I just finished read a book on my kindle called “Minimalist Living, How to live in a van and get off the grid” by Mary Soloman. So with this title in my mind you must be asking, “Billy, why are you thinking about living in a van?” Well, actually it has more to do with many of the people I encounter each day living in cars, vans, rv’s and motorhomes. As many of these people I meet are college graduates I wanted to understand a little bit more about what makes them tick.
It seems that between my interactions and lessons I learned from reading the book many young people are discovering this lifestyle because they cannot find affordable housing and it is the only solution to paying off that mountain of debt they have created. It’s certainly not an easy lifestyle as they are missing many of the conveniences of living in a bricks and stick home. Things like bathing and eating each day along with using a bathroom are certainly a challenge. Many face great dangers like thieves and wild animals in their travels where there is less security than there would be in an apartment. But on the other hand there are great lessons to be learned about life as they take on the world as newly born pioneers and with the ability to travel they get to experience different places and cultures.
As I did some more research I learned that the RV lifestyle seems to be taking off in all age groups from these 20 somethings all the way up to senior citizens. This culture of rolling travelers is certainly not new, but recently in the last few years seems to be really growing. It seems that for most it is about affordable housing while there are still those who search for adventure. As commercial campsites can be expensive many try to find refuge of parking on the streets of the city closest to the current job they are working. This is where it becomes a problem for me. As a Code Enforcement Officer it is my job to respond to complaints of people boon docking in neighborhoods. In fact all across the country most cities and towns have similar laws that don’t allow people to camp on the street. It is my job to educate them on local laws and move them along.
Historically there has been many problems attached with people living in vehicles like crime and drug addiction. Many people feel a sense of fear when noticing a vehicle parked in their neighborhood and I believe this fear is justified. I have personally encountered situations like this and have had to call in police to assist.
As I put myself in the same situation in my mind through empathy I think a lot about what I would be doing if in the same type of situation. If I had to make the same choices of living out of a vehicle what would I do and where would I be. The one thing I would not be doing is living in a City as there are just too many dangers attached to these area’s. I would probably be moving from farm to farm working as a farm hand to earn enough to pay of those school debts. One of the advantages are obviously fresh food and a quiet, safe place to sleep at night.
As an older person struggling to make ends meet I would probably purchase a larger vehicle and find the most affordable place in the country to park it and live. I might even change my locating from time to time to find new experiences and opportunities.
In either case what I find most interesting is that this type of lifestyle is yet another practice in living a minimalist lifestyle where downsizing isn’t just an option but a must. It is also interesting how we seem to evolving towards this type of lifestyle versus that of one living in the McMansion in the suburbs. I don’t know if it is so much the socio economical struggles and pressures people are feeling or just a lost sense of freedom but the whole movement seems to be picking up steam. Just doing a search on Google for an image for this post gave me what seemed like unlimited options.
What about you? If put into a situation where being part of the rolling home movement wasn’t an option where would you be right now?