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How Can I Be So Busy?

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I need to be honest, Homer is the real brains of the outfit. Here he is giving me instructions on what I need to do today. He is a harsh taskmaster!!

One question I get all the time is “Aren’t you bored as a vandweller? What do you do with all the hours in the day?” My answer is, “Extra time, what’s that!” I’m busy all day and still can’t keep up. You might think that an older, retired guy who lives in the woods would be bored, but not in my case. Let me tell you all the balls I’m juggling right now.

  1. I have to write this post for my blog!
  2. I should write a Twitter post.
  3. The digital display on my solar controller started telling me that the battery was low and not being fully charged. Since I am planning on setting up a separate system for a new van when I buy one this winter, I just went ahead and ordered a new controller. It got here and I installed it today. According to its digital display the battery is full and in perfect shape, so the old controller has a bad display. It’s still under warranty so I need to find the original receipt, box it up, call them to get a Return Authorization and mail it off.
  4. Every year I get requests to do an interview for someone making a documentary on the homeless/vandwellers. I always agree, but no one has ever followed through. So a few weeks ago I was contacted again, and, of course, I said yes. BUT, this time he is actually coming and is supposed to be here tomorrow. Now, I’m a man, and not the neatest guy in the world, so the trailer and my camp is a mess. So I’ve been doing my “once-every-decade-whether-it-needs-it-or-not” cleaning to get ready.
  5. A very nice lady from the RTR named Trish has joined us in camp, so yesterday, and the day before, I was busy getting her into camp and settled in. She drives a Nissan Sentra so it was a little tough to get her in. I cut back some brush and hung ribbons so she could find her way in and out.
  6. I need to set up an Excell spreadsheet for keeping my budget, and get it into the blog.
  7. I try to go onto the forum and answer questions every day, but I have just been too swamped to be able to.
  8. The new book has brought a lot of extra emails to be answered. Plus I need to get advertisements on both websites for it.
  9. I think I have figured out how to get the book out in paperback form, so I would like to work on that.
  10. I’m already thinking about the next book I want to write. It takes me a long time to write a book so the earlier I get started the better. But, I’m not sure what topic to write on. What topic of vandwelling would you like to see a book on?
  11. On top of all that, I have a new girlfriend, so I would kind of like to spend some time with her!!!!!

All that to say that if you are considering being a vandweller, and you are worried about how you will spend your time, you don’t need to. Maybe you won’t write a book, or run websites (or maybe you will). What’s to stop you from branching out and trying new things with your extra time? There are so many things you can do as a vandweller, that the sky is the limit. I have a page on my site to give you some ideas, check it out here:


  1. Livinfree(randy)

    Mornin’ Bob,
    It doesn’t take alot of effort to burn up the day and then at the end of it, we wonder where the time went!! I enjoy your websites as it has fueled a desire to live as free as i can. I am attempting to make it out there your way possibly for the RTR next Jan. I am from Colorado and am going to have to plan around the weather , especially going over the pass. Van’s are not the most friendly in snow/ice, but will plan accordingly. Good luck on the interview, i’m sure you’ll do well. You have a natural gift of communicating sharing you experiences. Take care,be safe…..:) Randy

    • Bob

      Randy, I’d love to meet you at the RTR. I know what you mean about the passes in CO. In the winter they can be very treacherous. Even worse, I storm cam blow in any time and leave you stranded. A good friend comes Denver, but the Front Range is much safer. Hope you can make it! Bob

  2. MichaelinOK

    I agree: Anyone who thinks they’d having nothing to do if they got out of the conventional lifestyle of house-and-9-to-5 is simply not being at all imaginative.
    And Homer looks like a fine companion. I have a person-sized German shepherd, and I find it funny and a little human-like when he stands up on his hind legs to interact with me when I’m sitting down, similar to what Homer’s doing in your picture.
    Congratulations on the book, the interview, and the girlfriend. These positive developments are, I’m sure, related to the positive energy you’ve been sending out to others (and I mean this in a natural, not metaphysical, sense). You truly intend to be of warm and helpful service to others, and have been taking consistent action along those lines–and when someone does that, good things tend to follow.
    Which brings me to an idea for your next book–in response to your request for such suggestions. Perhaps you might consider writing a book focused on the emotional, and interpersonal aspects of your life transformation. In other words, now that you’ve taught others how you do the practical and external aspects of vandwelling, what about the equally important internal? How did someone go from “losing everything” to being the happiest, and probably most generous-spirited, he’s ever been? What attitudes, what values, what thoughts, what practices, keep your mind, heart, and spirit in the right place? Maybe a semi autobiography, emphasizing the vandwelling years and the internal/emotional/social experiences.
    I don’t recall seeing whether you’ve read Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie” or “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon, but these are stories about temporary vandwelling experiences…and give some insights into their emotional and philosophical perspectives. You may wish to add more teachings and a directive element in suggesting certain attitudes and practices more than they did; but the story element can be important: As I’m sure you know, stories engage the imagination in ways that dry lessons and instructions don’t.
    I know such a book is in some ways harder to write…but it may be worth considering. And I’m sure you could do it.

    • Bob

      Michael, I do agree that the energy you send out is what comes back. But I tend to lean toward the metaphysical side. Speaking of our dogs, I’m sure you have experiences where you were were having strong feelings like being upset, happy or excited and your dog could feel that energy and responded. Whether physical or metaphysical, it is very real.
      Somehow you have intuited that my life has been on a path of great transformation in the last 17 years (although how you could know that i don’t know). I am a fairly private person and operate under the philosophy that my life just isn’t that interesting. While living in a van is a critical part of that transformation, it is not the most important thing. I can say this with absolute, 100% percent certainty, Every good thing in my life came from the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not an Alcoholic, but I take the Anonymous part very seriously, so that pretty much rules out a book about my transformation.
      However, I am also a huge believer in the healing power of nature, so doing more writing on that could be a very distinct possibility. While I believe in the metaphysical, I equally believe in the importance of evolution. We evolved in nature, and when we separate ourselves from nature we do very great harm to ourselves. I’m reading a book now called “Your Brain on Nature.” It complies the huge number of scientific studies that have been done that show the incredible healing power of nature, and the tremendously damaging power of the modern technological lifestyle. Both are established, scientific facts.
      Thanks for the kind words, and the very interesting suggestion. I will take it very seriously!! Bob

      • MichaelinOK

        Thanks for sharing a bit about your personal background and philosophy of life.
        I wholeheartedly agree that separated from wider nature we are diminished, in obvious and less obvious ways. I was raised in a large, crowded city, then moved away and bought some acreage…because I felt the need for nature. (But on that acreage was a big house, and high bills, etc., so other forms of stress were incurred. That’s what has me thinking of vandwelling)
        A further thought on writing: Every autobiography reflects some degree of self-importance and self-absorption. But it’s also a legitimate exercise. After all, each of us is truly very important–and there will never be another exactly like us.
        No autobiography–and no book overall–is ever read by a majority of people. Indeed, 99.9% of them are forgotten very soon. But some people may be helped or interested or inspired by what one person person had lived through, the choices he made, the things he thought about, etc. So even though one isn’t famous or one can’t imagine why others would be interested…the project may yet find readers. It can also be helpful for a person’s own self-awareness and emotional and spiritual integration.
        Of course, though, humility (and privacy and anonymity) is a good and noble thing…and each person must know himself best. So I would never presume to insist to any particular person that they choose the path of self-revealing.
        The topic on energy and metaphysics is, of course, a complex one, and I find it meaningful and fascinating. But I will respect that your blog is about living on wheels…not philosophy or spirituality…and so refrain from saying anything further on that topic here.

        • Bob

          One of the hardest things I had to learn in my long, hard journey was that I was an ego-maniac with an inferiority complex. The two sides (Yin and Yang) of one coin. I can’t tell you how much I love thinking there are people out there waiting for my next great “pearls of wisdom!” Once recognized and accepted, the two sides can be synthesized. Then life can be good. Bob

  3. Brian Howard

    Bob, I check my emails every morning looking for more of your words of encouragement and wisdom. I’m sure I’m not alone at this. You truly don’t realize how much you are helping us to ready our selves for our adventure and how much savings and needless suffering you are saving us by posting your experiences with trial and errors you have experienced. I can probably speak for most by saying thank you and please keep it coming. Brrrrrrrr Brian

    • Bob

      Brian, what a very nice and encouraging comment! Your kind words mean a lot to me! I appreciate it very much! Letters like yours are what keep me going. Thanks again.

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