My First Van & My $$$ for Vehicle Living.........

Van Living Forum

Help Support Van Living Forum:

INTJohn

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
522
Reaction score
230
Bought my first van for van living back in 1978. Was in the service at the time and had returned stateside in 1978 from what was some extensive off & on over the years of overseas duty and was able over those years to save what was at that time for a young guy in his 20's a lot of money. I used about 7000$ of those $$$ to buy & pay CASH! (The rest of it I invested) for a brand new 1979 model ( tho purchased in late '78) G20 short wheel base Chevy van. Charcoal in color; red interior, 350 cu" 4bbl automatic trans. Van was shell, sliding side door, windows in the back doors. Put a vent in roof, louvers over the back windows, table/bed combo, under seats storage, etc; usual stuff for a 70's style build but never did the shag carpet crap thing no never went shag carpet, no, just no; etc........

Early 80's married a gal, we camped a lot in it but eventually it was sold as I was attending grad school and she was doing her best trying to "domesticate" me....... We always were able to buy vehicles and pay cash cause we never had a vehicle payment. Even while attending grad school on the GI Bill we put $$ in the bank. Eventually, I became a self employed Engineer; she & I divorced; blah, blah you know.........Life!

After the divorce, I continued to invest $$ however. Being self employed, health insurance monthly premiums were expensive as hell and I was like; The hell with buying it, I can do what those insurance companies do - take my money and invest it. I had always been extremely healthy, physically fit, proper diet & nutrition, my parents gave me basically nothing in Life but they did give me great genetics! and I didn't do anything in my life to wreck my health so was more than willing to, you know gamble on me staying healthy - which is what insurance companies basically do. So every month I invested at least 250$ which I considered my "health insurance" premium.

After my 1979 initial investment from my service $$ left over after buying my van along with some 30ish years of about 250$/month today its quite a chunk of change and to this day I have no health insurance. When ever I need some medic/dental work, I dip into the stash & I pay cash!
Today I live in my vehicle because I LOVE the lifestyle not because its something imposed on me because of outside circumstances or my own negative resultant lifestyle choices......... I built this life I live and I embrace all of it; don't view myself as a victim and have never looked for a pity party to join, rather enjoy my independent, individualistic, stand on my own 2 feet, vehicle liven beautiful life and never looking for any1 to take care of me!

Everywhere I go, today, on the beaches I hang at all across Murahka, I am always approached, sometimes inundated by young people who have a billion questions about "van life" nomad, vagabond living/lifestyle. Its amazing how many young peeps - high school & college age - are interested in embracing this life style, JOYFULLY!! even if only as something to experience for a year or 2. They always hit me with, "John, you are the coolest old dude we've ever met! What do we gotta do to live like you enjoyin life when we're your age?
My general answer, like much of my life & lifestyle is somewhat complicated but, simply, it boils down to this:

Save $$$ live in your vehicle with no payments & no regrets!
Live healthy: proper diet, nutrition, exercise, no drugs - Life's hard enuff sometimes without being your own worst enemy!
Job wise: carpenter, bar tender, traveling nurse are good jobs for the nomadic vagabond lifestyle - unless you want to do the "campground' thing - not for me ; theres plenty of options but mostly tho; follow no1! U B U!

Maybe More.....
intjonny boi luzsha baybee alway have alway will!
 

peteg59

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
155
Reaction score
95
Location
NH=summer FL=winter
/\...John, as long as you didn't get bad paper from your years of service, the VA will cover part/most of your medical bills, if you don't mind using VA facilities for any issues along your journey.

I served from 78-85 and found a need for continued medical coverage after I medically retired from my civilian employer after 22 years.

I eventually got upgraded to100% non-service connected disability and the VA covers me now at no cost out of pocket for any health issue that arises.

YMMV. Good luck...
 

INTJohn

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
522
Reaction score
230
Pete
Ur cracking me up. Having been in from 72-82 and 2 1/2 years in SE Asia m well aware of what’s there from the VA.
My point is I’ve built my life where I don’t need nor desire to receive anything frum The Guvmunt. I take care of me and enjoy doing so.
Independent in the true sense of the word.

Even as a self employed engineer I never sought any Govt work contracts. Me & Uncle Sam been devorced for 40 yrs now. Only clients I had were mostly private individuals; I didn’t even care to work for large corporations.

Besides I spent 40,000$/ year putting my daughter thru med school & today she’s an oncologist sooo I get some “free” medical advice once in awhile from that route. A return on my investment. Yep.

And I tell young peeps save that cash and make a stash. Live free without selling ur soul to the Murahkan indentured payment slave rat race. It can be done.
Jonny boi livin 2 damn good n dah wood. :cool:
 

INTJohn

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
522
Reaction score
230
I served from 80-95 and I still use the VA for all my medical needs. If you were divorced from the gov, I hope they are paying you good alimony!! :ROFLMAO:
😂😂 what makes ya think they paid me alimony? I pay them. It’s called taxes. Besides The Guvmunt’s the one over 30 Trillion$ in debt. They need it worse than me. I don’t owe anybody anything. 😎 jonny boi with Lynard singin Free Bird!
Sayin……..🤙😎
 

savana1957

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
21
Reaction score
13
Bought my first van for van living back in 1978. Was in the service at the time and had returned stateside in 1978 from what was some extensive off & on over the years of overseas duty and was able over those years to save what was at that time for a young guy in his 20's a lot of money. I used about 7000$ of those $$$ to buy & pay CASH! (The rest of it I invested) for a brand new 1979 model ( tho purchased in late '78) G20 short wheel base Chevy van. Charcoal in color; red interior, 350 cu" 4bbl automatic trans. Van was shell, sliding side door, windows in the back doors. Put a vent in roof, louvers over the back windows, table/bed combo, under seats storage, etc; usual stuff for a 70's style build but never did the shag carpet crap thing no never went shag carpet, no, just no; etc........

Early 80's married a gal, we camped a lot in it but eventually it was sold as I was attending grad school and she was doing her best trying to "domesticate" me....... We always were able to buy vehicles and pay cash cause we never had a vehicle payment. Even while attending grad school on the GI Bill we put $$ in the bank. Eventually, I became a self employed Engineer; she & I divorced; blah, blah you know.........Life!

After the divorce, I continued to invest $$ however. Being self employed, health insurance monthly premiums were expensive as hell and I was like; The hell with buying it, I can do what those insurance companies do - take my money and invest it. I had always been extremely healthy, physically fit, proper diet & nutrition, my parents gave me basically nothing in Life but they did give me great genetics! and I didn't do anything in my life to wreck my health so was more than willing to, you know gamble on me staying healthy - which is what insurance companies basically do. So every month I invested at least 250$ which I considered my "health insurance" premium.

After my 1979 initial investment from my service $$ left over after buying my van along with some 30ish years of about 250$/month today its quite a chunk of change and to this day I have no health insurance. When ever I need some medic/dental work, I dip into the stash & I pay cash!
Today I live in my vehicle because I LOVE the lifestyle not because its something imposed on me because of outside circumstances or my own negative resultant lifestyle choices......... I built this life I live and I embrace all of it; don't view myself as a victim and have never looked for a pity party to join, rather enjoy my independent, individualistic, stand on my own 2 feet, vehicle liven beautiful life and never looking for any1 to take care of me!

Everywhere I go, today, on the beaches I hang at all across Murahka, I am always approached, sometimes inundated by young people who have a billion questions about "van life" nomad, vagabond living/lifestyle. Its amazing how many young peeps - high school & college age - are interested in embracing this life style, JOYFULLY!! even if only as something to experience for a year or 2. They always hit me with, "John, you are the coolest old dude we've ever met! What do we gotta do to live like you enjoyin life when we're your age?
My general answer, like much of my life & lifestyle is somewhat complicated but, simply, it boils down to this:

Save $$$ live in your vehicle with no payments & no regrets!
Live healthy: proper diet, nutrition, exercise, no drugs - Life's hard enuff sometimes without being your own worst enemy!
Job wise: carpenter, bar tender, traveling nurse are good jobs for the nomadic vagabond lifestyle - unless you want to do the "campground' thing - not for me ; theres plenty of options but mostly tho; follow no1! U B U!

Maybe More.....
intjonny boi luzsha baybee alway have alway will!
Literally emptying my house as we speak. I am 65 and have a hightop cargo van (2017) and a 2001 Hi-Lo. This was very nice to hear. Already had one yard sale (never again). I could use some words of encouragement. I still have a household full of stuff (some of which I want to keep). I am a bit overwhelmed. I will fly to South Dakota in a couple weeks to do the domicile thing. I need to keep going. Gotta beat the rapture. I want some time as a nomad!
 

bullfrog

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
7,061
Reaction score
1,033
Question is do you own stuff or does it own you! Lol!!! Most people throw it all into paid storage or leave with someone only to find after several years it is worthless to them because it was ruined by neglect or out dated or nobody else values it. Everyone seems to be a keeper of museum pieces that turn to junk. You came into this world with very little, wonder why we have to think we get to keep all the stuff we gather with no cost to future new life adventures? Past mistakes shouldn’t limit future adventures.
 

D'L

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
127
Reaction score
134
The hell with buying it, I can do what those insurance companies do - take my money and invest it.
This is what I did my whole life. Never had a job that gave me health insurance, or if it were offered it would have cost me a third of my income to buy it! Since I dislike the whole insurance scam (as I see it) I have never had any that a law does not require me to have. Insurance companies are the only kind of company in the country that can take money over long periods of time and then when you need the service you have been paying for for years, the insurance company will do everything in its power not to pay out. And if they do pay, then they raise your rates to cover it, so you end up paying for it anyway, only probably paying more than it would have been and would have been better of just saving up to pay for things yourself.

I kept myself healthy with a good diet, staying fit, and taking care of myself. I never went to a doctor unless it was absolutely necessary. If I needed medical attention, I found a sliding scale clinic and went there and paid for it out of the money I saved from not paying for insurance. I have come out a long way ahead financially by doing that. And I have felt a whole lot better not supporting a system that bilks millions of people out of billions of dollars every year.

I do realize I have been lucky not to have catastrophic medical needs. But, as a low-income person, if I had had that happen I could have gotten most of it paid by whatever system there was for low income people in whatever place I was. The truth is, most people do not have catastrophic occurrences, and will be healthy if they just make the effort to be so.
 

gone2day

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
4,254
Reaction score
538
Location
Gone
Both of the examples above had backup plans so they really weren't risking that much by not paying for health insurance through the years.

The OP had/has VA medical to fall back on if something serious and expensive happened. The other poster would rely on whatever help is available for low-income people.

IOW in that case it's....'let others cover the cost'. i.e....taxpayers.
 

bullfrog

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
7,061
Reaction score
1,033
Or move to a country that has affordable or free health care, I wonder how that is possible other countries can do it and the USA can’t. I think requiring a period of public or military service for all citizens that makes them eligible for advanced schooling and lifetime health care should be possible in this country.
 

wayne49

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
1,689
Reaction score
81
Location
NV
Try moving to Canada. They are very picky about immigration, no open border with the USA, and it helps to get a permanent resident visa if one is young, educated, and able to fluently speak both French and English. They discriminate and seem to have no problem doing so. I had looked into it before Junior Trudeau became PM.
 

GotSmart

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Messages
5,357
Reaction score
119
It’s all the same. Where do you think all the Canadians go in the winter?

Quartzsite

What’s another 1,000 miles to drive?
 

RearViewMirror

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Messages
49
Reaction score
57
Location
State of Love and Trust
I agree with the stash the cash advice. $$$ is what buys freedom.

Yup... Money, unfortunately is what buys your freedom. But with that freedom comes adventure. With no place to go but where you want to go. We point the van in a direction and when we find an interesting spot? That is where we will stay. We have been able to stay at many spots for free. BLM land, National Forests, Cracker barrel, even hotel parking lots (though that "might" be risky and you "might" get a knock on the door). We do our best to avoid Walmart if we can. But in a pinch, it works as long as you scout it out, rest stops (if they are nice), Home Depot, Tractor Supply, etc... Most of those are when we are traveling from one place to another. We do have a nationwide gym membership and those are great for getting some exercise when the weather is unfavorable. And being able to take a long hot shower is great. But...The vast majority of or stays are off the beaten path and with that comes new scenery and new places to explore.

I'm sure most know of Harvest Host and we have had great luck with those stays. And you generally get to meet the nicest people. It is well worth the $80 per year as you know where you will be staying and there is usually many things that they set up for you. We just make sure to purchase something if it is at a place that actually sells something there. I'm really big on supporting local and anything that I can do to help out I will do.
 

RearViewMirror

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Messages
49
Reaction score
57
Location
State of Love and Trust
Oh... and I have a lifetime National Park pass that will get me in for free and half off "most" campgrounds. But that lifetime (for me) came with a disability due to a fire that we had where a house collapsed on us and destroyed my neck. Me, being a typical "guy".... I'm putting off surgery to fuse my vertebrae for as long as possible. But no matter, a National Park pass is a must for us. Even if you have to pay for it and you use it regularly, it is well worth it.
 
Top