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Turned Out Nice Again

Dropping out of the system

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Anybody considering it? Or already done so? Ideas? Strategies? Advantages? Downsides?

I watched this brilliantly made amateur doco on YT last night (see below) concerning people in the USA who decided to become van nomads for various reasons. None of them seem desperate - quite the opposite - despite their sometimes tragic back-stories which I think are just the "whup upside the head" it takes for most embedded people to see conventional life for what it really is - a system of slavery; others, like the young couple featured, knew that from the start.

 

Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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I think that they're very brave doing it in the US with no NHS. 

Here you're okay for that concern; but it would probably cut off your opportunity to go back into your previous employment / level of earning if you changed your mind.

Being a bit of a jessie I would only head off on something like this if I had a decent fallback in the event that I found myself shivering in a damp van in a layby in February thinking "What have I done?" :CryBaby:

My general life rule has however been that if I really want to do something then I do it.  Whether it turns out brilliant, rubbish, or somewhere inbetween matters less than that I acted upon it.

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Don't think total dropping out would be great unless you have a cast-iron constitution, both physical and mental, and a capacity to be completely self-contained.

My advice would be to buy some land, at least. One of the old telephone network buildings with itty-bitty bits of land that come up at auction, maybe.  That way if things get rough you can hole up there for a bit, maintain the vehicle, have an address, no need to fuss too much about planning permission to make a wanky Grand Design out of it because you don't need that, just running water, shelter and a toilet. 

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Just now, swissy_fit said:

Anywhere "aspirational" and you'll be outbid, possibly even by a pikey with an S Class Merc!

I want a Strowger 4000 one. These were rare, and the selector arm comes out backwards, unlike the 2000. It's probably why I like Nikon cameras, as the lenses go on backwards

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12 minutes ago, swissy_fit said:

Don't think total dropping out would be great unless you have a cast-iron constitution, both physical and mental, and a capacity to be completely self-contained.

My advice would be to buy some land, at least. One of the old telephone network buildings with itty-bitty bits of land that come up at auction, maybe.  That way if things get rough you can hole up there for a bit, maintain the vehicle, have an address, no need to fuss too much about planning permission to make a wanky Grand Design out of it because you don't need that, just running water, shelter and a toilet. 

If you are careful about location the stress / overhead can be reduced significantly. Living near the canal network seen how all sorts seem to fare, generally seem to do OK and if you had a bit of money to start off with / nouse / ability I think you could live quite comfortably on around £10k a year.

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33 minutes ago, swissy_fit said:

My advice would be to buy some land, at least. One of the old telephone network buildings with itty-bitty bits of land that come up at auction, maybe.  That way if things get rough you can hole up there for a bit, maintain the vehicle, have an address, no need to fuss too much about planning permission to make a wanky Grand Design out of it because you don't need that, just running water, shelter and a toilet. 

Good points. I'm thinking van + garage, particularly if the latter is equipped with electric + water would be a great combo. You could use the garage as a base to recharge batteries, work on the van and store the shit you can't bear to part with. Below is another vid of an American yuppie drop-out couple doing something similar.

A friend of mine lives in the very ritzy London locale of Dartmouth Park and his neighbour, a (former) architect, has moved full-time into an up-market garden out-building of his own design while  renting his ~£2M house - presumably covering all of his costs.

Another pal lives buckshee in a garage in Hadley Woods to which he has some historic title through his family, earning what little money he needs primarily through busking, growing food on an allotment and teaching English in China (he's fluent in Mandarin) and occasional acting gigs in Chinese movies.

Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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10 minutes ago, onlyme said:

If you are careful about location the stress / overhead can be reduced significantly. Living near the canal network seen how all sorts seem to fare, generally seem to do OK and if you had a bit of money to start off with / nouse / ability I think you could live quite comfortably on around £10k a year.

I think the van nomads in the first vid were living on $500-750 per month. Interestingly, speaking of healthcare costs, I believe under the ACA (Obamacare) that level of income qualifies you for Medicare (or the other one) or at least considerably reduced insurance premiums.

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Admittedly without having watched it yet,   I think all of these things are great for the young and the old.  

I'm not sure what you do for the bit in the middle when you have kids..?   I can't imagine bringing them up in a caravan or a boat etc on a permanent basis. 

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19 minutes ago, Libspero said:

Admittedly without having watched it yet,   I think all of these things are great for the young and the old.  

I'm not sure what you do for the bit in the middle when you have kids..?   I can't imagine bringing them up in a caravan or a boat etc on a permanent basis. 

Very good point. The yuppie couple in the 2nd video I posted have no kids - just a dog. I think when you are raising kids, you are perforce sentenced to a period of conformity.

From my perspective, I've had my kids, done my time and have been released back into society so it's no longer an issue.

Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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1 hour ago, onlyme said:

If you are careful about location the stress / overhead can be reduced significantly. Living near the canal network seen how all sorts seem to fare, generally seem to do OK and if you had a bit of money to start off with / nouse / ability I think you could live quite comfortably on around £10k a year.

Living on a narrowboat used to be a good option but the Canals and Rivers Trust have turned very anti-live aboards in the last few years. Unless you have your own mooring you're basically the CRT's bitch or some marina's bitch. Sadly a few trustafarians living on narrowboats taking the piss by ignoring all the laws have ruined it for everyone else. Add on mooring fee's which in a lot of cases aren't much different than renting a 1 bed flat.

Edited by gibbon

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10 minutes ago, Turned Out Nice Again said:

Very good point. The yuppie couple in the 2nd video I posted have no kids - just a dog. I think when you are raising kids, you are perforce sentenced to a period of conformity.

From my perspective, I've had my kids, done my time and have been released back into society so it's no longer an issue.

In your position I'd definitely consider it..  the UK system is designed to make living in no fixed abode quite difficult,  but if you have the means (or a work from anywhere job) I'd consider travelling around the world at a leasurely pace.

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3 minutes ago, Libspero said:

In your position I'd definitely consider it..  the UK system is designed to make living in no fixed abode quite difficult,  but if you have the means (or a work from anywhere job) I'd consider travelling around the world at a leasurely pace.

There's a business opportunity in there somewhere for an entrepreneurial home owner willing to act as a post box and formal abode for a small fee.

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10 minutes ago, Libspero said:

In your position I'd definitely consider it..  the UK system is designed to make living in no fixed abode quite difficult,  but if you have the means (or a work from anywhere job) I'd consider travelling around the world at a leasurely pace.

That's what I'm thinking. All I use my home for now is sleeping, eating and storing mountains of crap. I remote-work out of a shed in the garden on decently-paid software gigs that I could do anywhere I have an internet connection - equipment required: just a small laptop. Basically, I'm looking at putting the shed "on wheels", installing a bed and foregoing most of my overheads.

Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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8 minutes ago, gibbon said:

Living on a narrowboat used to be a good option but the Canals and Rivers Trust have turned very anti-live aboards in the last few years. Unless you have your own mooring you're basically the CRT's bitch or some marina's bitch. Sadly a few trustafarians living on narrowboats taking the piss by ignoring all the laws have ruined it for everyone else. Add on mooring fee's which in a lot of cases aren't much different than renting a 1 bed flat.

I know. Mate of mine live on one for a while. I was attracted to an ex Venezualan Navy frigate, but I didn't like the colour (grey)

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31 minutes ago, gibbon said:

Living on a narrowboat used to be a good option but the Canals and Rivers Trust have turned very anti-live aboards in the last few years. Unless you have your own mooring you're basically the CRT's bitch or some marina's bitch. Sadly a few trustafarians living on narrowboats taking the piss by ignoring all the laws have ruined it for everyone else. Add on mooring fee's which in a lot of cases aren't much different than renting a 1 bed flat.

Good points and yes they are clamping down but still pretty easy to get round the 2 week bridge hop you just need to keep moving, then you are charged I think at around £1000+ for cruising license, not that much different to rates, the carrying costs of a house still far outweigh living light on the water. Problem is if you have a job or schooling which ties you to one area for convenience or don't enjoy the moving / travelling bit. Know an ex pub landlord who sold up last year and see him now and gain, he loves it. 

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26 minutes ago, onlyme said:

Good points and yes they are clamping down but still pretty easy to get round the 2 week bridge hop you just need to keep moving, then you are charged I think at around £1000+ for cruising license, not that much different to rates, the carrying costs of a house still far outweigh living light on the water. Problem is if you have a job or schooling which ties you to one area for convenience or don't enjoy the moving / travelling bit. Know an ex pub landlord who sold up last year and see him now and gain, he loves it. 

Add on winter mooring which I'm told they are making more difficult/inconvenient/costly for continuous cruisers. I agree with you though, if you haven't got any kids and can work remotely it's much better than having a house/flat. You also instantly buy into a community vs living in a block of flats/street where nobody gives a fuck about you.

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8 minutes ago, gibbon said:

Add on winter mooring which I'm told they are making more difficult/inconvenient/costly for continuous cruisers. I agree with you though, if you haven't got any kids and can work remotely it's much better than having a house/flat. You also instantly buy into a community vs living in a block of flats/street where nobody gives a fuck about you.

The community has its oddballs and some not so friendly types but they generally seem to have quite a common spirit despite the obvious difference in circumstnaces.

On the not have having a fixed base / postal address  a lot has changed the last decade - paperless accounts, meaning far less or zero mail and click and collect take the sting out of some of the downsides of not having a fixed (single location) postal address.

Edited by onlyme

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Some people are living full time on campsites. At a guess, this will be more prevalent in certain parts of the country, Cumbria being one such place that springs to mind. I would imagine unofficial arrangements to cheaply rent a tucked away spot would also be possible all over the place with a good introduction if you come over as a decent, helpful and trouble free sort.

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8 minutes ago, onlyme said:

The community has its oddballs and some not so friendly types but they generally seem to have quite a common spirit despite the obvious difference in circumstnaces.

On the not have having a fixed base / postal address  a lot has changed the last decade - paperless accounts, meaning far less or zero mail and click and collect take the sting out of some of the downsides of not having a fixed (single location) postal address.

I think there are definitely weirdos who are going down the off grid route to keep off the radar possibly for criminal reasons. I would quite happily live on one though and the tech is making it more feasible whilst holding down a relatively normal life/job. I still haven't finished mine and have in fact started a second one as the widebeam although more comfortable for living it won't navigate the whole network. I'm trying to make the second one light enough to take it in and out of the water with a 50 ton per metre Hiab then go by road when I wanted. It's surprising how much the weight of all the wood adds up. I'm regretting taking the widebeam hull off the trailer as I think my hydraulic lift's 22t capacity might not be enough to get it back on and wouldn't have been that much hassle to work on it left on the trailer.

I do know one guy who stayed on his boat until he died in his late eighties with nearby boaters looking out for him when he would probably have ended up in a home if he'd been in surburbia.

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1 minute ago, SNACR said:

I think there are definitely weirdos who are going down the off grid route to keep off the radar possibly for criminal reasons. I would quite happily live on one though and the tech is making it more feasible whilst holding down a relatively normal life/job. I still haven't finished mine and have in fact started a second one as the widebeam although more comfortable for living it won't navigate the whole network. I'm trying to make the second one light enough to take it in and out of the water with a 50 ton per metre Hiab then go by road when I wanted. It's surprising how much the weight of all the wood adds up. I'm regretting taking the widebeam hull off the trailer as I think my hydraulic lift's 22t capacity might not be enough to get it back on and wouldn't have been that much hassle to work on it left on the trailer.

I do know one guy who stayed on his boat until he died in his late eighties with nearby boaters looking out for him when he would probably have ended up in a home if he'd been in surburbia.

Would have thought with the right rigging rather than dead lift the whole weight lift one end and secure on gantry / resting stay, then lift up other end and drive trailer back underneath - somewhat a faff but should be doable? Nearly all camper conversions use lightweight ply which is a fraction of the weight, problem is it is a multiple of the price! Age certainly does not seem to be as much of an issue as it would first appear on the water, with care.

 

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3 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

Being a bit of a jessie I would only head off on something like this if I had a decent fallback in the event that I found myself shivering in a damp van in a layby in February thinking "What have I done?" :CryBaby:

Bit like George Orwell with 'Down and Out in Paris and London'?

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