Home Off the Grid The Life of a Boondocker: Living alone in Vans, Trailers and RVs

The Life of a Boondocker: Living alone in Vans, Trailers and RVs


Susan Shumsky isn’t your common weekend camper; in reality, for the final 30 years, Susan has lived alone in both a van, a trailer or an RV. And once we say that she isn’t your common weekend RVer, it’s most likely an understatement.

It is rather uncommon for me to remain in an RV park or tenting floor. I can most likely depend the variety of instances I’ve completed that previously 30 years on my ten fingers. That’s as a result of it’s a foolish factor to do.

Oh yeah, did we point out she’s 70 years younger and nonetheless touring the nation full-time in an RV?

Right here is Susan’s Story…

Boondocking in an RV

Are you able to inform us a bit of about your self and your RV way of life?

I’m 70 years younger. I’m an award-winning best-selling non secular self-help creator with 14 books in print, a public speaker, a tour operator to sacred locations abroad, and a producer of distinctive holistic themed seminars-at-sea on cruise ships.

I’ve lived full time, alone, in a van, a trailer, or an RV since 1989. That’s practically 30 years. I’ve no dwelling base. I attempt to keep in locations the place the temperature is larger than 32 levels F, for apparent causes. Or perhaps it’s not so apparent to individuals who don’t journey in RV’s. The water freezes at 32 levels, and also you all the time must fill the water in your tank in case you are a boondocker (somebody who by no means stays in RV parks or campgrounds). So it’s a must to get water from someplace (corresponding to a truck cease, RV dealership, or gasoline station). Locations that present water are these the place the water isn’t frozen. Plus it’s a must to ensure that the water in your tank and in your water station within the basement of your RV doesn’t freeze.

No, I’ve no pets. No, I’ve no husband. Sure, I’ve a few vegetation. I’ve fairly a number of giant crystals and different minerals that I’ve collected in my travels. And I’ve quite a few knick-knacks from all over the world that I place on the dashboard of the RV, which you’ll kind of see within the photograph.

Are you able to inform us about your RV and when you’ve needed to customise it to suit your way of life?

RV with Slideouts

I’ve a 2008 39-foot Newmar Ventana with 4 slide-outs. I purchased it in 2011. I really like love like it. It has a fantastic inside, and it has two enormous wardrobe closets. One is within the hallway and the opposite spans the complete again of the coach. It’s the solely coach I do know of that has this a lot wardrobe and shelf house. It has a slide-out tray within the basement storage additionally. I’ve completed no customization. For me, it’s good precisely as it’s. It has a rear back-up digicam and likewise two facet back-up cameras.

Are you able to inform me about your setup? How do you energy your RV, what do you do for water, warmth, and communications?

Within the daytime, I take advantage of my photo voltaic panels, which I’ve had for many years, and which journey with me from RV to RV. Within the night time I take advantage of the generator to cost the batteries, or I activate the diesel engine, so it’s idling, after which I push the cruise management lever as much as 15 RPM’s, which prices the batteries quicker than the generator. I get water at truck stops, dump stations, tenting grounds, gasoline stations, relaxation stops, or individuals’s non-public property with their permission.

I’ve a extremely kick-ass propane heater in my RV. It heats the complete house actually rapidly. I’ve two air-con models in my RV, which may solely run when the generator is working, or after I’m plugged into 30 or 50 amp electrical energy.

I’ve two totally different sorts of hotspot gadgets for Web entry. One is a Jetpack from Verizon and the opposite is a Dash Pocket WiFi. If one doesn’t work, normally the opposite will. I’ve 2 as a result of I’ve plenty of web sites I’m managing, and a few companies I’m working, so I want Web entry all the time and in all places. I’ve tried the WIFi Ranger and different issues, however I don’t assume they work. I’d think about that satellite tv for pc RV would work, however the final I checked, that was costly.

There’s additionally the cell phone. I’ve an iPhone.

I don’t have satellite tv for pc TV linked. I don’t see the purpose in paying for that expense. I can stand up to 180 stations with my common Winegard TV antenna, relying on the place I occur to be staying on the time. And I can get any leisure within the universe on my MacBook Professional laptop computer pc.

While you’re not driving, the place do you park and the way lengthy do you sometimes keep?

I solely have one car. It’s my RV. So I dwell in it, drive it, and park it. I park on the road (primarily in industrial areas), in truck stops, in relaxation stops, in giant parking plenty of huge shops like Walmart, Goal, Costco, Sam’s Membership, Workplace Depot, grocery retailer tons, buying malls with out safety guards, Casinos, on the street, and at individuals’s property who invite me to stick with them. When staying at plenty of companies, I don’t keep lengthy in a single place or on one lot. I transfer round.

Does anybody ever hassle you out on the street or whenever you’ve arrange a base camp?

If I attempt to keep in a residential neighborhood, individuals invariably cellphone the police, so I attempt to keep away from that. However irrespective of the place I park, I typically get a knock on the door from a safety guard or the police. I feel that’s unavoidable. Typically it’s only a safety guard telling me to maneuver to a special a part of the parking zone. If it’s the police, they simply inform me to depart. So I do.

Do you’ve emergency backup plans in place for unhealthy climate or anything that will go improper?

I attempt to keep away from unhealthy climate. I attempt to keep in locations that don’t flood or have tornadoes or hurricanes.

Are you able to present some ideas for people who find themselves eager about doing the identical factor?

Residing in an RV is NOT romantic. Individuals assume it’s, nevertheless it isn’t. That’s why I recommend that you just lease an RV and keep in it for fairly some time before you purchase one. That method you’ll get a way of what the approach to life is like earlier than spending some huge cash.

By no means purchase a NEW RV, journey trailer, or fifth wheel. Solely purchase them used. In any other case, the minute you drive the factor off the lot, you’ve simply misplaced 1000’s of {dollars}. And it’s simple to discover a used one which has lower than 5000 or 10000 miles on it.

If you’re a full-timer, and perhaps even in case you are not, it’s ESSENTIAL to get an prolonged guarantee in your RV. In any other case, you’ll go broke fixing the factor. I’ve actually saved tens of 1000’s of {dollars} with my prolonged guarantee. I like to recommend the Platinum model of Further Journey guarantee that features all of the bells and whistles.

What impact has the cell way of life had on you and your loved ones? Is it simple to make buddies or nonetheless have a social life out on the street?

I dwell alongside within the RV. There’s no household with me. Since I typically park my RV on numerous buddies’ property as I journey round, I get to know my buddies very effectively.

What are a few of the challenges related to residing in such a small place?

Inside of an RV

Small place = not sufficient house to retailer issues. And I’ve to lease a storage unit to maintain different possessions that I can’t match within the RV.

What sort of challenges have you ever confronted, and when you needed to begin over is there something you’d do in a different way this time?

Typically I’ve had collisions with poles, bushes, shrubs, brick partitions, and many others. It’s vital to learn to drive a car that’s as huge as my RV. You could take very vast turns. I’ve had plenty of tire blowouts. Be sure that to test your tires typically.

How do you’re employed from the street? Do you’ve any ideas for individuals who wish to make the leap however are nervous about how they will finance the approach to life?

If you happen to’re actually a full-timer and also you don’t have the extra expense of a house or residence, and when you don’t have a further car and use your RV as your solely car, you’ll discover that RV residing is inexpensive than residing in a house.

Do you’ve any remaining phrases of recommendation for these seeking to both go off the grid or do one thing much like what you might be doing? What ought to they count on, what can they do to arrange for the change in way of life?

Anticipate that it’s not romantic. Irrespective of how luxurious your RV is, you’ll nonetheless be roughing it. You’ll be dumping crap, filling water, filling batteries, and including oil to the chassis and generator. You’ll be filling tires. These are all soiled jobs.

Additionally, I’m a bit leery that now all the brand new RVs are constructed with no propane, which implies you might be completely depending on electrical energy and probably you would need to plug your RV in on a regular basis or run the generator on a regular basis. I haven’t traveled in a single these new fashions, however I’d have an interest to search out out what it’s wish to boondock in an RV that has no propane warmth, no propane range, and no propane fridge. I don’t know if it will even be doable to dwell in these new RV’s with out an electrical hookup.

Susan Shumsky is an creator and runs the web sites www.drsusan.org and www.divinetravels.com


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