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Old 07-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #57
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1994 30' Excella
Kiefer , Oklahoma
Join Date: May 2015
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My advice; just buy an Airstream! I personally believe an Airstream in your
life will be the best decision you will ever make. My Airstream changed my life. I'm happier now than I have ever been.

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Old 07-27-2015, 09:09 PM   #58
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Simi Valley , California
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Originally Posted by msichana88 View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum but found this thread to be very informative. I am exactly where Lindsay was when she wrote her first post, and I'm wondering: if you're there Lindsay, can you please tell us how it's worked out for you? I am thinking of going with a new Flying Cloud because of warranty, but I don't know how to start looking for land or an RV park in Los Angeles? Any tips would be much appreciated. And for those of you doing this, thank you for all your insight, it makes a long-time dream seem actually plausible
I'm in the same boat. I've been researching and saving for almost two years. As a teacher, I really want to be able to head out on the road during my vacation months and get the most out of it. I am tied to my job in Ventura county for 9 months a year, though, and I will be until my student loans are paid off.

Finding a full-timing spot is really difficult. You can check Walnut Creek in Northridge, Valencia Travel Village, or Castaic Lake RV park. They all cost in the $850-950/mo range though, which isn't much in the way of savings over an apartment.

It drives me a bit crazy that I can't just buy a bit of land and live on it. This state is impossible sometimes.

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Old 07-28-2015, 12:27 AM   #59
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Really SAVING money.

Living in my Airstream costs less on a day to day basis than having a house payment, but then I want a new tow vehicle. BIG chunka cash. I'm betting that in the real world the tiny house movement isn't quite as dramatically economical as it's portrayed. I think people who are trying to find a simpler life may not quite get how little they are really able to give up to get that simple life.

There IS a tradition that still exists - taking in family when they are in distress. When I was a tiny girl we had a baby sitter who was a widow with no resources. She lived in a relative's garage that had been nicely converted to an efficiency apartment. There were lots of "mother-in-law suites" or "guest cottages" that started life as sheds, garages, basements or stables. Some were very primitive, but most had plumbing and heating added. For the most part, the zoning board didn't intervene as long as they were family and not "renters".

Look around. There are a huge number of people that are one inch above homeless - living in vans and minivans for the most part. When it comes right down to it, almost all of us could fall that far - due to serious depression, mental health issues , or a major natural disaster. Lots of people who went through Katrina DID, and some still are trying to crawl back into "regular blue collar" lifestyles.

If saving a huge amount of money is your goal - here is a way to be an urban commando with a bit more of a plan.

I just met a man who DID succeed in urban living for 18 months. He graduated from college in 2008 as the economy was tanking and was unemployed/under-employed for years. Interest on his student loans kept accruing and then he got injured and had no hospitalization. You can't get out of a student loan by going bankrupt so he decided to go underground.
He did it in the Washington DC area of all places, paying virtually no camping fees, by adapting a plain old box truck and parking it here and there in commercial neighborhoods/lots. He stayed out of DC proper for obvious reasons, but spent a lot of time in the Virginia suburbs.

The vehicle? NOT an RV, more a camouflage survival pod. I would probably have abandoned the effort at a month, but his goal was to "go Galt" and slide under the radar of rent/taxes/camping fees so he could get his student loans paid off and not still be broke when he hit 40. He bought a box truck for about $2800 which was quite aged and had been a U-Haul at one time. Getting it through a state inspection must have been interesting. He added two fantastic fans in the roof (opaque covers), and had only the cab windows with a standard grid between the cab and the box, and two small windows in the roll down rear door - heavily tinted.

  • No A/C except in the cab. In the summer he always tried to park in shade or on the north side of a building. Survived with the roof fans and a small 12 volt fan.
  • some kind of toilet - whether cassette, composting or a mere porta potty I'm not sure. He disposed of the waste at truck stops as needed.
  • a makeshift shower - water supply was 5 gallon water cooler jugs, with a hand pump and hose he showed under - water at room temp. Gray water went into a shallow container and was then discreetly siphoned onto the ground or into a storm sewer at night (gallon or two? more like a sponge bath is my guess).
  • bed - mattress on floor
  • splurged on 2 Yeti coolers for food & drinking water storage.
  • storage - cheap hanging wardrobe, plastic trunks that doubled as seating
  • did not normally cook but had a small camp stove for the occasional hot meal.
  • TV, radio, media - hung out at coffee shops, etc.
  • paid a friend $25 per month for the use of his address for bills, etc.
  • technology: smart phone/I-pad tethered to it or on free wi-fi.
  • cameras and peepholes - exiting the truck via the rear door was something he avoided doing when anyone might have an opportunity to see IN so he did have a couple of cameras, and peepholes.
  • he had a bike for recreation, exercise, etc.

The truck stop and laundromat were his friends - for a REAL shower once a week or so, and to get his clothing cleaned. He told me he just made sure to blend in, and not to wear out his welcome by staying in the same spot for days or weeks at a time. During the coldest part of winter he parked at an auto repair shop and with the permission of the owner he ran an extension cord for a space heater. I think he might have paid $10 per night for that period.

His boss knew what he was doing in sort of a vague way, and he used a friend's address for snail mail, driver's license address, etc. The friend had a virtual roommate who never left his socks on the living room floor.

He told me he paid off almost all of his student loans, and was within $300 of getting the hospital's bill paid, but then the truck's engine died and he decided to sell it for junk and return to real life.
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:37 PM   #60
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1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
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So LindsayStove how has this worked out for you? I know this is an old thread but the subject came up again on this forum and I'm sure many people would like to know how you are doing. I hope life is good for you even if you didn't get an Airstream!
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:01 AM   #61
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Columbus , Mississippi
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Lindsay moved to Thailand and is backpacking all over. Hehehee, well, it seems like that's what happened. Anyway, she started an interesting story. Keep it going! I'm afraid at 67, financial security to retire, I'll never be able to live my full time, simple life dream. W. D. Mitty, over and out.
That old man, he don't think like no old man.
"He's pinned under an outcropping of rock. Lucky for him, the rock kept the dirt from burying him alive". Dirt, it's nothing but dirt, I tell ye...
"I thought I was wrong one time, but I was mistaken." Command Sergeant Major Jim
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:25 AM   #62
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1998 31' Excella 1000
Ocean Park , Washington
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Originally Posted by LindsayStove View Post
Hello all,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I thought that purchasing a used Airstream trailer (in 'great' or 'excellent' condition) would be best for me because the costs seem so much lesser than were I to purchase a house or rent a house/apartment.

In the LA area, mobile homes are near the same price as single-family homes (and town houses, condos, etc.). I was hoping to own something of my own and for not too much. In Los Angeles, a basic house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a "good" area starts around $450,000; out of my budget. A one-bedroom apartment in a "good" area starts around $1,500/month; my budget, but wasteful. (The cost of housing were I to rent an apartment for the three years I am - signed, sealed, delivered! - committed to Los Angeles will be over $54,000.)

I thought spending $30,000 or so on an Airstream (not including the cost of land/space & utilities/hook-ups) would be much better. I am not ready to commit to one place "forever", hence the mobility of an Airstream (clearly more mobile than a mobile home). I am also not going to live in it for more than five years, max. After my three-year commitment is up, I want to travel around the US. I also considered an Airstream for that reason.

I do have people in my life who could assist were repairs to come up, and family in the area in case of any Airstream crises, and so on. I could learn what I can, read books, tinker around...

I simply want to know if it's feasible, life in an Airstream. Could I find someone with a lot of land in the LA area and park it out back? Do I need some sort of foundation? Certainly I could just live in a long, flat, cement driveway. What hookups ARE required? I know toilets are issues on RV's, buses, etc., but I could set up a compost toilet system. I just need a bit of advice; a story, book, blog, what-have-you that could point me in the right direction. If you truly think there's a better alternative, do let me know. If you think this is a decent idea, do let me know, even if you can't assist much further than that (it would boost my confidence in my search for answers!) Thank you for all your help!
I thought I would share my Airstream experience. We sold a 2500 sq. ft. house and bought a 31 ft. 1998 that had only been used 7 times on short trips. We owned a large metal shop and moved into the Airstream. It would have been hard to make it work if we didn't have the shop and garden. The washer and dryer were in the shop and an extra bathroom. We store the trailer inside when we aren't staying there but even with the best of care it takes work and upkeep. This one has spent most of it's life inside of covered roof. Good luck with what you decide.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:11 AM   #63
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1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
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Gee, a 30 X 60 shop with water, sewer, natural gas supply and 3 phase power would be my dream home for me and my Airstream! Cost prohibitive and a zoning violation in California as it's commercial property. Anybody know where a person could buy something like this inexpensively? Like in some out of the way rust belt town? I could move.

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