I’m fairly certain I had begun this post in a notebook somewhere, but at the time of writing (20.04.01), I for the life of me just can not find it, so this may not be exactly what I originally intended. Please bear with me.
Okay, so to start a nomadic lifestyle, you can’t just give away most of your possessions over night, pack a bag and leave. I mean, you could technically, but you’d probably not get all the benefits, and wouldn’t feel nearly as free as all the Instagrammers led you to believe. Especially if you start out living in a city, like I am.
You need to make a plan to get yourself from Point A to Destination: Freedom. The plan of buying/converting a bus I have, I had been looking into this way of living (as well as tiny living) for about a year. I’m still continuously looking and learning about this way of life, but I was about a year into things when I started to seriously consider adopting this way of life.
Maybe you have a couple thousand dollars saved up, to which I applaud you, and say this article may not be right for you. But, if you’re a broke adult like me, then please continue.
In my research, I’ve discovered that while each cost of converting a bus is different for everyone, the cheapest I’ve seen is about $20,000. (The most expensive get well up into the $100,000s) Now, to someone who thinks they’re ‘rich’ when they have $50 in their bank account, $20,000 is a lot of fucking money. But, honestly I believe the pay off will be worth it. (… Hopefully)
So, after bringing myself out of the fantasy of ‘the perfect life’ and down to the practicalities, I realized I’d need to carefully plan how to get myself from here to there. And I recommend that no matter where you’re starting out, to do the same. You can plan it out however you want, but just make a plan. That needs to be Step #1 for anyone making a life changing decision.
It may seem like a daunting task right now, and giving yourself a plan of attack can make it seem less impossible, and will break it down into manageable pieces. (Also, who doesn’t feel good/accomplished when checking something off a To Do List?)
The main plan for my attack, is to save up the money. That is one of – if not the most – difficult aspect of changing your life. Unfortunately, money makes the world go ‘round, and you’re going to need at least some of it so you can make your dreams come true. It sucks major balls, but it’s a fact. No one can do anything without some money.
Now, I’m very fortunate (and very grateful) to my mom who is letting me stay in her house (rent free!) while I take the time to pull my life together. It actually gives me anxiety sometimes when I think about it – she’s giving me an amazing opportunity to figure out what I want out of life and giving me the chance to go after it, so part of me worries if I don’t pull it off, I don’t want her to feel like she ‘wasted’ all that time and energy.
I absolutely love her death, even though we don’t agree on every life philosophy, and I really can’t stand to think what I’d do if I let her down. I realize how lucky I am, and I’m grateful everyday for what she’s doing for not only me, but my siblings (I have 3). For someone who has been working since she was 14, I love that she is giving us this opportunity, and I’m really hoping not to f*ck it up.
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She says all the time that she’d rather we take our time so that we ‘don’t get stuck’ living a life we don’t want, because she knows how much it sucks.
… Sorry, I realize I kind of went off topic there. Getting back on track, I’ve put a plan in place to save up the money (hopefully) within the time frame I have (like I said in the Intro, my house is scheduled for demolition). I’ve already got myself a day job (surprised blogging isn’t it? Me too! But I’m working on changing that 😉 ) that I can do from pretty much anywhere, as long as I have an Internet connection. The place I’m working for is awesome because I also get flexible hours, which I’m imagining will come in quite handy once I hit the road.
The only downside is it’s pretty below minimum wage, but like I always say: some money is better than none. (Which was what I was making before)
Due to the low nature of my pay, I can’t put as much as I’d hoped into my savings, but again, $20 every month is better than 0.
Now again, I don’t know your situation, but give your current situation a hard think, and give yourself a payment plan you can realistically stick to. It’s much better to put $5 into your savings every month than $100 once, and then have to take it back out again.
That’s the other trick, too: Once the money is actually in your savings pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t take it out unless it’s an absolute emergency. Taking $5 out here and there will soon turn into taking it out frequently, and then you’ll just kick yourself later for taking away from your future. (Trust me) Each time you take money out, your goal just got 1 year (or more) further away.
Do yourself a favour and don’t touch it! I know it can be hard, and life sure as hell loves to get in the way, but do your best.
Once you’ve got a financial plan down, start thinking about the other practical aspects of living nomadically. What will you do for money once you’re actually on the road? Will you continue to do the job you have now (if working from home is an option) or will you have to find a new source of income? Will you just save up, leave for 3 months and then come back to your regular life?
The main question you need to ask yourself: What are you looking to get out of this lifestyle?
The end goals will look vastly different for someone who just wants to do this as a vacation apposed to someone who wants to live life on the road 24/7. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty and aesthetic of it without thinking about the practicalities. But, the practicalities are the things that will allow you to sustain the lifestyle.
Now that I’ve (hopefully) got your rational brain awake, here are some more questions I want you to think about, while you begin to make your plan:
- What things do you have right now that you could do without, without affecting your quality of life? (Everyone has things they’ve collected over the years they don’t really I’ve seen some articles that recommend sorting through all your stuff: if you haven’t used it within the last year, you probably don’t need it)
- What do you want to get out of this lifestyle?
- What will you do for work/money when on the road?
- How will you even hit the road? Get an RV, self-convert a van/bus, or just grab a backpack and hit a trail?
- How will you get water?
- How will you go to the bathroom/shower? (Definitely not the most glamorous question, but definitely an important one!)
- What will you do for food?
- What’s your contingency plan for when shit hits the fan? (B/c shit always hits the fan sooner or later)
- What can you change about your current lifestyle today to start transitioning to the lifestyle you want? (For example, if wanting to convert a bus [or van!] you may [definitely will] need to get rid of a lot of your clothes. But the question is, will you be actually be getting rid of/donating them, or will you rent a storage space to house everything you can’t take with you?
I hope these practicality questions will help you really have a good (non-dreamy) think about your future life. I know this isn’t the fun part, but if you don’t do the non-fun work, you’ll never get to be in a position to do what you want.
In the next article (coming in July) we’ll take a look at the differences, pros and cons of Off-Grid vs On-Grid.
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