Off the grid/Vanlife/Tiny Home/Boat living lifestyle

JTA

Pigeon
Off-grid is the only one that has strong potential to be a permanent lifestyle. I don't see myself living on a boat or in a van when I'm old. It does interest me while I'm young though, but it's not feasible for most people. Many of these people are living off money from social media, savings, or other sources of income that the average person doesn't have. Although it doesn't take much money to live in a van if you make sure you never pay for places to camp.

Agreed.

I'll add that free-spirited van lifer types were living the dream prior to the pandemic. Then, corona virus hit and the hippie-hipster-man-bun-wearing-van-life community started freaking out, with many couples breaking down emotionally, and retrograding back home:



Not the type of soft paper tiger community I would want to be associated with.
 

joost

Kingfisher
My plan is to work my ass off for 2 years and buy an apartment in some relatively big city and in downtown area to guarantee demand. Rent the place to have a steady income and move to a country were the cost of living is cheap but with good infrastructure. Enjoy life for a while before going back to work my ass off for another 2 years to buy the second apartment.

With the income of 2 apartments I can live comfortably and stress-free somewhere else.
I could use the money to invest in stocks but even if the return could be higher, I'm looking for stability. And real estate protects you from inflation. You have the risk of the dollar going down against the currency of the country you're living but if things get worse, you can move to another country. Let's say you're in Western Europe and the euro rises 30%. You can move to Eastern Europe or even enjoy places with a good favorable exchange-rate. I was in Istanbul last year and I was dining at the Hilton hotel (roof) for $15 (including my generous tip) watching the Black Sea. Here in US you'll spend 10x for a similar experience.
 
My plan is to work my ass off for 2 years and buy an apartment in some relatively big city and in downtown area to guarantee demand. Rent the place to have a steady income and move to a country were the cost of living is cheap but with good infrastructure. Enjoy life for a while before going back to work my ass off for another 2 years to buy the second apartment.

With the income of 2 apartments I can live comfortably and stress-free somewhere else.
I could use the money to invest in stocks but even if the return could be higher, I'm looking for stability. And real estate protects you from inflation. You have the risk of the dollar going down against the currency of the country you're living but if things get worse, you can move to another country. Let's say you're in Western Europe and the euro rises 30%. You can move to Eastern Europe or even enjoy places with a good favorable exchange-rate. I was in Istanbul last year and I was dining at the Hilton hotel (roof) for $15 (including my generous tip) watching the Black Sea. Here in US you'll spend 10x for a similar experience.
This is a major consideration of mine too. Main reason I'm holding off now is the risks in being a landlord (e.g. the protections the tenants have now). However, there are midwest cities with downtown condos and even small houses for right around $100k.
 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
When the residential construction industry can, with regularity, design and construct a quality cottage/bungalow that is around 90sqm/968sqft, I'll consider that.

Personally, a tiny home, or van life, sounds like hell on earth. I don't need a McMansion, but it isn't a feasible long term option.

Mobile homes can be very nice. I lived in one 30 years ago and liked it, and I've known others who have as well. Mobile home park culture is a concern, but if you put one on a foundation on your own land, they are perfectly serviceable.

64x16 ft is a standard size. This is very close to your 90sqm goal.

Here's an example of what you can get
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
Mobile homes can be very nice. I lived in one 30 years ago and liked it, and I've known others who have as well. Mobile home park culture is a concern, but if you put one on a foundation on your own land, they are perfectly serviceable.

64x16 ft is a standard size. This is very close to your 90sqm goal.

Here's an example of what you can get

A mobile home dropped on a piece of property in appalachia is probably about as "off grid" as I would want to go.

Full "off grid" frontier style living or living in a van or a bus is not fun, if it was many more people would have been doing it by choice. Instead, all of those doing it that I came across did it because they were poor.

working in the wilds of northern Canada you would come across people that were off grid frontiers people. They needed to do some kind of trapping or farming to have money to buy things to fix broken things etc. Not much mind you, but still some. It didn't seem like it was a 'fun' life.

You need to put down roots if you want to thrive and/or have a family. There was this one neat farm I would drive by in east TN that was a good example of this. It was a large, well managed farm and the main house was modern and well kept but on the same property they maintained homes from the previous generations. There was the modern house, a brick 1800s style farmhouse and a log cabin all virtually beside each other.

Living in a van one cannot establish a family or a community. You are a permanent tourist/vagabond invading other people's space. If it was a good way to live, the caravan gypsies would be ruling the UK instead of loathed.
 
The van life looks like mostly a scam to me. Its always very attractive people in the videos promoting an unfeasible lifestyle. Driving around in that van things are going to shift and crack and if you get in an accident you're toast when it comes to insurance.

A pleasant fantasy though.
 
If you're used to all the amenities of modern life, then yes going off grid, living the van life or having a tiny home is going to be difficult.

As some of you pointed out, a lot of the van life videos are good looking couples selling this lifestyle because it's trendy but they're not actually living it full time themselves, hence why it comes out so fake.

One guy that I came across on youtube is doing it for the right reasons though.
Before van life he was cycling long distance all over North America for months. So the guy was already used to not have a hot shower everyday, not have a washing machine, not having heating, just a really simple and rustic life months on end.
So for him even though in cold Canada, living in a van was an upgrade, he had a roof over his head and a bed to sleep to every night.
As he explained in one of his videos renting in major cities in Canada was so high all his money would go in there. So he decided to live in his van, hit the road, hike mountains and make a living filming it.

So it really depends on what you've done before and your mentality. Some like this guy really don't need much and don't mind living in a van as long as they get to do the things they love on the side.

 

joost

Kingfisher
Just accept you'll become a hobo eventually if you decide to live in a van. I think the inconvenience of sharing a place with a roommate is better than living by yourself in a van. I like a good shower/bath, nice mattress, spacey kitchen...
How are you going to bring a girl for Bible Studies to your van?
So to save money I prefer to find a roommate. A van you don't pay rent but how much do you have to spend? Depending on how comfortable, it might be years of rent.

I'm quite interested in those mobile homes. Seems like you can take advantage of lower tax and if you get land for cheap it might be a good way to have a roof. I just wonder how much it cost.
 

Easy_C

Peacock
Another option that’s intriguing to me, especially if you’re single, is to get a camper trailer. More than enough space for one dude, living conditions vastly better than what I had at any point during deployment, and you have most of what you’d need in a Boise conveniently accessible.

The main draw there is that it’s extremely easy to pick up and move if things seem like they’re going to get spicy in any particular area and if you do it right there’s plenty of places out of the way you can go and many have an Internet connection, so If you’re some kind of IT type or the like or run your own thing you could theoretically do VOIP and an always on VPN to stay almost off grid to anyone besides your bank and the government.

Best part is it’s not expensive. I had to do this temporarily for several months on private property to escape a blue state lockdown, but Google indicates You pay as little as 300-500 per month on average to rent a spot.Plus I was doing that with a wife and two kids under 3 so you as a bachelor or even married man without a kid will be fine. The women even seem to like it somewhat.

As mentioned the main advantage is that you have everything you need and can squirt in a hurry (matter of under an hour if you keep your place neat) if you think you’re going to be impacted by something.


The main downside is your up front cost is substantial with the requirement for both the trailer and a vehicle capable of pulling it.
 

Guy80

Sparrow
I could live on a 58foot catamaran in the Adriatic pretty comfortably. On land I’d want to be a hybrid of mostly off grid but still on grid. If not fully off grid then it’s hard to dodge Uncle Sam with their property tax and zoning etc..for example flood plan land can be cheap but you’re not allowed to build on it
 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
Just accept you'll become a hobo eventually if you decide to live in a van. I think the inconvenience of sharing a place with a roommate is better than living by yourself in a van. I like a good shower/bath, nice mattress, spacey kitchen...
How are you going to bring a girl for Bible Studies to your van?
So to save money I prefer to find a roommate. A van you don't pay rent but how much do you have to spend? Depending on how comfortable, it might be years of rent.

I'm quite interested in those mobile homes. Seems like you can take advantage of lower tax and if you get land for cheap it might be a good way to have a roof. I just wonder how much it cost.
The one I linked is about $32K
 

NoFunInAus

Kingfisher
(replying to OP as I have not read the thread in entirety)

"off grid" really means "the way life should be lived"

Yes. Do it if you can. "the grid" is the trap in the first place, like "anti vaxx" when an unvaxxed person is the closest to Him.
Good job, I hope more will follow.
 
I've been living in a RV camper since October. I'm parked at a campground and I got a good deal working here part time for free rent. My trailer is decently sized at 38 feet, with some additional slide outs to give it some width. Nice tall ceiling. This is the best decision I ever made, I'm in my late twenties and have lived in smaller apartments than this, but now I own my home.
 
Mobile homes can be very nice. I lived in one 30 years ago and liked it, and I've known others who have as well. Mobile home park culture is a concern, but if you put one on a foundation on your own land, they are perfectly serviceable.

64x16 ft is a standard size. This is very close to your 90sqm goal.

Here's an example of what you can get

Mobile homes, or pre-fabricated homes, are a viable option, and one that I would consider myself personally. The only criticism I have with the example you linked is with the texture of the ceiling. It is viable in suburban areas, so long as you construct it in an established suburb, as new land release subdivisions can have numerous conditions, and specifications for any new construction. Example: rendered front facade; X number of native plants in front garden; no front fences in entirely brick; etc.

"Tiny homes" are at maximum 20sqm, or 210 sqft, and the trailer base alone is anywhere from US$7,700-$10k. The trailer bases are rated for a gross of 4,500kg, where the tare weight is 850kg. There would be significant limitations as to what materials could be used for the trailer itself to ensure that it doesn't exceed the gross weight limit. Not to mention the cost which is similar to that of a conventional caravan.

The logistics of moving it would involve specialised equipment, and licensing, as you cannot legally tow anything greater than 4,500kg with just a car licence. I've traveled interstate extensively, and have seen a number of "grey nomads" towing a 7.2 metre long caravan with a Landcruiser 200 Series, that was clearly overloaded as the weight of the caravan on the towball was pushing down heavily on the car.

A lot of people simply don't comprehend that the Gross Weight of the car-caravan combination includes the weight of the vehicle, the caravan, any personal items (clothing, etc), and the weight of the occupants.

I am genuinely surprised that traffic police don't crackdown on it, as it is inconsistent with the enforcement of regulations/requirements imposed on truck drivers. It would be a massive revenue raiser for the traffic police in regional areas, and they would suffer minimal loss of goodwill among the locals so long as they targeted vehicles registered interstate.
 
I looked into the tiny home movement for a while, too. Are you planning to homestead as well? It's definitely not easy but seems very rewarding - knowing exactly where your produce and meat comes from is critical in the near future I think. There's a reason the NWO-types have an ever-increasing control of the food supply.

My rough plan is to van life for a bit and likely move closer to my parents in a rural (and red) area with limited zoning restrictions and get a little piece of property for a home about that same size too. Something close to a medium-sized metro area but far enough away for plenty of privacy. I think there's a lot of places in the Western US for that.
I would like to do some homesteading however I accept that, while I was raised in a rural environment, I have little experience in farming and raising livestock, so I would need to start small. I am located in the Midwest which seems to be a good balance of rural and metro. Obviously, if you are close to certain areas like Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, etc. the urban rot will spread, but otherwise it seems like a good place for van life, settlement, privacy without isolation etc. I do agree though that Westward Ho might eventually be the best path as certain areas of the Midwest fall prey to Coastal Liberal influences/rapid urbanization.
 

joost

Kingfisher
The one I linked is about $32K

That's affordable, specially here in the States. I was reading about it and I heard the downside is the owner of the land spiking rent since they know you can't move your "mobile" home without spending many thousand dollars.

But if you own the land, it seems like an easy good decision. Why do people say mobile homes go down in value like a car? Is the construction bad to the point it falls apart with time?

I liked this one. Small but nice:
Use Closed Caption to understand what he's saying.

It's from a Polish architect so I guess it's only available in EU. Doesn't mention price though.
 
Just want to say this thread is awesome, I've wanted a tiny house for a long time! My current plan is to buy a fifth wheel RV. The one I have my eye on is about 42 feet long, a toy hauler (meaning the back is a ramp and can be stopped halfway and left there to form a deck/patio, and it as a garage in the back that's about 14ft long) it has 2 bathrooms, both with showers, one with a shower/tub, full kitchen, dining room table, couch, pantry, loft with space for a twin mattress and extra space for storage, king size bed in the master with a full closet, and a garage which I plan to make an office/living room/gear room. The cost will be somewhere between $65k-$80k. I plan to make a large down payment and pay it off within a couple years. I like the RV option vs tiny house/van/mobile home due to the low cost, enhanced mobility vs a mobile home or tiny house, ability to travel with it or move to a different area rapidly if necessary, and RV's are more common than tiny houses or living out of a van so there is already a large industry to support it with which has the benefits of easy service and maintenance, access to spare parts, and accessories for the RV. In addition if I were to want to sell the RV at some point, it is much easier to sell and RV than a tiny house, modded van, or mobile home.

 
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