Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Vision

Let's be clear. I don't want to run away from society, ditch all my troubles, or "stick it to the man." I really don't want to give up my friends, family, my great income and the luxury of a hot shower on a daily basis. I don't want to wander aimlessly, bathe in a creek, follow craft shows and squeeze out a paltry living.

I merely want options. If I want to stay for an evening at the beach, on a whim, I want to be able to do that. But I don't want to have to pay for an expensive hotel, or take the time to scrounge through the garage for my dirty tent that I crammed in the corner under the smelly ice chest and lounge chairs. I don't want to have to pack my clothes, get my things in order and plan to be back the next day at a certain time. It's all just too much to deal with after a long day at work.

What I do like is to wander into downtown for an evening with good friends, food and drink -- a simple pleasure. What I don't like is commuting miles back home to sleep for six hours, only to turn right around and slog through mind-numbing traffic back to the exact place I left just a few hours prior, thereby incinerating another large chunk of my life. It's really exhausting.

My dilemma: I love my job. I love California - the ocean, the mountains, the weather. And, I really don't want to leave.

So, I started fantasizing about what a house and a home really means. I know those who live on boats in the marina. Okay, so obviously one can get by with very little. A lot of people do it. I get the whole concept of living on the water and watching the sunset on the ocean. I get the peacefulness of it all. But, while appreciating the efficient use of space, I can't appreciate the fact that a boat can't move me any closer to work. It can only meander further away from where my daily life is. The commute time would still suck, and I'd get to come home every day to a film of cold moisture that saturates everything in sight -- not interested.

I've read plenty about those who live in buses and motor-homes - vehicles that are just too big to drive around and park in a city. And, I've seen those dumpy rust buckets all over town that are indeed small enough to drive around but which are owned by transients who don't have two pennies to scrape together. Now, I'm sure there are those who have been dealt a bad hand in life and I feel for them. But I can't change the world all by myself, and the people who live in those urban eyesores are part of a group that I wish not to be associated with. And, they're definitely a target of law enforcement. All compassion aside, I surely don't want to embarrass my girlfriend. She'd run for the hills.

My solution: A vehicle that can disappear in the city while parked, yet provide me with everything I need along with a design sense that I can live with and be proud of. I want a work truck exterior and a luxury studio interior. Sound good so far?

My vehicle will have a comfortable bed, hot water, bathroom, a stove to cook on, a table to eat at, a self-sustaining electrical system, room for my clothing, computer station and printer and an Ipod docking port. I'll be updating this blog routinely to share what I've learned and to invite a lively discussion of the process. I welcome your comments.


  1. Hi, what did you order? Similar to the yellow truck? Brand new? It'll be interesting to see the continuing results. Best of luck to you...

  2. Hey Mike,

    I've been scouring Craigslist nationwide via the "Craigslist Reader," which is an awesome search software, and Ebay. I'll probably buy a Chevy P30 or a GMC. Yes, it will be similar to the yellow truck but with roughly 80 to 100 thousand miles. The most important requirement is that the length is no more than a public parking space -- roughly 20 feet. For my price range, it will be late '80's to early '90's. Thanks for the note.

  3. I wish you all the luck! John and I (my husband) love the concept of living on the open road BUT due to family dynamics beyond our control and other smaller reasons, we have chosen to attempt to live simply in our house. The concept you speak of is the truth tho...

    SOMEDAY. Someday we'll be free of jobs that occupy our personal time, and restraints that keep us from enjoying the moments we have in front of us...

    I am excited to see your progress! Oh and your little "about me" piece was awesome. I sat here in my little computer chair giggling to myself! (We just had a conversation here last night about how cheap and easy it is to clean a throttle body but neither one of us are brave enough to attempt it so we just paid the outrageous price for a mechanic to do it....)

  4. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad you've found interest in my project. I've tried doing many things in my life that just didn't work. But without those to learn from, I could never have been so proud of all the things that did work. And, I hope my motorhome is one of them.

  5. Look forward to following your progress. found fr. vandwellers grp.

  6. SST,

    Thanks for the nod. Hope you find it entertaining.

  7. Is this what your looking to build I like mine.