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Where was the first place you drove to when you took off for the first time?  And I'm not talking about the gas station!  What was the first thing on your travel itinerary?!  And, if you're so inclined, why did you choose the van/RV life?

Personally, I'm choosing it to take back the freedom of my time.  I'm not choosing it for the challenge of it, or to prove anything, or even to "be green."  I want time to myself to discover who I am again.  I've allowed myself to get beaten down to the point that I've been a hermit for 15+ years and forgot how to dream or dare to have any goals!  15+ years of just existing like wallpaper, there for the benefit of others.  My time has always been at the mercy of others and I've reached my limit.  I'm exhausted.

I discovered van life when I was searching the internet for ways to get free rent.  I'm the caretaker of my apartment complex, which covers my rent.  But the building is for sale and there's a chance the new owners may not keep me on, depending on their plans.  If that happens, I have nowhere else to go.  That's why I was searching for ways to get free rent.  In my search on Bing, one of Bob's YouTube videos came up.  I forget which one but it was just him and he was talking about freedom vs. comfort.  I had no idea folks did this!  I found video after video and couldn't stop watching them!  I. was. hooked!  No doubts whatsoever in my mind.  Each day that passes only strengthens my excitement and my resolve to live the van life!  I actually have more opportunities available to me living the van life than I do as a 52 year old man trapped in the system!  The simple act of deciding to do this made me happy and gave me a reason to get up the next morning!  So, if I use a lot of exclamation points on this forum, or post too much, it's my enthusiasm for having a new lease on life!  And I promise, my long posts will soon get shorter.  You gotta remember.  I've been a hermit for so long, with nothing to look forward to, no one to relate to, and hardly anyone to talk to!  So I hope you'll forgive my TL;DR indulgences for now. If you've even read this far into this post, bless you.

I plan to use my first year to travel the country and enjoy myself!  The first place I am longing to see is Yellowstone Park!  First in Wyoming and then up through Montana until I get to Glacier National Park!  Then I want to see Coeur d'Alene Idaho!  From there, a pit stop in Washington and Oregon to see and hear the ocean again.  I'd like to see a desert, too.  I've never seen one, and I lived in Zambia, Africa for a time.  Other places high on my list are Alaska, Canada, and Maine.

I want to attend gatherings and meet other people living this life and hear their stories!  

After a time, I'll continue to chase 70°F around the country because I'm the world's biggest heat wimp. Blush

Look, I realize that van life isn't glamorous.  I'm smart enough to know that social media shows van life in the same way that people show their own lives -- the photoshopped, exaggerated version of it.  I'm okay with that.  I'm not looking for glamor.  I'll be pooping in a bucket for gosh sake!  But that first night I can fall asleep looking at the stars, knowing that I don't have any obligations the next day... that's the stuff!  (I'm in Minneapolis.  My night sky consists of seven satellites.)  I can enjoy a cup of coffee at 5pm because it doesn't matter if it keeps me awake until 3am.  It's the little things.  

In full disclosure, my biggest "fear" about van life is spending my first night in the van and waking up that first morning.  That's my least favorite thing about every time I've ever moved.  I have a lot to learn but I'm teachable.  I'm not thin-skinned.  I appreciate honesty and don't require false encouragement.  Most of all, I'm very grateful.
Technically, the first place I went to was the Walmart near my apartment. I spent a week there just to make sure all the systems were doing what they should be doing.

The first place I traveled to was Pennsylvania to visit my sister.

The first place I really went to tour was Columbus Ohio. Best zoo in the world.

Why do I vandwell? Because it's a big country. I wanna see all of it, and vandwelling is the most flexible and most interesting way to do that.

Smile
Five years ago next week I pulled out of my friend's place in South Carolina, where I had finished setting up my van, and headed to Rapid City SD to finalize things with my mail forwarder and establish residency. Now I wander the West

As Lenny wrote above, "Why do I vandwell? Because it's a big country. I wanna see all of it, and vandwelling is the most flexible and most interesting way to do that."

oc1crvl
We pulled out of our driveway right after the blizzard of 1993 (almost slid off of the road yikes!) and drove south to Florida. Because we still had property to sell we really weren't totally free until late summer so the first place on our planned itinerary was Yellowstone.

I agree with Lenny too - "Why do I vandwell? Because it's a big country. I wanna see all of it, and vandwelling is the most flexible and most interesting way to do that"

From the sound of it vandwelling will be a good fit for you.  Good luck with planning and getting on the road! Hope to see you at the RTR someday!
(08-25-2018, 12:32 AM)Jack Wrote: [ -> ]... I actually have more opportunities available to me living the van life than I do as a 52 year old man trapped in the system!
Your body is trapped but your mind is free - or should be. To be a rock, and not to roll.

Today's quiz - who said this? (no fair looking it up on google).
"There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, 
there's still time to change the road you're on".
^^^ I remember when DJs would play that song specifically so they could take a bathroom break.

Wink

EDIT:

PS---"Free your mind, and your ass will follow."
(08-25-2018, 11:13 AM)lenny flank Wrote: [ -> ]^^^ I remember when DJs would play that song specifically so they could take a bathroom break.
That song, plus a civil case that went on for the past year, got me to buying my van, and hitting the road at least part time. So I've spent 14-weeks on the road this year, and working on upping the percentage. It's really neat waking up in the desert in the morning and taking a walk. My first trip was to Death Valley in November, and now I stop there every time I go past.
Lenny:  I think that was a smart idea and one I'm taking note of.  Stay somewhere close until I know all systems are go.  And the Columbus Zoo was just added to my list of places to visit.

Mr. Noodly:  What a great picture!  South Dakota is on my list of likely places to register my residence, too.  

Tony and Karen:  Instant love for you because of Yellowstone being top of your list!  Thanks for the encouragement.  It's the honest truth when I say that my passion for it grows each day without any doubts.  RTR is definitely on my itinerary.

QinReno:  That's exactly how I feel, nicely said!  I'm sure the van might feel tight from time to time but, for the most part, I like small places.  My 445 sq.ft. efficiency apartment is too big for me.  I still have a lot of unused space in here.  If the van starts feeling small, that just means I need to get out of it more often.  (I tend to be a homebody who loves to read and study.)
(08-25-2018, 11:45 AM)QinReno Wrote: [ -> ]It's really neat waking up in the desert in the morning and taking a walk. My first trip was to Death Valley in November, and now I stop there every time I go past.
Not only have I put Death Valley on my itinerary because of your post, but I want this experience, too.  I'm a massive heat wimp but still want to feel what it's like.  The reason your experience appeals to me is because I know deserts can get cold at night, so first thing in the morning, especially in all that quiet... that must be something!
(08-25-2018, 11:50 AM)Jack Wrote: [ -> ]I'm sure the van might feel tight from time to time but, for the most part, I like small places.
Standard white GMC cargo van. In my first "temporary" van arrangement, I had the bed lengthwise front-to-back, and this left only 3'x3' free floorspace after putting in a table and small cabinet for solar stuff. Could barely turn around in there. 

Then I discovered there was room to stuff the 75" (foam) mattress crosswise in the back, and this gives 3'x6' of floorspace now, and it feels like a warehouse inside there. I can sit in the folding chair and work at the table, and still have room to turn around. Most people put paneling on the walls and this leaves only 68" across the back. Then they keep adding cabinets and stuff, and their floor space grows tiny. I opted for total minimalism. Matress, table, and small cabinet for solar. Most of the storage is under the bed.
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