At first glance, I loved the idea of owning an RV (Recreational Vehicle). They have obvious freedom-enabling benefits. You can move your “house” anytime you want, you avoid a mortgage, and you can travel the country.
I once came very close to buying one from an 85 year old man….
However, there is an absolute deal breaker to RV ownership for a man in his prime.
99.9% of RV’s are owned by old fart, baby boomers.
How does this affect you?
In several ways.
At every campsite or RV park you stay in, you will be forced to interact with these old energy vampires.
The will annoyingly try to interact with you hoping that some of your coolness and youth will rub off on them. At every gas station, they will do the friendly neighbor shtick and waste your time…every time.
Even worse, they will try to use you as a grandchild replacement.
The reason they don’t have their own grandkids is because they spent $250k on a ridiculous RV while their 35 year old children say, “We are waiting to have kids until we are more financially stable.”
Alternatives for the young and adventurous.
01 Earth Cruiser
The Good: Self-sufficiency defined. You could circle the world in this vehicle irregardless of roads or hotels. There are substantial provisions allowing extended off-grid living. The engineering is impeccable. This is a rare example of a premium product where every detail is thought out and no corners are cut.
The Bad: This is a rich man’s toy, prices start at $175,000! With all the hassles and paperwork of crossing borders with a vehicle, it might be cheaper and more fun to just rent/improvise transportation as you make your way around the world.
Learn More: There are too many features to list here. Take a look at: https://earthcruiser.com/
02 Stealth Camper Van
If you can’t afford an Earth Cruiser (who can?) then consider this economical alternative.
A stealth campervan looks like an RV on the inside and a standard work van on the outside. The nondescript exterior allows you to park overnight anywhere and not be noticed. (Have you ever paid attention to an old white work van parked by the curb?)
If you tried this in an RV, the cops would force you leave for violating zoning ordinances.
You can build your own by getting a cheap work van or panel truck and building the interior to your personal specs.
You could even add business decals like “Hank’s Plumbing” to go from stealth to camouflage!
The Good: You can live wherever-the-hell-you-want. Take your pick: you’re friend’s driveway, a parking lot, on the side of the road in down town LA, anywhere!
The financial perks are legion. Rent, mortgage, homeowners insurance – forget about it. Limited space means, you won’t be tempted to waste money accumulating unnecessary possessions. You also save money on commuting and can easily switch jobs without all the hassle and expense of selling houses and breaking leases.
The Bad: There are several. Call of nature – you will either be shitting in a bucket and stinking up your living area or have to sneak out and go across the street to use the gas station toilet. Same problem with showers. Food – very limited space for storing and preparing food. Sex – difficult to find a woman to join here. However, there are always those hippie chicks that dig this sort of thing – but now we are back to a smell problem.
Do it Right: If I could go back to when I was 24, I would buy an inexpensive house and then rent out all the bedrooms with the provision that I can live in the driveway in my van and use the house for showering/bathroom/living room. The renters would pay my mortgage and I can live the free wheeling van dweller lifestyle on easy mode. See my post about the “Van-Bedroom Technique.”
You can check out https://www.reddit.com/r/vandwellers/ to learn more about this lifestyle – there is an entire sub-culture out there!
03 Live Aboard Sailboat
I’ll admit, sailing is an overwhelming old-man hobby like RVing. HOWEVER, sailors are way cooler then their diabetes sock wearing, RV driving counterparts.
I have spent several weeks living on a sailboat, and it has a certain chill factor that is hard to explain. (I have never slept better in my life, that is for sure.)
There is also something about sailing the open sea that plucks at your instinctual exploration drive.
The Good: This piece of old technology is still peerless in the modern era. It is the only vehicle that can travel thousands of miles for FREE. Wherever you go, your house comes with you and you can dock in ports for much cheaper than renting an apartment. Once satellite internet speeds get better you could live a fascinating digital nomad life in a sailboat.
The Bad: High initial expense, lots of maintenance, you’ll constantly be covered in salt.
Doing it Right: Laura Dekker sailed around the world at age 14! I highly recommend her movie!
04 Pickup with Flip Top Camper
The Good: Pickup trucks are a supremely practical vehicle for you a young man starting out in life. They put you in a “can-do” mindset.
You can have off-road adventures, use it to build a house, start a business, etc. Pickups becomes even more appealing when paired with a flip top camper like you see in the picture. Now you can always be ready for a weekend getaway or a cross country road trip without hotel bills.
The Bad: Nothing comes to mind. It’s a practical vehicle that is also cool and fun – a rare trifecta.
Do It Right: Leave you truck packed with camping gear at all times. Now you don’t have any friction if you get a bug up your ass and you want to take a trip. Just get in the truck and go.
05 Camper Van with Deployable Motorcycle
You are young and energetic. While senior citizens hookup their sewage hoses at the RV park, you are riding your dirt bike up the side of a mountain.
The Good: Campervans are fun. Dirt bikes are fun. Deploying dirt bikes is satisfying on a testicular level.
The Bad: You will be so cool you will be a bit lonely. There just aren’t many other people that are cool enough to do things like this. When you find them, cherish them as good friends.
Do It Right: Choose a lightweight motorbike. Small bikes are way more fun off-road and they will be effortless to load and unload. I have a soft spot for the legendary Suzuki DR200!
Ready to stock your vehicle?
Check out the gear page for reviews on the essential items I depend on for travel and adventure.
Anything to add to the list? Sound off in the comments!