Is it Possible?
My dream has been to travel on the road with my dog and just write, like John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charlie." I'm tired of the same old routine of work and low pay. I'm confined to one place paying rent with no money and nothing to show for. So my travels are nothing more than driving from home to work and back home. How boring. Anyway, I can't fathom this. It seems to make more sense to have little money and travel than having a job making money for "stablity." It's more exciting.
So I am left with dreams of going on the road. There is one problem: I have very little money. I lost the little bit of savings I had and I can't seem to save at all.
The ideal plan is to get an RV and travel for a month. Get a job while still living in the RV, and save money to go back on the road and write. Well, I don't have an RV and I have very little money saved.
It's like an itch and it's a nagging feeling. I've been on this site a few times, and finally I'm sending this hoping that I can get some pointers. I think I am going to do it, but I am afraid to do it with out a real plan.
Well, I suppose this is a start. Does anyone have any suggestions.
Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!
This itch has happened to many of us at one time or another, and occasionally, some of us actually scratch that itch.
You might want to check out our information on dashboarding, towards the end of this page titled "Working on the Road".
I don't know of a way to obtain an appropriate vehicle without some form of finance.
Its certainly possible, albeit a bit challenging, to work while living on the road.
However, I too just don't see how you can acquire an RV if you have no funds in which to purchase one. You may simply have to start small, using your car and short term apartment, or perhaps you can get a van or a pickup-camper.
If you've got the will you can find a way to make it happen, but if you focus on the how - like needing an RV to get started - then I think you are facing an extremely difficult climb.
No Money, so much planning.
Well, I know it will be hard to get an RV, so I guess I will have to rely on my car. But what stinks about that is that have payments, and I'll need money coming in in order to pay for the car, of course. Lets just say if I start with a $1,000-$2,000, will it cover costs and a place to stay for a month? Is there such a thing as small term apartments that don't require down payments, and are their lodgings/motels where I could stay for a month and work to save money to move on to the next destination? I think it is feesible for me to save between $1,000-$2,000 to travel for one month and then stop somewhere to work to save some money to move on. Oh and I forgot to mention, I'll be bringing my dog with me.
Life gets in the way
Yes there are short term apartments or long term motels that don't require a down payment - other than to pay for your place up front - just don't expect these places to be all that nice.
Right now, you're focusing on the things that will keep you from doing it. Wanting to get an RV, needing a steady income, saving "enough" money etc. If your current car payments are preventing you from doing this, sell your car, pay off your loan, and buy a cheap car that you can pay cash for. I'm sure there are dozens of other hurdles that would come with dropping the stable comfortable life that you currently have and say you are so bored with.
Living out a fantasy to live on the road will come down to one basic thing - do you want it bad enough. If you want to do this badly enough, you will find a way to make it work. Its not going to be easy, and you could very well find its not nearly fun as the romantic dream that you've made it out to be, but if this is really your dream, the only thing that is stopping you from doing it is you.
So, do you want this bad enough?
Okay, I know it's not going to be glamorous. I would pick and go right now if I could but there needs to be a plan. I, of course, can't do it without any money or without shelter. Also I got to factor in that I am a woman who is plainning on doing tis alone. So you ask: do I want it bad enough? I think I do.
Gender shouldn't be an issue
A woman traveling alone doesn't really require any different planning than a man traveling alone has. You simply need to use common-sense and you should be fine.
Some random thoughts:
* Yes, you will need seed money to get you started. Either get a less expensive car or wait until your current car is paid off. Remember, you will still need to carry insurance on your car and will need to have some money set aside for potential car maintenance issues, maybe even repairs. If you can, put some money aside specific for that.
* Either find a friend to have your mail sent to, who can forward it onto you at points along the way, or hire a mail forwarding service. I suppose things like auto insurance bills would be your major concern here. Maybe your cellphone bill, if you have one?
* Get a AAA membership or some other roadside assistance program. One tow if your car breaks down more than pays for the membership. And then there are all the free guides and maps that should be useful.
* Place to stay? Why not camp? Much cheaper. Safe. Buy a tarp or free-standing canopy for if it rains.
If you're willing to work any kind of job you can find, temporarily, for seed money to move on down the road, I don't think the lack of RV should be a factor. I have some friends that lost everything they owned in a bankruptcy. Totally broke. Their only seed money was the money they got from garage sales when they sold most of their belongings. They had a mini-van, 4 kids ranging from about age 2-10, and a dog. They kept their tent and camping gear. They sought out free or very low cost campsites on national forest/BLM land. Sometimes staying free for 14 days at a stretch. (After 14 days, you have to move to another campground.) Dad worked at day labor jobs for extra grocery/gas money. And the wife and kids just camped. It gave them time to re-group and consider their options. Decide if they wanted to move and check out towns where they thought there might be opportunities.
Anyway, if they can do it for 3 months with 4 kids without an RV, so can you. While an RV can make things handy, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. Look for viable alternatives.
Maybe you can sell your car and get an inexpensive van that can be outfitted for sleeping/camping? Or a small pickup with a canopy on it? I met a lady once at a campground who travelled full-time in a much older pickup (I think from the 60's). Not restored but kept in good shape. She had a regular truck canopy on it that she put a piece of plywood on top of the wheel-wells to create a sleeping space. Her gear went below that.
She did something kind of clever. She had extra hooks welded to the top of her camper, spaced apart the same distance as the grommets on tarps. So she could hook a tarp onto the roof of her camper. With the camper backdoor opened (swing-up kind) she could create a space about 6' wide that angled back about 8-9 feet from the back of the truck. Creating a privacy screen and protection from wind/rain. She sat up her chair. Cooked on the tail-gate. Very handy. If I remember right, she had been living this way for about two years or so. She was probably in her early 60's.
Of course, she was probably retired so jobs weren't an issue. Which brings me to my major concern....your dog. What are you going to do with your dog when you're working? If you can afford a weekly/monthly hotel room or short-term apartment, I don't believe many/most will alllow dogs. Even if they do, few will allow you to leave the dog unattended. If you're camping, you can't leave your dog in a campground unattended. And, of course, leaving the dog in your car all day isn't very good for the dog. And can be deadly if it's warm out.
So while I think you might find work via day labor places (usually physical labor jobs like warehousing, cleaning, etc.) and maybe get some work at temp agencies. I'm concerned about what doggy will do when you're at work. What are your plans for him/her?
Roading with very little
Thanks for your response. Those two stories were great. Thanks; it gives a little added boost. And you ask "what about the dog?" Well, yes, I know that is something I had consider. I guess that would be something I would figure out along the way. And I certainly would not keep her outdoors in a car while I was out working. Ideally what I had in mind was to get a short-term apartment--whatever that is--or a hotel, or a friend and she would stay indoors. She's old and very quiet; so she would never be a bother. I figure, now, that I would travel by camping for a month , just as you said, and then after that money has been partially exhausted, I could get a place to stay and work for another month. Then back on the road I go. Of course this is scary, but at the rate I am going at work at this time, I may just get frustrated enough to do it. I've already scarificed some of my spendings so I could save for my travels.
Getting Ready to go to DENVER
Well, next week I am planning my trip from Pennsylvania to Denver. I will be travelling a month to get there, so lesuire driving a plenty. I'll be driving with my dog. She's a nervous dog, but she'll get use to it, I hope. This will be my first time I'll be doing this. I'm quitting my job in two months, and starting in July I'll be on my way. I've saved $3,000 dollars to go. I factored in 5 stops, and found some cheap places to stay for $50 or less to stay. Forget camping, there is no way I'll be doing that. My biggest worry is money. I am not sure how much money I will have left once I get to Denver. Also, I have to say that I am a tad nervous about the unknown journey of the road: if it's going to be a smooth ride, or if I'm going to hit some obstacles. Anyway, does anyone have any advice or tips?
So you've ruled out camping now? What caused your change from planning on this idea to sounding like you're disgusted by the idea?
If I understand you correctly now that you are planning to take one month traveling from PA to Denver and you've got just $3000 for this to happen.
If you are staying in hotels at $50 per night (did you factor in room taxes and pet deposit fees?) you're looking at $1500 just for lodging. You haven't said what you are using for transportation or where your route will take you, but a real rough estimate would be another $500 for fuel. That means you'll have about $1000 left over to live on, so if you kept your food and other expenses down to $15 per day (which would be pretty spartan) that would leave you with about $500 left when you get to Denver.
I suppose the next question would be, what do you plan to do when you get to Denver?
As far as bumps in the road, well I'm sure you'll run into at least a couple, but bumps in the road and other unexpected things are what make roadtrips (and life itself) interesting and unique adventures. If you want perfectly smooth, you should look into taking a guided tour where every step of your day is planned out in detail.
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