Friday, January 4, 2013

Extended vacation

Wouldn’t it be great to suddenly come into a large amount of money and never have to work for anyone else ever again? You would have the freedom you need to travel around the world, visiting all of the famous places you’ve only seen on T.V. or in the movies. The pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel tower, and a thousand other places on our planet would be your playground. Well you’re not rich so you might as well forget about it, right? Not necessarily.

You might not have the money you need to travel the planet, living in expensive hotels and dining in five star restaurants every night but it is entirely possible to travel around the United States and see all that this country has to offer. And it is entirely possible to do it with very little money.

One way to do this is of course to become a hobo, riding the rails, sleeping in train yards and under bridges, not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. You could do this with almost no money at all! But who the hell wants to be a bum? That’s no kind of life and any enjoyment you had, seeing new places and traveling the country, would be more than offset by the misery you had to endure.

There has to be a comfortable “middle ground” that a person of limited means can utilize to achieve this goal-and there is. The answer “me Amigo” is to become a van dweller. Purchase a good used van and live in it as you travel the land, taking in all of the sights our once glorious nation has to offer. The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, all of our beautiful national parks and a thousand other destinations are totally within your budget, even if you’re dirt poor and currently making minimum wage at the local Crusty Crap burger.

The main expense you would need to account for is fuel and insurance. Maintenance and repairs to your little home on wheels would also have to be taken into account.  But you could easily survive on $500 a month. You wouldn’t even have to save up the full amount of money you need beforehand. Once you have a couple thousand bucks in the bank you could live for several months before you would need more funds.

Get a job for a month or two, save up some more cash, and move on down the road to your next adventure. I’ve often thought of doing this and may well do it sometime in the future. That is if the price of gasoline doesn’t go up to levels that would make it too impractical. Right now though it’s possible, even with the ridiculous prices we are paying in this country. Right now you can live cheap as hell and have a life full of fun and excitement kicking around the country.

I did live in a van for three months one time, and I didn’t have a whole lot of fun but I wasn’t really prepared to do so. I just threw an air mattress in the back of the van and blacked out the windows with cardboard. If I ever do it again I would certainly spend a couple hundred bucks converting a van into a mini mobile home. The time and effort would certainly be worth it. Vans are pretty cheap as well. You could easily find one in your local paper or on Craigslist and do a complete conversion for less than $2000 total. The van I stayed in was a 1990 Chevy Astro van and it only set me back $750. I drove that thing for more than a year, spending little more what it cost for gas.

Of course the next biggest expense you would need to budget for would be food. But this is an area where you can really save if you are frugal. Don’t eat out at restaurants but consume only meals you cook yourself in your converted van. Dumpster dive free food whenever possible, Stock up on cheap foods like beans and rice. Hell, eat at the Salvation Army whenever you can! You don’t have to spend a fortune on groceries unless you just have to have steak and lobster every night. But what is the goal here? To die an early death do to heart failure from eating to much red meat or to travel around and see the world on the cheap?

If this is something you’ve ever considered then you should start your journey by checking out the web sites “Cheap RV Living” and “Cheap green RV living”. You can either Google them or go to my links page to find them. These sites are pretty damn cool and will have you daydreaming about leaving the rat race behind and becoming a modern Nomad. They have a lot of great crap about converting a van and how you deal with things like electricity, taking a shower, where to park, etc.

There’s no need to live a miserable life stuck in a dead end job until the day you die. Many options exist in this world and this is only one of them. We make choices every day and if you don’t like the ones you made this morning then make different ones tomorrow. Good luck and have fun!

Tex Dakota

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