Car Living and Communication

April 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Self-Reliance

Car living seems a very relevant topic right now, so I’m going to re-visit some of my advice on this topic.

The first thing I want to discuss is communication.   To thrive, and not just survive, while car living- it’s necessary to stay connected.  Each person will have to decide what this means exactly, but here are some thoughts on the general topic of connection and communication while car living:

Car Living & Mail

Mail is, in fact, a very important subject- because our evil government demands a mailing address at almost every turn.   In order to get or keep a drivers license, for example, you must have a mailing address.  The same goes for a bank account should you want one.  And also for getting a cell phone and various other services you may want.

The first and best choice is to use a friend or family member’s mailing address– and only receive vital mail there.   All bills you have should be paid online…  eliminate paper billing and paper statements as much as possible.

Second choice is to get a post office box– though some services and agencies will not ship to a post office box (UPS for example– and certain government agencies).   However, for most purposes, a  post office box will work fine.. either one through the post office or a private post office box through UPS (they will ship to their own store :)

Car Living & Phone

If you can afford it, a cheap cell phone is by far the best option.   It’s mobile and convenient and a very basic plan is fairly cheap.    If you’ve got the money, an iPhone gives you a lot of options– get the unlimited data plan and then you effectively have a small computer as well as a phone– perfect for paying bills, and emailing out of country friends.

A very cheap option is to get the most basic, cheap plan possible…  and add on unlimited text messaging.  Then use text messaging instead of calling to communicate with friends, arrange meetings, etc.

Car Living & Computers/Internet

The internet is another great communication option for car-living hobopoets.  Internet access is free at most libraries.  If you can’t afford a phone or phone service, use email to connect with friends and others.   You can also blog as a creative outlet.

Of course, if you can afford your own laptop, your options increase.  With a laptop and a little money, you can take advantage of free wireless at many coffee shops.   Spend hours working or playing online, writing, and reading–  all for the price of a coffee.   In San Francisco, many entrepreneurs run surprisingly lucrative and successful businesses from coffee shops and laptops.   They even have a name for these folks:  neo-bedouins.

Imagine, for example, running a tiny jewelry business while car-living.   Make your jewelry in your van or at a park.   Create a website to sell it.   Market the jewelry through a blog, podcast, newsletter, etc.   Receive orders & payments online through PayPal… then ship them out–  all run from a laptop and a wireless connection at a coffee shop (it might even be cheaper to get a monthly wireless service through a cell phone company)!   You wouldn’t need to sell much in order to support such a lifestyle.

Car Living & a Fun Social Life

Car living can be fun because you have so much free time.   There’s a lot you can do with that time– without spending money.   Sports and outdoor activities are some of the best.   Play soccer.  Play ultimate frisbee.  Play softball.   Do yoga at the park.   Free local groups can be found in almost every community.

As you may know, I’m particularly fond of disc golf– it’s a great way to meet people, it’s fun, and it’s free.  Find a course near you at:  www.pdga.com

Music is another great free pursuit that can be social.   The simplest thing is to get a small super-cheap hand drum.   Drum circles can be found all over– and beginners are usually welcome.  This is fun and a great way to meet people and enjoy life.   Of course, guitars and various other portable instruments are also great fun.

Join Clubs While Car Living

Look on meetup.com to find local groups to participate in.   Also look on bulletin boards at coffee shops and colleges…  and look in the newspaper.   Fill your evenings with interesting clubs and hobbies.

See Speakers While Car Living

Speakers are another great way to learn and enjoy your free time.   Some may charge a fee, but many interesting speakers can be heard for free.   Look for announcements from colleges and libraries to find speakers.

As you can see, it’s possible to have a very rich social life while living in a car or van.  It’s also possible to stay in touch with friends and family.  In fact, you may find that your social life expands tremendously– because suddenly you’ll have a lot more free time.  Take advantage of it and enjoy it!

Car Living A Vital Skill

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Self-Reliance

Simplicity Can Be Fun!

This year, the topics discussed on Hobopoet have taken a deadly serious turn.   We are at the beginning of a huge economic disaster–   the same kind of bankster engineered disaster that Argentina experienced.

Because of this, the collapse of American Empire is accelerating.  While Obama and the banks loot the country and enslave it’s citizens with massive debt, the media continues to show idiotic stories about “the coming recovery”.   The corporate media also loves to fawn over Obama.. while purposely hiding what is actually happening.

Why is this important?  Because practically, it means very tough times ahead–  “The Greatest Depression” as many economist are calling it.  In fact, we are nowhere near the bottom… the worst is yet to come and it’s going to be much worse.  We’ll see another huge stock market crash, massive unemployment… and then the killer–  massive price inflation.  In other words, the value of your cash savings, if you have them, will be eroded or destroyed–  just when you are either losing your job or starting a new one with much less pay.

Such is the bankster economic system… a system that Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism”.  First the banksters & their government partners engineer (or take advantage of) a disaster.  Then, while regular people are dazed and confused and pliable, they swiftly enact new laws that enrich the banksters while looting the confused and clueless public.  They did it in Argentina and many other places.. now they’re doing it to the United States.

In fact, it’s already done.   So the practical question becomes–  how to survive the unfolding disaster?

This is where Hobopoet skills become important.   As hobopoets, we choose to live simply but happily.

The difference between a miserable homeless person and a happy Hobopoet is planning, preparation, and mindset.

Being thrown into homelessness (and unemployment) is traumatic… but carefully planning and choosing it can be quite fun.   As my old archives note, its possible to live very happily and comfortably even in a Nissan Sentra.  To do so, you must be intelligent:

  • Modify the car for living:  Take out the back seats and create a bed from the back area all the way into the trunk (extend your legs into the trunk area when sleeping).   Tint all back windows as dark as possible (and put cardboard behind the tinting).  Run a shower or curtain rod just behind the front seats, and hang a black blanket or sheet over it (to block rear area from sight).  Use plastic storage bins for clothes and food.  Use a camp toilet… or a gatorade bottle (for peeing– women can get a funnel to make this easier :) and doubled freezer bags (for emergency shitting).   Park in stealthy areas– such as big apartment complexes or public streets with  other cars around…  or best of all- at a friends house.
  • Create a micro-business:   Create a business that is tiny and easy to run from anywhere.  You might sell art or jewelry at music festivals.  You might create a small online company.   You might sell information products.  Just create an independent small income source.. to lessen or eliminate your dependence on jobs.
  • Collect Quality Camping Gear Now:  A quality sleeping bag and sleeping pad is vital if you will car-live in a cold climate.  A camp stove is also useful.. as is a set of compact cooking gear.    Consider quality (non-cotton) clothes for cold weather.   A hiking water filter is also useful (for filtering water from rivers, streams, or public sinks).   A tent is also great if you plan to be in rural or wilderness areas sometimes (or campsites).   An LED headlamp is extremely useful at night.
  • Think about Cleanliness:  How will you clean yourself?   You could join a gym and use the showers there (if the membership will be affordable).   You can sponge bathe in public bathrooms (use lockable bathrooms and ALWAYS thoroughly clean up any water– so they’ll never suspect you are bathing in their bathroom!).   In hot weather, you can bathe in a stream or river (as I did in Athens, Georgia).
  • Consider Safety:   Take a combat self-defense course or study one at home now (I recommend www.attackproof.com ).   You might consider keeping pepper spray in your car….  and possibly a knife or gun (but only if you REALLY know how to use them and are well trained.. otherwise stick to pepper spray and self-defense training).   Another safety issue:  identify safe and fairly “stealth” parking areas in your town.  If possible, secure a parking place in a friends’ driveway.

Those are the basics.   As I read more about tent cities popping up, and people losing their homes,.. and the economic disaster still to come…  I feel that car-living and voluntary homelessness topics are more important than ever.

Therefore, I’ll be re-visiting these topics in the coming months–  to provide detailed practical strategies for people to THRIVE (not just survive) even if they lose their home, job, etc.

Car Living is one such strategy– as long as you can still afford to insure and maintain a car.  If that’s possible, I believe that car-living is the best choice for those who have no other home.  Tent living (or open air camping) would be a distant second choice,.. as it’s less secure.. but I’ll discuss homelessness strategies as well.

I believe that everyone should think about and plan for this… even if you feel you are financially secure.   Planning for the possibility of car-living or homelessness will give you tremendous confidence and strength if you are indeed forced out of your home.  You won’t fear it so much and won’t panic if you already have a plan and have already prepared!