So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, August 8, 2014
Base of operations
One of the problems for a do-it-yourselfer is having a base of operations. Even something as simple as working on one's own car is banned. Fewer places allow a car to be jacked in a driveway while major work is done. We can't actually do anything on our property as that would lower the neighbor's values.
It's good to have a piece of land far enough away from neighbors. A little power tool noise won't bother anybody. A big pile of parts and materials won't be mistaken for junk. I find it's nice to live in a place where my car is currently up on ramps and there's a boat project in the driveway. No one will complain.
The big problem with a fixed base of operations is the fact that it can't run away. People from the city move close and start to complain. Zoning laws are passed. The tax man aways knows where to find you.
I met one man who was so upset with encroaching rules, regulations, fees, and taxes that he sold everything. He moved his family into a big 5th wheel and vowed to never own taxable property ever again. There are plenty of people living on the road full time, and not all of them are well off retired folks. There are families, young singles, and even poorer older people too.
Of course, you've got to keep your home in a running condition. If not, some “authority” will have it seized and scrapped. Paying garages to do all the work quickly gets expense. Doing the work yourself is cheaper -if you can get away with it. There are garages that rent space and tools, so that's sometimes an option. Now and then people haul all the parts and tools they need to some remote location and hope to fix the problem before asked to move on. It helps to have fiends to call on. Maybe you have a friend who'll let you use their property. If all your friends are also living the gypsy life, they can at least lend tools and hands. Being able to send someone out for more parts is a huge deal too.
During my sailing adventures I've met many people who've abandoned their land home for life on the water. At a minimum, they have to keep their boats up to Coast Guard standards. Over and over I've met people who've anchored for years in one place, only to find it turn unfriendly to live aboards as the political landscape changes. The best solution is having a boat ready to leave at a moments notice. That takes keeping it in good running condition.
How is that done? Not every boat job can be done while it's in the water. Many boats require a haul out at least once a year. That requires the equipment of a boat yard. At one time it was common to pay a small haul out fee, live on the boat in the yard, and then do the work yourself. Few places allow that now, especially in the developed world. If you have to pay for all the work, and find a place to live, it gets expensive real quick.
Dave Z is building a new boat to live on. He and Anke currently live on a home built boat. Finding a good place to build a boat is always an issue, especially when still living on one. You need a place that will let you live aboard while not so remote that it's impossible to get materials.
Dave's boats have some good features. They are built with common materials are are designed to be beached. It's possible to land the boat during high tide, do hull work, then float away on the next high tide. Now you don't need to build a boat of Dave's design. (though for some that might be exactly what to do) What you should do is learn from his example -simple boats, easily repaired, with the ability to be grounded.
My current base of operations, my dome home on a lake, is pretty sweet. I'm near water, in the woods, and can work on my projects without neighbors hassling me. However, the burdens of a fixed base of operations gets a little tougher every year. Income has not kept up with the demands of home ownership. Sometimes I feel the pinch, and during those times the gypsy life looks pretty good.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.