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. 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: 12/20/2016

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.


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.


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.

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

Gettin' mail on the road? Traveling Mailbox! (review)

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

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 »