You Must Be Crazy!

1.It took me a while to find mine: full-time RVing! (This is me at Valley of Fire State Park in NV)

It took me a while to find mine: full-time RVing! (This is me at Valley of Fire State Park in NV)

(Today we have a guest post by a fellow blogger, Becky over at Interstellar Orchard. She has a great blog that I highly recommend to you!   http://www.interstellarorchard.com/ She has also just come out with an e-guide to getting started full-time RVing on a budget. Find it here: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/solo-budget-rving-guide/ Highly Recommended!)

I use to wince when the alarm went off on weekdays. Dragging myself out of bed to get ready in the dark felt like torture. When I’d drive to work I wouldn’t even notice the beautiful sunrise because I’d still be half asleep. Then I’d work for 8.5 hours or more, just counting down the time until I could leave. I’d always rush home to try to get chores done before supper, and then stay up a little too late trying to squeeze in some down time and regain my sanity. Then it was off to bed, and dreading the next morning.

I should have been happy. This job was in the field I’d gone to college for. It paid well, and was steady work. The kind of job that would allow a young go-getter to put a good down payment on a first house. But I was miserable.

It didn’t feel like living. It felt like some vast sort of cosmic trick played on humanity, to make us feel like we had lives when really we were little more than slaves to the routine. But at 26 years old, it was all I knew. Everyone my whole life had been telling me that this was the correct thing to do. You graduate from college, get a high paying job, get married, buy a house, have kids, raise them, retire, and then you could have fun.

YouMustBeCrazy 2

Work-camping at Zion National Park in UT under a double rainbow, love my little RV

When I first learned through a blog not so very different from this one that you really didn’t have to go along with the status quo, It felt like I’d received a second lease on life. I didn’t dare tell any of my friends or family yet about my plans to escape ‘the real world’, because I knew what their response would be, it’s the response I myself would have had a few months before, back when I thought the only options were to either be a cog in the machine, or be destitute: “You must be crazy.”

Once I started looking for other ways to live, I found full-time RVing, and knew that was what I wanted to do. I quickly discovered that the big motorhomes and fifth-wheels that most people went full-timing in would be way out of my price range. I’d have to go small, but that was fine. Living with less would leave me more time and money to do what really mattered to me. I found the popular RVing forums, and started asking questions about living in a small travel trailer. All the replies from the retired folks with their 40+ foot monster RVs were the same: “You must be crazy.”

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Ichetucknee Springs State Park in FL, nice place for a dip in March.

The day eventually came when I traded in my cute little car for a mid-size truck that could pull my future home. It wouldn’t be too much longer now. By this time, I was sick of my job and there was nothing to keep me from quitting. They needed me more than I needed them. I knew about budgeting and had calculated that I didn’t really need the extra money and certainly not the high stress that came with it. When I informed my manager that I was quitting and going to be taking a lower paying retail job instead, she cocked her head and gave me a funny look. She didn’t need to say the words aloud, I could read them in her face: You must be crazy.

When it was getting close to launch day, I finally started telling my relatives of my plans to be what amounted to a modern day gypsy. I was able to stave off most of their concerns by explaining in detail how I planned to make a living on a road by taking seasonal jobs, and other logistics like health care, mail forwarding, and staying in touch. Their biggest concern though was when they learned I would be traveling solo. “You’re young and female, you can’t possibly go alone! You must be crazy.”

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I don’t miss any more sunrises or sunsets – Yosemite National Park

Six short months after that, I quit the retail job and hit the road in earnest to see more of this beautiful country. On my maiden voyage from South Carolina to South Dakota to set up residency there, I camped in beautiful state parks, went hiking in the middle of the weekday, parked overnight in Walmart lots with nary an issue, and generally went where I wanted when I wanted. Freedom at last.

I happened to drive through St. Louis during rush hour, and got bogged down in traffic for a time. No worry, my 17′ trailer was no wider than my truck and changing lanes wasn’t nearly as hard for me as RVers with big rigs. I had no deadlines to meet, nowhere to be at any particular time. So I enjoyed the view of the Arch outside the passenger side window, and shook my head sadly at all the poor sops leaning on their horns look frustrated, no doubt trying to squeeze in some errands in before supper. You poor people, living like that. You must be crazy.”

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Caving at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, TX

 

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

46 comments on “You Must Be Crazy!
  1. Andy says:

    What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn’t you consider that to be insane?..Garland Greene: Con Air

  2. Elyse Gotham says:

    I am going through the very same “new lease on life” experience! I’m very careful who I discuss my “escape” plans with, because of the “you must be crazy” BS. All I can do, is look at my 71 year old boss, shake my head, and think “not me!” I pop outta bed in the mornings to go to work NOW, because the money is for my grand escape!!! I love life again!!!!

  3. Walt says:

    Bob, just a quick note that there seems to be something wrong with the formatting for the link to Becky’s blog home page. When I hover over it, I get: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/must-crazy/%20http://www.interstellarorchard.com/. The second link appears to be formatted correctly. Just thought you should know.
    Walt recently posted…Advancing Lyrically Into AprilMy Profile

  4. Calvin R says:

    I have heard the questions based on what the person thinks is important about houses or apartments, usually about bathrooms or heating and a/c. I know the answers, but I don’t “go long” on them. The real turning point with my friends is when they ask if couples do this or when they offer suggestions. Sometimes real thought went into those ideas, which means I’ve done what I’d like to do for people–get them to think for themselves.

    • BeckyIO says:

      I generally follow this plan too Calvin. It’s usually pretty easy for me to tell if someone is interested in what I do, or if they’re just asking questions to seem polite. For those that are interested, I do my best to answer their questions. For the others, I have simplified “canned” answers for them.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Pedernales Falls and FriendsMy Profile

      • Tammi says:

        There’s a third type. Those who ask questions in order to poke holes in all of your plans, or ridicule it, or come up with terrifying scenarios to undermine your confidence. Those are the types I’ve most encountered. Among my “friends”. Good thing I’m okay with making NEW friends. 😀

        Gorgeous pictures here, Becky. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Becoming a nomad has changed my life for the better also! I’m sure my family thinks I am crazy. Keep following your dreams.
    Jim at Growing Faith recently posted…Immanuel ExecutedMy Profile

  6. GoldCityGuy says:

    Thanks for the article. The one thing I will add to Becky’s inspiring article is this, not everyone thinks I’m crazy. I meet many people who are very interested and even jealous of my life. Sure many people will look down on full-timers like us but they have been living that life for so long accepting its legitimacy would be admitting defeat in their own life. I don’t intend to be an advocate for vandwelling or alternative housing movements, but by being a rational, normal, fully contributing member of my community, me and other like minded people can change stereotypes. Thank you Becky for your insight and may I say that I think you are great and I think they are crazy.

    • BeckyIO says:

      Hehe, yes GoldCityGuy not everyone thinks I’m crazy. I also meet plenty of people who when I give the short answer of “what I do” want more information and get excited. I love meeting those people! Glad you enjoyed this.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Pedernales Falls and FriendsMy Profile

  7. Cae says:

    I am really coming around to the small trailer concept.
    Very nice. Thank you

  8. Openspaceman says:

    Becky n Bob …my two favorite bloggers.

    I’m still flyin’ under the radar in the city. The only people who know about my land-submarine existence is my family and a few buddies and they knew I was crazy years ago. Closing in on 500 knock free days and only one parking ticket.

    *Becky_ I like the way you photoshopped that double rainbow in to that picture.

  9. McBeef says:

    Awesome article, Becky. Living life on the road is something I plan on doing in the near future myself. Right now I’m working a job with around 20-32 hours of required overtime a week. Pretty insane.

    There’s no way I can keep at this long term, but the idea is to save enough to get a van and convert it. I’ll still need to work seasonal jobs or something to that effect, though. Out of curiosity, what kinds of seasonal jobs do you work at?

  10. jonthebru says:

    I’m a big fan. I appreciate the movement among many young people who want to collect experiences in their lives rather than things

  11. Anthony says:

    Hey there Bob, been reading your blog for about a month now. 23 years old, fresh out of college. (I was an honors student, but dropped out in my last quarter because it was too much stress.)

    Currently living in just a little studio apartment, making $800/month and paying $400/month for rent/utilities. Been trying to look at your blog and many others to learn about living an off-grid lifestyle, and I’ve pretty much settled on living in a van, a pure white basic van that blends in, as your other posts have brought out many times. However, I’m wondering, has anyone yet made a smartphone app that will show you ‘safe’ locations to camp at? An app where users can submit posts that show areas where police harassed them, where people were all over the area, where laws restrict you, etc? I’d really like to know if they have or not!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Hi Anthony, I don’t know of an app specifically about stealth parking in the city but there are many websites or apps that give you general campsites including Walmarts, truck stops etc. Here are two good ones:

      http://freecampsites.net/
      http://www.overnightrvparking.com/
      Bob

      • Anthony says:

        Thanks bob! I’ve been wondering fr a while if there wasn’t some phone app I could start work on that does just this. I’m no coding expert, but going in with a friend might allow us to really help out the community!

        • Bob Bob says:

          Anthony, I think that’s a great idea! The problem I run into, and you might as well, is you are promoting an illegal activity. The only reason you need to know stealth parking places is because it’s illegal. I’m not sure of Apple or Google will approve.

          If you get it done, it will be a great help! I’d buy it if I lived in a city.
          Bob

  12. Phil Thesing says:

    Becky: thanks for sharing your experience. Regarding your comment about your maiden voyage, as someone currently residing in South Carolina I’m curious: was part of your intent in “setting up residency” in S. Dakota to be able to, in a legitimate manner, avoid S. Carolina’s costly vehicle property tax?

    • BeckyIO says:

      Hello Phil,

      I didn’t own or rent property in any state once I became a full-timer, and thus could choose which state I wanted to “live” in. So yes, I chose a state that would be inexpensive to live in for health insurance, vehicle registration, income taxes, etc. Most people who go full-time RVing who don’t have property anywhere choose to “live” in Florida, Texas, or South Dakota for the reasons I just listed. To become a South Dakota resident, I chose a mail forwarding company out of South Dakota that I could list as my home address, that address is on my driver’s license, and other legal documents. So I “live” there, without really living there.

      I hope this clears the issue up for you.
      BeckyIO recently posted…Bennett Spring State Park, MOMy Profile

  13. Canine says:

    I probably sound like a dork saying this, but that first paragraph was profound. Those are exactly my thoughts and actions. It’s probably quite common, but have heard anyone share that.

    I sure appreciate all the help from all the guest Bloggers and Bob himself. I sure would be going through some trials trying to figure out how to efficiently and effectively shower, have electricity, be warm, be comfy, etc. It’s nice to not have to go through all that and learn the hard way. And to see over and over again various people living and thriving in smaller places- very encouraging!

    • BeckyIO says:

      Glad that you found this post inspiring and helpful Canine. I think there are a lot of us out there who find standard jobs to be painful, but not a lot of people write about it!

      Best of luck to you on your plans to travel. 🙂
      BeckyIO recently posted…The Birthplace of CasitasMy Profile

      • Gen says:

        My biggest wish is that I had left the rat race years ago. For the most part everyone in my life has been kicked in the teeth long enough to understand, so I am getting lots of “atta girl, you go for it”. That helps keep me motivated and my pennies in savings for launch day.

  14. Curtis M says:

    you mean u go to work and slave away to pay bills, u must be crazy!
    no as Becky found out we are the sane ones who realize life has much more to offer us if we will only get past the fear and go for it!

    grats Becky!

  15. 3Up Beth says:

    I HATE WHEN PEOPLE GIVE ME S*&T ABOUT DOING THINGS ALONE AS A YOUNG WOMAN.

    Sorry. I just had to commiserate. When I was living in a vehicle, I was doing it with a partner but even in a normal working life, I do a lot of hiking and exploring alone and I hear things like, “Aren’t you scared?” “Is it safe?” “Are you sure you should be doing that?” all the time. It absolutely infuriates me!

    I’m so glad you’re doing what makes you happy!
    3Up Beth recently posted…Sunday SermonMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Beth, you know you have my total admiration!
      Bob

    • BeckyIO says:

      I don’t get mad about it, but neither do I buy into the belief that America is as unsafe as the media would have us believe. Luckily you and I know better Beth.

      My biggest weapon is common sense, and it’s a surprisingly effective tool. Don’t park overnight someplace that looks shady. Don’t trust strangers who give off a bad vibe. If you’re hiking alone, bring a phone and let someone know where you are, etc. Traveling alone is not inherently dangerous, and I’m always happy to hear from others who understand this. 🙂
      BeckyIO recently posted…Bennett Spring State Park, MOMy Profile

    • Curtis M says:

      totally agree Beth, our society seems to have a bad case of trying to tell other folks how to live.

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