Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Early retirement and living on the road

I spent quite a few hours looking at what I needed to live a simple life on the road. The simplest way to get out on the road is to buy a backpack and start walking. While you take less possessions on the road with this method, you have to procure more basic necessities while traveling. In a previous post, I discussed the basic necessities. These aren't hard to figured out and they are God, shelter, air, food, and water. God and air are easy to find anywhere but you must make plans to find shelter, food, and water.

Before you decide about these three items, you have to decide what kind of transportation you will use to travel. There are many options from walking to driving an RV with walking being the cheapest and an RV being the most expensive way to go. Once you decide on the mode of transportation, you can decide how to meet the basics of shelter, food, and water. I started by ordering the vehicles by cost and size. Walking, bicycle, motorcycle/scooter, car/truck, and RV. Size directly relates to how often you have to replenish the basics on your trip. The car and RV come with quite a few options just by themselves.

The first thing to decide is what are your destinations for travel. Mine are in the US and I mostly plan on staying in places above freezing temperatures. However, I would like to have the option of staying in colder or hotter temperatures occasionally. One of the items I felt like I wanted to have was a shower so I put it on the optional list. A toilet is also optional because if you are in town they're always available for free or in the wilderness you can use the great outdoors. Either one is a whole discussion unto itself because of the varied options available.

So, I started by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each mode of transportation. I traded off what I could carry versus cost of gas to travel. Quickly, I decided that I didn't want to walk everywhere or ride a bicycle. This left a motorcycle or scooter which gets you there faster at the cost of buying gas but you really can't carry all that much. I began to lean toward a car, which I already own, and an RV.

After looking at the various types of RVs, I eliminated almost all of them due to vehicle cost and gas consumption except a light weight trailer. In order to get the optional shower, toilet, and be able to extend the climate range, it would have to have to weight 2500 to 3000 lbs. Another consideration for me is that I want to stay in places that require a toilet with at least 10 gallon black water tank. Finally, the last consideration that led me to a truck and trailer combination was being able to do volunteer work at national and state parks.

The results of my tradeoff study from all the options was to select a small pickup and hybrid trailer (17-19 feet). This combination is the cheapest option which allows me to stay at least 14 days in remote places like a national forest or on BLM land. In order to minimize gasoline costs I plan on moving no more often than twice a month and much less in areas where I can stay longer. My trips between stops will be kept under 200 miles so my total mileage per month will be 400 miles or less.


  1. Very helpful website. Thanks!

  2. Boy with all the Greek, Hindu, Icelandic, and African gods all be pissed to read how you ignored them. Just saying. Polytheism is the safest bet.


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