Living Free in a Van Down by the River

Florida Traffic SceneThis just in: every minute you spend sitting in traffic to get to a job you hate, one more young adult decides to quit the rat race, sell everything, and hit the road.

Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But the longer we’re on the road, the more we keep meeting crazy kids our age who are also fed up with running on the treadmill of job/home/stuff/debt.

Hitek Homeless Hits the Road
Take for instance, Johnny and Jenn, aka Hitek Homeless. We met this couple online last year, while their escape plans were coming to fruition. They bought a killer Arctic Fox truck bed camper and a diesel dualie, sold their stuff, and finally hit the road a few months ago. Recently, Truck Camper Magazine interviewed them about their decision to fulltime.

Jim and I have a lot in common with these two (we also joke about “living in a van down by the river!”), and hope to camp out with them sometime to try some of that bathtub banana booze that Jenn concocted.

Truck Camper Magazine Hitek Homeless Meeting up with others who’ve broken free of the shackles of corporate oppression reassures us that we aren’t completely nuts. We hold the belief that life is short, and the adventures that a crazy sabbatical brings will far outweigh the risk of possibly not even making it to retirement age, when we are “supposed” to do this. We’re spending out retirement money now, dammit!

There is a better way to live. If you hate your job and yearn for some adventure that lasts longer than a one week vacation, remember; nobody is holding a gun to your head and making you go to work every day. When will you start living the life you really want to lead?

8 Responses to “Living Free in a Van Down by the River”

  1. Eric Auckerman June 13, 2008 at 8:07 pm Reply

    10-4 on the TV distraction, tech rags, and all of the other distractions of which there is no shortage team. I also agree with the consumerism itch that wastes most people’s scratch (hee, hee), ever walked out of Costco spending less than $100? Juli and I did it by accident some weeks back and were both astounded! The store manager asked if things were OK, had they missed any of our impulsive desires, should they call an ambulance in light of our lapse and so on?

    We’re just getting back from Canada on business and the folks we’re doing some work with really impressed us. One family has four kids with father and mother playing in a weekend rock band, golf, hockey and host of other hobbies all the while raising four cool kids. I like how the Canadians do things as there was little in the way of ostentation and these folks have some seriously deep pockets. They simply decided not to live like Bentley driving, gold-toothed, pinky-ringed, ascot wearing country clubbers (of which I aspire to be, hey, what can I say, I love ascots). Very chill folk in Canada or at least in Ottawa where we were.

    Stay the course team and keep it simple as things will certainly make more sense, no doubt. Oh, and last item, debt! Living beyond one’s means should be a personal no no for anyone who takes living on their own terms seriously. I would say that is true freedom not unlike doing work that isn’t work but rather an engaging craft that pays a livable wage.

    Keep on rolling team Agreda – Eric.

  2. Lots of great stuff to think about Auckerman.

    Yes, routines do follow us, and in a way, some of them can be good for us, like making sure we get enough exercise. But you’re right, when they become forced, they kill all the fun.

    But, you must admit, this lifestyle allows much more freedom than the average Joe. And it’s not just the lifestyle, but it’s our willingness to detach our self from the lure of Stuff, that brings the freedom I talk about.

    Since we got rid of the boob tube, and aren’t reading Wired or other ad-heavy publications, we have a lot less lust for the latest and greatest. Without that urge to buy crap, we don’t need to earn as much money to keep up with consumerism. And by staying out of debt, we are much freer than most.

    Yes, we do need to earn a living to provide the basics like food and fuel, but it doesn’t need to kill us. And as long as we are alert enough to notice when work becomes routine, we can change it, and do something else. How free is that?

  3. Eric Auckerman June 13, 2008 at 8:29 am Reply

    Ah, corporate oppression, music to my ears. I’ve always been a big fan of the possibilities and one of those possibilities came true for me when I was the oppressor, a “corporate man” as they say in Japan and Hong Kong (I’m not from either of those exotic places by the way but worked in Hong Kong on occasion).

    Oppressing others is actually quite a kick if you’re any good at it. If however you’re simply a mean person who loves power then it becomes tiresome for all parties but if you know how to motivate people in an effort to increase your income and esteem then I say go baby, go.

    From my perspective you can’t escape routines per say but rather the environment from which you perform those routines. Say you’re spending your retirement funds young, cool and why not but doing so doesn’t make the cost of living go away nor the routines of that living such as food, fuel, residence charges, repairs, tech stuff and so on – this stuff follows us to the grave as it turns out. Unless you’ve got some serious jack in the bank you will have to work for the rest of your life so you may as well make it a good one.

    Edward Abee once said he “didn’t have a career but rather a life” I love that mindset. So if you go the way of the road you should embrace said sentiment, however, don’t think for a subsecond or two that you’re free (unless you’ve got some serious jack) as you’re only free from one set of routines that you’ve traded for another that may – or may not – be more interesting simply because they’re fresh and possibly out of doors, but caution friends as these new routines will become routines over time as well.

    I say keep on trucking until you either run out of money or Merlot wheel estate agents cause maybe the next door that opens will be the one that helps you discover that work is only such when you have to force yourself to do it.

    Over and out,
    Eric

  4. I hope some day i will do the same, but not right now 🙁

  5. makes me wish i was 40 again !!

  6. I think it’s great that you guys figured this out way sooner than most people do. Once you get out there living like this you realize just how short life is because there is so much to see and do! Even if you don’t hate your job – this sure is the life. I totally understand your statement that this is something you’re supposed to do…….I have felt the same way about our jaunt around the continent.

  7. Woot! Fame! I wanna live forever!

    Thanks for the high praise Rene.

    johnny

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