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Living in your vehicle is quite easy, and a humbling experience to boot!

Here are some things necessary to keep in consideration when living in your truck...

Step 1: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Keep in mind that in order to survive and have a good quality of life, you'll need a structure like this. The strong base allows for a healthy state of mind and affords one the wellness needed upon which to build and continue a humble life on the road.

The pyramid is interpreted like this: to maintain quality to one's life, the bottom most layer must first be fulfilled. Only after that can the next layer really ever be finished, and so forth.

This Instructable gives an idea of how to fulfill the initial bottom layers.

A great book to have on your person is: How to Stay Alive In the Woods, by Bradford Angier.
Lots of basics of survival can be learned there, and it behooves one to always be prepared for the unexpected. I mention this book at this point because Mr Angier shows a multitude of ways to fulfill the aforementioned bottom tiers.
<p>How do you dry your clothes without looking conspicuous? I can only think of using the laundromat for this but is there a way to do it without spending the money on this?</p>
My wife and I did this for a while, and I want to share our experience:<br><br>We would park at a Hiliday Inn or like, at the back, close to the dumpster, which afforded more privacy, and access to rear entrance, where we could enter and use bathroom and ice machine.<br><br>If rear entrance was locked, just walked in the front, as if we belonged there and exited via back door.<br><br>In the morning, we would look for open room doors, since a lot of people checking out leave it open.<br><br>We would raid maid carts for towels, put Do Not Disturb sign up and showered and whatever else we had to do.<br><br>A goog breakfast is absolutely necessary. Go to a buffet.<br><br>At times we went to hotel's free breakfast bar (they don't always check room key) and took some fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs and rolls for lunch.
<p>Totally dishonest dude. Where's your integrity. You are robbing others of their livelihood however small you rationalize it to be. </p>
<p>Seconded. I work at a major vacation rental property that's managed like a hotel. Reading that, I was a little disgusted. I have a co-worker living out of her truck, but the most she does is use showers in the pool changing room at a very off hour to avoid issues, and with permission from management. People who work in hospitality already go above and beyond daily for people, and to think there are others who still want to take further advantage like that (raiding housekeeping and stealing food) doesn't make me feel great. If you were less shady, and maybe actually tried to do the human thing and create a positive relationship with a hotel manager, you might find you can use a shower without sneaking around so much. But stop stealing food and stuff from properties. That really sucks.</p>
This article is perfect.i just started living in my truck. Luckilyni have a full size supercab so until i can afford a topper this is good. I know im new at this livig but to save on food costs could always get a fishing license. Im a survivalist so i already had most of my own food catching items and a cpl holder for more food ideas. Fishing license is like 10-15 dollars and small game if done within season is either trapped or cost of a bullet/pellet. So fairly cheap. Also i used to work at a grocery store in produce and sometimes you can buy the produce at a greatly lowered price. 50/75% off depending on store and location.<br> Another way for food is food banks. Sometimes you can get to 3 or 4 a week and have a lot of different food for free. Now i didnt choose this lifestyle it chose me but i have come to realize how much better life is without all the things we thought we needed to live. Now i do storage auctions so im traveling and when i go to flea markets instead of hotel i will soon be able to sleep in bed of truck. God bless texas and its warmth.<br> Also a good way to make food is road side parks. They usually have bbq grills. Just get a few branchs and make a fire and you can have a hot meal of hotdogs.
<p>one of the best, most honest instructables so far. Your GF looks great, and i wonder what band you play in. With my wife I'm doing this since we built our old 250$ camper up in 2008, playing everywhere with thefreewheelers.nl cello band. Hopefully prices will come down on these outdated energy slurping bank-abused homes.</p>
that's really impressive and it make me feel like dreaming! over here in Canada it can go pretty cold during winter so it's impossible to live that lifestyle.
<p>Nice set of thoughts about living on the road.<br>In the western portions of America we have had little luck with the CB radio anymore, seems people are using cell phones for emergencies now. Even a cheapo unit for $5 will have an SOS feature that calls 911 without needing to have active phone service. CB is better for getting directions and traffic warnings, but only if anybody is talking on them anymore.<br><br>Have a great time with your minimalist lifestyle!</p>
<p>Hi, This is excellent information. Thanks for sharing this.</p><p> <br> <br>http://www.scattrecreation.com/custompage.asp?pg=xseries</p>
Hi Nancy,<br><br>We've gotten away w using PO Boxes
How about an address? If you would need to apply for jobs, etc
<p>I currently have a camper, but am saving this for when that needs replacing. Excellent post, though I do wonder what power you are and what sort of advantages different powers might have/utilize in this construction. I suppose you were trying to keep it unbiased though, which is admirable.<br>All in all great information, thank you for uploading it!</p>
This has got to be the best Instructables post I've seen. I love it.the pyramid chart, and the excellent camper shell interior. It's what I've been wanting in my life !
<p>People more sensitive to fiberglass particles might want to avoid house type insulation that could float particles from road vibration. In a warmer climate an indoor/outdoor foam backed carpet will cover surfaces.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Manifold-Destiny-Guide-Cooking-Engine/dp/1416596232" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/Manifold-Destiny-Guide-Cooki...</a></p><p>I haven't read Manifold Destiny but a friend has an original copy.</p>
<p>I'm retiring soon and will live out of my truck. I gave up on truck campers as they are too big and cost too much. Besides, gas mileage sucks and I don't need all the room. I decided on a truck cap like you are using. I was going to go with an aluminum work cap but most people I take to say they don't last as long, aren't as waterproof, and are horrible with temperature changes. I'm going to get a good, tall one, with lots of window and electrical options. Pay for it now while I'm working and have more comfort when I retire with little cash. I guess a pension (at a young age) gives me an advantage over those who have to work when they travel. Thanks for all of the great advice. I plan on spending little on camp sites and more on gas and food. It doesn't hurt to bank extra cash if vehicle needs repair.</p>
<p>The only constant in the universe is change -Einstein</p><p>Very Nice. Every once in awhile we should all spend a little time just listening to the world instead of trying so hard to change it.</p>
<p>Very nice article!! :)</p>
<p>I really like this, i was in a band for 5 years and we made out van into a house. one thing id say though: your food expense is unrealistic. you cant eat hot dogs for an entire year, in fact you shouldnt eat them at all. its much cheaper to spend the extra, especially sense you're saving so much money, on some food thats good for you rather than wind up being sick. even more so sense you may be moving a lot, being exposed to different things. you never know when you'll need to be very healthy. </p><p>also, truck stops have free showers aswell :) </p>
<p>I didn't realize that truck stop showers were free, great tip! Thanks</p>
<p>Truck stop showers are NOT free. Truckers earn free showers by buying gas. If you aren't a trucker with a courtesy card, you can buy a shower. Or maybe a nice trucker will give you one of theirs. Sometimes a trucker has several at a time on their card. I was a trucker for several years.</p>
Woah. This is amazing.
<p>I'm about to build a tiny house on a trailer to live in for the rest of my life. I have a little bit of land to put it, so I'm interested in seeing how others live in smalll spaces. I lived out of my car for about 6 months 12 years ago. I didn't like it in the winter, but the summer was wonderful! Best to you both.</p>
Hey! Just some security advise: cover up your license plate in the pic!
<p>Great tips for camping on the road. Thanks. I always hate paying the hotels big bucks just to sleep. :)</p>
<p>Just recently started my life on the road in a 93 GMC conversion van. I am impressed with your use of space, as my cavernous (by comparison) van is pretty darn cluttered. Enjoy every minute of the climate you're in!</p>
<p>If you add dumpster diving to your routine, you can not only dramatically reduce your already meager food costs, but you can improve it as well with all the fresh produce you'll find.</p>
<p>This is a great Instructable azukiBean because it motivates in a positive way! I was immediately inspred by your thoughtful post. I like how you linked to various other instructables for additional information. It looks to me like you live in California too.<br><br>I did the pickup truck and camper shell trip for about 2 months but had a plan which I drew on a napkin in a Denny's restaurant while having dinner there with friends a few years ago. When I managed to save the 5 grand to buy a brand new cargo trailer, I set out on a mission to build a stealth cargo trailer home which I can pull with my full size pickup truck. I live on a friend's property in California and am a full time college student. My expenses are around 8 grand a year not including gas to and from school. If you want to see my progress: <a href="http://stealthcargotrailer.blogspot.com/2010/07/beginning.html?view=timeslide" rel="nofollow">http://stealthcargotrailer.blogspot.com</a></p>
The layout of the back of your truck is exactly what I am planning to do with mine (hopefully by next summer). I wish I had thought of your idea for the table over the tire; I've been trying to figure out how to utilize that otherwise wasted space. <br> <br>Fun post, thanks for sharing!
<p>Hi, KT, Im currently making and quick sketch-type for my next Instructable. It'll be showing the general layout of my camper... hopefully, I get it out soon! There are sooo many great things I wish I'd thought of, but at least this website allows for sharing ideas =) TONS of useful things can be found here, dontcha think?! I just recently started using the &quot;favorite&quot; button. Secretly, its a way for me to mark what I'm going to build in the near future, =P </p>
One thing to keep in mind is that even a cell phone without any service plan can still be used to call 911. So a used one or one or the cheap &quot;throwaway&quot; $20 types can still be used for emergency calls even with 0 min. on it. You don't have to ever put minutes on it aside from the few you get with it's initial purchase.
<p>What a great reminder, DIOD! I remember accidentally calling emergency services when cell-phones first came out --I tested this, but somehow neglected to keep it in mind... Thank you for the reminder X) Are you still mobile, and have you ever seen the new water-bottles that are designed with the carbon filter built in? I wish I had thought of that...</p>
I actually reckon this is one of the most captivating instructables ever! I can't describe how enthralled I am with your philosophical beliefs enabling your outlook on life. Awesome!
<p>Thank You, Aitcho! I must admit: one of my biggest influences is my GF. I think, also, that there's a huge connection between my beliefs and the energy from all the natural elements --especially the ocean and earth... When I figure &quot;it&quot; out, I'll try and make an instructable for it! hehe =) Namaste</p>
Awesome man keep on keeping on!
Cosco in Australia requires a $50 membership card, makes for a pretty expensive hot dog unless you already have a card.
The idea presented, is to have 2-3 &quot;memberships&quot; (Gym, Wholesale Club, etc...) for their supplemental benefits... 1 hot dog meal per week (assuming you did nothing else at Cosco) would then be $2.46 per meal... Let's say you also do a Pizza slice combo once per week... at a base price of $2.50 per Pizza Slice Combo: Hotdog combo per meal = $1.98, and Pizza combo $2.98. Would it be difficult to eat the same meals every week, of course... but this is about minimalism, the $50/year cost is not that much, if you actually use it.
@Light and @Saynt: Wow, I never knew there were some Costcos that required a membership to purchase their $1.50 hot dogs. We (Winnie and I) are in Southern California, where are you, Saynt?
Here in Australia Costco is new, the first store they opened in our city was in the city center. To us in the burbs they might as well have put it on the moon, requiring 1.5-2 hours driving in city traffic.<br> Recently they opened a new store closer to us and in the burbs but still requiring over an hour driving for us. Spurred on by our US friends we went to the opening and discovered that we couldn't get through the door without the $50 &quot;entry fee&quot; card. We just wanted to have a look around and see if it was worth it to get the card.<br> We stayed outside for a while, watched the people eating in the food area through a window and chatted with the emerging buyers; ie &quot;How much was that?&quot;. We very soon decided that at least for us the economics were all wrong, in most cases we could buy cheaper nearer home particularly taking fuel and tolls into account.
@azu I live in Colorado... and the Costco clubs here are hit and miss about how strictly they enforce the card requirement for entry. We also have a local Sam's Club (Same thing as Costco, but part of the Sam Walton [Walmart] Empire) They tend to be much less strict about the card requirements, particularly if you are only going to the Cafe area. That being said, if the drive to store is not convenient, then the idea of using them for a low cost meal doesn't make sense... For me, Costco is 3 miles away, and Sam's Club is 1 mile.
We just had news of a new Costco opening up about a kilometer closer to us. At this rate they will have one near us by about 2020 {^_^}. Seems odd they are missing one of the major shopping areas close to us.<br> Perhaps they are getting misleading advice from an Aussie joker; like the the wag who told McDonald's that Australian burgers have beetroot in them.
I used to get water at gas stations by filling up empty 2L soda bottles. Eventually I figured out I could fill up a couple of those 15 gallon storage containers with water enough to last some days. I kept a short potable water hose in the station wagon I had at the time and found a nearby gas station with a spigot type water dispenser so I could hook to it and fill from the hose quickly. Just snap on the lid afterwards and I was ready to go. Though the water did tend to leak out some when it sloshed, so I lined the top part of the bin with some foam insulation to help prevent that. Another good place to fill up the soda bottles is a laundromat. Also, a church often has a spigot and can be used to get water through the hose. It hardly costs them anytrhing and, hey, it's a church. Surely they would not mind helping out a poor person. If anyone does run you off, turn to them and say &quot;You were just tested by God for your sense of charity ... you failed.&quot;
Why not propose this idea for camping...as apposed to &quot;living&quot; in your car. It's more palatable. There can be safety issues regarding the &quot;bad guys&quot; who might want to impose their force on you. Just saying.
While not all will find this lifestyle 'palatable', it is really not a 'bad' lifestyle. &quot;Safety&quot; is always a concern, even if you live in a more 'conventional' setting. <br> <br>&quot;Minimalist living&quot; has its rewards, I strongly suggest that everyone try it. <br>
Very well-said, Dee:)
When I think back on my life I've been happiest when I had the least. In my adult life I was actually the happiest I've ever been (for an extended period) when I was in major debt and had sold most of my possessions to help pay for it. - I'd been run by a hit and run driver and the medical bills were tremendous. After I recovered enough get around and to work, I lived a very simple and frugal life for years until I paid them all off, but I was happy. However as soon as I was out of debt I started acquiring things, and I lost the peace and happiness a simple life brings. <br> <br>I've been trying to defeat my habit of acquiring and light hording and the last few years I have been slowly paring down my belongings. -And also trying very hard to not acquiring more items, but I'm finding it somewhat difficult to do so. <br> <br>On the plus side I have plans to move off grid in a few years, and the lack of easily accessible electricity is helping me by eliminating the use of most of my electrically driven possessions. <br>-I'm only going to build a small solar power system, enough for &quot;essentials&quot; (refrigeration, and a reading light). I'm planning to deliberately limit myself in this way.
I now know why they call Australia the lucky country, here drivers pay compulsory insurance and medical bills are heavily contributed to by the government. A girl I knew many years ago got badly bruised by a &quot;hit and run&quot; driver and was able to buy her own car with the road accident compensation payment. I guess though if her injuries were more severe she would have been financially disadvantaged eventually.
It was suggested that I file for medical bankruptcy, but I thought that seeing as the doctors treated me even while they knew I had no real way to pay them back I wouldn't screw them over for the bills. <br>For quite awhile (while I was recovering) I only paid $10 a month on each of the bills (I had several separate bills). When I was well enough to work I increased the payments, and slowly got them paid off one by one.
I like your idea, and I can relate to how difficult it is resist accumulating &quot;extra weight&quot;. I find that the more I stay mobile, the more frugal I become. I have to admit that I really enjoy window shopping, too. Its better than actually shopping, HA! oh, and it really helps to have my GF w me -as she is the reason I'm saving up:)
While I 'could' live 'mobile' if I had to, now that my main interest is art it would be more difficult. My studio space in my current home is the size of 4 Astro vans! I guess I could live in a van &amp; tow a 'studio trailer'! LOL Maybe when I retire from my 'day job'!!!!!

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