Pros and Cons of Van-Life out West

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jasonafeder2

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It "seems" to me that the majority of Van-Lifers are out West. I have not been out West much. But now that I'm committed to Van-Life and doing a lot of research, I am getting the impression that the West might be the best for me. SO much has changed in the last 1-5 years in America that only the "freshest" information can be considered relevant these days. Between the explosion of "Van Life" (or maybe just my perceived views), and the whole C-19 mess I'm feeling unsure about my options. I currently live in Central Florida (Daytona, I don't really like it here). I am not retired. I still have to work. My health isn't as great as it used to be. I have some trouble with mobility (walking, not driving). My work options are limited to mostly call-center type jobs (no, it's not fun, but better than NO job). So... if some of you kind folks would be willing to express your opinions about the Pros and Cons of Van-Life in the West it would help me to set some long-term goals. Bob Wells and his fans "seem" to do their thing mostly out West. Community, jobs, acceptance of Van-Dwellers, weather ect. are just a few things that I am curious about. The good, the bad, and the ugly, I want to get a feel for what to expect out West. I thank you all in-advance for posting your opinions. ~ Jason
 

Carla618

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Sharing a post from the '$700 a month' thread. The post made me want to move to Washington state ASAP:) Here:

 

Frood

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It "seems" to me that the majority of Van-Lifers are out West. I have not been out West much. But now that I'm committed to Van-Life and doing a lot of research, I am getting the impression that the West might be the best for me. SO much has changed in the last 1-5 years in America that only the "freshest" information can be considered relevant these days. Between the explosion of "Van Life" (or maybe just my perceived views), and the whole C-19 mess I'm feeling unsure about my options. I currently live in Central Florida (Daytona, I don't really like it here). I am not retired. I still have to work. My health isn't as great as it used to be. I have some trouble with mobility (walking, not driving). My work options are limited to mostly call-center type jobs (no, it's not fun, but better than NO job). So... if some of you kind folks would be willing to express your opinions about the Pros and Cons of Van-Life in the West it would help me to set some long-term goals. Bob Wells and his fans "seem" to do their thing mostly out West. Community, jobs, acceptance of Van-Dwellers, weather ect. are just a few things that I am curious about. The good, the bad, and the ugly, I want to get a feel for what to expect out West. I thank you all in-advance for posting your opinions. ~ Jason
I think a big part of that is that there is a real lack of public-lands where you can go boondocking back east (BLM type land). I know there are national forests all across the USA but not sure about regulations for staying in them back east...

I don't have personal experience or hard data with this so please take the above statement with a grain of salt. It's based mostly off of interpolating from what I've seen others say and while browsing (a limited selection of) maps to see where you can stay for modest periods of time.
 

Carla618

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It "seems" to me that the majority of Van-Lifers are out West. I have not been out West much. But now that I'm committed to Van-Life and doing a lot of research, I am getting the impression that the West might be the best for me. SO much has changed in the last 1-5 years in America that only the "freshest" information can be considered relevant these days. Between the explosion of "Van Life" (or maybe just my perceived views), and the whole C-19 mess I'm feeling unsure about my options. I currently live in Central Florida (Daytona, I don't really like it here). I am not retired. I still have to work. My health isn't as great as it used to be. I have some trouble with mobility (walking, not driving). My work options are limited to mostly call-center type jobs (no, it's not fun, but better than NO job). So... if some of you kind folks would be willing to express your opinions about the Pros and Cons of Van-Life in the West it would help me to set some long-term goals. Bob Wells and his fans "seem" to do their thing mostly out West. Community, jobs, acceptance of Van-Dwellers, weather ect. are just a few things that I am curious about. The good, the bad, and the ugly, I want to get a feel for what to expect out West. I thank you all in-advance for posting your opinions. ~ Jason
Are you asking about the southwest, west coast or pacific northwest?
 

tx2sturgis

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Jason would you object if I update the title of this thread?

Something like 'Pros and Cons of Van-Life out West"
 

jacqueg

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I guess I should of just said "out West" since I really don't know the difference between the three. Which one is most popular with Van-Lifers?
It al depends on exactly HOW a person does van life.

I don't need to work, so that determines how I do it.

Winters in the desert southwest, where it's dry and warmish. The other three seasons, I'm in the PNW, where it's cooler, greener, and rainier. Both places, I stay in rural areas - which means, few jobs.

Since you need to work, you're going to either need to find a way to work online, or hang out where most of the jobs are - in towns and cities.
 

Tony's Dream

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I don't van dwell full time, I only go on trips for 10-14 days at a time. I recently took a trip through OR, WA, MN, ID, NM, UT. The west is less populated than the east......and in my opinion, the people are nicer. There are parts of the west where you can drive for hours and not see a lot of people or even a town. So make sure that you keep your gas tank over 1/2 full. There are more public lands to camp on for free. As van dwelling grows in popularity, I fear that these areas may become crowded too. :cautious:

In September I took a trip out to VA and found crowds every where I went. Along the coast, only signs seem to separate the towns.

I think the pros/cons will be determined on your ability to find places to live while finding work you are able to do. Some BLM lands are nice but cell service is tough. Staying in towns near your work will depend on local laws, some towns don't allow you stay in a van on public streets.
 

bullfrog

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The biggest advantages of being out west to me was the ease of finding seasonal work with hookups, and when not working using BLM land close to National Parks or the city to live cheaply. Being able to move with the seasons to stay most of the time in bearable weather and because of the drastic elevation changes stay many times within a few hundred miles. In the southwest fewer insects and dry climate with little or no poison ivy, sumac or oak which I’m terribly allergic too plus I really like hot dry weather over humid wet weather and oh yea wonderful Mexican food!
 
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rruff

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I am getting the impression that the West might be the best for me.
We need more info because it all depends on how you want or need to live. It's the best for me because the camping on public land is easy (so much wide open and beautiful land), and you don't have to travel far for great weather all year.

But I'm not working. Can you do call center work remotely? Part time? Seasonally? I did seasonal work as a waiter at a National Park for awhile, but since you have mobility issues there are fewer options like that. If you are working in town, and the job is year round, then you are basically parking on the street somewhere... which is hugely different than my situation.

BTW, Oregon is another state that has good benefits and generally treats the poor well.
 

jasonafeder2

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We need more info because it all depends on how you want or need to live. It's the best for me because the camping on public land is easy (so much wide open and beautiful land), and you don't have to travel far for great weather all year.

But I'm not working. Can you do call center work remotely? Part time? Seasonally? I did seasonal work as a waiter at a National Park for awhile, but since you have mobility issues there are fewer options like that. If you are working in town, and the job is year round, then you are basically parking on the street somewhere... which is hugely different than my situation.

BTW, Oregon is another state that has good benefits and generally treats the poor well.
Thank you for your reply! That is definitely the type of information that I am curious about. If the majority of van-dwellers are out West, then there must be good reasons for it. As time goes on I am certain that I will continue to learn. Thanks again :)
 

bagabum

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I guess I should of just said "out West" since I really don't know the difference between the three. Which one is most popular with Van-Lifers?
Jason, right now it's the Quartzsite Az area, tons of free BLM land and a host of very affordable short/long term options. You can pick your density, close in more people, further out less.
 

GoingMobile

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Climate: dryer, variety of temperatures available with elevation change that doesn't necessarily mean driving that far. I'm currently in Mississippi and would not want to do van life through the many hotter humid months here. It would be miserable. I can be in my van without AC and still be relatively comfortable at higher temps in a dry climate. Available free camp sites, a lot of BLM land, national forest land, where you can do dispersed camping free. Less common or just not available in the rest of the country. Places like Quartzite where there is a community of people who live in RVs, vans, etc. Whether snowbirds, retirees, so called van lifers, or your average vagabonds. There is some infrastructure and acceptance of people doing such things. Of course there are workarounds and I imagine you could do it most places you can find satisfactory work to support your situation. But the western states have those advantages mentioned.
 

jasonafeder2

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Climate: dryer, variety of temperatures available with elevation change that doesn't necessarily mean driving that far. I'm currently in Mississippi and would not want to do van life through the many hotter humid months here. It would be miserable. I can be in my van without AC and still be relatively comfortable at higher temps in a dry climate. Available free camp sites, a lot of BLM land, national forest land, where you can do dispersed camping free. Less common or just not available in the rest of the country. Places like Quartzite where there is a community of people who live in RVs, vans, etc. Whether snowbirds, retirees, so called van lifers, or your average vagabonds. There is some infrastructure and acceptance of people doing such things. Of course there are workarounds and I imagine you could do it most places you can find satisfactory work to support your situation. But the western states have those advantages mentioned.
Thank you very much for your reply. Again, these is the sorts of aspects of The West which I am curious about.
 
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