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Advice for newbie wannabe
#1
I have been thinking about starting an advice post for people who think they want to start in this lifestyle.   

So, here is my take.....

   First, take a couple years and plan, plan, plan.     

Think about how you will solve the need to carry at least 10 gallons of fresh water...in plastic.  What will you use to be sure it will not break?  Will you need a hose and filters to fill it?  Where will you carry that to keep it clean?  

What will you do for cooking?   Rocket stove?  Propane camp stove?  Where will you store it?  What will you do it it rains for a couple days?  Pot and pan?  Store where?  What about dishes?  Using paper plates will end up costing more.  How to wash dishes?  Think about your water budget.  Maybe carry vinegar and use that?

What about cleaning yourself and you clothing?  Can you budget a laundromat and place to shower?  Can you afford to use the water you carry for this?   Try cleaning yourself and your hair in just 1 gallon of water...can you do it?  

What about monthly budget?   Can you afford approx. $300 per month for food, $100 per month for gas, $50 for routine maintenance, plus a savings for repairs and “other”?   What about insurance for van?  Health insurance?   My own insurance (vehicle and health) adds up to $450 per month.

How will you stay warm in the winter..cooler in the summer? If you plan to move with the seasons....add more to your gas budget and routine maintenance for the van.

If your budget is really tight...you should consider NOT having a pet to feed too.

As for the van build. As much as you possible can should be done up front while you still live in S&B. It can cost a fair amount depending on what you want..do as much of this as you can before you hit the road...it won’t be easier or cheaper once you launch.

I am sure everyone has more to add to this.



1989 Honeywell motorhome
Ford E350 chassis.  460 engine
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#2
My first suggestion is to eliminate that 'wash dishes with vinegar' advice. Vinegar doesn't really kill many types of bacteria, and it doesn't cut grease, either. Dishes can be washed in a quart of soapy water (easy on the detergent) by dipping a sponge into the soapy water -- the whole dish does not need to be immersed. Rinse with cold water -- warm rinse water does not 'sterilize' the dishes.

But overall, your suggestion is a good one. Many people just don't know how much is involved.
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#3
I saw this posted somewhere.....

Gather together those things you think you will need....mark out one area 6ft X 10ft in your bedroom or living room.

Take everything you need and put it into that area...build up a bed platform to store stuff under. For the next month, this is the only space you will occupy. If you have to go to use the bathroom or kitchen...figure out how to solve that so you don’t. You will have to figure out washing without getting everything else wet, etc.

If you cannot do this, then this probably is not going to work for you on the road.



1989 Honeywell motorhome
Ford E350 chassis.  460 engine
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#4
(10-25-2018, 09:55 AM)TrainChaser Wrote: My first suggestion is to eliminate that 'wash dishes with vinegar' advice.  Vinegar doesn't really kill many types of bacteria, and it doesn't cut grease, either. 

Agreed, but that's kind of a lopsided position.  Soap and water doesn't kill bacteria either, and neither does hot tap water that you can stand to touch.  So the unique counterargument is that vinegar doesn't cut grease.  I figure the vinegar-washing folks already know that.

I will point out that sterilization is a real thing but not a goal for most 'dwellers who are not working with culture media, canning, or tending wounds in the van.  One is able to sterilize clean stuff in a pressure cooker/canner at 10psi for 10mins if needed.  Handy for sterilizing something to lance a boil or blister, etc.   Or making sterile water for first aid.

Sanitizing is relatively easy to do, but even that is not necessary for most normal cleaning unless we are talking about cross-contamination, meatcutting boards, or the like.  If needed, start with clean objects then hit them with a no-rinse sanitizing solution like StarSan, Iodophor, or a pH-adjusted bleach solution. Air-dry after the specified duration of contact.  The first two are mail order items from any homebrewing store.  The last one is homemade and requires an ability to measure and mix three common/cheap ingredients accurately and in a specific order.
---
frater/jason
FT around El Paso:  159" Promaster, 570w
blog | campervan | RVwiki

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#5
The point of using detergent is that it easily breaks surface tension and works its way between the dish and the food remnants, and causes it to slide off the dish. Vinegar doesn't do that -- it is being used as an anti-bacterial, which it is not.

OTOH, people can use any method of dishwashing they like, including just letting the dog lick them clean. But advising newbies (who often have never washed a dish w/o a dishwasher) to use a method that has a reasonable chance of failing, seems like a poor idea. Providing bad advice that can lead to a serious case of food poisoning out in the boondocks just sounds irresponsible to me.

Now, if an individual KNOWS the dangers, and chooses to use one with a higher chance of danger, that's all right. People can make their own decisions, and deal with the consequences. But passing on erroneous information to people who don't even know what questions to ask? NO.
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#6
I just scrap the dried beans off my plate and use it again. Wash? Naaaa, if it don't kill you it just makes you stronger.. hahaha Seriously on topic though, maybe the first thing to suggest is to go camp for two weeks without going to a store for anything. Most will make it a few days at first while learning how and what to pack. Next trip out they might make it a week, rinse and repeat until they can easily do a 2 week camp without leaving the site. Planning is great and never should be overlooked but practical experience is king. Most of our camping is at two week intervals (Slab City being one of the exceptions since there is no limit on stay time) with a pit stop in between unless of course you just want to spend a few days and move on but even with that there is usually some sort of grocery store along the way or close enough not to be too out of the way. If folks really want to try and live the nomad lifestyle they'll eventually learn how to avoid the useless clutter they "thought" they'd need to bring along. On that train of thought, maybe suggest items that can serve double or triple duty. If you are doing the bucket and plunger method of washing clothes then that same bucket can be used for dish washing, trash can and if you are not too squeamish a poop bucket. Remember, you poop in a bag and not actually in the bucket. Just my opinions here and I like the topic...
MORATTA LESSRATTA  OFFICIAL YARC

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#7
MO -- For the more squeamish, they should remember that buckets of the same general type will nest inside each other. After all, they might slip up occasionally on remembering to buy more plastic bags.
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#8
Now THAT could be messy!
Sharing REAL life experiences and knowledge.

1977 Dodge Maxi-Van Smile
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#9
(10-25-2018, 05:12 AM)RoamingKat Wrote: I have been thinking about starting an advice post for people who think they want to start in this lifestyle.   

So, here is my take.....

   First, take a couple years and plan, plan, plan.     

Yes, YES, YES!!!

This is exactly what I was talking about last week.
Somebody starts a first draft, it gets peer reviewed, improved, then a final draft (without the confusing-to-newbies digressions) is posted on a separate non-forum page.

Awesome points & start RoamingKat! Smile

(10-27-2018, 07:46 AM)RoamingKat Wrote: I saw this posted somewhere.....

Gather together those things you think you will need....mark out one area 6ft X 10ft in your bedroom or living room.

Over on the DF, user "RowanFae" did an excellent write up about how she did that.
Imagine my delight when I logged in today, and saw that the most recent new user here is "RowanFae":
https://vandwellerforum.com/member.php?a...le&uid=390

Rowan, if you're reading this, welcome to these forums. Smile
found a Geeky blue van (solving logistics), tentative progress on a GoodJob, still lots of Newbie Qs

"We are in a car." K9 to Mickey, "School Reunion", Doctor Who
"Cause how you get there is the worthier part." Shephard Book to Kaylee, "Serenity", Firefly
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