The Wisdom of Walden, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Revisiting some of my favorite passages from Walden, and explaining what they mean to me.

“When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.”

Live below your means – way below. Most of us in Western societies spend every penny we earn. Few save much if any, and almost nobody would entertain the thought of living as if we made a fraction of what we do. If we can easily afford a $2000/mo apartment, we figure that’s what we need to live in.

Many vandwellers have gotten the idea: They’ll stay at their job, making say $2000 a month, but they’ll only spend $500 of it. The rest goes right into savings. These people don’t necessarily have a problem when they lose or quit a job, knowing they’ll be just fine. It’s a term you may have heard called “F.U. money”.  Whether you live on minimum wage or have a six digit income, your expenses can remain constant and low. Continue reading “The Wisdom of Walden, Part 2”

The Wisdom of Walden

I speak, of course, of Thoreau’s book, which may as well be the Bible to vandwellers and boondockers.  I’d like to revisit some of my favorite passages, and explain what they mean to me.

“But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”

Men labor under a mistake. Time is money. You don’t pay for things with dollars; you pay for them with hours of your life. Every dollar earned and spent is for that much of your life you should rightly have had to yourself. But instead you decided to trade it away. And for what? Usually, for creature comforts and luxuries that only take you further away from Nature – From how we were meant to live.

Almost every cent is wasted on fleeting moments or things that will become garbage. The money you spend on air conditioning and entertainment may as well be burned. You can adjust your climate by traveling to where it’s nicer, and you can entertain yourself with a book. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of free (or no-cost-added) books just a few clicks away.

In the end, you can’t take any of it to your grave. You’ll just leave a house full of garbage to your children. It’s more a mess to clean up than it is an inheritance, and they’ll be remembering you with every trinket they sell or throw out. The pain is extended at least until the estate is closed. By living a minimalist lifestyle, you can save them that; and you can save yourself the waste of collecting the trinkets in the first place.
Continue reading “The Wisdom of Walden”

Don’t lose your sense of wonder

A child’s mind is hard-wired to be constantly absorbing every bit of information it finds. The mind is always moving back and forth, scanning the horizon, learning everything it can – Whether such information is useful or not. The child’s mind is natural, innocent, untainted by the dictates of society. The child doesn’t understand taxes or mortgages or octane ratings. The child’s mind is not contaminated with such matters, and that is why the child is free to wonder.

He wonders about lunch. He wonders about a worm he found on the ground. He wonders how far he can climb up this tree. He wonders about where to wander next. Continue reading “Don’t lose your sense of wonder”

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous – Burning Van

You’ve seen this, right?   It’s important to me that you’ve seen this.

All videos are the same moment, from different angles and with different lengths and qualities. Try to spot the videographers from each other’s shots!

And yes, the “Here we go” lady is audible in every single one.


Somewhere in the middle of the song, Jamie decided to cut to some Skrillex stuff, so this one doesn’t have the whole song; but he got some wider shots to show more of the area surrounding the event:

Bonus drone shot that I can’t confirm because they replaced the audio with different recorded music:

Lyrics – From :

In our vans again. Just can’t wait to get in our vans again. The life we love is in the desert with our friends. And we can’t wait to get in our vans again.

In our vans again. Goin places that most haven’t been. Goin places we may never go again. And we can’t wait to get in our vans again.

Rubber tramps again. Like a band of gypsies we go down to Quartzsite. We’ll see Bob again. We’ll share our tales at campfires in the night time. Warm fire time.

Well our vans are small. We have no spaces left upon the wall. But they’re are homes and we’re happy as can be. Our vans are how we’re living oh so free.

Burn that van again. Like a blazing symbol it lights up the night sky. And we all will cheer. Because simple pleasures seem to be the best ones with good friends.

Burn that van again. Just can’t wait to burn up that van again. It marks the end of our stay here in Quartzsite town. But next year we’ll be coming back again. And we can’t wait to get in our vans again.



National Forests: Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)


If you’re gonna live in your vehicle, you need to park it somewhere. If you’re planning to do a lot of traveling across the US, you’ll need to know which land is legal to “camp” on, when, and for how long. Finally, a big part of the point of all this is to save money, so you want somewhere free.  Fortunately, free parking is available almost anywhere in the western half of the continental US.  When you go to explore the eastern half, it gets a lot harder.

Your choices here are basically BLM land, National Forests, and National Grasslands. I’ve also heard some talk about National Wildlife Refuges, Fish and Wildlife land, and Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) land. This article is specifically about the National Forests. Continue reading “National Forests: Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)”

How to sleep better in your RV


  • Rise and sleep with the sun.
  • Block out outside light with Reflectix, window covers, fan cover, etc.


  • Park somewhere quiet and level.
  • Wear ear protection, like you do at the gun range.
  • Park a reasonable distance from running water (as the USFS will tell you anyway, I think 100-200′) and other noise sources.

Continue reading “How to sleep better in your RV”

Stuff to do in California

National Parks:

Continue reading “Stuff to do in California”

Stuff to do in Arizona

National Parks:

National Monuments:

Continue reading “Stuff to do in Arizona”

RV Fulltiming Problems You Rarely See on YouTube

It’s not always the wonderland you see on the Internet. Your troubles aren’t merely eliminated; they are replaced with other, less familiar ones.  Here are a few of them you might experience.

Continue reading “RV Fulltiming Problems You Rarely See on YouTube”

Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life

  • AllStays Camp and RV (Android | Apple)
    • Campsites (Army Corps, National/County/State/City Park, Forest, Independent, KOA,  BLM, overnight parking, Walmart (and even suggests whether they allow overnights; but check with the manager anyway))
    • Visual map with icons and icon filtering
    • GPS-aware; shows you what’s nearby but you can look around beyond that; shows your current location in relation to the things on the map
    • Look up data by type, state, city
    • Photos and reviews
    • Primitive spots that other apps don’t show
    • Truck and rest stops
    • Weather
    • Dump stations
    • Supplies
    • RV service
    • Low bridges
    • Many parts of the app work even without service

Continue reading “Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life”