and the way to get there is to drop out of the rat race and create a whole new life totally different from the one you are living now.
      I have such a positive view of the new life, that I guess you didn’t notice my negative view of the old life. This is one of the very few times I will talk politics or apcolyptic stuff.

      • MichaelinOK

        To say that you have “such a positive view of the new life” strikes me as a bit like one who despairs of life and therefore jumps off a tall building, but says that he has “such a positive view” of the fall.
        A world philosophy based on despair over civilization is not positive. It just isn’t.
        And decisions made on the basis of despair are very likely to prove misguided…when–just as in every other generation, notwithstanding all the self-styled prophets who “knew from the core of their beings” that the “End was nigh”–the world as we know it actually does not end.

        • Bob

          Michael wrote:
          A world philosophy based on despair over civilization is not positive. It just isn’t.

          It is positive if you believe that civilization is the greatest disease and catastrophe that has ever befallen human beings. I am offering a cure to the thing that is destroying us. How could I possibly look at that as anything but positive? I understand you don’t agree with my analysis of civilization, but surely you can see that given my world view that what I am doing is a positive step?
          When the Lakota people killed Custer and his troops, they celebrated because they knew that civilization was a monstrous, horrible, vile, despicable plague on the earth and it’s efforts to destroy them had been put off at least temporarily. That’s how I can celebrate vandwelling.
          I have a friend who thinks like I do but even more extreme. He honestly believes that it is not enough to reject it and drop out. He believes we should be actively attacking civilization by blowing up dams and destroying housing projects. I don’t agree, but I am very sympathetic toward his viewpoint. I must add he has never taken any actions like that. He has taken a very good course I might consider myself. He bought 20 ares in Arizona and lives on it part of the year in a underground house and is storing water and learning about aquaculture and permaculture. The other part of the year he travels in his van. I might do the same thing myself. I would put in a 3000 gallon underground water tank and keep it full. Build up a supply of food and try to learn how to grow some food. And then travel the rest of the year. That would be much more self-sufficient and might even satisfy Gary!

  4. Dave

    First, shout it out…there will be way more people who are skeptics than converts and your words will help those who are the converts…and in my opinion, they are converts because they have already been thinking along the same lines and just need direction in making the decision as to which way to turn.
    Second, when I was in college in 1974 I had a science teacher tell us, backed by a number of articles from many good publications, that by 1990/1995 the earth would be out of oil. As we see, that was not the case. Yes, oil will run out some day, but doubt it will be in our lifetime.
    Third, I am more afraid of the forces which are working against our way of life, and not capitalism falling due to its own accord. I see the day coming when our country will be lead by those who are against the Judeo-Christian values which this country was founded upon. A day when values of doing that which is morally right will totally be perceived as the wrong action. We see that already in small quantities today.
    Fourth, and I agree that water is going to the future “liquid gold”. Which is why I like the lifestyle of being able to easily move my home….can go where the water is in more abundance if need be. I do see the possibility of down-sizing and being more of a “vandwelling” type, but for now we plan to enjoy that which is available to us to see and to enjoy…and to record what we see for those who are unable to enjoy it themselves.
    Dave (and Marcia, Bubba and Skruffy)

    • Bob

      Dave, thanks for your comments, I truly value them! I agree with you, very few people are going to find living in a van as appealing unless it was already in their blood. And the very few who see it on a TV show and decide to try it without a real calling to it will quickly be discouraged and give up.

  5. Calvin R

    Bob, I agree with you on most of your points, and I have no interest in what the Bible says or does not say. Also, blind faith in technology is as misguided as any other blind faith.
    However, I arrive at my opinions and predictions about all of this by a different road. I study history and I seek out patterns there before I form a guess about the future. One part of my opinion is based on a simple pattern: empires fall. Basically, they fall through becoming over-extended. The British had so many colonies that at least one was always in rebellion, including what became the United States. The Spanish before them had supply-line issues (think pirates) and others. That goes on and on back through recorded history to ancient Sumeria. The United States has become an empire, although we have not bothered to formally install our own people as governors. Now we have over-reached. Our military budget is totally out of hand and many of the complex relationships we have used to control others have unraveled. Things look worse here than they do elsewhere due to that.
    I imagine our consequences will be somewhat less dire than you expect, particularly for those who live elsewhere in the developed world. Other nations have shown greater insight and are working harder than the USA on technology to compensate for those predictable difficulties. I expect they will find some degree of success, although the notion that technology can simply heal all of these issues seems naive.
    To me, much of your analysis holds up. I have studied climate change and other environmental issues in a formal way, and your statements are not exaggerated or premature. Even if and when the United States wakes up to this, China and India are building their own empires and are unlikely to cooperate in alleviating these threats unless they can make big money by selling new technologies. The Chinese effort to create and dominate the solar market is imploding as we speak, and even if we quit using all fossil fuels tomorrow, there are other sources of greenhouse gases. Beyond that, one of the central issues is that these changes are very serious but happen at a speed that governments, at least here, cannot comprehend. Even if all human activities involved in this issue changed for the better tomorrow, most of the current changes would continue for about twenty-five years.
    Where my analysis differs is in the use of oil-consuming vehicles as a solution. If you are as right about peak oil as I think you are, that will require very large changes in vehicles if they are to continue moving. In addition to that, all of the developments you discuss will change the food economy drastically. Growing gardens would certainly help at the individual level and would add oxygen to the atmosphere, which helps balance out the greenhouse gases. Gardens at a scale that provides large amounts of food will be difficult for people headquartered in passenger-size vehicles.
    For me, the advantage of mobile living in this context is the flexibility to travel in the event an event or issue affects a particular area too much. For example, some people predict that Canada and northern sections of the US will actually benefit from the warmer temperatures. That remains to be seen, but if it’s true a parking space or campground somewhere does not have a tie on a vandweller the way a house or even an apartment lease in Atlanta or Los Angeles would. That difference matters even more in places such as Miami that will most likely be under water by the time any human action takes effect. That advantage applies to other events besides climate change, too. People can come and go in boomtowns much easier if they’re not tied to an apartment or other traditional housing. Been there, done that. Fulltime RVers and other mobile dwellers escape many other hazards (most notably storms and floods) more easily and quickly than ordinary people, taking their possessions with them.
    Of course, my primary reason for wanting to return to mobile living is not the disasters that may happen in the future. I want the advantages you have described in your conclusion. You already have those, whether or not humanity finds some way around the disasters you and I see ahead. If we and others are better prepared for disasters and they do come, that benefits us and the planet on which we live. We get what our spirits need either way.
    I’m still not sure I want to see TV shows about mobile living, but I’ll repeat my idea that you can present it better than most people. Let’s see what happens.

    • Bob

      Calvin I think you are exactly right, in the long-run vandwelling is not a viable alternative. The only lifestyle that is a true cure for what ails us is homesteading. that’s why i began the post with my opinion that in 100 years the man with a plow-horse and a plow would be king. Owning land where you can grow your own food and have you own water is the only good move for the future.
      As I have said many times, I believe being a vandweller will probably shorten my life. I am not a prepper looking for a way to extend my life. I am looking for a way to be the happiest I can possibly be and still do the least amount of harm to the earth while doing it. For me that is being a vandweller. And I believe that is true for nearly everyone reading this blog. The only reason to read my blog is if you have the traveling gene in you already. If you had the gardening-homesteading gene, you would be reading blogs on those subjects.
      To me vandwelling is a win-win deal. It makes me happy and does the minimum amount of harm to the earth. What’s not to love!

      • Naomi

        One more thing – Live Long and Prosper!

        • Bob

          Thanks Naomi.

  6. Kitty

    Rats, still cannot see your blog because of tree photo background.

    • Bob

      Kitty, it appears perfectly on my laptop and Kindle Fire so I can’t see the problem. But in an attempt to solve it I changed the background from the photo to a solid color. Will you let me know if that solved the problem for you?

  7. Tim McDougall

    Nice post Bob. I share many of your views and also believe that life as we know it is in for a big change.
    As for the TV show I think you should do it if you can get them to present you in a positive way. I’ve seen a couple other programs where the people were presented just as a bunch of dirty, disturbed, bums and vets that had pretty much given up on life. Just the slant of the show for the ratings. I personally think a well done show with a positive slant can be stimulating in itself.
    I think many people thought Jay Schaffer , Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, was nuts when he first started out producing small houses on trailers but now it seem that everybody wants to get in on it.
    Good luck Bob.

    • Bob

      Tim, as others have pointed out, I will have no control over what goes out over the air. So I am starting to rethink my position on doing it. It is still pretty unlikely I will even be selected, so I don’t have to decide anything now. I had to send in a video, and I only talked about the good positive things I do in it, none of the fringe things (pooping in a bucket) came up. They can’t air it if I don’t say it, so I do have that much control. We will just have to wait and see.

  8. Rob

    The world population is larger than ever before, due to technology. The technology can deal with a lot of things, if it is unable then the population will shrink. That ‘shrinking’ will be unpleasant for everyone.
    The powers-that-be have a NEED to ‘manage’ this population (over 50% live in cities now) and people who live on the fringe are hard to see so they are easily ignored by the managers. (This “need” is more than ego based, if the population shrinkage starts, the managers are in a better position to keep their line from disappearing).
    If this fringe becomes highly visible the odds of it being noticed by the mangers greatly increase and once something irregular is ‘noticed’ and manager HAS to ‘fix’ it.
    You do good things Bob, but when this lifestyle becomes too noticed the managers will find the technology to ‘fix’ it.
    I applied for a workcamper job & they wanted my Passport… The managers have the technology they just have more to do then worry about something they don’t really see. Yet.

    • Bob

      Robb, you make a very good point. It’s comments like yours that are really changing my mind. I won’t stop trying to reach people with the blog and the websites because they don’t go into peoples homes, you have to come searching for it. But I may give up on the idea of the TV show. Like you said, that may be waving a flag in front of a bull which does not seem wise!
      Thanks for speaking out!

  9. Martin Hamilton

    Great post Bob and I too am a right winger conservative and see Capitalism the same as you. I’m happy to be a van dweller and hope to be able to put aside the pressure from family members and society to go back to their boring, got to have more stuff, miserable mentality. So far so good. You are helping so thank you. About all the theories, it’s even tougher to predict now than in the past because things change so fast and off the wall events happen like 9/11. Humans are animals so we will allways adapt. Solar power is great as well as batteries for power storage. I hope all the van dwellers continue to keep a low profile and if asked to leave an area to kindly obey and appologize for any inconvenience and carry on to another location. I was recently parked in a location and some kids would drive by and bang on the side of a couples mini trailer just to harass them. The teenagers were just having fun and this was their entertainment for the night. It happened twice and the couple got so mad they complained to the security guard and then called the police. Guess what? We were all asked to leave. For some reason this couple thought they owned the place. Another example how arrogance turns into greed and ultimate stupidity.

    • Bob

      Martin, why did you have to use the “A” word??!! I hate to admit it but in many ways I am very arrogant and so I work hard to keep it under control, but sometimes it creeps into my life and takes over. I am afraid this may have been one of those times.
      I am so glad your new life is working out for you and I am very grateful if I contributed in some small way to making it better for you!!

  10. Sarah

    You say “Socialism and Communism do not take into account basic human nature and so they both will breakdown in the long-run. But Capitalism has a fatal flaw; it relies on constant, continual growth.”
    While I have no quibble with the “basic human nature” flaw being a problem with socialism and communism, I submit that it is also a (if not THE) problem with capitalism. More, more, more money/”stuff”/property just doesn’t work in the favor of either the planet or the population. If we each could be satisfied with what is actually NEED as opposed to aiming for getting all we can it would be a very different world. Capitalism is not magic; it still requires conscious thought and action. As a result of a job I once I had I know many Poles who grew up when Poland was a Soviet satellite; to a man (& woman 🙂 ) they have all stated the equivalent of “I’d go back in a minute.”, so it’s apparent that there is more than one path to making it work; we humans don’t seem to be able to do what’s needed no matter the “system”. I,I,I,me,me,me,get,get,get,have,have,have doesn’t work no matter the system.

    • Bob

      Sarah, I agree with you 100%! The reason capitalism works so well is because it appeals to our greed, but it is that greed that is leading to our downfall. To me it is a Catch 22. I can no longer support capitalism because I believe it is destroying the earth and our souls, but I can’t support communism or socialism because I believe they are fatally flawed systems. So I am not going to support either, I am dropping out and washing my hands of both of them. And so far that has worked very well for me!

  11. rick

    This is the stuff that ruins our dreams. This end of world discussion is pointless. It has been hashed out time and time again. I just want to live well on little income and live in peace. No crusades for oil, food, mankind or mother earth.

    • Bob

      I could not agree any more with you Rick, You are totally, absolutely right!! that’s why I reached the conclusion that my only solution was to drop out and wash my hands of the whole mess!!!!
      I think you summarized everything I do very well; no crusades about any ideas, just tell people how I live on little income and live in peace!!
      You are a wise man Rick!

  12. Naomi

    I appreciate all your posts, and I believe one of the great things about our society is the freedom to respect each other while at the same time not agreeing with everything each of us says and believes. I’m seeing your defining yourself as a Republican Capitalist as being from an economic perspective rather than a social one. I see your points about peak oil, water, etc. I support your being part of something that shows an alternative lifestyle! I would, however, like to share my thoughts.
    When I see the term “Republican Capitalist”, I see anti-environmental protection, anti-organized labor, anti-social progressive. Basically, overall conservatism. Perhaps I am being too conservative in my perceptions. Having lived in the Bible Belt all my life and being a staunch environmental and social progressive, I cringe at that term. I feel as if I live in a medieval theocracy here in Alabama . . . I think the term “Republican” frightens me more than “Capitalist”.
    I will try to develop an open mind about it, as I respect you greatly. I apologize for any offense taken by anyone reading this. I appreciate the open, respectful dialog here. I look forward to hearing more about your plans.

    • Susan

      Namomi, I had to laugh at your post. Because I had the same thoughts when I read Bob say that he is a
      “Republican Capitalist”.
      Still, I do respect your opinions Bob and I think you shoud go for it as long as they dont degrade you or your lifestyle in this show ! And as long as you dont give out the secret boondocking locations !! You do have a lot of great advice for those who are realy going to embrace this lifestyle but my guess is that a lot of “armchair nomads” will be tuning in and only wishing to adopt such a life !

      • Bob

        Thanks for the encouragement Susan. We will just have to wait and see what happens. I still think it is very unlikely to happen.

    • Bob

      Naomi, I have reached the exact same conclusions you have reached. I came to the point where I could not vote for Republicans for all the reasons you pointed out, but I could not vote for Democrats for what I saw was as equally grievous flaws. It was then that I decided that there was no real solution to the problems that face us and that the only thing I could do is drop out and live the best life I could. So that is exactly what I have done.
      So you don’t have to worry about my expressing my political views on the blog, it isn’t going to happen. I don’t encourage people to give up on the political system because that really isn’t any of my business. I don’t have any alternatives or solutions and nobody wants to listen me whine and complain. What you will hear are more of my positive views about something I love and that really does offer a solution and is a valid alternative to the old life. That is something i will never stop talking about!! i love vandwelling!!

      • Naomi

        Thanks for your thoughtful response. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t let anyone’s negativity, criticism or general weirdness get to you (including mine!). You’re doing a wonderful thing here, I’m sure you’ll be a great representative of this particular alternative lifestyle in any media that you choose.
        Your thoughts on oil, water, the environment, etc. are well-thought-out. You’ve spent time studying these issues, and I think you have as good an idea about what could possibly happen as much as anyone else that has taken the time to look into the issues. The bottom line is that none of us are prophets. I’ll take your opinion much more seriously than any politician.
        Thanks for all you do.

        • Bob

          Thanks Naomi, it is nice to hear a positive voice!
          I wish you nothing but the greatest happiness!!

    • Bodhi

      Ditto to what Naomi says…. still haven’t read the entire post yet. ….grumble…. grumble…..
      Much Peace, Much Love and Much Positive Vibrations To All,

      • Naomi

        And Bob,
        you have introduced me to the wonderful Bodhi. We are now friends on Facebook. You bring folks together!

        • Bob

          Naomi, sometimes stirring the pot brings the ingredients together! I’m happy for you both, you just can’t have enough friends in this world.

      • Bob

        Thanks for hanging around Bodhi! Bob

  13. shelly

    The way I see it is that there will always be challenges to life as we currently know it, whether it be water usage, population explosions, resource depletion or any other problem. My worry is that we, here in the US, aren’t looking past our noses to the future and potential downsides of our action. I see the US (which is the only country I feel I can speak to) in developmental terms. We are a young country and act like rebellious teenagers. We want what we want when we want it and we will be damned if we’ll listen to anyone who tells us we can’t have what we want. As a nation we have the potential to be at the forefront of new and exciting technologies that won’t have such detrimental consequences to the environment but we think we know it all and don’t want to be told what to do. (Not that I was ever that way…) I think the fact that we have had such an abundance of riches in this country is a downside as we have not had to be creative and forward thinking of the ways we can make things work better without fouling our nest. I know I’m mixing my metaphors here but you get the idea. Bottom line, there are ways to get out of this mess but I think we, as a nation, lack the will to make it happen.
    As for a TV program, I would only caution you by saying I’m gonna guess that the networks aren’t really interested in the ideas behind what you are up to but ratings rule the day with them. As they should be, yes? They are a business and as a capitalist construct it’s all about making the most money for the least amount of effort. They certainly wouldn’t want to let any moral ideas about how they make the money stop them…

    • Bob

      Shelly, your comment has a lot of wisdom to it! As much as I encourage people to live in the moment and insist on being happy now, it can’t come at the expense of others or future generations. No one has said it as well as the Iroquos in their Great Law of the Iroquois that says we must reach every decision we make in light of its impact on the Seventh Generation ahead of us. Find out more about that here:

      It’s a sad thing that the Founding Fathers used the Iroquois constitution as a model for our own but left out that crucial part. If only they had adapted the rule of the Seventh Generation as well!
      I very firmly believe that their is a way out of our current mess and that is to adapt a Hunter-Gatherer lifestyle and government. But that simply is not going to happen as a group. Secretly, my every action is guided with that model in mind. In fact what I am trying to do is to draw you all out of a failed system and get you to join my tribe which is modeled after hunter gatherers and indigenous peoples. While I don’t follow their model of actually killing animals or foraging for food, I follow the guiding principles behind them.
      So I agree with you more than you can know!

    • Bob

      Doug, I very much appreciate your comment. You presented both sides of each point with an honest assessment. It seems that nearly everyone doubts that being in a reality TV show would be a good thing. I will have to give that some serious thought. Thanks for your comment!!

  14. Brian Howard

    Hey Bob, everyone’s opinion is always going to differ when it comes to politics and religion. A lot of people don’t see eye to eye on self dependency and prepping either. I personally do see the writing on the wall, and am trying to plan for the future which is unknown. My son is a pastor and he is always telling me that God will take care of us, well god doesn’t want us to be stupid sheep being lead around by leaders who believe in self serving, Gay marriage, loss of 2nd amendment right and many other constitutional and biblical shim shams they are playing. (I’m sure that will hit some nerves). I think you are doing a great job educating us on the subject of van living and experiences. If some one wants to do a show with ya on Van Living I think it could be very educational also as long as both the good and the bad side of it are aired to give people the real feel. Most people aren’t going to be able to hack it. But to those who are struggling in life, may be it will give them a new refreshed way of thinking even if only temporary to solve the economic problems thay are dealing with right now. Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your posts and everyone else’s, it just goes to show that there are pioneers and sheeple. Every one wants to try to control every one. That is why you and me do what we do. FREEDOM! Enjoy your nice weather and we will catch up with ya.

    • Bob

      You are right Brian, FREEDOM is our ultimate common goal that binds us together as a tribe. The same heart beats in us in our vans that beat in the Arabs on their camels pioneers on foot and in wagons, sailors on ships, nomads on their horses, Native Americans on horseback, African Bushmen on foot, or Mountain Man in a dugout canoe.
      We all want to see what is over the next horizon and are willing to pay the price to do it. The price is high and only people with that blood flowing through their veins will be willing to do it for very long.

  15. Sharon Gulezian

    love the idea of a tv show. I will definately watch, hopefully I can get it here. As far as the end of the world, it is what it is. I am not going to worry over something I probably have no control of. I just want to get away from society, be alone, enjoy nature and mother earth. I am so very tired of all the problems society has. I believe there is no hell, its hear on earth. I want to find happiness in being alive, traveling alone and enjoying the beautify of our world.

    • Bob

      Sharon, in a very short sentences you summarized my whole life and message! Thank you!!! I hope to see you out here soon!

  16. randy(livinfree 1964)

    If the opportunity presents itself to have a documentary or “reality” type show is offered I think it would be a positive outlook toward our way of life. I feel as long as you are in control of the content and direction of the info(material) for the show, it will stay on a “positive” note and not a mockery as it could be twisted into. I believe in that opportunities that present themselves usually happen for a reason,how they are handled/dealt with determines the outcome….GO FOR IT Bob!!! I trust in whatever you decide….:)

    • Bob

      Randy, since I got Satellite TV I have been watching a lot of reality TV on the cable channels. There is an amazing variety of people they follow! Fisherman, gold miners, loggers, trappers, truckers, alligator hunters, mountain men and many others. Oddly enough, I find most of them presented in a very respectful way. Almost like they are saying “Here are these interesting people, lets watch them.” Of course they try to increase the drama and conflict, but they almost never present them as idiots and fools. In fact I generally come away feeling admiration and envy. Several on the air right now are in Alaska, and having lived their over 50 years I can tell you they are very realistic. When you go out at -40 to run your trap-line and if your snowmachine breaks down, you can die before dawn if you aren’t prepared. That’s plenty of drama, you don’t have to make him look like a buffoon to make it interesting.
      So there is lots to consider! But, I doubt if it is really going to happen, so no point in worrying about it until an offer is made. We shall see.

  17. John

    I’ve been downsizing for about the last year. My house is up for sale and I plan to move into my pickup/camper rig. I’ve really enjoyed this site of Bob’s and hope some of the scary things he “sees” coming don’t but, if they do, I think I’m much more likely to be less impacted by living in a mobile manner. I’m sure folks who have 5 acres and a off-grid house in Montana might take issue with the mobility theory but I’ll have to get by with what I have.
    Bob, I’d be VERY leery about how your lifestyle will be presented on a TV program. Some of the comments by other posters here seem pretty spot on: that higher ratings might be gotten from the “look at the homeless old guy living in a used van” approach than from the show taking a thoughtful look at the choices you’ve made. My $.02.

    • Bob

      John I agree with everything you say. Homesteading is a better choice in the long run, but, I have these ITCHY FEET that won’t let me do that. I would be just as miserable as if I was working at a job!!
      And I also agree about being leery of a TV show. I will try to proceed very slowly and thoughtfully!

  18. Izaak Diggs

    You go, Bob. It’s awesome to see “right wing” people on the same page as those of us who may be seen as “Liberals.” I totally agree with this post. As for promoting vandwelling, I think a lot of people are suffering the effects of Depression 2.0 and have been forced to live out of their cars or vans. They need a guide of how to survive, how to make that situation as liveable as possible as that is precisely what your blog does and I applaud you for it.

  19. Diane Kirkendall

    I love you free spirit Bob. I can relate to your words and ideas. I have always felt being in nature was my form of going to church. It truly is spiritually healing. I plan to dip my toes into this more natural way of living this summer. Thanks for creating this site/blog, it has been very informative 🙂

    • Bob

      Thanks Diane, it is a spiritual journey for me as well. I was just thinking that I believe it is spiritual pilgrimage for every vandweller even if they hate the idea of spirituality and vehemently deny it. They couch it in other words and talk of science and reason, but the result is exactly the same: a contented soul (even while they deny the existence of a soul!).
      I am looking forward to seeing you at the next “church” service Diane!!

  20. Charlene Swankie

    How exciting Bob. You know, you and Ron McDowell (RIP Ron) were the first to help me get set up for van-living. I will be forever grateful to you. BUT (you knew that was coming, huh?) this might be a good thing or a bad thing. Are you going to be alone on the show, or are there going to be others with different lifestyles there too?? What is the purpose of the show???
    It’s my hope you just express your personal views and general solutions of How To live this lifestyle, and not make too many generalizations on behalf of the tribe (I used tribe lightly). I am concerned that it will draw too much attention to the things we do to stay “stealthy.” In fact, it’s my hope that you wouldn’t talk about “stealth” at all… don’t give people ways to pick us out of the crowd.
    I also hope that you will be able to discern before going on national t.v. if they are using you just for sensationalism or are genuinely interested in your experiences and reasons for your lifestyle.
    You probably have a right to know what questions they will be asking you, way in advance. I would get those questions.
    Whatever happens, I sincerely want it to be a positive experience for you and have no negative effects on vandwellers as a whole.
    Thanks again for all your help in the past, especially the six hours you where at my side while I installed the roof vent in my van… a memory I will always treasure.

    • Bob

      Charlene, as always, you give very wise counsel! I am very glad you are my friend! At this point there is no possibility of a series, it would just be one appearance on one show, maybe 15 minutes of air time (its a 30 minute show). After all the wisdom I am getting in these comments, I will be very careful before I proceed!
      I have to tell you, that if I ever were approached about a Series, you would be the first person I would send them to!! I think you may be the most interesting and adventurous person I know!

  21. CAE

    Fear not, I mention living on a boat and a van to people all the time and they all freak-out. So, I know it won’t have much traction.
    Reality shows want drama, if you can’t provide it, they move on very quickly. I know people that have been through it. Your reality is all about non-drama, so you have not got a chance. Sorry.
    As for peak oil, a friend who’s in the off-shore drilling business has often told me,”You think we’d spend millions of $$ out on the ocean drilling for oil if we could get it almost anywhere else cheaper or easier?!?!” There’s lots of oil out in the world, but the energy to get it is rising constantly and thus the cost of extraction and processing is ever increasing. How would your world look at $10/gallon. That’s what we should all ask ourselves.

    • Bob

      CAE, I agree, I am not going to convince many to become a vandweller if it isn’t already in their blood. It is an urge that comes up from deep inside and not many have it.
      I am determined to not get in any debate about the subjects I brought up because it is nothing but a distraction from what is important to me. But what you have said is very true and I could write volumes about it.

  22. James

    Hello everyone. I am looking for some advice. I have been thinking about vandwelling for about a year and also doing research on the topic. I found this website and also bought Bob’s kindle book.
    As of December 5th I am unemployed. I work in the IT field and I am 40 years old. My apartment lease is up in June. I own a Honda Civic Hybrid (paid off). I am down to about $3000 in savings. My rent is $700/month. I have an awesome Chihuahua (His name is Tiger).
    I have been looking on Craigslist for a conversion van and I found one for $1999 (1996 Dodge CV). I have not bought it yet. It has 276,000 miles on it. If I did not have the dog I would purchase a van, sell everything in my apartment and move into the van. I live in the south and want to continue working full-time and start vandweling. Bob’s book did not have any info on having pets.
    Do you have any advice on how to care for a dog while working full-time and living in a van? Do I park the van in a covered parking deck ($4/day) and then go to work? Do I find someone on craigslist that can take care of him from 7am – 6pm? Or, renew my lease for another year and hopefully find a job that will enable me to save up enough money to buy a better van and time to figure out how to care for my dog while living in a van.
    Plus, I am concerned about spending my last $3000 on a van and it breaks down after I’ve moved into it. I would have a mechanic look it over before I purchase one, but who knows.
    As I mentioned I am still unemployed so I don’t know what city I will be working in yet (If I even find a job in time).
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Bob, I don’t recommend spreading the news via media. It will bring attention to those already vandwelling and even tougher laws may be passed to prevent it. The media has a way of creating fear in people. You can’t change the masses, you can only change yourself.

    • doct

      I have a chihuahua and she hates travelinbg, but she is loyal and as long as she is with me she is happy enogh. A small dog is a benefit as they don’t eat much, they don’t need the exercise a medium or large dog needs, and they don’t need the space.
      I had a PT Crusier and she liked it better than the van! I don’t work so she is with me most all day, but she is with me in the van. So don’t worry about your dog, as long as you take him for a walk in the morning and in the evening, give him tons of love, he will be fine in a van. My opinion.

    • Bob

      James, let me give you some thoughts I had as I read your letter.
      1) Do you have debt or family that commits you to staying where you are? If you don’t have debt or family my suggestion would be to become a campground host in the summer and draw unemployment in winter. You will be in the National Forest and your dog would be cool enough to stay home and I never had problems taking my dog with me on my rounds. Everybody loves a dog in the campground!! if you live cheap enough that could support you year around in a van. Here is a list of jobs still available for the company I worked for:
      2) The only good way to have a dog and work is to be a snowbird and move up in elevation in the summer and down in the winter. That is nearly impossible while working at an office.
      3) The mileage would be a deal breaker for me. My van had 150,000 miles on it when I bought it and I thought that was too much. But it is the absolute upper limit of what I would buy.
      4) I would NOT renew a lease on another apartment. At worst I would get one month-to-month for the summer when you must have air condtioning and then leave it in the winter and live in the van. The south can be pretty cold, but you can get around that. A better idea is to look around where you are and find a RV park that is open year-around and will take your van. You should be able to find one for less than $300 a month. Then you will have hook ups and electricity. Get a small portable or window air conditioner and leave the dog home while you go to work in the summer. Then I would leave in the winter and save the extra money by living in the van.
      5) Place an add in craigslist looking for a driveway to park in. Pay them $100 a month with the stipulation that you get electricity from an extension cord for the air conditioner. if you are in a rural area you might find a place that will exchange a place to camp for a days work, or something like that.
      6) Consider WOOFing. that is where you work at an organic farm in exchange for food and a place to park.
      Be creative!! Think outside the box!! You are starting a whole new life, there is no limit to what you can do!! I would post this question on my forum and you will get lots of creative ideas!

  23. Bodhi

    “right-wing Republican Capitalist”
    Let me preface this comment by sayting that THAT is where I stopped reading the post.
    If you honestly believe this to be true, you are delusional. Or, perhaps you think of yourself as the biggest failure of your generation.
    If I thought this were true I would stop following your blog… and… there is more but not for publication.
    My oppinion of your spreading the GOOD NEWS is that you are a whisper of a voice in the wilderness and you probably will do no harm. But, at the same time, I really don’t want one guy singing the praises that ruin it for the rest of us. So count me as MIXED.
    Now, I am going to go count to ten and maybe come back to this post in a day or two.
    Have a nice weekend.

    • John

      Hmmmm….so as soon as you encountered a viewpoint that was contrary to your own you stopped reading? That is somewhat revealing. I would think that you might mount a contrary argument after reading Bob’s commentary but maybe that’s a bridge too far. My only advice to Bob would be maybe he didn’t mean “right-wing Republican Capitalist” maybe he meant “right-wing CONSERVATIVE Capitalist” but I refrain from putting words in his mouth. Take your day off before revisiting this post and then please outline YOUR ideas of what kind of economic system Bob should be embracing, I for one would find that post extremely interesting.

    • Bob

      Bodhi, I appreciate your strong feelings, I know that words and labels can evoke powerful emotions in us. In fact, your reaction is one of the reasons I see so little hope for us. So many of us have such strong feelings that it is hard to find a middle ground or compromise. And the problems facing us require bold, decisive action and I see no hope of us reaching a consensus to make that happen.
      I am a huge fan of Buddhism, and one of their underlying principles is to overcome the power of labels and words in our lives. We apply words and labels to everything we come into any contact with through our senses. The danger is we will stop seeing the individual thing in front of us and only see the label. So we define a tree as a tree, and from then on when we see a tree we just apply the label and then ignore that tree. we never see that individual tree, just a label. That is an important ability because we get so much sensory input we simply can’t see everything individually. But there is a very great risk that we will loose our ability to see anything as an individual, everything in our lives becomes just a label, especially people! Meditation is the Buddhist form of forcing our mind away from labels and back into reality. Mindfullness is an effort to drop all labels and approach everything in our lives at this moment as an individual and not a label.
      Overcoming labels is one of the hardest things a human can do, but it is also one of the most rewarding. I have put a lot of myself as an individual out into the cyber world. I hope you can look beyond the labels I apply to myself and see that individual that I really am.

      • Bodhi

        On this very day (March 26, 2013) total strangers will debate whether I will get to be a First Class American Citizen now or will I have to wait for who knows how much longer. I guess the nerves are raw. I don’t ride my motorcycle any more because if something happened to me my Social Security payments that I have made for years will just evaporate into thin air while my partner of 5 yrs would get nothing. If I were to land in an ICU she couldn’t visit me. There are hundreds of things that affect me in very profound ways… these things will be debated TODAY… by total strangers… to determine my status in this country. It is infuriating that anyone can flippantly state that they have decided to not vote. That anyone would without hesitation proclaim themselves… I can’t even type it. The truth is “Your vote is needed. Your voice is needed. And, it is needed on the right side of history; not on the right side of the political spectrum.”

        • Bob

          Bodhi, I hope everything goes well for you today!! However, I simply can not have this kind of political discussion on the blog. It isn’t a matter of whether I agree or disagree, that’s not important, what is important is the tone of the discussion; and this tone (“My side is right, their side is wrong.”)is unacceptable.

  24. Libertad

    You must be a new breed of republican Bob. Most don’t believe in climate change & think medicare & SS are entitlement programs. Vandwelling to me is more of a neccesity for the 47% Mitt wasn’t talking to.
    I doubt sharing your expertise on vandwelling on a television show will some how have 100’s of 1000’s taking to the road in vans. The great thing about most people is their predicatbility. Most are sheep they will talk themselves out of any independent thought with a long list of “what ifs” & “buts”. I think it’s great your willingness to share your alternate life style with the masses. I for one am so greatful to you.

    • Bob

      Libertad, you are right, everything in my life is in a constant state of change, nothing is as it once was. As I said before I can no longer vote Republican or Democrat so I simply do not vote.
      I am very glad if my efforts have had a positive impact on you. My goal honestly is to help people who want to change to be able to make the change. Thank you!!

  25. Patrick

    I agree with MichaelinOK.

  26. joey


    • Bob

      So true Joey!


    hey now bob, let me say, are you have a bad day!!!. w.t.f. frist you say, you have broken free of the rat race.but you have a blog that you are selling a book on you have adchoices, amazon,now you have (bob off the grid store )!!!.hey big time tv deal in the making. and what about that (union)clerks penion you get ever month. (sounds to me you got alot of rat still in ya?) an then you go an say. don’t get me wrong i’am (right-wing repubican capitatist) this politcal group hates (unions)again w.t.f. are you talking about? the only good thing i can say about the repubican party, is it dying so they say!!!!.and then you are saying that( oil is going to get scarcer and trmendously expensive) gee bob, you just got done buying a gas hog!!!. that one ton full size gmc van can’t be good on gas are any rvs? now we are running out of water, i have not hear of any large number of people dying of thirst. i could be wrong on this one, but i don’t think our old ass will be around to see your conclusion, you have dropped out of!!.(the rat race which is destroying us)hum!!. i really don’t see it since i known you. four years,you have live near cities? an for good reasons ? my concluion, you say onething an do the another. as stated above, i think you could use some professional help!!! your friend and fellow traveler gary

    • DougB

      Troll post. Delete.

      • joey

        Who is the troll? It isn’t Gary,he is on the forum too.We all camped in the desert with Bob.

        • DougB

          Thank you for posting your response, Joey. Since this is a popular blog, the 99+% of the blog’s readers who don’t van, know or travel with G.G. will now have some indication that his post is not the standard troll’s effort to disrupt the blog, insult the writer and elicit some emotional responses, but is simply one of those joking put-downs that male friends do with each other in private. Usually. ; )
          Thank you.

          • Bob

            Doug, I’m not sure I am seeing all the comments because I don’t know what all is going on here. I didn’t think Gary’s comment was a troll at all. We are friends and he knows he is always welcome to share his honest opinion and I will value it. He is a really good guy so I am always glad to hear from him! And share a camp with him!

    • Bob

      I am sure you are right Gary, I could use some professional help!! You have pointed out a number of flaws In myself and life and I have no arguments with them.
      Gary, the truth is in many ways i am a pretender, just playing at being an adventurer. I will readily admit that. I follow the blog of a couple who are driving around the world in a VW van and when I read them I am reminded that I am not on an adventure, like they are. The really have some big balls!!
      But you seem to be saying it is all or nothing. Either I am raising my own crops, killing my own game with my bare hands and eating bugs or I am no different than the average city dweller. I don’t agree with that. I think there are degrees of change and dropping out. I could make a lot more change towards primitive living than I have, but that doesn’t wipe out the changes I have made.
      I may not be totally off-grid and self-reliant, but I am much more off-grid and self-reliant than most people. You may disagree, but I honestly think that in many ways I have dropped out of the rat race. There is no question in my mind whatsoever that I am doing much less damage to the earth than 90% of Americans.
      But your thoughts are welcome and I am glad you pointed out that what I am doing is in fact a compromise and not going all-out. I think that makes my message much more palatable to most people. Most of us really aren’t ready to grow our own crops, kill our own meat and eat bugs. I know I am not!! And, I am not offering any apologies for it either!

  28. WriterMs

    I have had the need over the past year or so to do research about primitive survival (for fiction writing purposes). I found both the “prepper” community and the “survivalist” community. They are two different “communities” but with a great deal of overlap. Many from each group decided to appear on Doomsday Preppers. Most of them did it to communicate the need for all of us to be prepared for emergencies with adequate food and water storage. But all shows must have a dramatic angle, and the producers would make each person featured choose one (and only one) disaster that they were preparing for. Obviously, that angle alone sets up the featured person to appear more “kooky” than they might otherwise (“I’m prepping for the explosion of the Yellowstone supervolcano,” etc.) You can do a Google search and find what those previously featured have had to say about their experience. And this is a show on National Geographic channel.
    Bob, the most you can expect to get in advance may be a few questions they want to cover. They will be very interested and work with you to create a “shot list” (scenes they will record) so they can plan. But the contract you will have to sign will say they can do whatever they want in presenting the information. DougB is very right in his post — no matter how well intentioned the folks are (or seem) who work directly with you, they usually do not have the final say in the edit or voiceover describing what the viewer sees. If they seem to be “leading” you with questions that go in a direction that makes you feel uneasy, follow your gut and say you do not want to pursue that. I offer this advice from a bit of my own experience in the entertainment industry. (Remember the “Hey Vern!” commercials and movies featuring Ernest P. Worrell? I was the PR director for the agency from which all that sprang.) Read your contract VERY carefully and trust nothing that is not in writing and signed by the authorized person.
    As I have posted before, my big concern is that TV is very much a “push” medium. Those who have a longing to find a simpler life or to get closer to nature (like myself) will come searching and find all the wonderful information you and others provide. On the other hand, even a lesser-known cable show will broadcast to hundreds of thousands of viewers. Will even 1 percent begin converting a van? No. Will 1 percent decide to find a nice spot on public land to party next weekend? Maybe.
    But, if the producers are aware of vandwelling and want to do a segment on it, they will find someone to film. It is a really tough decision, and I totally believe you are doing it to help others.
    Regarding natural resources such as water, your older blog post on where vandwellers can get water is very informative. Will the ranger stations still have well water to provide to boondockers if demand goes up by 20 percent rather suddenly? Will gas stations begin stopping customers who head to the john with water bottles in hand? I don’t know.
    About your concerns for our future, I agree many are indeed issues we should all be working on in one way or another (even if that is to simply buy less “stuff,” use solar panels, or move to smaller digs). In doing “survival” research, it was a bit too easy for me to get sucked into feeling the weight of various dire predictions, and I would begin to feel generally depressed even if I did not buy their “logic.” What I had to keep doing was to purposefully notice that the majority of people are very good people, that there are legions of scientists out there working on solutions, and that we are — little by little– making progress on many of these concerns.
    I do know one of the featured preppers from Doomsday Preppers, and she seems to be okay about her appearance on that series. If you decide you’d like to communicate directly with her, I can put you in touch.
    Thanks again for all you do!

    • MichaelinOK

      I think you make a very good distinction between information that is available for people who seek it out, vs. information that is pushed onto people without them even having had sufficient interest to seek it out. (I just went back to the previous blog entry and saw that you added a comment in part to that effect. I did not see it earier, or I would have responded there.)
      Interestingly, the keepers of special knowledge in all manner of fields–from martial arts to mysticism and many others–use a similar approach: They do not broadcast the information. Instead, they “narrow-cast” it by letting the seeker find it…but being eager to help the true seeker who is indeed looking.
      And this small hurdle–that you should actually be looking for the information–is important especially for types of information that can cause harm if too widely or too indiscriminately disseminated.
      And for reasons you and others have mentioned (everything from increased legislative scrutiny to increased competiton for limited resources), van-dwelling and its secrets and tips for how to live while skirting many of the burdens and costs of society, is, I believe, just such a field of knowledge…that can benefit from descretion in its teaching.
      And I join you in thanking Bob for all he’s done…and in admiring his enerosity of spirit.

    • DougB

      Just in the area of survivalists and preppers, I wonder whether the standard-issue RVer/boondocker/vandweller who plans on heading for rural areas in times of trouble could be among the first to have problems once the packed away food and water run low. I’m blindly guessing that any fuel, supply, or food distribution problems will impact non-urban areas first, because decisionmakers will prioritize highly populated areas. The food marts out here in Tiny Town will just sit, cleaned out, I’d think. It’s kind of self-correcting that the more developed and sophisticated a country is, the more impact that deviations from the norm have.

      • Bob

        I think you are very right Doug. I don’t think of myself as a preppper or survivalist. If I were vandwelling would NOT be a very good choice. Water would be my main problem because I only have the ability to carry 20 gallons with me and I rarely have that much on hand. I could probably go 2-3 months on the food I have on hand.
        But, my goal isn’t survival, it is a high quality of life and minimizing my damage to the earth. And I think I have done that extremely well!

  29. Bob

    Bob I enjoy reading the site and find myself in agreement for the most part. Anytime you put your ideas out in the public square you have to be prepared for the inevitable flogging. I trust the responses will leave you a wiser man but keep doing what makes you feel alive and thanks – Bob

    • Bob

      Bob, it has been a very interesting ride since I posted this!! But sometimes expressing strong opinions is good and healthy! I value everyone’s input and it really has given me a lot to think about!! Saying I am wiser might be a stretch though!!!

  30. Marshall

    I will always promote vandwelling. To try keeping it “in house” would only be an elitist position. The same thing we rail against. Personal responsibility is the key to successful and fun vandwelling. When that is accomplished and lived in the world vandwelling will become the great “New Movement” that the government cannot stop. I urge all vandwellers to become a positive pattern living and selling the freedom of vandwelling. I commend you for your encouraging words Bob!

    • Bob

      Marshall you raise a good point. The early adapters of every revolution were always persecuted. Why should we expect to be any different? I also agree with the “elitist” idea. It’s the NIMBY idea “Not In My Back Yard”. It’s like the people who demand we switch to renewable resources but then fight the wind farm in their area because it is noisy, ugly and will kill birds. Or who oppose the new subdivision near their subdivision because it’s bad for the environment. “My subdivision wasn’t bad for the environment but yours will be!”
      I’ve always found that thinking repulsive! But I recognize it as human nature and acknowledge that I think that way myself some times. Part of me is glad I discovered the Wave but doesn’t want you to know about it so it will be easier for me to visit it next time.
      It is a very hard question without any easy answer. There are no black-and-white answers here, just plenty of gray. But I very much appreciate your insight into it!

  31. owl

    I agree with very little of what Bob says about van dwelling, people who live lives different from his, the earth and the future of mankind. I also seek happiness and am thankful every day that I found it. This is Bobs blog and for those of you who don’t agree with what he has to say, try to keep from being angered or upset and letting your butt get in front of your brain. Agree to disagree and go get something to eat !

    • Bob

      Owl, I am astounded to read that you agree with very little of what I say!! I am blown-away! Of course I expected disagreements, but agree with very little??! However, I am having a very odd reaction to learning that. Instead of being angry or disappointed I actually find myself admiring you all the more. To be such a good friend with someone you basically disagree with makes you an exceptional person! One I am very glad to call a friend!!
      Have a great trip toward the Sierras and a wonderful summer!

  32. stan watkins

    I am glad for you and don’t feel they could make you look bad,but I am worried about what the exposure could do to the community at large. Freedom in many ways is being whittled away every day in this country. In my estimation even the BLM camping will be greatly curtailed in the future. Someone will tell this story so it should be someone as responsible as you but I don’t think thisp is a good idea.

    • Bob

      Stan, I appreciate your input, there is a lot of wisdom to it!! One of the principles I live my life by is “Do as little harm as I can”. That doesn’t mean do no harm, it means to always weigh the good done versus the harm done. In that spirit it seems like the risk of harm is greater than the possible help offered in doing a TV show. I will have to weigh them out carefully before I make a decision.

  33. pete

    Hi Bob, have you thought of making your own short documentary and posting it to youtube? All you need is a video camera and a plan. You could post short excerpts to youtube and sell dvds on amazon. Its been done already quite successfuly in the tiny house movement. It wouldnt be all that more difficult than your book (which I just bought and am enjoying very much). Just a thought. Thanks again and keep on blogging! Pete.

    • Bob

      Pete, that is a very good idea. I would do it but my plate is already full with other projects. Good luck with your tiny house Vardo trailer!

  34. MichaelinOK

    Imagine a man who rails against chickens as “the greatest disease and catastrophe that has ever befallen human beings,” yet eats (chicken) eggs every day for breakfast.
    You say that “civilization is the greatest disease and catastrophe that has ever befallen human beings.”
    Yet here you are with a lifestyle that makes use of the fruits of civilization and industrialization every day. Shall we count the ways?
    A van, Gasoline, Propane heater, Propane, Refrigerator, Computer, Websites, E-book, Satellite TV, Canned food, Advanced Dental Care (and traveling to Mexico to get it), Propane Stove, Buying things on the Internet and having them shipped to you (which requires a vast network of trucks, often planes, and various other support systems), having an “store” of your own as a way to earn money, Camera and photography, Eyeglasses, Telephone, Safety and security provided by police and military, Going on a cruise, A generator, and so on and so on, and more and more.
    It isn’t just that it’s hypocritical to be railing against civilization yet enjoying its fruits, even those one can easily avoid. It’s that you don’t seem to realize in your extreme criticism of civilization all the good that it’s brought.
    Without civilization your teeth would be rotted or gone, perhaps painfully or mortally infected; your vision (or that of many others) would be severely limited; you couldn’t begin to have a van or a website or a propane heater or a GPS or a phone or so many other of life’s tools and comforts. And if you did magically have a van, you probably couldn’t travel very far without bandits of some sort robbing or killing you, and taking your van and possessions…and poof goes your van-living lifestyle.
    It’s quite an ironic “cure” for civilization to fashion a lifestyle that for most is unsustainable (because living off of pension, government, etc.) and is also self-contradictory because it’s completely dependent on civilization…all the while “shouting from the rooftops” about how terrible civilization is.
    Civilization certainly has its flaws and curses; but it’s also the source of so many of our blessings–a whole lot of which I notice you are eager to benefit from.
    I don’t see how one can be honest about it and not give civilization credit for many things. And if you want to blame it for many other things, I would consider that fair.
    I have a yearning to try the mobile lifestyle myself, and I have a strong distaste for many of modern society’s practices and norms.
    But I don’t consider fair the one-eye-blind type of categorical attack on civilization–especially when one is living off its fruits every day and in so many ways.
    There never was a perfect society. Just because one sees some important flaws in our own, does not mean that its downfall would be good, or that it’s terrible by any reasonable and fair comparison to other societies or ages.
    And it happens that western civilization–yes, that big bad monster–in addition to doing some terrible things, happens to have pioneered such excellent social things as equal rights for women and religious and ethnic minorities, the aboliton of slavery, advanced education–including near universal literacy, which makes this blog relevant to its readers, among many other admirable advances. And this doesn’t begin to touch on the vast number of improvements in quality of life that technology has brought us…along with some of its drawbacks.
    To be clear, I know you are intelligent, and I know the Internet (and not only the Internet) is full of people with views more negative and more extreme than yours vis-à-vis civilization. And I consider much of what you say in many of your posts (on other matters) not only reasonable, but downright admirable.
    On the blanket and bitter condemnation of civilization, however, I think you’re sadly misguided. And for your possible benefit, and for the benefit of other readers of the blog, I’ve considered it my responsibility to give a dissenting point of view.
    By now both you and the readers of this blog–if they’ve chosen to read our back-and-forth–will have heard enough of my point of view to decide whether they think it persuasive.
    Therefore, I will be happy to give you the final word between us on this topic, if you want it, and won’t respond further on substance.

    • John

      Not sure if you’ve persuaded me but i really enjoy reading your writing style and think your viewpoint contributes a great deal to the present discussion!

      • MichaelinOK

        Thanks for the kind words!
        And may I say…your eye for good writing is remarkable. 🙂

  35. Chuck

    Very good post. I say leave van dwelling to word of mouth as opposed to bringing mass attention to it, thereby criticism from those who think its crazy, then comes the regulations. Of course non of us can predict the future but we have examples in our past that give some very good hints. Just look around.

    • John

      What do you think Mayor Bloomberg would do if he found out people were stealth camping (and not paying for a damn thing!) in NYC? Katie bar the door!

    • Bob

      Chuck, you might very well be right. I am very glad to have received such wise counsel from so many people. I may be persuaded to follow it.

  36. Chey55

    Interesting post. While many of the thoughtful responses, and some just argumentative, promote responses that some of us feel should be discussed without labels or direct political classifications. I agree with you on your view of the future and also find our country and lifestyles heading downhill no matter which economic, cultural, or natural resources you want to blame. As I have gotten older I too feel more conservative but not socially as much as fiscally. I am within 24 mos of heading out to become a fulltime rv’er in a small class c and your website and posts encourage my beliefs than less is more. I’m sure I confuse people all the time with my mix of interests (firefighter, emt, union rep, christian, girly tom-boy, cook, lover of animals, hunter, etc, etc) and I love that you not only share your lifestyle but also your thoughts on everyday issues. I consider myself preparing to go rogue and to those who think its crazy I don’t really listen. I’m following my heart and looking forward to living the nomadic life I desire. Thanks for putting all the info out there that you do and hope to meet you on the road someday. Chey

    • Bob

      Chey, I can relate to age changing you and creating a strange mixture of experiences and beliefs. My ideas have changed radically in the last dozen years, many beyond my recognition of them. I think you should wear your eccentricities like a badge of honor! I’m sure you have gone through lots of up and downs in your life that brought you to the point where you can stand on your own and be your own person regardless of what others may think!
      Keep following your heart, you can’t go wrong that way. I’m sure our paths will cross one of these days.

      • Chey55 - Meandering Jaxs

        Thanks for your encouragement, I’m pretty sure I can stand up to just about whatever comes my way and yes aging is definitely natures learning curve. That badge of honor is how we all recognize each other, right? Have a great week, Chey/Kris

        • Bob

          Chey, it is a badge of honor! As a single man my hormones are interested in youth, but I always find myself most attracted to seasoned and experienced women. That badge of honor is worth more than anything else. The physical attraction only lasts a brief moment, but a good conversation, that can last a lifetime!
          And I find that equally true of my relationships with men. Wisdom and substance are what I look for in a friend, and that generally comes with age.

  37. Steve & Zeke the Mountain Dog

    Wow Bob you were not kidding when we talked earlier… Everyone one has a right to their opinion, but in a public forum as i said, religion, local politics and world politics should be avoided like the plague… Here endeth the lesson…

    • Bob

      I know you are right Steve, but I can’t work that way. I am who I am and trying to just present the socially acceptable side of me won’t work. It’s an all or nothing deal.

      • Nicole

        GOOD FOR YOU BOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Bob

          Thanks Nicole!


    hey bob, just playing devil aggravated with ya!!!or nick picking ya? don’t want you to get delusional!!.anyhoo it would be a real drag if we were all the right wing repubican capitatist,lol gee, an here i thought you were a godd**am hippy, see what i know!!.its hard to fly like a eagle, when your are hang with turkeys. fellow traveler gary p.s. what is a troll?

    • Bob

      Gary, I can’t get delusional, because I already am! A troll is someone who goes to website with the sole goal of causing trouble. obviously you are not one!

  39. Carl

    WOW !! I’m glad now that I took Evelyn Wood’s Speed Readin’ and Writin’ course years ago !! Well enuf with the jokes.
    I agree with Steve & Zeke the Mountain Dog, lets talk VanDwellin’
    Since I stumbled onto your Blog, VanDwellin has peaked my interest and I’m happy to say on April 5th, 2013 I begin my trek.
    I just wanted to say thanx again Bob for your helpful tips and comments and I read your book too.
    By the way, you say you’re going on a cruise?
    Are you leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Miami ? If either give me a holler B4 you go, we’ll have lunch, I live between the two in Hollywood, FL

  40. Susan

    Love your writing, and lifestyle. Hopefully I will be able to join you next year. As for the TV show…my opinion is you should follow your heart. If it is the right thing to do, you will know, or do know.
    I know that most people think I have a few screws loose when I tell them I want to live in a van, thankfully my lifemate feels the same as I do and wants to share that lifestyle. But right now we have to work a couple years to make it possible.
    I feel that there are going to be certain people who are drawn to this lifestyle, and will eventually seek it out for themselves, as I did. I feel the best way to promote this way of life is to do it, and do it in such a way that your happiness shines out from you like a beacon, inspiring others to follow or blaze their own path. Which you already do magnificently. =)
    But we each have our own path, and most will go down the path well traveled….
    That is their choice.
    And free Spirits will always find a way to be free….

    • Bob

      Hi Susan, thanks for your very kind and reasoned comment from your heart. You are so right that the way we live speaks so loudly that people can’t really hear our words. I would say that was actually a reason to do a TV show, because it is one of the best ways to show and not tell the joy of living this way.
      As you get closer to time to work on the van and actually leave, feel free to write and ask any questions you may have. I am always glad to help.

  41. ILDan

    WOW! Hot topic. Yet again, your blog offers information and entertainment. In college, I had a philosophy prof who used the term “naively complicated.” He used it when we’d get too full of ourselves and overthink too far out.
    History is what happens while you’re busy making predictions. (my bastardization of Lennon)
    As to the TV show, I say “Why not?” You’ve already put yourself and lifestyle out there for full scrutiny. Sure you’ll loose editing control and of course, they’ll try to make you look a bit looney. But so what? Those who know you, know you. Think of all the future campfire laughs at your expense.
    I say, play it up if you’d like. Give them a TV character and an act. Ham it up. Share your toothbrush with Homer. Besides, a loon won’t promote the lifestyle to its demise.
    If it sounds fun or the pay’s right, do it and make no apologies. Your only obligations to the “lifestyle” are self-imposed.
    (no response needed. fun topic)

    • Bob

      ILDan, you caught me, I consider myself a Compulsive-OverThinker. I’ve been thinking I need to start a new 12 Step program for that. I think I will call it COT. Our motto will be “Take a Nap and Give Your Poor Overworked Brain a Rest!!” I think I will go take a nap, talk to you’ll later.

  42. Anna

    Looks like a Cult, sounds like a Cult, smells like a Cult. If you’re in doubt, look it up. To each his own.

    • Bob

      Anna, you are getting sleeepy, sleeeeeepy, sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy. Steve, bring out the Kool Aid!

      • m.a.


    • DougB

      Wikipedia: “A cult references a group whose beliefs or practices are considered strange by society.” “The word cult in current popular usage is a pejorative term…”
      Considering that I’ve always felt that many of our society’s beliefs and practices seemed strange, and having reversed course and tried boondocking full-time for the last 6 months so far, you may kindly sign me up, please and thank you!
      “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

      • Bob

        Doug, I thought that was a very strange comment from Anna also. I don’t know if it correct or not, but I associate the word “CULT” with undue control. If that is true, we aren’t doing anything even remotely cult-like. If it means outside of societal norms, then yes we are 100% a “CULT”. And I, for one, am extremely proud of it!

  43. Nemo

    wow.. the things I miss when I have a bad signal
    I personally am glad you posted this, if for nothing other than all the conversation that it has generated..
    As you know, I agree with alot of your feelings in your original post, and feel that the sooner we can mitigate the damage being done to the earth because of our culture and society, the sooner the world will begin to heal.
    as to the show, I admire the fact that you have given so much of yourself to help others, but I am very uncomfortable with a ‘for profit’ company producing a program about a lifestyle that is easier if we are under the radar.. as someone else stated earlier, a documentary done with the entent of educating is one thing, but my impression of general TV is all about sensationalizing something, or shocking the public.
    I would also be concerned as stated earlier that others would then start to look for us. I spend the majority of my time in the boonies, but when I’m in town, I want to be undisturbed.. Mostly I manage that and dont want it to change
    Thank you for your thoughts Bob, and the willingness to share! Hopefully we can all sit around a camp one day and get into a good discussion 🙂

    • Bob

      Nemo, I’m not hoping on sharing a campfire soon, I”m planning on it! I’m camped just outside Wiceknburg right now in a really great campsite. it’s a big desert, plenty of room for you here!

  44. m.a.

    hahhahhahaa! So glad you threw this post out there, Bob! You’ve got guts. Great comments. & good laughs as well. We are of many opinions, we humans on this planet. Makes life interesting.

    • Bob

      M.A. my problem is I have more guts than brains!! I gotta start keeping my big mouth shut! But, like you said, it makes life interesting!

      • m.a.

        Don’t do it! living in silence might be safer – but it’d be pretty boring, and not nearly as much fun. – and this comes from someone who puts her foot in her mouth on a regular basis. 🙂

  45. kitty

    Hi Bob, I am at a public library and can read the blog very well. And all this time I thought you were a left wing liberal! I see your ideas and life are like mine, hence the assumtion.
    To the fellow just thinking of trying van dwelling: I am an urban/suburban van dweller. I spent the winter at a friends house that was empty. So I wasn’t cold. Now I am back in my van. I do a lot of house sitting which covers my laundry needs and showers. As the weather warms I will use spray bottle showers. Next winter I hope to camp in southern state parks and national forests. My van is at 47,000 miles. I am saving for new tires. I think getting a new van is a good way to keep maintenece costs down.

    • Bob

      kitty, like most of us, I am hard to pin down into just one label. It sounds like you have a great plan that should work out very well for you. Wow, 47,000 miles, that is just barely broken in! I wish you the very best!!

  46. tom

    As cities pass more laws against sleeping in a vehicle, I don’t see any good that could come from encouraging more people to do it. As it is, its hard enough to find a stealth parking spot. Who needs competition?

  47. Chester Breder

    We will have water, more and more expensive. We will have energy, they will find a way to charge for the sun. We will have all the effects of climate warming, and right you are, we are not able to fix it until it is (to late?) I don’t agree with promoting our (your) life style. Where does the average fool get even the limited income required. Where does the world get the space for the vandal-ers.

    • Bob

      Chester, we think alike about water and energy. I appreciate your input about the TV show. It seems by far most of the readers do NOT want me to do it. I will definitely take that into account when I decide.

  48. Gabe

    The only thing in your post that I disagree with is the running out of water part. There is still just as much water on the planet as there ever was. Actually more, because we still get a bit from out of space drizzling in. At least that is what I’ve read. Water doesn’t disappear like oil does. It only gets redistributed. For instance if a Well is used up and becomes dry, the water doesn’t disappear, it only ends up somewhere else on the planet. Of course water can be poisioned and made useless, but it’s still around.

    • Bob

      While you are 100% right Gabe, there is more to the issue than that. In the U.S. the main problem is the Ogalalla Aquifer. It is the huge underground amount of water that lies under the entire mid-west and Great Plains. That area is the bread basket of not just this country, but much of the world. We are draining it for agriculture much faster than it can recharge. Here is a quote from the NY Times: (

      So the aquifer is dropping lower and lower, and some geologists fear it could dry up in as soon as 25 or 30 years. This is a major issue confronting not just those eight states but the entire country. As one reader pointed out to me, “that aquifer will not be recharged until the next ice age.”

      There is no question we will drain that aquifer and soon. In much of the Plains we depend on it for crop production; how will we grow crops when the Aquifer is drained? Above that we are currently in one of the worst droughts in recorded history, and if predictions of climate change are right, it will just get worse.
      So lets assume every drop of that water has just moved and is now in the Great Lakes (it isn’t, but let’s assume that). Think about the politics and the cost of moving all that water back over to the Great Plains and the network of pipelines it will take to disperse it to every farm. Who is going to pay for those pipelines? How long will it take to get them all in place? How much will a loaf of bread cost after it is all done?
      So yes, the water is still on the planet, but it is moving so that one place will be flooded and crops wiped out, and another place won’t have any water and the crops will be wiped out. Either way, life as we know it is going to be very different than it is now and maybe much sooner than we think.

  49. Cyrus

    Word bob. You said it all. I can’t believe how many comments there are too this! I’m not even going to bother to read them, especially since religion seems to be a recurring theme in them.

    • Bob

      Thanks Cyrus. Actually there was little religion but a lot of politics in the comments. But, no doubt there were a LOT of them. I don’t blame you for not wanting to read them!

    • Bob

      Thanks Tom.

  50. Bill Moore

    MichaelinOK is a bit of a bore eh?
    Your post reads like my left wing ecohippie friends blogs, just so you know. You may say you’re a right wing Republican, but you’re beliefs are right in line with a left wing Democrat/Environmentalist.
    To which I say: good job. 🙂

    • Bob

      Bill, Michael a bore? I don’t think so! He is well thought-out and reasoned, that is never boring! At this point in my life, I defy stereotyping. I voted for George W Bush twice and I think history will be much kinder to him than we have been.
      I doubt if I will ever vote again. The Republicans will destroy the earth and the Democrats will destroy the country. There is no lessor of the two evils. While I think most of them are good, honest men genuinely trying to do what they think is best, Western Civilization as a whole is evil and I can no longer support it.

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