We all have the things we fear most but when you start planning to move into a van or RV full-time a whole new set of fears surface.
- Where will I park/sleep?
- Is it safe?
- How will I support myself?
- Will I be lonely?
- What if I break down?
- What will people think of me?
- Will I be homeless?
- How will I live without all the stuff I have gathered over the years?
- How about my fear of the unknown? How will I handle that?
- What about my pets? Will they be safe?
Now these are just a few of the fears that came to me when I started this process and I have found the best way to deal with them is to plan for them and figure out how to overcome them.
Does that mean I will never be afraid? No way! I am sure I will encounter new things to fear along the way but if I tackle them in the same manner I will be able to work through them.
Where will I park/sleep?
There are so many options available to you that it is endless in possibilities. Depending on where you plan to travel and what your budget is there is a safe place for you to sleep and park your vehicle.
- BLM land – free parking in each location for up to 2 weeks. The good news is that there is so much of it that you can just move from spot to spot.
- National Forest is another great place for short stops and some even have full hook ups for a price.
- Walmart parking lots or truck stops – These are great for when you are traveling from one spot to the next and just need one night at a time. Some people frequent these daily and move from location to location but personally I think there is more to see of this world than a Walmart parking lot.
- Casinos often have free parking too. Why not have a night out and a place to sleep all in one. Heck some of them even offer you a few bucks of play as an incentive. So a free night out.
- Then there are App’s like https://freecampsites.net/ that help you find a free or very cheap place to stay for a night.
- Now you also have the usual RV campgrounds that range in price and can fit into most budgets. There are even options to become campground hosts and stay for free for a few weeks to months. You can search the internet or go to http://www.workamping.com
- Another wealth of information is http://rollinginarv-wheelchairtraveling.blogspot.ca/ It has a wealth of information on places to camp and where to go. As it was intended for people with accessibility issues it is great for anyone with disabilities but also a great resource for those without.
Is it safe?
You are probably safer living remotely in your RV or Van than in a house in the city. Let’s face it, someone that wants to do no good is less likely to search you out in the middle of the desert or National Park. It is much easier for them to find someone to rob or victimize in a big city.
Of course, you still need to consider your safety. Lock your doors at night. Have some sort of escape route planned. E.g. Park facing your exit so you don’t have to maneuver to get away. Keep bear spray or any other item that you can grab quickly. Always remember in an RV or Van you can just keep your keys handy and if at any time you feel unsafe just drive away. Trust your gut. If it tells you that you don’t feel safe move to a place you feel more comfortable.
How will I support myself?
Now this is different for everyone so it is hard to tell you exactly what to do to make money. Some people live off retirement or disability income. Some do work as they go. There are all kinds of seasonal work in the Beet harvest, campground hosts or even working over the holiday season for Amazon. See the Work Camping link above. Still others run successful businesses online or sell their crafts as they go. You have to take into count your skills and what of those skills you can use on the road to make a few bucks. What is for sure is that if you want to do this there is a way. I personally have a website that I started and am building up to provide me with an income as I go. No I don’t make much but it will help with gas money. Hopefully it improves as time goes on but I am not too stressed as there are so many other ways to make money on the road. There are nurses, programmers, website developers etc. Find your skill and use it to make you some money.
Will I be lonely?
You can be as alone as you want or be with people all the time if you want. You can travel in a caravan fashion with the same people all the time or go off on your own and meet up with others as you feel a need for companionship. The best resource I have found for meeting up with people is the forum on http://www.cheaprvling.com You can join up and look for like minded people in the area you plan on traveling to. Arrange a meet up and go from there. There are also functions like the yearly RTR in January that is also ran from the same website. The RTR is a place you can meet tons of people and find work for the next year too. I had planned on going this year but my hip replacement kept me stationary until late this spring. You also will meet people along the way, at campgrounds, on BLM land or even in a Walmart parking lot. You will not be lonely unless you choose to be.
What if I break down?
I say plan on it. Something will eventually go wrong even with a brand new rig so get coverage for it. Join something like the Good Sams Club and get good roadside assistance. Remember that you are traveling in your home so breaking down doesn’t make you homeless. Most mechanic shops will let you stay in your vehicle overnight and you can go for an adventure while it gets repaired. Most coverage will even offer an extra package to put you up in a hotel while repairs are done. Choose the package that makes you the most comfortable.
Always have some savings for eventual break downs. Put it right into your monthly budget and don’t spend it. Eventually you will need it. I have been saving to reach the $5000 dollar mark so if something happens right away I am covered and then I will put aside $100-$200 a month as the budget allows for emergencies.
What will people think of me?
This is a hard one. We put so much stock into what other people think of us. Some in society will think of you as homeless but you have to change your mind not theirs. People will voice their concerns for your safety or for your so called lower status in society. I personally don’t buy into this. I am not a lesser person because I choose to live a life of fun and adventure. I will have everything they have and more. I will have freedom. Don’t let people scare you out of living your dream after all this is your dream and not theirs. You need to do what is right for you and not what is right for them. You will eventually get over worrying about what other people think of you and don’t be surprised if you don’t inspire some of those that are trying to talk you out of it into doing it themselves. Remember it is their fear and not yours so don’t let someone else’s fear hold you back.
Will I be homeless?
You have to remember you have your home with you and you are not homeless because you don’t have a sticks and bricks house. Your home is wherever you park it and your backyard is the world. How many people have the ability to change their yard daily? Beach sunset one day and a desert oasis another. You get to decide.
How will I live without all the stuff I have gathered over the years?
Downsizing is hard for everyone that starts out and we all start out with too much stuff and then downsize more as we go. I am currently in downsize number 3. I started giving my kids all the family keepsakes that they want and getting rid of excess clothing and kitchen stuff. Then I started giving away or donating excess furniture. Some people sell most of their stuff but it was less of a headache for me to just have it gone. Don’t get me wrong there are a few things I will be selling but for the most part I am purging and you know what with each purge I feel such freedom. The less stuff I have the less that holds me back.
I then started hording the stuff I believed I needed in my bedroom. My bedroom was chosen as it is roughly the same size as my RV. I say believed I needed as my room soon became to full to move and I don’t want to live like that anymore. So the next downsize is to downsize my previous downsize and so on until I only have left the things I actually use or things that have multiple purposes. You will also have to start replacing some old things with newer more efficient things. I will be getting rid of my desktop computer and moving into a laptop that is portable and takes up less space and energy. Yes, you have to think of saving energy and water as you downsize. You won’t have unlimited water or energy on the road so you might as well prepare yourself for that now.
How about my fear of the unknown? How will I handle that?
When you first start the process it is all unknown and that can be more than a little scary. The more you learn and research the less the fear. Your best defense against fear of the unknown is to make it known.
With that said there will be the unknown and learning as you go. Not all things will go as planned. In this you will have to learn to trust yourself and your judgement. Know that for every problem there is a solution. I have known people that started out and ran into problems they couldn’t fix immediately and that is the worse case scenario. In that case they had to move into a sticks and bricks for a few months until it got sorted out. So basically the worst thing that can happen is you have to go back to living in a not so mobile house while you figure it out. Personally I was supposed to be on the road by last December but ended up needing a hip replacement so I am stuck in one place for a few months to heal. Is it frustrating? Hell Yes! I am however safe and healing and my life as a gypsy nomad is not over just stalled. I have to admit at first it was very stressful and my anxiety took over but then I looked at it differently. It is an opportunity to downsize more and in stages instead of a huge rush. Don’t worry, I will be downsizing until the day I move into my RV and more after I am sure. 🙂
What about my pets? Will they be safe?
If you are planning on taking your pets on the road you have to plan it out and think it through so you also have their needs covered. They will be as safe as you make them. Make sure you have a good leash and harness. Research any dangers of where you are going so you don’t put them in a dangerous situation unnecessarily. There are vets everywhere so make sure your emergency fund includes the money for any needed vet visits. If you want to cross borders have their paperwork and shots in order. Find out what you need for shots and paperwork ahead of time so you aren’t stuck at a border with your best friend in quarantine. Don’t let your pets off leash unless you know the area is safe and that it won’t infringe on anyone else’s enjoyment and peace. Pick up or bury droppings. No one wants to find a great campsite that is littered with the previous occupants pet leftovers. In short, they are your children and do what you must to keep them safe and happy.
Hopefully this helps you get started on your journey to become fearless. If you find it helpful feel free to pass it on to a friend. If you want me to discuss something specific then drop me a comment.