Look at the man in this photo. If you get the feeling that “he looks like a cool guy,” you instincts would be correct. (More on him later)
The Quarter-Life Crisis Problem: Debt + Wanderlust
Many people catch the adventure bug only after wading neck deep into the swamps of debt slavery by way of a mortgage.
You want to quit your job, travel, start a business, etc. BUT – you can’t. That fucking mortgage.
A mortgage is (by design) a very difficult monkey to get off your back.
Short of finding a big pile of money somewhere, you only have two choices: sell the house or rent it out.
Selling is problematic
Housing markets go up and down. Just because you are ready to travel the world does NOT mean that the market will give you an acceptable value for your “investment.” You could sell the house and still have debt.
Even if the timing appears OK, selling a house is time consuming and there are large transaction costs that eat up any money you might come away with. You also, never get a good deal when you are in a rush.
The other sticker is that as soon as you sell a house, you have no place to live. Now you are pushed into high expense, temporary living.
You have also eliminated the potential to have an incoming producing property in the future (which is an excellent tool for a freedom lifestyle).
So lets explore “renting it out”
Renting out your only home has major problems with regard to spontaneous travel or flexibility in life.
If your only house is rented, you don’t have a home base or a place to store your stuff.
A home base gives you a place to stay when you are in between trips or need to return to your home country to make some quick money.
With regard to stuff, yes, you should get rid of most of it before you go. However, it isn’t practical to get rid of everything. You need a closet worth of space somewhere for your important things.
Friends and family can help in these roles, but I always plan for self-sufficiency.
The ideal “magical” scenario is to be able to rent your house when you DON’T need it and live in your house when you DO need it – with no advanced notice or logistical difficulties.
By conventional standards, this is impossible. But remember, “conventional wisdom is a trap!”
Introducing the “Van-Bedroom” Technique. Pay off your mortgage while enjoying freedom, sex, and money
I don’t know where I heard this idea, but it is brilliant. If I could go back in time and talk to my 21 year old self, this would be top five on the list.
The premise is you sleep in a van in your driveway while renting EVERY bedroom in the house. You make an agreement with your tenants that you can come in the house and use the common area, kitchen, and bathroom – just like a roommate.
Your van becomes your primary transportation and a mobile bedroom.
You still have the ability to chill in the living room and watch TV, cook in the kitchen, and take hot showers – just like normal.
It is the answer to every single problem with regard to having a mortgage and also having maximum flexibility in life.
If you react with revulsion at the thought of sleeping in a van, remain calm. I will show you that any perceived discomforts are actually blessings in disguise.
If you can use basic hand tools, I would get a used work van and built a bed frame in the back yourself. If you live in a challenging climate, you can insulate the walls and install an RV AC/Heating unit that you can plug into your house power.
There are thousands of YouTube videos and blogs about converting vans to camper vans. The Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) methodology of engineering applies here. The back of the van just needs to be a comfortable bed.
If you want a ready to go solution, you can buy camper vans that are already set up.
Van Dwelling Landlord Perks:
There is no faster way to pay off a mortgage than renting the whole damn thing out. If you are lucky, you will have a surplus of rental income on top of your mortgage payment. In good times, you can pay down principle. In leaner times you can pull out the income.
Once your first house is paid of, a whole world of options open up to you. It is almost impossible NOT to get financially independent once you have your first house paid off.
The money you save on car rentals, hotels, and storage adds up. Work vans are reliable vehicles with low insurance rates and good re-sale value. The cost of ownership is low in comparison to your benefits.
This is the one young men worry about. I know the thought process. My lizard brain filters every decision based on if it will get me laid more or less often.
At first glance, sleeping in a van seems like it would be a handicap.
Women can smell freedom on a guy like musk. Men taking unconventional actions are intriguing. Men with spontaneous lifestyles are exciting.
The freer I’ve become, the more women have tripped over themselves to get my time of day.
Also, A LOT of girls dig vans. Google “van girls.” It’s a whole thing.
A person with a freedom mindset is not afraid of losing. This unconventional approach helps you achieve this state of mind in two important ways.
First, you become adjusted to a low standard of living so that you do not fear becoming poor. If you can handle sleeping in a van, you will be less afraid to take risk than someone that has always lived in the lap of luxury. (I learned this when I lived in a run-down trailer park for a year to save money.)
The other way to not fear losing is if you are financially self-reliant. When you are financially self-sufficient, you have the freedom to walk away. You can walk away from a bad employer rather than grovel for the paycheck. If you are in bad relationship, you can cleanly separate without any financial concerns. It affects everything in life.
A van also lets you indulge your spontaneous side. If you just want to get out of town for a weekend, you don’t even have to think about it. Just get in the van and go.
The freedom dividends of this plan are immense.
You have INSTANT living infrastructure whenever you return to your home country. Your van will be waiting for you in your driveway to serve as your transportation. No expensive car rentals necessary.
While you were gone, your van was serving as a rent free storage unit for your stuff. If you decide to move. You already have a moving van.
Don’t forget, you still have full access to your home. On day 1 back from a travel, you are back in your familiar living room and kitchen. You can just start where you left off.
It is a helluva practical setup.
Remember the photo at the start of the article? His name is Daniel Norris. He’s a pitcher that signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for millions in 2015.
I found his picture while looking for van photos. I gave the great article a read and it was pure van living inspiration.
Here is a young man in his prime, a top athlete, a millionaire, yet he chooses to live in a van.
The best line was:
“It might be unconventional, but to feel good about life I need to have some adventure.”