This is a condensed and clarified transcript of a video Bob made three years ago.

*  *  *  *  *  *

One of the most common criticisms is that I make van life sound too good. It’s almost like a fairy tale; just come out here, and everything will be peaches, cream, and unicorns. That there will never be a problem in your life. I think there is some truth to that complaint. I have so much love and passion for this life that I tend to get carried away when discussing it. There is no question that, like in every life, there are good and bad times. There are things you will love about this life, but there will probably be things you hate.

I don’t think I’m offering folks a fairy tale. I think many people hear it as a fairy tale life and think that’s what it will be. What I promote the most is living in a van. Now, what’s involved in living in a van? It’s pooping in a bucket. It’s not having hot running water or a shower. It’s dealing with being too hot and too cold at times. These things don’t sound at all like a fairy tale to me.

What I’m offering you isn’t a fairy tale like Cinderella in a castle. Because it turns out the castle is a prison, it is cold, smelly, and miserable actually. I’m really offering you an escape from the fairy tale into the reality of a simple life of freedom. You can’t hear what I’m offering you and think you’ll live your “normal” life out on the road. The problem is that people want to transfer their life in an apartment onto wheels. They want to buy an inexpensive RV and have life continue as they lived at home. But folks, it’s not going to work like that. You can’t just transplant your apartment on wheels and live your life as you did before. There is going to be sacrifice along the way. What I’m offering you is the freedom to make your own choices and control your own life. Cinderella never had freedom in her life. When she was living with her evil stepsisters, they dominated and were cruel to her.

What I’m offering is to take control of your own life. To make your own decisions and destiny. Freedom isn’t free. There is a sacrifice required. The freedom here is a sacrifice of luxury. In this way of life, you will not walk into the bathroom and climb into the shower with an endless supply of hot water.

Many of you buy an inexpensive RV with the bit of money you have, only for it to quickly fall apart on you. And just like that, your dream has turned into a nightmare. I don’t want that to happen to you. You must live and buy within your means. You can’t have an apartment on wheels unless you have a lot of money to spend. You’ve got to give some things up.

My suggestion for most of you is to start with a minivan. Work until you have an emergency fund in addition to what it will cost to buy the minivan. Any RV you buy for the same amount of money will be a hole that you pour your money in from now on. I know people who have gotten lucky with an inexpensive RV, but I think it’s unlikely. Unless you have a good income and savings, I discourage you from getting an RV. A minivan or possibly a class B is most realistic.

Live within your means. I can’t say that enough. You can’t live in a fairy tale. I’m not offering a fairy tale. This life is available, but it’s “cheap” CheapRVliving, not “an apartment on wheels RV living” (unless you can afford it). You might want to buy an RV if you make a good amount of money monthly and have a hefty savings account. I can tell you tales of people who put thousands of dollars into buying an RV that was just crap and needed double the amount for repairs. It hurt to throw so much money into it, but they had the money. If you don’t have the money, it will do more than hurt; it will devastate, and I don’t want that to happen to you.

I’m not offering you a fairy tale. I’m offering you a life of sacrifice to gain your freedom. You can gain your freedom, AND you will have to sacrifice. If you have a tight budget with little emergency funds, starting with a minivan will keep costs pretty low. You can live within your means and have your freedom. Don’t have a fairy tale in your mind. Live within your means. I hope you hear that. No fairy tales. Real life. I found a real life of freedom and joy out here, and you can too!