Last Update: 1/31/2017

Nomadic Fanatic Uses Vanholio's Pecos River Bridge US-90 Campsite

Pecos River Bridge on US-90 near Comstock, Texas
Vanholio! recently posted the Pecos River Picnic Area to Freecampsites.net. Now Nomadic Fanatic Eric Jacobs made video of it. That's how van life works!

Well, did Nomadic Fanatic really get the campsite off a my Freecampsites.net post? There's no way to confirm unless he drops me a line. But Vanholio! likes to imagine he did. I guess that makes me a pathetic, van life fanboy.

Living in a Van Down by the Pecos River


Now ain't that spot just fuckin' beautiful!? The old "living in a van down by the river" makes van life sound seedy and nasty. Ain't true! You can't buy real estate like that! It's views like that is why Vanholio! got into van life.

Crossing the Pecos


Let me learn you, too, about the Trans-Pecos Texas and how the Pecos River looms large in Texas lore. "Crossing the Pecos" has long been a sayin' to mean headin' into the true wild.

It's West Texas, west a the Pecos, that's the Texas of imagination. Towns become few and far between. The sky becomes vast. Mountains rise up. Even the deer get bigger!

Trans-Texas Pecos is the land of Judge Roy Bean and Pecos Bill. It's the Texas of Giant, and No Country for Old Men, and where Dom is buried in Fangando. It's the Big Bend, the Terlingua Chili Cookoff.

Trans-Pecos Texas is the Texas of Vanholio's heart, case you didn't notice.

Check Out Nomadic Fanatic's Video


Sad truth is that this is a hard video for Eric. He just went through a breakup and talks about it in the beginnin'. If you're a fan a his, you'll bleed for him.

But if you ain't a fan and don't feel a connection to the lad, skip ahead to about minute 1:40 and check out the drone videos he takes a the Pecos High River Bridge Picnic Area. Just look, and you'll wanna visit West Texas yourself during the course of a well-lived van life. Or else you just don't fuckin' know what's good!

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

Also See ...

On the Trail of Nomadic Fanatic
Is Living in a Van Lonely?
FreeCampsites.net (website)
Nomadic Fanatic (YouTube channel)


Read More »

Last Update: 1/27/2017

Yoogo – Secret Vandweller-Style 'Dim Mak' Weapon Revealed

Beggar from Drunken Master movie holds clay jar with secret Yoogo dim mak weapon hidden inside – vanholio.com
Be armed everywhere in van life with the Yoogo keychain. It’s an ancient Chinese hobo kung fu master’s secret weapon of last resort. Whoop ass – vandweller style!

But serious, the Yoogo keychain is a damn good little van life self-defense tool to carry every day. Don’t matter whether you know kung fu, karate, escrima, jujitsu, ninjitsu, boxing, MMA, WWF, vajramushti, etc. – or not.

Yoogo keychain in fist with transponder key
Yoogo + keys in fist
Plus, it’s totally legal in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, and totally inconspicuous. Probably legal anywhere in the world!

Check out Vanholio’s extensive review at Basisgear.com. And watch the video below to get a highlight of what the Yoogo keychain can do in a van life emergency.





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

Also See ...

Get Help ANYWHERE You Travel in USA – Jitterbug
Yoogo.ca (manufacturer website)
Yoogo – EDC For When Guns Aren’t An Option (Basis Gear)
Yoogo: Brass Knuckles on a Key Chain?! (Gear Guide for Men)
Read More »

Last Update: 1/24/2017

Top 10 Pros & Top 10 Cons to Van Life

Red ten with bullseye for the zero, three arrows in the bullseye
This guy, Foalhaus, has a great, newish van life channel.

Thinking about living in a van down by the river? No sure if van life is a good fit? Check out his two videos below. Then subscribe to his YouTube channel.


Top 10 Reasons to Live in a Van



10 Biggest Reasons Living in a Van Sucks!!




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

Also See ...

Vanlife Basics
Parking With Foalhaus (YouTube)
Cheap RV Living (website)

Read More »

Last Update: 1/20/2017

How to Read a Map Like a Veteran (When There Isn't Any GPS)

compass sitting on top of a map
Although modern times have lead us to rely on technology for many things, including GPS navigation, knowing how to steer through the lands without it is vital. Everyone should be capable of reading an actual paper map, and here are map-reading five tips to prepare yourself to be a van life nomad.

You youngins that've had Siri leading you everywhere by the dick, listen to Colin! Once you steer that sweet vanagon outta latte range, your smartphone's gonna go dumb. I guarantee it! – Vanholio!

Why Is Reading a Paper Map Still an Essential Skill?


Click for more info
Reading a paper map was bread and butter back in the 19th and 20th centuries, when GPS (Global Positioning System) was not really prevalent or accurate. If you are trying to get from Point A to Point B, you would usually find yourself nose-deep looking at those tiny words; your index finger would be tracing the lines.

Nevertheless, if this is your first foray into 21st century van life, you would probably don't want to blow it.

Imagine that you are on the road, and suddenly your GPS navigator stops working. How are you going to navigate when you barely know how to use that old paper map you keep in the sun visor? That’s right, the old paper map you were hoping that some stranger would help you read at this moment. Instead, learn and be prepared.

5 Tips for Reading Paper Maps

1. Locate the compass rose


Also referred to as a windrose, a compass rose is the figure on the map with the purpose of displaying the positions of the cardinal directions, namely: north, south, east, and west.

It’s important that you are aware of these directions. After all, how are you going to get to that barbecue, or anywhere else for that matter, if you don’t know which way you are going!?

Additionally, the compass rose is also useful for indicating the relative direction of physical and man-made objects on the landscape, such as: roads, forests, swamps, and towns. Without a compass rose, a map would be practically useless.

2. Locate yourself


Obviously, finding your destination will be a lot easier if you know exactly where you are traveling from. It would be beneficial if you could find a big landmark or land development to align yourself with.

Try to identify a mountain range, or something of that sort, on your map and near your current location. You can then approximately pinpoint your location based on your relation to the landmark or development you have identified.

After following this step, you’re already halfway through the battle and that much closer to your destination! There are just a few other things to take note of on your navigational quest.

3. Find the scale


The scale of the map resembles a small ruler and can usually be found near the bottom of the map. It will inform you of the size of map markings as well, as how many miles per inch the map is scaled to. (Or km/cm, for you foreigners – Vanholio!)

It is also important that you use the right scale map, which should depend on whether you are driving on the interstate or within a city.

A map scale also serves the purpose of displaying the ratio of the distance on the map to the actual distance of the ground. Be sure to pay attention to road lengths and sizes so you can better estimate how long your journey will be.

4. Learn the symbols


Map symbols are used to represent real world objects or characteristics. The best way to understand these symbols is to refer to the map key.

The map key can typically be found towards the bottom of the map (just as the scale), and will display the meaning of each symbol that is shown on the map.

These symbols may include: an airplane to symbolize an airport, a tree to symbolize a park, or a red cross to symbolize a hospital.

My guess is that you should look out for those tree symbols in case the kids decide it’s time for a play break.

5. Understand Latitude and Longitude


Click for more info
Knowing your latitude and longitude point on a map is a great navigational asset. Latitude lines go east and west, longitude lines go north and south. The point at which these lines cross at your location will be your reference point.

Latitude and longitude points are usually used in instances where there aren’t any landmarks or roads to aid in finding a location.

As long as you are capable of identifying these lines, the rest is quite simple! It may even be a good idea to ascertain the latitude and longitude points of your destination beforehand to make your map reading as simple as possible.

Conclusion


Surviving without some modern-day technology should be considered crucial. When it comes to navigation, who can honestly say that they’re 100% comfortable with relying on technology? I certainly can’t!

The thought of being out in the desert, deep in the woods or even just driving on unfamiliar roads with nothing but battery-operated or electrical guidance makes me quite nervous.

We all know that these gadgets and devices could inconveniently stop working at any time, especially in remote locations or strange temperatures. What’s your plan then?

An ideal one would be to pull out that old faithful paper map! Hopefully, with the tips you’ve just read, it’s a plan you can successfully execute.



About the Author: A survivalist and a prepper. Colin shares tips and tricks about these things he does best at Basisgear.com. Check it out!

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

Also See ...

Get Help ANYWHERE You Travel in USA
Free BLM maps (ArcGIS)
A Beginner's Guide to Orienteering (Mother Nature News)
Basis Gear (survival and prepping blog)
Read More »

Last Update: 1/17/2017

Best #Vanlife Documentary Ever! LOL

Fergus O'Donnell stands before his vanagon in #Vanlife Documentary
Holy shit, you gotta see this fuckin' movie, "#Vanlife," by Crayfish Films. Hilarious doesn't even begin to do it justice.

The star, Fergus O'Donnell has got to be Vanholio's brother from another mother. Maybe Pops got some English in the service ...? We'll never know.

What I do know is that I've done a bunch of the stupid shit he does in this movie. Only mine wasn't near so comic or photogenic. :-)


#vanlife from Crayfish Films on Vimeo.


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

Also See ...

Clean Ass Top Priority for Vandwellers
Shit in Woods Goes Gross to Nightmare
The Wanderlust of #Vanlife (YouTube)
Read More »

Last Update: 1/13/2017

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van – Part 6

One white Ford Transit is towing another
Wrapping up Vanholio’s 6-part series, “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van,” he’s talkin’ about gettin’ financial help when you need it.

If you’re a moocher or grifter, this don’t apply to you. ‘Course, if you’re one of them, you probably don’t even think you are, in my experience.

No, I’m talkin’ about regular, hard-workin’ vandwellers, too proud to take a handout.

Accepting Help When You Need It


A good number of van life folks is in hard times. Not all, but a good number.

Some of them have a real problem asking for benefits and charity they’re eligible for. That’s their pride. Fuck pride!

A Little Story About Giving and Receiving


Vanholio’s been friends with one guy since high school. As teens, if we went out together, we split the bill exactly to what each spent. To. The. Penny. No way we was gonna pay anything more or less than our fair share.

Well, as years gone by, we’ve both had our ups and downs. When he’s been outta work, I’ve treated him to meals and outings, and thrown work his way when I can. When I been outta work, then he did the same.

We just don’t keep tit for tat no more. And neither one feels bad when we’re on the takin’ end.

Sharing Burdens Is Human


They way I look at it, we’re all in this together. Sharing is the natural state of man. Sometimes we give, and sometimes we take. It’s how and why we all stick together.

So I say, don’t feel bad if you're hurtin’ for money and need help to make ends meet. Check out “Find Help” links at bottom and ask for what you need.

Someday it’ll be your turn to give. Or maybe you did your bit in past. And even while you're gettin’ financial help, you can still be of service in other ways.

Finally, if you’re hurtin’ yourself by not getting help you need with food, medicine, shelter, and the rest, you're creatin’ more problems for everyone else. Both by costin’ society more money in the long term and by worryin’ the people you love.

And if all that still ain’t convinced you, read the articles linked in the “Also See …” at bottom about accepting help. Maybe they’ll open your mind some.

Take Every Benefit and Loophole Allowed


Now, Vanholio don’t see a problem with takin’ any government benefit you’re legally entitled to, so long as you don’t lie. Much.

I’m with our POTUS-Elect when Hillary pressed him on using a loophole to avoid some federal income tax for 30 years. He said, a) “It makes me smart,” and b) If she don’t like it, why didn’t she work to close the loophole in Congress?

If that edges Vanholio over to the grifter side, so be it.

Got a Problem With That?


Not everyone agrees with Vanholio, of course. I’ve gotten more shit in comments about my gettin’ Expanded Medicaid (and not actin’ ashamed of it) than I’ve gotten about any other single thing I’ve said. Ever.

But I don’t blame them morons. They know their cornbread is getting poached somehow. It’s only natural to blame the first cockroach they see.

And if you’re too proud and public spirited to take every benefit and loophole, why, bless your heart.

Find Help


Benefits.gov
HUD Homelessness Assistance
Need Help Paying Bills (links to many, many resources)

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

Also See ...


How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
How to Stop Thinking That Accepting Help Is a Sign of Weakness (WikiHow)
Why Is Asking for Help So Difficult? (New York Times)
Read More »

Last Update: 1/10/2017

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van – Part 5

Yellow van says “The Money Guy” on side with drawings of dollar bills.
Here’s Part 5 of the 6-part series, “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van,” I’ll give you the Vanholio-eye view of investing and loaning out money. These principles apply to nomads, rubbertramps, boaters, and travellers of all stripes. Well, they work for anyone.

Typical Vanholio, I ain’t gonna give you a rundown on every kinda investment. Stocks, bonds, peer-to-peer loans, rental houses, antiques, etc. are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve likely heard all about most a them anyway (with a couple exceptions). What I will do is give you some principles. Maybe they’ll save you some heartache and days of eatin’ cat food.

Why Should Vandwellers Invest?


If you’re living in a van down by the river, chances are you can set some money aside. If some of it you won’t likely need too soon, then put it to work. Through the miracle of compound interest, it’ll grow. Later, you can start adding its little interest and profit babies back to your monthly budget.

Every dollar in interest and profit you can add to your budget is a dollar less you gotta work for. Maybe you’ll even get to where you don’t need to work at all!

Get to where investment earnings make up a piece of your monthly budget pie. Even small amounts are worth it, especially if you live real cheap. Plus it'll protect you against times of unemployment or slow business.

Vanholio’s 7 Investing Principles

1. Only Invest What You Can Afford to Lose


Get financially straight
An ex-Wall Street banker told Vanholio long ago that all investing is a form of gambling. They also said to never invest more than you can afford to lose. It’s Vegas rules. Set your limits and stick to ‘em.

Well, Vanholio is a small-timer. He needs every fucking penny he’s got, being semi-retired and not rich. So he don’t take big risks. He goes for conservative investments. They don’t promise to make much, but they’re less likely to lose, too.

If you can’t lose absolutely nothin’ at all, then don’t forget about good ol’ US government guaranteed savings accounts and CDs. Also look at US I Series Bonds and TIPs – With them you can’t even lose against inflation. These investments are closest to a 100% guarantee as you’ll get in this world.

2. A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush


Investor types talk about “liquidity.” That’s how fast an investment can be turned into cash without takin’ a hit. That’s true whether it’s a paper investment or a piece of property.

As a small-timer, Vanholio needs liquidity. At my level, there’s always a chance I need cash quick for emergency expenses. An investment that’s locked up ain’t no good then.

Friend of mine is into antiques. He bought a living room set that was cheap at $3,000. In a few years, it was appraised at $10,000. Amazing, right!? Problem is he’s a small-timer. Got into money trouble, but he couldn’t sell that furniture. It just wasn’t fashionable at the moment, and he couldn’t find the right buyer. That $10,000 did him no damn good.

“I'm not as concerned about the return on my money as I am the return of my money,” said an unknown wit. (Turns out it weren’t Will Rogers.)

3. You Ain’t Smarter Than the Market


Every stupid asshole thinks they got an edge. Well, guess what!? The house always wins.

In experiments, it turns out that stock experts don’t do much better than blindfolded monkeys at beating the market. “Beating the market” means doing better than the S&P 500 Index. And those are the pros, with lots of experience and info. You ain’t a pro.

That’s why Warren Buffet recommends the average person just go with low-fee S&P 500 Index Fund. If you got a some cash to gamble longer term, you probably can’t do better than that.

4. More Risk = More Reward, Except When It Don’t


The rule of thumb for all investments – stocks, bonds, real estate, loans, etc. – is that there’s more rewards in high risk. But the problem is that sometimes you lose your shirt.

If you’ve got money you can afford to lose, a stomach for risk, and time to wait it out, then investing in a range of risky things might work out for you.

Problem is, if you’re a small-timer like Vanholio, you can’t afford to lose. Well, except maybe in small amounts. So I invest in safer things with less return – and better sleep at night!

But if you do try to be a high flyer, by golly, diversify. Don’t you ever, ever put all your eggs in one basket.

5 Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket


Even the safest investments sometimes lose. Even a US government guaranteed CD could lose you value if inflation hits.

The key is that as some investments go up, others go down. When stocks are going gangbusters, bonds suck, and vice versa. That’s just one example. So spread your money around a bit. You don’t need to go crazy, just a few investment types will do.

6. Buy Low, Sell High


This seems obvious, but it’s the opposite of what people actually do. Stock prices going up? People put their money in the market hoping to cash in. Right now, people in US cities are buying houses again, raising prices above what any normal people can afford. It’s crazy, really crazy.

It’s a big game a follow the leader. Sometimes it’s also called “The Greater Fool Theory,” the idea that there’s always some dumbass out there ready to buy at a higher price. But you might be the last dumbass in the chain. Think about that.

If you’re gonna play the game, buy shit when everybody’s crying. Dammit, I wish I’d bought stocks in 2008! Or houses! I’d be selling NOW. Get it?

7. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is


Researchin’ for this post, I did a lot of Googling on investing. Guess what kept coming up? Companies promising high returns for low or no risk.

Know what that is? A bunch of goddamn bullshit. That ain’t how money works. It’s how you get fleeced, though.

Use your common goddamn sense!

If you think, “Shit, who’s gonna buy this crappy old two bedroom house for $500,000? Who could even afford it?,” go with that feeling.

If a suit tells you that investing in oil leases will double your money in a year, risk-free!, because Trump just got elected, don’t walk – run.

What’ll fool you ain’t the scammer, it’s your own greedy heart. Don’t listen to that fucker.

What Makes Vanholio Think He’s So Damn Smart?


Vanholio ain’t no Wall Street guru. All the above is just my views, tempered by a bit a experience and some good old fashioned common sense. Take ‘em with a grain of salt.

That said, it’s pretty obvious there’s a lot a bullshit investing advice out there. Mostly from bastards trying to skin you.

Think about it: If all those brokers and such know so goddamn much, why the hell ain’t they richer’n Midas and retired? Why do they need your money!?

Humans been messing with money pretty much all a written history. Our grandpappies got the basics figured out a long time ago.


Warren Buffet recommends

Investing Resources


Get Rich Slowly
The Simple Dollar
Financial Integrity
Treasury Direct
The Vanguard Group
Investopedia

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

Also See ...


How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Warren Buffett’s 7 Best Pieces of Investing Advice (Yahoo! Finance)
Here Are 12 Books That Every Investor Should Read (Business Insider)
How Do I Start Investing With Only $100? (The Penny Hoarder)
Is It Possible to Beat the Market? (Investopedia)

Read More »

Last Update: 1/07/2017

10 Reasons I Love Walmart

Purple van decorated with hundreds of toy dinosaurs in front of a Walmart, from Peopleofwalmart.com.

Vanholio used be a Walmart-hating Liberal. But now that he’s living in a van down by the river, he’s come to LOVE Walmart. Van life can change your perspective.

Top 10 Reasons Walmart Is a Van Life Mecca

  1. All Over – Vanholio goes all over the fucking country. Everywhere I go, Walmart is there. I know what they got and what to expect. It’s useful and comforting.

  2. Free Camping – You know all about this, right!? You can stay a night or two in the parking lots of most Walmarts. Vanholio prefers the forests and mountains, but a Walmart parking lot is a perfect overnight on long drives.

  3. Free WiFi – Sometimes I just park my van right outside a Walmart for a few hours and use the free WiFi. That kicks ass for big uploads/downloads and areas where my cellular internet sucks.

  4. Green Leadership – Even if you don’t buy into Global Warming, you’ll agree that shitting your pollution everywhere makes you an asshole. Plus we all want to rely less on oil so the Arabs can go fuck themselves. Walmart is pushing hard to cut their pollution and move toward renewable energy – American, job-creating renewable energy.

  5. Great Selection – Truth is, they got most of what I need. The few times I need something more rare, it’s time for Amazon.com or a specialty company.

  6. Low Everyday Prices – Vanholio lives on a tight budget. I can’t pay more for sentimental reasons. I don’t want to neither. Walmart’s got me covered.

  7. Day-Old Deals – With my easy schedule, I often hit Walmart in late morning. Nothing I love more than picking up day-old bread, pastries, and chicken cheap, cheap, cheap!

  8. Bakery and Deli – Even undiscounted, Walmart’s got pretty good prices on donuts, Mexican pastry (pan dulce), hot items, and deli subs. Not the best, but far from the worst.

  9. Online Shopping – Vanholio hates shopping. So I love ordering household and dry goods ahead of time online at Walmart.com and picking them up free at the store.

  10. Gift Cards – Lately, I’ve been making a little money doing online surveys and other tasks. My favorite sites pay in untaxed gift cards. Walmart is usually among them. Convenient.

Maybe you say, Yes but, and bring up all the ways Walmart Corp is a bunch of assholes. Maybe they are. But you can’t help love. Now give me some tongue!

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

Also See …

How Much Does Living in a Van Cost?
RV Parking at Walmart (Walmart Locator)
10 Reasons Why Walmart Is the Worst Company in America (Daily Dot)
Why Walmart Is Doubling Down on Its Commitment to Climate Change (CNBC)

Read More »

Last Update: 1/03/2017

I Caught the Car, Now What!?

A dog is biting the wheel well of a red car he "caught."
Vanholio's the dog that caught the car. He's got his freedom. But what the hell does he do with it? All those empty van life hours loom ahead in 2017 ...

As it happens, I just about got the money thing licked – no debt, a bit a savings, and van life expenses down to about $500 base per month. Living in a van down by the river, I can damn near get by selling plasma and doing online surveys.

Ain't that just peachy? Ain't you jealous? Well, every silver lining has a touch of gray.

My Van Life Journey Till Now


I been doing full-time van life for about a year and a half now. Most of that were markin' people and places off my bucket list. Did a shitload of driving in 2016 and part of 2015. That's all done.

This year I'll be hanging around New Mexico area mostly, with little hops over its borders. Tired of drivin', I'll be goin' less far, more slowly.

But that light plan leaves a shit-ton of time on my hands. Again Vanholio yells, What now!? What do I do!? A man can only jack off so many times a day before it hurts.

I finished that bucket list in October, BTW. Guess what I did next. I worked my ass off building me some moneymaker blogs – potential moneymakers, that is. Was puttin' in full-time work hours and more. For reals.

Came to My Senses When I Realized 2 Things


  1. My heart weren't in them blogs. In fact, doin' 'em sucked.
  2. I didn't get into van life to chain myself to a fuckin' monitor.


Shit, I was whip-drivin' my own self 'cause I don't know no better. And because the busyness business kept away the boredom.

Vanholio's Full of Shit!


Vanholio's been trained up a wage slave like the rest of ya'll. Seems that whatever philosophical bullshit he babbles, deep down, Vanholio don't feel like much of a man unless he's workin' hard, bringin' the Benjamins, and gettin' approvin' nods.

But ain't that what Vanholio's taking a stand against!?

I got into van life, supposedly, because I value time over money, reject the consumerist Rat Race, and choose to walk more softly on this here earth. That's what I told everyone, includin' my own self.

Well, fuck me. I ain't so fuckin' enlightened after all. But at least I quit them stupid moneymaker blogs.

2017 Van Life Resolutionary


Maybe someday ...
For 2017, I resolve to live quietly and sip the moments of my life. Slow livin' is what Vanholio'll be all about. It's a new journey.

But then, I got no fuckin' idea how to do not much. It keeps me awake nights. Where to start this journey, that's the question.

As per usual, every solution's got its own fuckin' problems built right in. Even living in a van down by the river.

Happy New Year's!

Oh, and if you got advice, by golly, speak up! I'm all ears.


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


Also See ...

Save the World by Doing Less, or Nothing
Tiny Wisdom: The Things We Don’t Want to Do (Tiny Buddha)
10 Ways to Enjoy Doing Nothing (Real Simple)
Work Stress Is the Saddest American Status Symbol (Salon)

Read More »