Van Life
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Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 3:00 AM
       Van Life (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Aug 31, 2022 7:05 AM
       Van Life (by Ken [NY]) Aug 31, 2022 7:48 AM
       Van Life (by plenty [MO]) Aug 31, 2022 8:02 AM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 8:13 AM
       Van Life (by Roy [AL]) Aug 31, 2022 8:16 AM
       Van Life (by Paulio [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 8:19 AM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 8:22 AM
       Van Life (by WMH [NC]) Aug 31, 2022 8:22 AM
       Van Life (by Plenty [MO]) Aug 31, 2022 9:01 AM
       Van Life (by RB [TN]) Aug 31, 2022 9:10 AM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 9:15 AM
       Van Life (by S i d [MO]) Aug 31, 2022 10:04 AM
       Van Life (by WMH [NC]) Aug 31, 2022 10:44 AM
       Van Life (by MikeA [TX]) Aug 31, 2022 10:53 AM
       Van Life (by Still Learning [NH]) Aug 31, 2022 12:55 PM
       Van Life (by LTD [AZ]) Aug 31, 2022 3:01 PM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 31, 2022 5:45 PM
       Van Life (by Vee [OH]) Aug 31, 2022 6:22 PM
       Van Life (by Jason [VA]) Aug 31, 2022 8:12 PM
       Van Life (by Ken [NY]) Sep 1, 2022 1:22 AM
       Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Sep 1, 2022 6:19 AM
       Van Life (by Dee Ann [WI]) Sep 1, 2022 9:50 AM
       Van Life (by #22 [MO]) Sep 1, 2022 10:05 AM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Sep 1, 2022 2:01 PM
       Van Life (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Sep 1, 2022 2:48 PM
       Van Life (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Sep 1, 2022 2:52 PM
       Van Life (by LTD [AZ]) Sep 1, 2022 5:40 PM
       Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Sep 1, 2022 5:56 PM
       Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Sep 1, 2022 6:02 PM
       Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Sep 1, 2022 6:44 PM
       Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Sep 1, 2022 11:04 PM

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 3:00 AM

I've been following a FB group of people who live full time in their vans. I've heard of full timers in RVs but recently became aware of this phenomenon with vans. Some of the people are homeless while others are just into a nomadic lifestyle. I think all of them sort of reject the idea of a traditional life paying rent somewhere or owning a house. They have gym memberships for showers and often engage in stealth camping. Stealth camping involved sleeping in cracker barrel parking lots, hotel lots and other places undetected. Some go as far as to disguise their vans as work vans for this purpose. It's unclear to me what some of these guys do for money. Some travel about while others stay in their local area. Although homeless by the traditional definition, this is definitely a step up from simply camping out on the street. I have no idea on the overall numbers of people doing this, but there seems to be a lot of people doing this.

I think many of these folks are driven to this by rent cost and a commitment to a minimalist lifestyle. The FB group that I'm following is like our group here where people advise each other and support. I just find this interesting and indicative of the times.

Van Life (by mapleaf18 [NY]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 7:05 AM

just a guess as to what they do for money; they probably have a fake or a relative's address used to have EBT/SSI/SSD etc direct deposited into a bank account on their behalf.

Van Life (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 7:48 AM

I am thinking a lot of them collect SSI or disability and pick up occasional odd jobs when they need money. I know years ago Wal Mart used to let overninght people use there parking lots for campers etc --74.77.xx.xx

Van Life (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:02 AM

Interesting. Opportunity for a different kind of rv parking?

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:13 AM

Plenty, I was thinking about that, but most of these guys look for free parking accommodations. They have an app they use to identify free and safe parking all over the country. People actually leave reviews on various places on these apps. You probably stand to make money selling stuff to customize the vans. The typical RV hookup is anywhere between 30 to 50 dollars a night and that's beyond the budget for many of these guys.

Van Life (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:16 AM

These are people who are just one vehicle away from being completely homeless. I know people who live in their cars and that is the only roof over their heads they can afford. When the car breaks down and won't move another inch, that parking lot becomes their new address. In one of my Class D hoods, I know a couple who lives in their car and I occasionally hire them for grunt work.

Van Life (by Paulio [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:19 AM

I think they may use the cost of rent to justify in their own mind why they lack any ambition whatsoever and contribute nothing to society.

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:22 AM

Maybe a place that offers free parking but sells shower time, food and van stuff might work. Those exist already for truckers though.

Van Life (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:22 AM

Van Life is a thing with TikTok users. As a matter of fact, that young girl who was murdered by her BF awhile back was part of that movement. They were funding their life through TikTok. Don't ask me how.

Van Life (by Plenty [MO]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 9:01 AM

It would have to be cheap $5 a night? Just image no RV hooks just a fenced lot ! Like a downtown parking lot? Maybe pota potty. --172.56.xx.xx

Van Life (by RB [TN]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 9:10 AM

Brings a midnight move out to a whole new level.

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 9:15 AM

Yeah, parking would need to be cheap or free but you can make it up by selling them essentials. I'm envisioning a convenience store type setup with showers, supplies and maybe some food. Perhaps sell some internet time as well. Finding a safe place to park where they're not hassled by police or neighbors is a biggie.

Van Life (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 10:04 AM

There's a whole series like this on various YouTube channels. One I find interesting is called "Boondocking", which is the term used for folks who cruise around the country in their RV/Van and live wherever someone will let them park.

They're often very resourceful and happy living a simple lifestyle. I credit them for this.

One guy I watched for awhile was struggling with drug addiction. He would go somewhere, earn enough day labor money to get his fix, go back off grid for a few days, then rinse and repeat. What really interested me about his life is he was what I would consider a "functional drug addict" much like a "functional alcoholic." He could still work, create and post YouTube videos, and his life wasn't a total wreck. You wouldn't know he was into drugs unless he told you. He looked fairly normal, aside from an unkempt appearance. But he wasn't filthy or gross: just a bit shaggy. Sort of like a modern day hippie.

His channel is "Steve Wallis," if you want to check him out.

I won't spoil the surprise he posted a little while back. Start with his earlier stuff. Fascinating!

Wal-Marts across the nation allow folks to park their RVs overnight and to use their bathrooms. As long as the RVers don't cause trouble, they recognize they end up selling them a lot of supplies, so it's a win for them as well to let them use otherwise empty parking spaces.

Not my cup of tea at this time in life. But someday? Who knows? I do love a good adventure!


Van Life (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 10:44 AM

Our Walmart does not allow the parking lot camping. They used to back in the day, but it was overwhelming with the number of summer visitors we get. I think the county banned it, actually. You can only camp in regulated camping spots.

Van Life (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 10:53 AM

Go watch the movie Nomadland that came out 3-4 years ago it will give you a good idea of how these folks live. Nothing new under the sun, in old Europe this lifestyle is known as Gypsies. In the 60's we called them hippies. Today we call them nomad's.

They pick up odd jobs or temp work, think Amazon warehouse for Christmas season and orchards during harvest season. They stay wherever is cheap RV parks with a monthly rate, parking lots of dilapidated commercial properties, in the middle of the Arizona/Nevada desert during winter.

Not sure I want to tailor any business to them. Most have antisocial traits, addictions, or other problems that surface from time to time. Way too much drama for me.

Van Life (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 12:55 PM

A subset of this group have w2 jobs in the restaurant industry in ski towns. There isnít affordable housing available for the income they make. They sometimes will try camping/van life during part of the year and then try to find a place for the colder months. I have been in the local coffee shop listening to the employee behind the counter discussing the stress of being about to go back to van life at the end of her lease in a month and a local who seemed sympathic offering a place for 2 months while they traveled but the local was looking for $$$.

Van Life (by LTD [AZ]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 3:01 PM

LOL @ the comments. I was living in a van down by the river long before it was a thing. I did meet some real characters though. Maybe I am one. ;)

I managed to blow my Army bonus and every dime I'd made on fast cars, cheap booze and loose women, or vice versa. When I ETS'ed I was deadazz broke. I did have a VW pop-top camper. Hocked my uniforms and got gas money. Stayed on a dairy farm where an army buddy worked for a couple of weeks until my final paycheck arrived, about $400 of which I owed him about half. Learned I wasn't a farmer.

Decided Key West was the place. Made it to Orlando on my last tank of gas. Slept in my van outside the day labor office. Got up at 4 am and was first in line. Spent the day digging a ditch, while a backhoe was parked 50 ft away. About 2 pm some fat guy in an El Camino showed up smokin' a ceegar. He cussed us out, said the trench was in the wrong place and found the backhoe driver who filled in our 6 hours of hard labor. I got paid $24. Cash.

Made it to Key West and became an "analog nomad," aka a "beach bum." Back then you could park on the White St pier, and stay all night if you were "fishing." So we'd put a couple of poles out with no bait, and go to sleep. After awhile the authorities caught on and stopped that. Cold showers at Smathers Beach in a nor'easter, ah livin' the van life!

By then I was the "last" conch diver in America. It was like picking money off the seabed. I'd snorkel off the beach towing a boogie board with a milk crate and dive flag strapped to it. I sold the meat to a couple of local places and the shell guy at the Southernmost Point paid me $2 a shell. Plus I sold sand dollars and sea biscuits. I made about $50-$100 a day. A restaurant I sold conch to let me park in back under a huge, cool, banyon tree. Then after a few months they instituted a moritorium on conch in the US, so I had to get a real job.

I bought a houseboat and dock on the original "houseboat row" and lived there awhile, then lived across the street from Jimmy Buffet for few months. Later as my construction career improved I started watching Carlton Sheets on late night TV. I bought his $99 nothing down program and headed for the big time!

I lived in my van again at the Miami KOA where I was the layout "engineer" on phase one of the now massive, "Brickle Center." Then I bought a home with a dock on a canal in Ft. Lauderdale. Rented two rooms and lived almost for free. Over about 6 months I bought six rentals, "nothing down." I went broke again about a year later. I was about 24, and 12% interest in 1985 seemed perfectly normal to me.

Once again I was on the beach, living between my sailboat and my van. Travelin' and a livin' off the land. I think there's a song about that.

Forty years later I'm a millionaire living in a castle on a hill overlooking my empire! ;)

And it all started in an old VW van. LOL


Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 5:45 PM

LTD, you need to write a book. I'd buy it!

Van Life (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 6:22 PM

I would also if it was autographed, I spent some time in an air cooled VW van after doing side-of-the-road repairs to refrigerated trucks, it was fun and the tips of fresh meat were amazing, my hangout - under The St. Louis Arch near Rt 55, plenty of music and horseplay there, lost several shoes in the river...

Van Life (by Jason [VA]) Posted on: Aug 31, 2022 8:12 PM

I work with an individual from Canada making well over 6 figures a year. He has a family and house in his home country, but while he's here he's chosen to live in his van and save up his $125+ per diem. He lives in the van more than his home.

Van Life (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 1:22 AM

I just checked out a vanlife forum,they are pretty much willing to do anything to avoid actually getting a job,seems like it would be way easier just to get a job you would like --74.77.xx.xx

Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 6:19 AM

Ah, yes! The memories. When I got out of the service in 1971 I already had the requisite VW van, a 1967 camper. I was already doing the van life, going to Hollywood, Laurel Canyon, Topanga, Malibu, Big Sur and San Francisco all the time and staying in the van. After I got out I decided to take a year off and travel the country and Canada with my girlfriend, so we did. We left with $500 and went all over with no particular directions. When we got down to $200 we would stop and get day labor work through manpower. When we got back up to $500 we'd take off again.Gas was 25 cents a gallon. We were in the parking lot at the Okracoke Island lighthouse when a small (cat 1?) hurricane hit in early August of 72, then drifted down to Miami for the Republican convention when they renominated Nixon for his second term, including the riots there where we had a first hand experience. Then down into the Keys and so on, finally getting to Calif near the end of 1972. There's a hundred more stories, but no room. Settled in Santa Barbara and started a construction company then started buying houses and was able to retire in 1989 and just hustling houses since. Living off the rents the tenants pay since. Living at a place in Michigan now since Calif got too expensive (places I was buying for 13-25K as VA repo's in the early 70's now sell for 1.5 million plus- the SAME houses, but 50 years older). My current van sits at my place, ready to go any time.In the summers,lately- the last 3 years, I'll sometimes go to the mountains for a few months in the Black Hills or the places in Montana. It's a good life. --24.180.xx.xx

Van Life (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 9:50 AM

We follow some van lifers on you tube. They make money from you tube videos, sponsering products, and advertising either at the beginning of their videos or some really popular van lifers have more advertising cut into their videos more often, like commercials on TV. --75.11.xx.xx

Van Life (by #22 [MO]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 10:05 AM

If we didn't have house payments and utilities, jobs and hours that must be worked would drop significantly.

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 2:01 PM

I'd buy your book also Richard! Seems to me that people do this lifestyle for various reasons; some are homeless, some just like adventure, some are rebels and reject the notion of how we're all supposed to live and etc. I just think this is a growing trend and the FB group I'm following is very much like our group here except it's focused on vanlife and is replete with tips and tricks. Fascinating stuff

Van Life (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 2:48 PM

Don't prejudge!

Some of those vans are worth $150,000.

Work from home trends and making a living on your laptop has made it much easier for folks to work from anywhere, including a car or van.

I have been watching this for years on YouTube because I'm fascinated by clever designs and layouts, how to live in just 40 sf.

This is a big trend with generation Z.

Best tip I saw Was to put some generic wording on your van it sounded like church missions, then spend the night in a church parking lot. The police won't bother that church van in a church parking lot.


Van Life (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 2:52 PM

My plan for solving the homeless issue in our town is to buy up some cheap used minivans, give them a five dollar Obama phone, a mattress and a cooler.

My town has two Walmarts and the Sam's Club that allow overnight parking.

They now have wheels to get to jobs or healthcare, a phone for appointments etc., and a clean, dry, safe place to sleep.

Here, I just fixed the world!


Van Life (by LTD [AZ]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 5:40 PM

Hi Brad - what you say is true. I see some of the Prevost coaches that visit the river resorts here. They cost 2 or 3 times what my HOUSE is worth!

I saw a comic somewhere, big "fat cat" banker type smoking a stogie giving advice to a young fellow, says, "Someday son, if you skimp and save and work real hard, you too can afford a van down by the river." LOL

We may all end up there yet!

Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 5:56 PM


Thanks. I've been thinking about a book. I've still got plenty of pictures from those days and a bunch of stories. Here's just one: coming down to Miami in the late summer of 1972 we hooked up with a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War that was coming down to the convention from Massachusetts. As we got to know these people, one named John Kerry, yes-the one who threw his medal over the fence at the white house rode with us in our van, As we got to Miami Beach we rode down the main street by the convention center with the side doors hanging open and we were hanging out the doors waving fake AR-15 rifles around and shouting and making a nuisance of ourselves. No one, including the police did anything about it. (Can you imagine that now?) Kerry was right there next to me doing it too. Now Kerry has a govt job. How about that!

I've got plenty of stories too about the riots on the last day when the undercover cops/FBI came up right next to us on the main corner about 6 feet away and started the riot by throwing bottles and bricks at a group of about 150 cops in riot gear standing across the street from us. (Yes, the FBI and cops started the riot - I was about 6 feet away). After they threw about 3 or 4 rounds of bottles and bricks at the riot cops, the riot cops charged us with their shields and big riot clubs and we had a good time running. There was a big network TV truck on the street about 30 feet away when the undercover FBI and cops walked up all together in a group carrying the bottles and bricks. As soon as these people walked up, the TV cameras on the network truck turned right on them, even before they threw anything. They KNEW what was about to happen and wanted it on camera to show that the "protesters" started it. The network had to be in on it. These undercover people had wigs and clothes on just like the rest of us.

Does this sound familiar? Like maybe on the Jan 6th incidents? Imagine that!

I've got lots of other stories like that. --24.180.xx.xx

Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 6:02 PM

Brad 20K,

Your idea about getting old vans and rv's and renting them to people is actually being done in LA. There are people buying old vans and rv's, running or not and towing them to places, even on the street and then renting them to homeless or almost homeless people.

I'd bet that whoever owns a house that someone drags a non running vehicle in front of and then rents it out is plenty happy about that.

The cops and the govt does nothing and likely bothers the homeowner instead of whoever is living in the van and using the sidewalks as a toilet. --24.180.xx.xx

Van Life (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 6:44 PM

Richard, I'm not at all surprised to hear that. I suspect agent provocateurs are active in most protests and riots. Similarly, these same elements are involved in what passes for political debate shaping the "issues", opinions and emotions. Reality exists outside of the bounds of the media but they do a very good job masking it.

Van Life (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Sep 1, 2022 11:04 PM


I think you're right on that.

One thing that really stuck with me after that was that BOTH sides of the politics can and do use the same tactics. At one time I thought the side I favored was "good" and the other side was "bad". Now I wonder if they are not both bad, at least many of them. This difference seems to be even larger and more pronounced these days. Just today I was reading about the result of the latest voting fiasco in Alaska and how one side was doing something and the other side was doing nothing to stop it. I thought how could this happen when the methods of cheating on the vote were well known. How could the people LET this happen? Why did one side allow this to just happen without challenging it? I realized that there are people who simply want power and control no matter what side they are on and they will support each other despite their differences. They will split the vote by running a second candidate to weaken a strong one that might win. And more, much more.

I think over the last few generations we, as a group, have become weak. I hear a lot of talk but I see few who do much of anything. I recall reading that in the Revolutionary War of 1776, there were only about 3 percent of the population that did anything and most just stood by and took whatever happened. I'm thinking that not much has changed and that most will just take whatever they are told- be it you will own nothing and like it or you will eat crickets and worms. Time will tell. --24.180.xx.xx

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