How to go about living on the road

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  • Hi just wondering me and my partner are seriously thinking about living on the road but not sure how to go about it and loads of questions so reaching out to see if anyone can answer or give us advice... Firstly do we need to keep a house going as a base?? What do we do about address for dvla licencing insurance etc?? Any feedback be very grateful. Thank u

  • Hi!

    I’m sorry I can’t help you but I’m sure someone will be able to. There are a few threads on the offgrid section where you may get more info. My partner lives in a van but I don’t know the ins and outs.

  • You need an address for bank account, driving licence, insurance, doctor. My cousin kindly agreed to help in this regard. Before that a friend helped but she sold her house. At one point I used an address service but the DVLA would not accept it, nor the insurer. Boatmail used to be okay but don't know now, probably not. Life on the road... I like it. You need to sort out how you will deal with toilet waste, chemical loo and empty in public toilets (not lay bys please) or dig a hole or shit in a bag and bin it. Wee in a bottle, tip on the verge (it's great fertiliser) or down the drain. Wee stinks by the way. Water from graveyards or buy it in 5 litre containers from supermarkets, catch rainwater for washing or use baby wipes, or just smell! Try not to park up in a group, it attracts attention. That's it really, enjoy!

  • OK wicked thanks for the advice pretty much common sense and what we been practicing already thank you tho. What about earning money or where do we get income from? aim to find work were we park up or how do we go about that side of things? She a brilliant artist so she has that to make an income on but I'm more of a builder manual labour, creativity isn't my strong point haha any advice on that side of things please?

  • Building work/odd job work can be difficult to obtain unless you move to the job or sdverzise. Traveling around and hoping to find this kind of work in remote areas is quite difficult. (Although luck can score some work) Relying on local advertising when chances are your stay could be cut short (moved on) plus your reputation (word of mouth) might mean you needed to back track to places you stayed in to complete previous work, (would you trust a builder to stick around, finish the job) in this situation? Even if materials were the proprietors responsibility to provide. Far easier to have a base and travel to work from there as a builder. Tool/materials storage, etc. But that’s not the freedom of the road you seek. labouring can also tie you and partner, your vehicle to a place, even if one of you would rather not be there. Is your partner strong enough to deal with most situations if your out at work all day? 5pm your still working or travelling, your partners stuck in some laybye or down some lane, waiting for your return, whilst dealing with dickheads or kids that don’t like you or your kind.

    Now, artists can park in some of the best places, get inspiration from their surroundings and strangely enough, work outside the vehicle with general approval from passers by.

    Having been shocked by the amount of general hatred/abuse nomadic folk have been exposed to during this lockdown. I think it’s never been more important to have a bolt hole to go to, be that a friends driveway, a plot of land or a property. Generally campsite have remained open, so places like caravan club registered farms etc have always been open all year round for emergencies, vehicle repairs, illness etc. This virus stopped all that and the public turned on those living in vehicles.

  • If you have those sorts of skills and you are good enough at what you do you should be able to find work. Where possible I try to go to local independent tradespeople as a first resort if I need some work done that I cannot do myself. If that doesn't work out I look for independent people from the "tribe" as it were. Here's where it falls down.

    If I am engaging someone to do something, they need to be reliable, good at what they say they can do and worth their money. After all, they are usually strangers to me. I think there are probably checks and balances at work here. A traveller won't have a permanent workshop to maintain nor the sorts of overheads associated with bricks and mortar. But neither will they probably have the savings associated with access to accounts with their usual merchants and their travel costs will probably be higher. I get that. What I don't get is the number of people to whom I have tried to give work who seem unable to respond to messages or give reliable estimates of how long it will be before they can undertake the job I want done. It's not that I am completely incapable, but I don't have the confidence to take on some jobs by myself and would be more comfortable paying someone who knows what they are doing to finish the job safely.

    As an example, I followed up some of the interesting posts by someone on a boating forum who seemed to have some inspired and well-informed ideas, new approaches, satisfied customers and who posted lots of photographs of finished projects in his specialism. I got in touch by instant message and the response was not quick, except to say that yes, he could do the job I wanted done in a couple of days and even had a friend he could stay with near my home mooring. However, he would never give me a date as to when he could do the job. I've been messaging him for at least a couple of years now - I am quite patient. Eventually, back in January, I saw him online and took a chance to use the audio message function to call him. We had a long conversation. We talked about the job and we put the world to rights. He followed up with a message to say mine would be the next job he undertook after the present one which he estimated would take another couple of weeks. I have heard nothing since. He has, however, started posting again saying that he has restarted work and has a long list of jobs in his diary. Mine wasn't listed except as one of a category of similar installations for multiple clients. It seems I've been pushed down the list. In the meantime I have had to make some alternative temporary arrangements so I don't die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately that is with a local trader who doesn't have marine experience and who also will not get back to me. It is very frustrating. I make a point of keeping in touch with my own clients and find it hard to understand why other self-employed people don't see it as a priority.

    Yes, the world since January is very different, but part of gaining customer confidence is keeping in touch with clients, surely? I do know many people treat tradespeople contemptibly and cancel at very short notice. I am not one of those people. If I have made an agreement I stick to it, even to my own detriment. I know I have lost tens of thousands of pounds over the years because of this, but I value being fair to other people and keeping my word very highly.

    I don't know if this resonates with you, but if you could establish an online presence and prove that you are reliable I would like to think that work may come to you.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary I still believe in being the change I want to see.

    Oh, and good luck!!!!

  • Labouring: you might get some harvest work on farms, might, they seem to prefer eastern europeans who they can bunk four to a room and extract rent from, but it's worth asking around farms. One off labouring jobs would free you to roam and relieve you of responsibility for repairs etc, that would fall to the main contractor. Try small ads in shops for one-off labouring jobs, perhaps garden clearance etc?

    Artist. Well, if it were normal times I would say try to sell stuff at festivals but there's nothing normal about now! I know in holiday places people do set up in lay bys to sell their wares, or on the beach. A friend sold jewelry near a beach cafe, the owner loved him as he was attracting more custom for the cafe, cafe attracting custom for my friend. Your lady could maybe do some cheap and cheesy mementoes of the place along with some proper artistic work that costs more. Or try selling on ebay or etsy or local sales pages?

    I work for myself from 'home' as a PA / book keeper / transcriber so my work arrives by email and is sent back via email. I do have one lovely client who gives me piles of crumpled up receipts, this obviously requires either an address or a visit (which I am going to do next week). As long as I have signal and light for the pv panels I can work.

    My current neighbour does film editing and music videos, so he moves around, the editing he can do anywhere he has signal and light.

  • Right that's what I was thinking about the labouring be hard to get work here and there. Its our goal and really want to do it so will have to think of other ways. Thanks for all the advice tho appreciated

  • I worked for DC Site Services litter picking at festivals and events, it was good except I got sacked for having dogs. But there are no festivals this year. What about car parking at testing sites? Part time driving for one of the supermarket delivery services? Do three or four days a week then travel, or work a full time block and then travel?

    Friend has glamping business, she is busy now. Possible you could get holiday work, work hard over summer, save up, fuck off over winter?

  • Hi Gizzypops88..

    If you want to consider my advice here it goes.

    First, moving from a house to van life is a big transition.

    Not everyone is cut out for close quarters and nomadic living as it can put a hell of a strain on relationships.

    It could be wise to test your selves before committing full time as its a hell of a leap.

    Second, consider your financial budget for your new home and half it straight away because you need some cash to roll and financial stress is probably the best way to argue with a partner.

    Third, blend in with your rig, don't over do it with size, the bigger you are the harder it is to park up. You mentioned work, a good place to start is join one of the "woofer" sites that offer your labour for lodgings and food. You get a free park up and scoff for about 18 hours a week. Once you start rolling its all about network, communication and your skill set. Be flexible and offer a bit for free, it often leads to paid work.

    Four, don't be scared to hit Europe in the winter, they are more flexible to alternate life and living, especially Spain and Portugal.

    Five, paperwork and legals.

    A family member or close friends address is probably your best option. If that's not an option then look for a private mailing property with forwarding, not a P.O Box, but expect to pay for this service.

    Good luck with your adventures, I wish you the most amazing journey and have great fun.. TT..