Last Update: 12/30/2016

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van, Part 4

Back and side of maroon van open, small oil paintings on display to be sold.

Continuing Vanholio’s 6-part series, “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van,” I’m coverin’ how to sell goods and services for income. These principles apply to nomads, rubbertramps, boaters, and travellers of all stripes. Hell, they even work for your sticks-n-bricks types.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

But I Hate Selling! I Suck at It!


Too bad, Buttercup. If you’re thinkin’ you want a job, you’re gonna be selling yourself. Only you’ll be looking for one client to sell to, a boss. All the principles are the same as being in business. It’s only the damn details that vary.

5 Steps to Selling Anything, Including Yourself


In landing any business or job, you gotta go through the following steps. It’s like selling lemonade.

  1. Find a Ready Buyer

    Maybe anyone could use what you’re selling, but it’s a waste of time trying to convince them. You want to focus your energy on folks who know they need what you got and are willing and able to spend money.

    Selling lemonade? Go where people are hot and thirsty (and have cash). Festival on a hot day? Perfect! Folks are thirsty, usually have cash, and may not be carrying around water with them.

  2. Get the Buyer's Attention

    Folks got a lot on their minds. Even when a potential buyer wants what you got, you need them to notice you. That’s a trick. It’s why companies pay fuckloads for advertising.

    Make that lemonade sign big and yellow. Make it tall enough and bright enough that it sticks out to thirsty buyers as they wander around the festival. Hawk your wares, too! “Lemonade! Cold lemonade for sale! Fresh squeezed! Lots of ice!”

  3. Convince the Buyer You Can Solve Their Problem

    OK, so you got the sucker’s attention. Now what? You gotta convince them you’ve got the solution, that you can deliver. You need to prove you're competent.

    Your lemonade stand better be clean with lots of cups. Make sure they can see the lemonade in it’s jugs/dispensers. Glass is perfect, especially if water beads condense on the outside.

  4. Convince the Buyer You Will Solve Their Problem

    What Vanholio’s talking about here is trust. Lots of folks can provide a service, but many too are lazy and disappoint their buyers. You buyer wants to know you’ll deliver.

    Make sure you and your lemonade stand staff are helpful. Whether it’s a short or long line, move your customers along quickly. Have plenty of change. Be able to take credit cards. Have plenty of lemonade, ice, and cups on hand. In other words, give the buyer confidence that they’ll get their lemonade in hand and belly quickly with no fuss. Don't waste the buyer's fucking time.

  5. Close the Deal

    If the buyer’s got question or concerns, address them. Then tell them to pay you, but ever so nicely.

    Mr. Lemonade Buyer is just looking, not quite in line. Ask if they want lemonade. Offer a sample. Hand over a cup of lemonade without being asked and say, “That’ll be $3.” The buyer might refuse, but most likely not. They wouldn't be hanging around if they didn't want that lemonade deep down.

Think about these steps. Inhale them. Make them yours. Figure out how to handle each step in any money-making venture you wanna try. Then make it happen. That’s how this shit works.

It’s doable. Trust me. Dumber assholes than you make the steps work for them every day. And for any trade, there’s tons of specific info out there on landing the deal.

But What Goods and Services Can I Sell From a Van?


Look, like I keep saying, I’m offering first principles in this series. I’m not gonna give you a huge list of possibilities. If you want those, check the articles linked in the “Van Life Income Ideas” at bottom.

5 General Ways to Earn While Traveling


  1. Remote jobs – These are telecommuter jobs, piecework, phone selling, on-the-road specific jobs, and so forth.


  2. Online businesses – Anything you can sell online, goods or services, goes great on the road with cellular internet.


  3. Seasonal businesses – Why not run a business part of the year? Tourist locations are good for this. Also, Christmas businesses. Lots of possibilities.


  4. Seasonal jobs – Lots of businesses hire people just for the busy times. Amazon.com hires lots of workkampers at Christmas, and it’s popular with vanners. That’s just one example.


  5. Portable businesses – Artists and craftspersons move around from show to show, with plenty of breaks between. Some tradespeople have mastered finding clients when they arrive in town, then move on.

What you should get from the above list is that you can do damn near anything on the road. Most jobs and businesses can be portable if you use your noodle.

Van Life Income Ideas


5 Sweet Van Life Jobs and How to Get Them
Ideas for Making Money on the Road (Cheap RV Living Forum)
Remote Jobs Links (Cheap RV Living Forum)
Make a Living on the Road (Wandrly Magazine)
45 Great Jobs You Can Do While Traveling and How to Get Them (The Barefoot Nomad)

Read the 6-Part Series

Part 1: OverviewPart 2: Reduce Your NeedsPart 3: Do Things YourselfPart 4: Sell Goods or ServicesPart 5: Invest or Loan CapitalPart 6: Get Others to Support You

Also See …

The Six-Step Selling Cycle (Dummies)


Read More »

Last Update: 12/27/2016

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van – Part 3

Here’s a thought: If you “do it yourself,” you don’t need money to pay no one. Imagine that! The DIY value you create ain’t taxed neither. Plus it builds your confidence, pride, and joyfulness.

It’s so obvious and simple, it hardly seems worth mentioning in this 6-part series, “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van.” But it is.

Used to be folks did a ton themselves, from hunting and gardening to rebuilding engines. Somehow we got away from that. There’s advantages to hiring out, but it costs us as people.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

Why We Got Away From DIY


Since the old days, most of us became wage slaves. Economists will tell you it’s a good thing. The more people, companies, regions, even nations specialize and trade freely, the richer everyone becomes overall.

Yes, the economists are right that there’s efficiencies. If you make $20 an hour at your job, it’s efficient to pay a restaurant $8 for a lunch.

To DIY, that meal would’ve taken you $4 in materials and 2 hours to shop and make. That’s a net “opportunity cost” of $36. You’re better off earning at work and paying for lunch. Mathwise, at least. Even if the lunch ain’t quite to your taste.

The Cost of Overspecialization


There’s a human price to everyone specializing for the cash economy. First off, it ties you to makin’ money. Usually, that means a shitty job taking shit from some asshole.

Even under the best situation, you’re doing the same thing too much. Anything becomes old if you do it 40+ hours a week.

And you become bound to others doing for you. It’s real easy to lose confidence in your abilities.

Why just yesterday, a friend posted her thrill at learning to make cream gravy from scratch at near 50. All those years, she just assumed it was hard and bought package after expensive package of gravy mix. Ignorance marks you a sucker.

DIY = Thrifty Fun and Confidence


The more things you learn to fix and make yourself, the more other shit you can tackle. It’s a virtuous goddamn circle. More fun, too.

As you do more yourself, you don’t need to earn money. You get more variety in your day. That’s fun in and of itself.

You get extra cash value in that your efforts aren’t taxed. Pay some guy to change your oil, and the local and state government takes a cut in sales taxes. Then the feds take a cut of his profits and/or salary. Do it yourself, and Uncle Sam need not be the wiser. You’re saving 25% off the top.

Plus you aren’t paying income taxes you woulda paid on the cash earnings that would have paid the grease monkey. There’s another 15% and up.

Pick Your DIY Battles


Now, I hope your big goal in living the van life is to enjoy yourself. Our time is short.

Some jobs won’t be to your liking, even after you get good at them. Go ahead and hire them out.

Others, too, take too much special training or tools to make it worth your while. I mean, why buy $2,000 in tools you don’t even have room for and might only use once or twice.

But for all the stuff you don’t mind doing and you can do cheap, consider putting it on your list. Every penny saved is a penny you don’t need to kiss ass The Man’s for.

Many Hands Make Light Work


DIY don’t have to strictly be you yourself. If you got a big job or a job too intimidating to tackle alone, have a bee. That’s how our ancestors did it, from quilts to barn raising. That’s quality socializing.

Just last month, Jamie of Enigmatic Nomadics put together a “Van Build Party” in Lake Havasu, AZ. Vanners from all over and with mixed skills came together to help each other upgrade their vans. Hopefully they’ll repeat in 2017.

In Palo Alto, California, they do something similar with fixing electronics and appliances at the “Repair Cafe.”

Look around. Folks all over get together in bees, whatever they call them. Can’t find one? Organize it yourself. This country needs more folks doing for themselves, or doing for each other.

Read the 6-Part Series

Part 1: Overview — Part 2: Reduce Your Needs — Part 3: Do Things Yourself — Part 4: Sell Goods or Services — Part 5: Invest or Loan Capital — Part 6: Get Others to Support You

Also See ...

CheapGeek (YouTube Channel)
7 Top DIY Websites That Will Inspire Your Next Creation [LIST] (Goodnet)
65 Tips to Save Money Through Self-Reliance (Mother Earth News)

Read More »

Last Update: 12/23/2016

Surviving Christmas Alone in a Van

Van covered in christmas lights
Well, what the fuck makes Christmas and all those other end-of-year holidays so goddamn merry anyway? Sometimes they ain’t. I know, I been there. For anyone, holidays can be stressful. If you live alone in a van down by the river? Can be that much worse.

But here’s Vanholio’s constructive ideas to get your head outta your ass. Try happy out. You’ll like it!

Do Something Fun by Yourself, for Yourself


No point sitting around like the Grinch, stewin’ in your own juices. Make merry on your lonesome.

Some years back, Vanholio got divorced. It was rough. Naturally.

First Father’s Day alone, away from the kids, the blackness was overtakin’ me. The swamp looked deep and cool, easy to just sink on into.

So I got off my ass and went for a loooong hike up a mountain ridge. Natural beauty, tons of exercise, the knowledge that I was a free man in nature. Did me good. Picked me right the hell up. Got me through the day. I even had some fun.

What would you like to do? Something you don’t normally get to. Go to a favorite place? Stay in a fancy hotel? Play a shit ton of video games? Give yourself that special present.

Elbow Your Way to the Table


Now, Vanholio’s normally a bit shy. He don’t just make friends everywhere. That’s by choice

But last Thanksgiving, he was in Florida. I’ve got some friends in Florida, but they already had plans to be guests elsewhere.

It was forward of me, but I asked my friends if they could wangle an invitation to Thanksgiving where they was going. They agreed. They got it. I went.

Turns out the hostess had been a career Army nurse and totally got the need to find “family” wherever you can on the road. Never felt more welcome. Lovely people. One of my best Thanksgivings ever.

If you’re not near people to ask, go near people. Stay at an RV park. Bet most of them got something going on. Hell, I bet Slab City’s got a heck of a party planned!

Gather Your Own Posse


Don’t you think other vandwellers might be in the same spot? That they don’t got people nearby (or at all)?

Start a gathering! Don’t need anything fancy. A location and a potluck will do. Some folks on the Cheap RV Living forum are doing that this Christmas Even in Ehrenberg, AZ. If you can’t hook up with them, do what they’re doing where you are! Ain’t hard.

Talk to folks on the other forums, too: /r/vandwellers, Squat the Planet, and Vandog Traveller. Plenty of van folk in the same position you are.

Stay Tuned!


Next week, I’ll post Part 3 of Vanholio’s “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van” series. Till then, Merry Christmas, Fab Festivus, and Happy Holidays!

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See …


Considering Van Life? Take the Goddamn Plunge …
10 Things to Do if You’re Alone for the Holidays (PsychCentral)
30 Alternatives to a Dysfunctional Family Christmas (Jodie Gale)
35 Solo Travel Destinations for Christmas (Solo Traveler)
Read More »

Last Update: 12/20/2016

Van Life Manifesto #vanlife



Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.
Read More »

Last Update: 12/16/2016

Why I Don't Salute the Flag or Say the Pledge

One man in crowd, circled in red, won't raise the Nazi salute
Well, Vanholio’s gonna start a shitstorm now.

The reason he don’t salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, or stand during the national anthem ain’t got nothing to do with politics.

He ain’t up for making a statement, unlike some overpaid football players I could name.

No, the reason is simple: The flag is a piece of cloth.

Talking, gesturing, and promising to a some old rag is stupid. It’s as dumb as praying to a cow, kissing the Pope’s ring, bowing before the Queen of England, or any other number of weird, foreign customs.

Now, I know some of ya’ll got strong feelings on this. Ya’ll think it’s disrespectful. Ya’ll think it means I don’t love this country.

Well, I love this country well enough. Ain’t moved, have I? Even if I did, I wouldn’t salute their flags neither, nor bow to their kings, nor pray to their cows.

I’ll say this, too: It disrespects Vanholio to insist he drink your Kool-Aid. And whether you understand that or not, he ain’t sippin’ nohow.

Look, the damn flag don’t care: It’s an inanimate object.

The USA don’t care: It’s an idea.


The Founding Fathers don't care: They're dead.

Most vets don’t even care: They don’t know Vanholio or concern themselves with his doings. They got bigger fish to fry.


So who cares? YOU care. When Vanholio don’t stand up and salute, it hurts your poor baby feelings. So in that respect, maybe I am a shithead.

But maybe you’re too sensitive, Buttercup. Maybe you're mad 'cause Vanholio ain’t fondlin’ your feelins’ just right.

News flash: Vanholio ain't politically correct.

Oh, and here’s a quarter. Call someone who cares.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Patriotism, Like Love, Is a Goddamn Mess
Hole in the Rock Expedition Mor(m)onic
What’s Conservative about the Pledge of Allegiance (Cato Institute)

Read More »

Last Update: 12/13/2016

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van – Part 2

Ground-level view of flowers and grass, van on road blurry in background

“I needs money! How do I make my money, money, money on the road!?” That’s what’s keepin’ ya’ll up at night. True as far as it goes.

But if you want van life freedom, the first goddamn thing you need to do is stop spending so much. Don’t get that under control, you’ll never make enough cash, no way, no how. Greed is a bottomless pit.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

No. 1 – Reduce Your Needs


So in this here Part 2 of the “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van,” I’m addressing No. 1 of the 5 ways to make money anywhere, anytime: Reduce Your Needs. It’s called “voluntary simplicity.” Google that!

No, I ain’t talkin’ about living dirt-ass poor. Voluntary simplicity is about figuring out how be smarter with your time and money. Spend on what you do need and enjoy. But spend less or zero on what you don’t care for. That’s it!

What’s YOUR Voluntary Simplicity?


Now, that’s the trick, ain’t it? What helped Vanholio was this book: “Your Money or Your Life,” by Vickie Robin and Joe Dominguez. You can get the same info free at the Financial Integrity website.

It’s a 9 Step program to really figure out what you want, what you need, and what’s a fucking waste of your time and money – To YOU. Having done that, you’ll know exactly how much money you need.

Then the program guides you to financial independence. You’ll build up investments while cutting down expenses until you no longer need to work. Except as much as you enjoy.

Vanholio ain’t quite at the end yet, but he’s getting there.

Wisdom of a 40 Year Rubbertramp

Randy Vining is a nomad who’s been rubbertramping for 40 years. He ain’t worked in all that time! The man figured out his own version of what “Your Money or Your Life” teaches four decades ago, then quit the rat race forever.

Randy’s big on frugality first. He generally lives on only $500 a month. Below is a poem he wrote summing it all up.

Wealth…

is like a leaky bucket beneath a water spout.
The running water is the income, expense, is the leakage out.

And the measure of your wealth is,
How long could you hold out if some sadness fortune turned off the water spout?

Most folks focus on the spigot seeking increase of the flow…
I focus my attention on the leaky stand below.

I have sought to plug my bucket. Reducing my expenses,
holding in my savings like a cowboy mending fences.

With patience I waited for bargains, didn’t count on Lady Luck.
Lived well below my means, getting bang for every buck.

And when the water rising in my bucket reached that calculated mark,
I left behind all drudgery and flew off like a lark…

So I think my wealth is great because my needs are small,
and I won’t have to work again with any luck at all.

Money…

can purchase freedom, if you have the guts to buy it.
I know folks with beaucoup bucks too afraid to try it.

But I purchased freedom with the savings in my pail,
and across highway seas of adventure…

in my land yacht, I will sail.

Randy's got this and other poems in a free collection on Amazon, "Forty Years a Nomad: Poems From the Road."

Read the 6-Part Series

Part 1: Overview — Part 2: Reduce Your Needs — Part 3: Do Things Yourself — Part 4: Sell Goods or Services — Part 5: Invest or Loan Capital — Part 6: Get Others to Support You

Also See ...

Save Money, Gas, and Globe – Slow Down!
Financial Integrity (New Road Map Foundation)
Choosing Voluntary Simplicity (blog)
Read More »

Last Update: 12/09/2016

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van – Part 1

Back of van open, selling tourist maps, info, and brochures, plus bead strings.

Big question wannabe van life travelers have is, how do you earn a living on the road? Vanholio’s gonna tell you his secrets in this 6-part series. These principles apply to nomads, rubbertramps, boaters, and travelers of all stripes. Hell, they even work for your sticks-n-bricks types.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

Starting With First Principles


What I ain’t gonna give you is a list of van life jobs. Nope, Vanholio’s gonna begin at the beginning. You need to get your mind unfucked first, IMHO.

But if you just can’t help yourself, check the Also See at bottom for shitloads of specific ideas.

5 Ways to Make Money on the Road, or Anywhere


Now, most of you is trained up as wage slaves, so you only think about getting a job. It’s most common these days for most people. But it’s time to pull your head out of your ass. Vanholio’s got the jaws of life to do it!

Listen up! There are 5 – and just 5 – ways to get your material needs met in this world:

  1. Reduce Your Needs
  2. Do Things Yourself
  3. Sell Goods or Services
  4. Invest or Loan Capital
  5. Get Others to Support You

That’s it! That’s some high level thinkin’ there, down to first principles.

The big secret is to use several of the 5 to create an income “portfolio.” Well, you could just get a job, but then you got all your eggs in one basket. Stupid.

Read the 6-Part Series

Part 1: OverviewPart 2: Reduce Your NeedsPart 3: Do Things YourselfPart 4: Sell Goods or ServicesPart 5: Invest or Loan CapitalPart 6: Get Others to Support You

Also See …


Read More »

Last Update: 12/06/2016

Don’t Wear Out Your Welcome: Visit by Van!


One great thing about OTR van life is visiting far flung friends and family more often. An added bonus is being able to drive away before it’s too late …

Vanholio got down to South Texas to see the F&F just before Thanksgiving. The plan was to stay the whole time at the house of his brother by another mother, “JimmieBeam.” Was gonna stay thru Christmas, most likely till after New Years.

Well, maybe that weren’t the wisest of plans. After near two weeks, J-Beam and Vanholio started stepping on each other’s toes. Words were exchanged. Personal observations were made.

But after a step away, I got to considering that maybe, just maybe, J-Beam weren’t the only asshole in this stinkfest.

J-Beam’s got a lot on his plate at the moment and no patience to spare. But I tell you what: Vanholio was born with no kind of patience whatsoever!

Good news is that the remedy was at hand. Just had get in the van and drive off. Weren’t like I was stuck there, say if I’d flown down.

We agreed that now wasn’t the best time to be in each other’s way. Left with a smile and a handshake.

So now I’m parked up the coast a ways chillin’. I’ll head back at Christmas when things are more relaxed at the J-Beam family homestead. And maybe I’ll spend my time there in measured doses.

He’s a damn good friend, is J-Beam. He’s got his ways, and I got mine. No point ruining a good friendship when just a little space is what the doctor ordered.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Eating Fried Crow in South Texas Swelter
Top 5 Tips for Holiday Visiting (About Style)
Things to Do in South Texas (About Travel)
Read More »

Last Update: 12/02/2016

Get Help ANYWHERE You Travel in USA – Jitterbug

bicyclist stops at sunset to get help with his Jitterbug smartphone
GreatCall’s Jitterbug smartphones and flip phones ain’t just for seniors no more. Seriously! Vanholio just got his ‘cause it solves major OTR van life safety issues. Every rubbertramp nomad needs one for travel, IMHO – vandwellers, RVers, hitchhikers, bus riders, bikers, bicyclists, and the rest.

But Vanholio, you say, I ain’t old and decrepit. Why the hell would I need one of those fogey phones!? It’s all about the 5Star Urgent Response, patented GPS locator technology, and other safety features. Read on ...

Van Life Safety Problems Jitterbug Solves


Problem – Life-threatening injury or illness


Solution – 5Star agents connect you to doctors and nurses any time of day, can get an ambulance out there, tracked to your Jitterbug’s GPS signal. Arterial cut? Heart attack? Snake bite? Medical staff will talk you through first aid till help arrives. (See video at bottom.)

Problem – Unconscious or dead

Get Help ANYWHERE
5Star Urgent Response and
Jitterbug's other safety features
let you be prepared for any
situation, anytime, anywhere.

Solution – Use the automated Check-In Calls. If you miss a call, your chosen emergency contact is notified. If needed, he or she can work with 5Star agents to track your phone’s GPS signal. Help for you – and help for your pets if you’re beyond help.

Problem – Worrywart friends and family


Solution – You can authorize F&F to keep tabs with the GreatCall Link mobile app. They can map your location via GPS, see the charge left on your phone, and see whether you’ve made any emergency calls. (See video at bottom.)

Problem – Under attack


Solution – 5Star one-button dialing, a HUGE RED BUTTON on the phone. The 5Star agents will alert police and track your phone via GPS.

Problem – Lost


Solution – 5Star agents can locate you via Jitterbug’s patented GPS technology. Agents can help you figure out where you are and where to go.

Problem – Breakdown


Solution – 5Star agents connect you with a tow service or other help.


What About Nationwide Voice and Text on Jitterbug?


Great Call’s Jitterbug flip phones and smartphones are “powered by the nation’s largest and most dependable wireless network.” The company will neither confirm nor deny that this is the Verizon network, the best coverage for nomads. Even in the hinterlands.

How Much Does Jitterbug Service Cost?


It’s actually pretty damn cheap – very competitive! Plans are cafeteria style, starting at $14.99 a month.
Vanholio got the Preferred Health & Safety Plan, plus 600 minutes of talk and 700 texts, for about $40 a month. Same H&S plan plus unlimited talk and text would be about $65. Price for a new phone is average.




DISCLAIMER: Hell yes, Vanholio gets a commission if you buy a Jitterbug and sign up using links on this post. He needs the cheddar. But that don’t make the facts no less pertinent. The Jitterbug is no-brainer safety lifeline for vandwellers, rubbertramps, RVers, and nomads, particularly those doing van life solo.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Pick Up Mail and Packages on the Road
Traveling Mailbox Saves Vandweller $$$$
Jitterbugs 4 Sale on Amazon



Read More »

Last Update: 11/29/2016

6 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Van Life Rig

smashed up green and blue van next to a graffiti city wall
'Free Candy' by durdaneta (CC BY-NA 2.0)
Here're Vanholio's "6 Questions to Ask ..." about any van, car, truck, or van life rig you're considerin', posted at Gohobo.co. It all gets down to "First Principles." Check it out!

I wrote the list in trade for Simon Gooder's badass post here last Friday, "Is Van Life for You?" Read up and learn!

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Is Van Life for You?
Considering Van Life? Take the Goddamn Plunge Already!
6 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Van Life Rig (Gohobo.co)
Read More »

Last Update: 11/25/2016

Is Van Life for You?

Hippie Ken and his live-in van, Champoeg State Park, Oregon (USA) 1973
Van life is not for everyone. Maybe you really are a prospective vandweller. If not, don't worry. I'll point you to other adventure options.

First of all, how much you are willing to sacrifice is totally up to you. It’s often dependent on the type or style of van you will be dwelling in, but the real decision is yours.

Some people live in vans because they are forced to, through their living situation, but that’s a different story altogether. Although they will have to deal with many of the same things, a choice is not one of them.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

4 Biggest Hurdles to Van Life


Below, I’ve outlined four of the biggest hurdles for any vandweller. I’ve been through them myself and can speak from experience. If you can handle all four, perhaps the van life is for you. If not, you may want to consider another means of travel/adventure/accommodation.

1. Minimalism


There is a saying in the French culinary world: Mise en place. It means “everything in its place,” and I can’t think of a better expression for van life.

In my experience, it takes a certain level of organization to properly manage the van life. This can be something you learn or something that comes naturally. Either way, living in such limited quarters will absolutely require some organization if you want to live comfortably.

Embrace minimalism or stay home.

Those who live with a controlled level of materialism should have no trouble adapting to van life. Materialism can be one of the biggest hurdles when moving into a van. I know, it’s hard to get rid of your stuff. But eventually you’ll learn: that’s what it really is – stuff. In the end, this can be one of the most freeing experiences. 

If you’re having a hard time dropping your shit, go ahead and take it with you. You’ll quickly learn the value (or lack thereof) of your belongings, and you can always drop them as you move along.

2. Cleanliness


If you’re an avid camper, you probably already have a “relaxed idea of cleanliness.” It’s important to remember that you will not have a washing machine in your van, and you may have to wear your t-shirt more than one day in a row. It’s just part of the gig.

Technically, you could do laundry once a week, and if you have 7 t-shirts, 7 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks, and 7 pairs of pants (or shorts of whatever), you would be already. But if you’re thinking about this, then you’re not going to be able to pass the first hurdle – minimalism.

Although you won’t necessarily have a full bathroom at your disposal when you need it, there are several solutions: gym pass, parking near a gas station, parking at Wal-Mart, etc.

3. Safety


Depending on your van life situation, you’ll either be camping rurally or stealthily. Sleeping in strange places can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

If you’re stealth-parked in the city, you’ll have to deal with the sounds of the street and all kinds of passersby. While this can be entertaining, shooing away drunken frat-boys at 2 am, after they’ve tried your doors hoping for a place to pass out, is not. Essentially you’ll have to be ready and willing to deal with uncomfortable noises and situations.

On the other hand, if you have contacts in town, you can park in driveways or backyards, with access to toilets and a yard and all that. It really can be awesome.

Camping rurally has its benefits as well, but being so far away from people and resources can be sketchy all on its own. But it can also mean an epic private camping experience under the stars, away from the noise of the city at night. It does make for a good sleep.

4. Adventure


For many people who live the van life, every day is something new, and you’ll learn to deal with what you’ve got. It didn’t take me (or my partner) long to realize we really didn’t need all that extra shit we had been afraid to get rid of. A simple life is an easy life, there’s no doubt about that.

One of the most amazing things about living like this is the flexibility. It feels so free to just hit the road whenever you want. Sick of this town? Onto the next! Found a hidden gem? Stay for the week!

Although the freedom can be great for your soul, it has its definite downside. Getting mail on the road can be a real pain in the ass. It takes a lot of planning ahead. Also, dealing with any sort of government bureaucracy can be a day-ruiner if you don’t have a fixed address.

So Is It for You?


I’ve done my best to outline the important facets when considering the van life. If you think you can deal with the four tribulations above, then I think you’re good to go.

There are both good and bad sides to everything we do. In the end, life is what you make it. If you don’t like your situation, change it. Move into that van, or pack your backpack and hit the trail, buy a plane/bus/train ticket and get the hell out if you have to. Things change and you can learn to adapt.

Do you think you can handle the life of a vandweller? If “no” is your answer, don’t despair. There are other options (see below).

Maybe It's Not for You ...


If you don't think you can deal with the tribulations of vandwelling, or if you’ve found yourself uttering “nope” at any point throughout the points above, then maybe you should look elsewhere for your adventure fix.

Are you an adventurer? Yes? Then try hitchhiking, or camping, or backpacking. Into learning about other cultures? Grab yourself an error-fare and head somewhere warm for the winter.

There are so many options for great alternative adventures these days, no matter your budget. I believe there are adventures for everyone.



Simon Gooder is an ex-vandweller, lifelong adventure traveler, and editor of GoHobo.co, an amazing source of alternative adventure resources.

Also See ...

Jobs for Nomads – 3 Videos
5 Hard-Won Lessons of Urban Van Life
Alternative Adventure Directory (Gohobo.co)
Read More »

Last Update: 11/22/2016

5 Sweet Van Life Jobs and How to Get Them (Videos)

Can you be a van life nomad and make a living? Can you be solvent down by the river. Sure! Easy, in fact. Here's five videos how to by the great Bob Wells at CheapRVLiving.com. Be sure to subscribe to his YouTube Chanel, too!










Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Trim Pot Harvest to Keep Van Life Rolling
How Much Does Living in a Van Cost?
Carve Wooden Dildos for Fun and Profit
Read More »

Last Update: 11/17/2016

Can’t Sleep in the Van? Get Used to It!

Wide-eyed fellow, head on pillow, don’t feel secure enough to sleep in his van. Vanholio.com
You’ve found your stealth or boondocking spot down by the river. You’ve buttoned everything down for the night. But goddammit, you just can’t fucking go to sleep! What’s a vandweller to do?

The short answer? Get used to it! That’s the secret to van life sleeping.

What the Hell! Van Life Means No Sleep!?


No, that ain’t what I fucking said. “Get used to it” means you need to get used to each kind of new sleeping spot.

See, Vanholio’s been through this. Expect nearly everyone to take up van life has.

To get to sleep and to sleep soundly – not with one eye open all night – you gotta feel safe. You gotta feel secure. Also gotta ignore background noise. It’s hard to do all that in a new situation.

But give it time, you’ll adjust. Soon you’ll be sleeping like a drunken baby.

How Long Will It Take to Adjust?


Shit, I don’t know. Maybe a few nights.

Vanholio’s been at this a while. When he got started, he could only sleep secure in official campsites.

Since them days, I done slept in rest areas, Walmarts, shopping malls, closed campgrounds, behind abandoned buildings, beaches, and what all.

Maybe it took me 3-4 times in each type of setup before I could really relax. Not really sure. Weren’t too much.

But here’s a warning: Each kinda setup starts the clock over.

Gotta Adjust to Each New Camp Type


Then last night, I tried a different setup. Around sundown, I was driving down a smaller state road east of Laredo. Saw a small, fenced-off utility building with a driveway.

Now, Vanholio’s rig looks a bit like a work van. What the hell!, I says to myself, who’d fuck with a work van parked by a utility building? So I hid in plain sight, feeling smug as a tax dodger.

No one was around, mostly. It’s all ranch land, petroleum wells, and windmills out there. A few cars zipped by overnight, but no one stopped or said shit. No LEOs came by. It were real quiet like.

But Vanholio slept with one eye open. Bit tired today. Like I said, each new situation takes its own time. Give me a time or three to do it again, and I’ll be sleeping just fine.

Bet you hardcore urban vandweller types are laughing at Vanholio for being a panty-waist!

Like I Said, Get Used to It


So if you’re thinking about van life or new to vandwelling, just relax. Be prepared for some poor sleep with each new stealth park or boondock you try. Spread your wings, and you’ll be a well-rested veteran in no time.

And hey, you van life vets out there, got any other advice or words of wisdom for the newbies?
Read More »

Last Update: 11/12/2016

Considering Van Life? Take the Goddamn Plunge Already!

Two boys jumping off cliff in swimsuits #vanlife

Lots of good advice out there on vandwelling. Including on Vanholio.com, IMHO. But don't get hung up on the fucking details. Just do it! #vanlilfe

That's the advice of nixsee, a longtime redditor on /r/vandwelling. Can't have said it better myself! Wise words.



Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

11 Reasons Van Life Should Be in Your Future (Cloudline)
10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks (LifeHack)
How Much Does Living in a Van Cost?
Read More »

Last Update: 11/08/2016

Will Tonight's Election Results Be Good or Bad?

rainbow against dark gray storm clouds

Vanholio didn't write a Tuesday post ahead. And now, like all ya'll, he's on tenterhooks awaiting the election results. And tryin' damn hard not to get sucked down in the black tar of what ifs.

Maybe the best advice Vanholio's got for me and you is an old Chinese story I read somewhere long ago. Thanks to Ol' Google, I found it on some damn hippie website. Trust me, though, it's a goodun.

Who Knows? The Farmer's Son

One day in late summer, an old farmer was working in his field with his old sick horse. The farmer felt compassion for the horse and desired to lift its burden. So he left his horse loose to go the mountains and live out the rest of its life.

Soon after, neighbors from the nearby village visited, offering their condolences and said, "What a shame. Now your only horse is gone. How unfortunate you are!. You must be very sad. How will you live, work the land, and prosper?" The farmer replied: "Who knows? We shall see".

Two days later the old horse came back now rejuvenated after meandering in the mountainsides while eating the wild grasses. He came back with twelve new younger and healthy horses which followed the old horse into the corral.

Word got out in the village of the old farmer's good fortune and it wasn't long before people stopped by to congratulate the farmer on his good luck. "How fortunate you are!" they exclaimed. You must be very happy!" Again, the farmer softly said, "Who knows? We shall see."

At daybreak on the next morning, the farmer's only son set off to attempt to train the new wild horses, but the farmer's son was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. One by one villagers arrived during the day to bemoan the farmer's latest misfortune. "Oh, what a tragedy! Your son won't be able to help you farm with a broken leg. You'll have to do all the work yourself, How will you survive? You must be very sad". they said. Calmly going about his usual business the farmer answered, "Who knows? We shall see"

Several days later a war broke out. The Emperor's men arrived in the village demanding that young men come with them to be conscripted into the Emperor's army. As it happened the farmer's son was deemed unfit because of his broken leg. "What very good fortune you have!!" the villagers exclaimed as their own young sons were marched away. "You must be very happy." "Who knows? We shall see!", replied the old farmer as he headed off to work his field alone.

As time went on the broken leg healed but the son was left with a slight limp. Again the neighbors came to pay their condolences. "Oh what bad luck. Too bad for you"! But the old farmer simply replied; "Who knows? We shall see."

As it turned out the other young village boys had died in the war and the old farmer and his son were the only able bodied men capable of working the village lands. The old farmer became wealthy and was very generous to the villagers. They said: "Oh how fortunate we are, you must be very happy", to which the old farmer replied, "Who knows? We shall see!"

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

The Nastiest, Strangest Presidential Elections in US History (Live Science)
Patriotism, Like Love, Is a Goddamn Mess
Save the World by Doing Less, or Nothing

Read More »

Last Update: 11/04/2016

Rubber Tramps Follow Ancient Traditions

Traditional horse-drawn gypsy trailer going down England’s A4. Vanholio.com
Every damn generation thinks it invented the cool shit. Van life ain’t no exception. Truth is that being nomad has always been part of the human adventure.

So far as we know, our earliest ancestors were hunter-gatherers, moving place to place after game and in-season plant food.

Even in the last few thousand years, “sedentism” was only one of the new options. You had your pastoralists, such as Mongols and Berbers, moving their domesticated herds to better forage. Later, you had your itinerant traders and laborers, “peripatetic nomads,” such as the Roma (Gypsies) moving from opportunity to opportunity.

And we still have all these groups today, even in the industrialized, centralized, rationalized, normalized USA and North America. Only these nomads tend to be individuals or families rather than a distinct culture: hobos, traveling salespeople, migrant farm workers, OTR truckers, travelling cowboys and sheepherders, OTR vandwellers. But there are exceptions, like the estimated 1 million Roma (Gypsies) living in the United States.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 30-40 million nomads today. But I can damn well guarantee you that’s undercounted for three reasons. First, they’re only counting traditional nomad cultures there, like your Mongols and Bedouins. Second, those folks don’t sit still to be counted. Third, Vanholio would argue that all people living a nomadic lifestyle are nomads. Me included.

Many working OTR vandwellers today are what you could call peripatetic nomads. They follow the seasons and work opportunities: north in summer to work as camp hosts, south in winter to work at an Amazon warehouse. That’s just one common example.

Mainstream US society tries to make something radical and perverse about having “no fixed address.” Bullshit! Abraham didn’t have no fixed address neither! And who did God prefer, the wandering Hebrews or those "civilized" Egyptians and Babylonians?

Rubber tramps are just a modern version of an old human lifeway. And we’re damn proud to embrace van life's freedom!
Read More »

Last Update: 11/01/2016

3 Deliveries Fucked in One Shitty Day

Woman frowns about dropped ice cream cone. More about van life down by the river at Vanholio.com
Van life ain’t roses all the time. Here’s a timeline of how three deliveries got fucked in one shitty Friday. Even though Vanholio did everything mostly right.

8:30 a.m. – Rerouting UPS Delivery


Vanholio’d ordered from Amazon.com for delivery to Silver City post office General Delivery. That was a gamble as the item was small. The post office don't normally accept UPS deliveries. But yes, it was coming UPS instead of USPS after all. Gotta hold of UPS customer service and request to pick up at the Silver City UPS Customer Center. Change approved. Good so far.

10:30 a.m. – Drive Into Silver City


Camp is about 40 minutes away. But it's a beautiful day, and everything's going my way ...

11:30 a.m. – Pickup Mail Bundle


Stop by the Silver City post office to pick up my forwarded mail bundle. It was sent by my Traveling Mailbox to General Delivery. Packet in and in my hand. Things are still going good. But not for long!

12:00 p.m. – Prescription Madness, Part 1


Doing laundry, I log onto Walmart.com to order two prescription refills, to be picked up at the Silver City Walmart. Prescription A can’t be done online because it requires a transfer. OK. Try to order Prescription B. Just as I’m clicking submit, the site changes my store to a Walmart in Texas I used recently. Fuckit.

I call the Walmart pharmacy customer service, asking, “B went to a Walmart in Texas, and A prescription is stuck a different Texas Walmart. How can I get them transferred?” Agent says, “Call both Texas Walmarts and ask them to hold the prescription. Then call the Silver City Walmart and ask them to transfer in both for refill.”

Vanholio makes his three fucking extra calls to Walmarts all over the goddamned place. Silver City assures me it’s OK, says come by in an hour to pick ‘em up. Fine.

2:00 p.m. – Mail Advice Written, Posted


Laundry done, I head to the Walmart parking lot to hang out for a bit, writing and posting “Pick Up Mail and Packages on the Road.” It tells you how things are supposed to work. Excellent advice, ‘cept it ain’t working for shit today. Can we say "irony"?

3:30 p.m. – Prescription Madness, Part 2


Head into Walmart pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. Clerk says there’s a problem, sends me to Drop Off counter. “Sir,” says Clerk 2, “Prescription A has no refills.” Vanholio says, “Yes, it does. I’ll get the bottle.”

Go out to car and bring back bottles for both prescriptions, A and B, just in case. Clerk 2 finally figures it out. Apparently, despite giving them the prescription numbers, whoever I talked to earlier tried to fill a different A prescription off a second Vanholio profile in the Walmart system. Why does Vanholio have two profiles? Why does he have two prescriptions for the same med? Fuck if anyone knows.

Clerk 2, “OK, it’s all sorted out and we have A and B in stock. Be ready in 15-20 minutes.” Good. Maybe shit is finally settled.

3:45 p.m. – In-Store Pickup Clusterfuck


Walk over to the store pickup counter. I’d ordered three items a week ago off Walmart.com for free in-store pickup. No one is at the counter. Several clerks ask me if I’ve been helped, but none of them can work the counter.

After 20 minutes of waiting and paging assistance, Trainee Manager finally shows up. "Sorry, Sir. They sent people home. Walmart!"

Only one of my three items is in. Was told earlier in the week that the other two items would be in, but they’re not. Maybe next week? No one knows.

4:10 p.m. – Prescription Madness, Part 3


Head back to the pharmacy. Prescriptions are ready, Clerk says. But at checkout, the price is way too low. What’s up? Clerk says, “Oh, Prescription B is only a four-day supply because we don’t have it all in. We’ll get you the rest by next week.” Fuck. Now I have to come back. It’s a 40 minute drive from camp. At least I’m not leaving the area for another week.

4:30 p.m. – UPS Customer Center Missing Package


Get to UPS Customer Center. Clerk Dude can’t find package anywhere. Go to van and get tracking number. He looks up on computer. “Oh, this was delivered to the post office.” Vanholio says, “What!? I got it routed here because the post office won’t accept a UPS delivery.” Clerk Dude says, “They did. Sometimes they accept our deliveries because blah, blah, blah ...”

4:40 p.m. – Post Office Can’t Find Package


Tell Post Office Clerk, “I have a package General Delivery.” She goes back. Digs around. Get’s another clerk chick to dig around. Comes back empty handed.

“It was signed for this morning. From UPS,” I say. “Oh,” she says, “Sometimes we get drop shipments from UPS. But they aren’t unpacked till the next morning.” So Vanholio’s Amazon.com package is buried in a pallette of UPS shit. “Come back tomorrow or Monday.”


Why the fuck did I even get out of bed Friday? Huh!? Stay down by the river, always. That’s Vanholio's new van life motto.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

How Do I Find Lost Mail? (Reference.com)
Traveling Mailbox Saves Vandweller $$$$
Pick Up Mail and Packages on the Road

Read More »

Last Update: 10/28/2016

Pick Up Mail and Packages on the Road

US Air Force dropping packages by parachute. That’s one way to get your mail while traveling! Vanholio.com

Your van life is on the move – you’ve gone OTR. So where you gonna collect your mail and package shipments when just passing through an area? Vanholio’s got solutions!

Easy Situation — You Know the Carrier


Whether you’re ordering online, getting a bundle of mail forwarded by your private mailbox company, or Momma’s sending you her “special brownies,” you might well know ahead of time what carrier’s being used to ship.

USPS (United States Postal Service)


Get the envelope or package shipped to General Delivery at a town you’re passing through:

Your Name
General Delivery
Post Office Street Address
City, State, XXXXX-9999

Always use that 9999 as the +4 for your General Delivery post office ZIP.

You can also have your USPS mail automatically forwarded from your normal address to another address, including General Delivery at any post office. This works better when you’re gonna be in one location for a while. It’s a pain in the ass when you’re moving around a lot, honestly.

Canada Post does things basically the same way as USPS. Check their website for specifics.

UPS (United Parcel Service)


Have the shipment sent to a convenient UPS Customer Center or a The UPS Store location. The Customer Centers are the shipping depots, and they have limited locations and hours open to drop by. The UPS Stores have more locations and better hours, but they usually charge you $5 per envelope and $10 per package received (unless you have a mailbox there).

FedEx (Federal Express)


Like UPS, you get your package sent to a FedEx Distribution Center or to a FedEx Office location (used to be Kinko’s). Again like UPS, the distribution centers are more scarce and with scarce customer hours, but FedEx Office storefronts are more convenient. But unlike The UPS Store, FedEx Office won’t charge you for receiving your package.

Amazon.com


While not a carrier per se, Amazon.com now has the Amazon Locker service, where you can pick up and drop off Amazon purchases any time at their location. I haven’t used one, but looking the site, it looks like they leave your package in something like a bus locker.

Walmart, Other Retailers


Some retailers will let you pick up online orders at their retail locations. Vanholio orders stuff from Walmart.com, the picks it up from a store I'm passing by – all the fucking time. No shipping fee, neither.

Trickier Situation – You Don’t Know the Carrier


Sometimes you don’t know how an envelope or package is being sent until after the fact. Amazon.com, for example, usually uses UPS or USPS, but you can’t choose when you order. And sometimes they throw a curveball and do FedEx or even DHL. What then? Good news is usually you get a tracking number and carrier name. If they don’t tell you, ask! Not a whole fucking lot you can do otherwise.

Well, that’s not entirely true. In the case of FedEx and UPS, they’ll hold the package at their depot for a bit after a failed delivery attempt. You might be able to intercept it there before it gets returned to sender. USPS doesn’t hold shit – it goes right the fuck back.

USPS (United States Postal Service)


You can redirect most USPS mail or package that has a tracking number and hasn’t yet been sent out for delivery from the destination’s post office. But the fucker’s will change you $12.55! This magic service is called “Package Intercept.”

UPS (United Parcel Service)


Using UPS My Choice and the tracking number, you can change the package delivery address to a home address, UPS Customer Center, or a The UPS Store location.

Note that if the original delivery address was a commercial address (e.g., USPS General Delivery or your mailbox service), you can’t do that yourself online. But you can contact their customer service and they’ll do it manually. No biggie.

FedEx (Federal Express)


These fuckers are a bit different. FedEx normally only allows the sender to change the delivery address, so you’ll have to call the sender and get them to do it for you.

There is an exception: FedEx Redirect to Hold. This is an added-cost service option for the sender. If they’ve paid for it, the receiver can request to pick up the package at a FedEx Distribution Center or FedEx Office location.

Worry-Free Situation – Private Mailbox Services


If you’ve gotten your mail and packages sent to your private mailbox service, such as Traveling Mailbox (which I reviewed last week), they’ll usually forward them to you just about anywhere. You pick the destination and carrier.

Vanholio’s also been told that multi-location storefront mailbox services, like The UPS Store and Mailboxes Etc., can forward your shit to another one of their storefront locations, too. Not sure what the charge is, but likely reasonable.

International Situations? – Fuck if I Know


I barely touched on Canada Post doing General Delivery. That’s all I know. Vanholio sure don’t know shit about Mexico or anywhere else outside the USA.

If you, Dear Reader, would send Vanholio the info to vanholio69 AT gmail DOT com, I’ll do a followup post and give you credit. Inquiring van lifers want to know!!!

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Read More »

Last Update: 10/25/2016

5 Hard-Won Lessons of Urban Van Life

Van covered with graffiti wall for urban van life, not necessarily down by the river. Vanholio.com
"Graffiti van 2" by Sarah Joy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Vanholio's real impressed with Simon Gooder's GoHobo post, "5 Things I Learned About Van Life (While Living in a Van)."

Vanholio don't urban stealth camp much, so he ain't got much to say on the matter. But I know that's what some of you do or wanna do.

Simon's experience has the ring of hard-won truth to it, so listen up! As he says:

Living in a van is not always awesome. But neither is living in a house. Actually, most of the time living in a van is awesome.

GoHobo.co is an outstanding site, filled with good info about all flavors of Alt travel. Check it out!

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Adventure Directory (Go Hobo)
/r/vandwellers (Reddit.com)
10 Ways to Shower if You Live in a Van
Read More »

Last Update: 10/21/2016

Greenhouse for Winter Van Life Warmth

Sketch of winter van life greenhouse garage to park van in to live down by the river — sketch by Vanholio!
Ol’ Vanholio was trippin’ ‘round the northern Rockies and got to thinking: What if I wintered here? How would I keep fucking warm? How could van life be more bearable in that cold? My genius idea was parking the van in a greenhouse, down by the river.

Greenhouse Winter Camping Proven Tech


If you’re stuck in a cold place this winter, this idea is damn solid. Ain’t never heard no one do it with for van life, but it’s been done for survival. Even by a guy who lived in a greenhoused tent through the Minnesota winter!

3 Methods for a Van Life Winter Greenhouse


1. Good Greenhouse Method – Go Simple


The most dead simple way’d be to park your van in a regular greenhouse. Don’t know someone with a greenhouse you can park in? You can buy a cheap portable greenhouse. (It’s a little short, but you can modify.)

Another easy option is to make a simple greenhouse tent with a clear, reinforced poly tarp. Hell, if you wanted to go cheap, I saw 4 mil 9x12 poly tarps at the Walmart pain area for $9.87! Duct-tape ‘em together! You could string them on rope or cable between trees, use some poles, or any other way you’d do a homemade tent.

Whatever setup you do, the inside air will be 10-20 degrees warmer on a sunny day (or more). And your van, as a big thermal sink, will be a tad warmer through the night.

2. Better Greenhouse Method – Add Mass


The greenhouse will be collecting all that good radiant sun heat through the day. But you want to keep it. To do that, you need mass. Now, the van itself will heat up and re-radiate some heat through the night.

But you can go a step further by putting black, plastic containers of water in the greenhouse with you. The sun’ll heat up that water in the day, and the water will slowly radiate back heat at night.

And if that’s unrealistic, put a bunch of dark rocks on greenhouse floor around the van. Let them bake up during the day.

A third option is making a south-facing cliff one of your greenhouse walls. That huge rock wall will collect a whole lotta goddamn heat and radiate back at ya through the night. Plus being on the south side of a cliff’ll keep you out of the north wind. Hell, it worked for Anasazi cliff dwellers!

3. Best Greenhouse Method – Add Reflective Wall


Your sharpest option is to make a van-size Kochanski Super Shelter. That’s the picture at top. Your south-facing wall is clear plastic. But your back wall is a reflective tarp. That’ll keep the sun’s radiant energy bouncing around in the greenhouse. It’s like an echo chamber for light.

If it’s super cold or cloudy, you can replace the sun’s radiant warmth with a fire outside the greenhouse. You can see that in the video below.

I’d also put a small reflective tarp, tin foil, or a rock or log wall beside the fire, opposite the greenhouse. That’ll bounce all the heat straight into your greenhouse tent. And do put in some black plastic water jugs or rocks in the greenhouse to keep that heat all night.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Acclimatize for Warmth in All Weather
Live in a Greenhouse (Insructables)
The 2 Warmest Survival Shelters Anyone Can Easily Make (Survival Gear Authority)

Read More »

Last Update: 10/20/2016

Vanholio Is a Fucking Sellout!

Greedy van life sellout Vanholio represtented by a sculpture of a smiling, thumbs-up greedy capitalist with dollar sign tie. So much for the freedom of living in a van down by the river!
Say it: You’re a fucking sellout, Vanholio! It’s the goddamn truth. Vanholio’s walked back his promise to do no ads. Well, if you don’t like it, use a fucking ad blocker! Van life, even down by the river, costs some money. Don’t need much, but takes something.

Look, here’s my priorities for Vanholio.com:
  1. Have fun writing and promoting the blog
  2. Entertain and educate ya’ll about the glories of van life
  3. Add an income stream and avoid getting a regular job
That last ain’t been happening much. So here’s what I done:

  • Added the Traveling Mailbox and Amazon.com ads to the sidebar and posts
  • Linked the Vanholio Gear Shop in the menu
  • Put in the Beer Me! donation buttons in posts and on the menu
  • Linked CafePress Vanholio Merch on the menu and in a popup
  • Embedded links to Amazon items and Traveling Mailbox in posts

Update As of Jan. 1, 2017

I hope I ain’t gone too far. Vanholio hates spammy sites as much as the rest of ya’ll do. Sure don’t care to make Jeff Bezos more rich neither.

Even this here fairly cheap van life costs money. Living in a van down by the river just ain’t totally cash-free, dammit. But then, I’ve done worse for scratch.

Soon I’ll be puttin’ up of my ebooks for sale. Now those I’ll be proud to push! But they ain’t been writ yet.

Go, go ahead and gimme shit in the comments. It’s your big chance to give ol’ Vanholio what fer.
Read More »

Last Update: 10/18/2016

Traveling Mailbox Saves Vandweller $$$$

Traveling Mailbox Ad

Last week, Traveling Mailbox – a private mailbox and mail scanner service – saved Vanholio $170 by going above and beyond in customer service.

Their support guys sent me an email double checking that I really, really wanted to ship my package 2nd Day for mega-dollars. They held it up until I got back with them. And no, I sure as hell didn't want to pay $170 in shipping.

$170 Shipping? The Fuck?


Traveling Mailbox will accept packages on your behalf, besides just letters. They'll reship to you anywhere.

Now, normally I avoid doing this because paying to ship a package twice – once to them and once to me – is a waste of fucking money.

But I found myself recently in a trifecta of considerations:

  1. My purchase was back-ordered.
  2. The merchant couldn't say which carrier they'd ship by. (They switch up based on daily shipping prices.)
  3. My travel plans were in flux, so I couldn't predict a good receiving address on the road.

Sometimes you just gotta take it up the ass. Settled on the double shipping.

The package got into Traveling Mailbox last week. I knew I was going to be in Prescott last weekend. So I requested that 2nd Day forward to The UPS Store in Prescott. But damn, I didn't know it'd be $170 fucking dollars!

Kudos to Traveling Mailbox for the heads up. I have now redone my forwarding request for UPS ground shipping. Much more reasonable at $35!

Trustworthy With Big Checks, Too


Traveling Mailbox also done right by me with their check deposit service. If you get a check in the mail, they'll deposit it straight to your bank. Saves time over forwarding.

Last year, I got HUGE check in from a van I sold through a dealer on consignment. Gotta say: I was a bit worried having elves somewhere handle that one for me.

They deposited the check like they said. The money got into my account lickety-split. I've since trusted them with a few other checks. No issues.

Traveling Mailbox Perfect for Van Lifers


For $15 a month, you get a street address and mail scanning service. They'll scan your mail into PDFs so you can read them online. For small extra fees, they'll forward your mail and packages, and deposit your checks, plus other ad hoc services.

Vanholio ain't Consumer fucking Reports. I can't can't say Traveling Mailbox is the best in the business or anything.

I like their services, online tools, and quick support team; their prices are competitive; and they've always kept me happy. Check 'em out.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

How It Works (Traveling Mailbox)
BBB Business Review: Traveling Mailbox, LLC (Better Business Bureau)
Complaint Review: Traveling Mailbox LLC (Ripoff Report)



Disclaimer: Yes, if you click thru to Traveling Mailbox and sign up, I'll get a little affiliate commission. But everything I wrote above happened just like I said. I've been using the service more than a year and am happy with the company.




Read More »