Friday, October 21, 2022

Glorified Homelessness?

There’s a number of articles and videos about the downsides of van life. They make some pretty good points. There’s been a lot of social media posts on how great it is and they gloss over most of the problems. Some of these people haven’t really been out on the road that long. Get back to me after you’ve run low on funds and the transmission gives out on your van. If you can cope with that I’ll follow your channel. It’s not always sunsets on the beach. 

My lovely wife and I did basically the van life thing using a converted ambulance. We never did it for more than six months at a stretch. Believe me, it’s good to know that there’s a house to go back to if things go sideways. For example we had major brake issues while in Florida. My lovely wife was really worried how badly the garage would stick it to us. What if we couldn’t pay? I figured out we still had the ability to rent a car. Worse comes to worse I’d rent a car, clean out as much stuff out of the van as possible and drive home. We’d abandon the ambulance at the garage if the price was too high. 

It turned out we were able to cover the repair, but the garage had us worried for a while. Reviews of the garage were mixed but nobody else could fit us in. One garage wanted us to leave the vehicle and maybe they’d get to it in three weeks. When it’s your home you are kinda stuck. Leaving your vehicle for weeks is not an option. 

How you earn is a living while on the road is an issue. I’ve a small pension and that makes all the difference. Working on-line can be an option. I did it for a while back when I was involved with an on-line publication. However, I didn’t need daily connection. As long as I could download and upload files a few times a week I was golden. As it was I sometimes had to drive for miles to find a place with a good enough connection. 

If you stay in nice secure RV parks with all the services life can be easier, but it’s going to cost you. It might be cheaper to live in an apartment or even a house. Free camping on Federal land is cheap, but you’d better be self-sufficient for everything from power to security. Federal campgrounds are a pretty good deal, especially if you qualify for one of their discount programs. While they can be on the primitive side the campgrounds generally have potable water and bath houses. Some even have full hookups but those will cost more. 

Traveling alone can be rough. I was traveling with my lovely wife which helped a lot. If I was by myself I’d probably be perceived as a big creepy looking guy. Women definitely have to pay greater attention to their security. 

People think you can just pull into a Walmart parking lot and call it good. For one thing not all Walmarts even allow overnight parking. We were two people and a dog yet still felt insecure at some Walmarts. We moved on. When you are tired, or not feeling well, and need a place to stop, it can be stressful. 

I’ve got to agree. In a lot of ways van life can be gloried homelessness. It can be a good time and I’m not opposed to doing something like it again. However, you’ve got to keep your eyes open to the downsides. 



  1. 35 years ago, I lived out of my van for a year. Totally by choice too. I saw a lot of my country and met some fun people. Real people, not #influencers.
    Sure, there are compromises and constraints, but it's more than do-able for a while. Just how long is up to your personal limits / expectations / funding.
    Much happier in a paid off house.

    1. When the lockdowns hit it was much nicer to be in a house. I'm glad you got to experience that year of van living. Good times, I'm sure.

  2. I still wish you had just given us a call when the ambulance camper had brake issues. After all you were still in the vicinity. Between myself and the neighbor , we could easily have fixed y'all , right up and proper too !
    Jeez , then the next year sank the Ranger. Yet still didn't give us a call . Woulda been easy for to jump in our Toyotas and come rescue ya...
    Person should always keep your friends in mind when troubles strike.
    You'll have more adventures , I'm sure in our neck of the woods...
    Next time don't be afraid to send for the rescue squad lol

    1. We were quite a ways north and my in-laws were within Uber distance. As for the Ranger, yeah, probably should have thought of you. However, knowing us, there could easily be a next time. However, it might be nice to just have a beer together instead.

  3. Thanks for the some of the Real Story. Good to read what Reality Is, vs. The Dream of What Might Be.