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NiferFo

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Hi. I’m Jenifer, a 54 yo newly single woman with anxiety about my future. I am currently working a job I don’t care for but it (barely) makes ends meet. I have always loved camping and have been homeless in the past. Working on my Dodge Grand Caravan now, so I can use it to travel and live in if I need to, but it has over 260k miles and I currently have no savings. I’m glad I found this community to know I’m not alone! I have been renting a side of a duplex near the Nashville TN area for over 6 years but not sure how much longer I can do that. Just looking to learn and give where/how I can.
 
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Lil Pasquale

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Hello. Congratulations on joining. If you have any questions...go to cheaprvliving and watch Bob Wells videos. Any question Bob has a video on it. Best of luck.
 

Carla618

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Hi. I’m Jenifer, a 54 yo newly single woman with anxiety about my future. I am currently working a job I don’t care for but it (barely) makes ends meet.
Hi Jenifer,

Are there any decent "subsidized housing" apartments near you? I'm thinking if you got in one of those you could save up for a newer van.

You could save even faster living in your current van for a year. The weather is pretty mild in Nashville most of the year. Summers are bad and you'll have to prepare for some freezing temps in winter. Also, you'll have to learn where the best places to park at night are.

Good luck!
 

Tony's Dream

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There are several stories about van living on this site, you may want to look at a few. Going from a house or aparment to van living can be quite an adjustment for some people. I travel vs. living in a van. I truly enjoy my time on the road but after two weeks I miss my house comforts. :D I was recently on a two week trip (5400 miles) and spent $1,300.....almost $1,000 of that was gas. :( You have to have a plan for those....what if's! Nothing like camping in a automobile repair shop parking lot for 3-4days.
 

JDub

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Welcome!

Perhaps you might consider the N Alabama area. Huntsville, Florence, Madison, Muscle Shoals are booming and jobs are everywhere. Not as cheap as it used to be but still cheaper than the Nashville area which is one of the highest housing cost cities in the country. My MiL lives there and it's a very nice area.

You might start budgeting for a new vehicle too, yours is probably approaching the end of its useful life... My late wife used a GC handicap conversion and I have quite a bit of experience maintaining them.

Good Luck!
 

NiferFo

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Hi Jenifer,

Are there any decent "subsidized housing" apartments near you? I'm thinking if you got in one of those you could save up for a newer van.

You could save even faster living in your current van for a year. The weather is pretty mild in Nashville most of the year. Summers are bad and you'll have to prepare for some freezing temps in winter. Also, you'll have to learn where the best places to park at night are.

Good luck!
Thank you! I’m in a cheaper place now and saving as much as I can. :)
 

LargeMarge

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Hi. I’m Jenifer...with anxiety...
.
Boy-o-boy garsh almighty, I can relate to 'anxiety'.
.
I remember getting paralyzed about my decisions, struggling to move my feet in any direction because they were permanently attached to a couple buckets of concrete.
.
I was so stuck in choosing among so many options... but without the loot to make much of a difference between staying (wherever) and going to 'that unimaginable place'.
The gap between there and here was simply too great for my tiny brains to envision the transit.
Ouch... it hurts to admit that.
Who was that person!
.
And then, some instigator corrupted me.
My safe little world gradually seemed inadequate.
Who was the corrupter?
The instigator was the second eldest brother of my da, born in 1899 and born with itchy feet -- Jesse (middle name 'James'...).
The man was incapable of saying anything without turning it into a circus, exaggerating and expanding and gesticulating and all the gates open in the zoo.
.
An example:
Uncle Jesse (middle name 'James'...) was telling his chum about watching the neighbor mowing the yard, requiring a demonstration -- out of the corner of his eye, he saw us kids transfixed to his every word -- and that demonstration revealed the neighbor leaning over backward while doing the 'Mussolini goose-step'.
And us kids just about strangled from laughing until we gasped for air.
.
Long after Uncle Jesse (middle name 'James'...) checked-out to the Great Boondock In The Sky, all one of us kids -- all grown-up and worldly -- has to do is catch the eye of another one of us, and the laughing-until-gasping starts all over again.
.
Who is your 'Uncle Jesse'?
Who can you enlist as your instigator?
Who watches over you from the corner of their eye?
 
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NiferFo

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YES! That’s me to a T! Between depression and anxiety, it takes everything I have just to get out of bed. I’ve been bingeing on Bob Wells and many others and learning, but I need to start acting!
Thanks for the laugh about your Uncle!! I needed that.
 

GypsyJan

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Welcome, NiferFo:

Baby steps are the way to go. Your current vehicle will suffice for practice runs in your local area. You can get a lot of experience before taking the final plunge. In this heat, I suggest practicing late at night or at dawn. Just go park somewhere safe and follow the same routine you would if you lived in the van full time. Local parks are a good place to practice cooking breakfast, for example. It will give you a chance to tweak your setup and equipment. You may find you are more adept at this lifestyle than you fear. One step at a time, but keep practicing.
 

Gussie

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Welcome, NiferFo:

Baby steps are the way to go. Your current vehicle will suffice for practice runs in your local area. You can get a lot of experience before taking the final plunge. In this heat, I suggest practicing late at night or at dawn. Just go park somewhere safe and follow the same routine you would if you lived in the van full time. Local parks are a good place to practice cooking breakfast, for example. It will give you a chance to tweak your setup and equipment. You may find you are more adept at this lifestyle than you fear. One step at a time, but keep practicing.
Best. Possible. Advice.
(y)
 

CaliforniaGal

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Hello nice to meet you! I am 54 also. I hope you like Van life, the community seems to me the biggest draw. I admire you for looking into it.
I want to suggest a job for you. I had a job working for a Supportive Living Agency with a developmentally disabled adult from 2015-2020. Paid slightly above minimum wage but paid to sleep about 6-7 hrs of the shift and I enjoyed the work. We had a co-worker who lived in her Van when she wasn't at work. We shared a client who was developmentally disabled needing 24 hr supervision who always had one staff member with her at all times.. She was mobile

My co-worker I'll call her... worked Mondays 3pm to Tues 9am and Thurs 3pm to Fri 9am. No overtime except on holidays but it allowed her to shower 4 days a week and we were paid to sleep about 6-6.5 hrs a night. Client was usually up a few times but even if you slept in and didn't see her, she was normally pretty good. We kept the staff door cracked an inch to listen for her. She was mobile so no real caregiving. The weekend staff grocery shopped with her so we just did some housework, made sure she exercised by walking with her to the gas station for a coffee, made dinner, did dishes, ensured she showered & brushed teeth, etc. Prepped her lunch for the next morning when we dropped her off at her day program.

I liked the job. It provided a 401k match+ internet so around 11pm-1am, I was online. Others who worked there would shower, chop veges at night to make their crockpot meals for the week (bringing a crockpot to work). Most others just slept.

I also had a client who needed someone from 3pm-8pm Mon-Fri. Client always let staff members shower at 7pm if they wanted to, which was helpful to one staff had a job which started at 8pm at McDonalds. She worked until about Midnight. She lived in her car saving up a downpayment to buy a condo.

In CA, this year it just started- the self determination program. I take my client home every Thu 3pm-Friday 9am. He sleeps about 7 hours a night out of the 18 hr shift. We sleep in our RV parked in our driveway. He also stays Fri 3pm to Sat 5pm a few times a month. It averages to 30 hrs a week at $21 per hr. nI provide most of his meals though weekends he has $ to eat out. We sleep in the RV at night which is parked in our driveway. Routine is to pick him up from his day program, drive 1 hr to my house, get in shorts, swim in the river (Summertime) for 30 min to get clean and cool off...(then he doesn't need to shower) I make him and my family dinner and we watch a movie together. We do not have a second bedroom hence sleeping in the RV. At 8pm we go to the RV, he plays on his computer for about 1-1.5 hrs while in bed and is asleep by 10:15pm. Many developmentally disabled adults seem to be on some medication which makes them sleep. I make him a lunch and get him up at 7:15am to go to his day program by 9am (It is a 1 hr drive). It's a GREAT job. I really like it.

I am an independent contractor , client lives with his Dad and Sister. It's called In home Respite Care however the Dad agreed he could stay at our house. I started a business so i could write off the mileage & his meal costs since each week it's a 2 hour drive. However you don't have to start a business, you can just remain an independent contractor. Not sure this is available in Tennessee or not but surely supportive living jobs with D.D. adults are available in your area. I am not a caregiver so prefer to take people who are mobile but very hyper. They are entertaining to me and I have a good amount of patience.

These kinds of jobs often have you paid to sleep (also check paid roommate jobs on Craigslist) I didn't like paid roommate jobs b/c you have to live with the client M-Fri on the premesis from 10pm-6am or 7am in the morning. So paid to sleep unless client is ill. They hire only singles. They take $200 out of your check to chip in for the rent and all of the utilities. Still it puts a roof over your head, medical care and you have the days all to yourself M-Fri in the home. Generally the client goes to a job or a day program.

Also i knew a Security Guard on Weekends at a Country Club. I rode my bike from about 9pm-11pm there since hardly anyone drove there, big hills and there was security. I knew a guy who worked graveyards from 10pm-8am Fri thru Sunday. He was expected to check the locker rooms and lock up so he'd shower in the locker room. He lived in his RV. . Since he sat at the guard shack, he'd chop vegetables and shred cheese, no one hardly ever entered. They were mostly vacation homes. He would then go to the Lodge and plug it in. Valla....he had meals for the entire week.

Most of the night he didn't see any residents, unless it was Summertime then it was busier. Otherwise it was almost completely dead, some nights not one car. It was located at Winchester in Meadow Vista CA. In Summer the Clubhouse opened up so if you worked days, the job included a free meal. Only half the year did people come and stay, out of all of the homes there is maybe 3-4 full timers. Very upscale place.
 
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NiferFo

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Welcome, NiferFo:

Baby steps are the way to go. Your current vehicle will suffice for practice runs in your local area. You can get a lot of experience before taking the final plunge. In this heat, I suggest practicing late at night or at dawn. Just go park somewhere safe and follow the same routine you would if you lived in the van full time. Local parks are a good place to practice cooking breakfast, for example. It will give you a chance to tweak your setup and equipment. You may find you are more adept at this lifestyle than you fear. One step at a time, but keep practicing.
I have actually been doing that very thing! I actually took a trip to see family in northern WI for about 2 weeks and stayed in my van. It was amazing! Tweaking as I go. Thanks!
 

Seth Osbon

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Hi. I’m Jenifer, a 54 yo newly single woman with anxiety about my future. I am currently working a job I don’t care for but it (barely) makes ends meet. I have always loved camping and have been homeless in the past. Working on my Dodge Grand Caravan now, so I can use it to travel and live in if I need to, but it has over 260k miles and I currently have no savings. I’m glad I found this community to know I’m not alone! I have been renting a side of a duplex near the Nashville TN area for over 6 years but not sure how much longer I can do that. Just looking to learn and give where/how I can.
Hi Jennifer, I'm Seth a 45 year old near Ft. Wayne Indiana. Through a series of unfortunate events i.e. divorce, lost my house of 12 years, and so on, I've been living in my pickup truck with my puppy since March of this year. Indiana has pretty much made it to be illegal to be homeless or living in a vehicle so I plane on going out west to join the caravan and see the beautiful mountains. I live on VA disability so I don't work basically early retirement.
I hope to meet you someday and make a new friend.
 

NiferFo

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Hi Seth. Welcome to the forum! I used to live near Ft Wayne. And I’ve been to the mountains out west a few times. I do miss them!
A pickup with a puppy sounds cramped :( I’m sure you will find a great community here. I’m looking at early retirement also, but not “necessarily” forced. I can keep working the grind and give my life to this company and have a couple $ to spend after payday, or I can LIVE life! I’m just not sure how everything will pan out yet. I am saving up to go to RTR in January. I just hope it’s this coming one! (Btw, I have a dog too)
 

Seth Osbon

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Hi Seth. Welcome to the forum! I used to live near Ft Wayne. And I’ve been to the mountains out west a few times. I do miss them!
A pickup with a puppy sounds cramped :( I’m sure you will find a great community here. I’m looking at early retirement also, but not “necessarily” forced. I can keep working the grind and give my life to this company and have a couple $ to spend after payday, or I can LIVE life! I’m just not sure how everything will pan out yet. I am saving up to go to RTR in January. I just hope it’s this coming one! (Btw, I have a dog too)
Hi Jennifer, I completely understand. Definitely want to go to rtr also. What kind if puppy do you have? Mine is a doberman pinscher she's 3 and a half years old my baby lol.
 
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