30 years of life. (1 Viewer)

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
I left on my bicycle the day after I graduated high school. I had saved money from working for two years. Times were different back then (3.35 per hour) huge sleeping bags and 10 speeds. No fancy camping gear or panniers, at least that I knew of then. I used the old heavy gear from military surplus.

I pedaled to the Rocky Mountains because I had never seen a mountain except on tv, growing up in Kansas. I was so naïve. I had read the book My side of the Mountain and always dreamed of living that way. I was too stupid to know that real life isn't as easy as a fiction book. I made it into the mountains and set up a camp by a stream about a mile from the road. I think I caught one fish during my time there. I camped for about a month before my food and money was running out.

Ended up broke and hungry in Denver and winter was coming fast. I will confess my crimes now and admit to stealing from grocery stores. I was caught and arrested and jailed. The judge called my parents and my father was waiting outside when I was released. I still cringe when I think about the 12 hour drive home.

A few years later, I had to scratch the itch, I left again, now in my rolling hunk of crap van. I hiked part of the AT and went to D.C. to see the sites, just drifted around for a few years. Working when I needed cash and then moving on. Jobs were so much easier to get back then, just walk in and get hired, start tomorrow. I ended up down in Fort Pierce/ Port St. Lucie Florida. I spent about five brutal years off and on installing screens over swimming pools and porches. Battling the summer heat and bugs living in the van. Everything was going ok except for a bad habit I developed.

During that time in Florida the cocaine was flowing and I was partying all night and working during the day, until I couldn't burn the candle at both ends anymore. I ended up working at a strip club, cooking the cheese burgers and fries. Once my shift was over the bartender would give me a pitcher of beer and I would sit around drinking and bullshitting. Before long I was doing lines in the dressing rooms with the girls. One night my favorite girl ask me for a bump but I didn't have any. She kept calling her dealer but he was busy and wouldn't deliver. She ask the dealer if the burger flipper from the club could pick up for her. Soon after I was moving 8balls, but not for long.

I was arrested for drunk driving when I hit a bridge abutment beside the road. The judge was told that I lived in the van and said even though no drugs were found he knew I was a doper. I served a 6 month sentence and was released . The dealer was looking for me because I owed him money, the totaled van was gone along with all my worldly possessions including the cash. I knew I needed to get out of town fast.

This is what happened in about 10 to 12 years of time. I will finish in another post.
 
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!
OP
D

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
I ended up hitchhiking to Atlanta, no destination in mind, just out of Florida for good. I stayed a couple of nights at the Salvation Army shelter. Walking around and looking for change during the day. I decided I would get a kit together and try to finish the AT trail.

The next day I was sitting in a park and a man in uniform walked up and offered me half of a sandwich. He was a recruiter for the Army, and offered me a way out. A chance to get in shape and see the world, free food and clothing, no rent, while getting a paycheck. I didn't care anymore so I said " sign me up." I took a few weeks to get the paperwork in order and take the test and physical. Then I was on the plane.

I ended up at Fort Knox for one station unit training, then on to Fort Hood for a short stay. It wasn't long and 9 11 happened and I got my wish to see the world. I spent just over 8 years back and forth between the states and Iraq and Afghanistan.

I couldn't have been happier to put the Army behind me. It is crap way to make a living, dehumanizing and sick. I could tell many stories about the wars but I still have problems discussing the things that happened. Maybe in the future.

I bought a cheap car and traveled around for a few years spending all my savings on liquor and weed while going to wilderness survival classes. I would take a class and then buy supplies (whiskey and weed) and go to the woods and practice the skills I learned until I cashed the bowl.

I continued living this way until I threw a rod in the motor of my car when I left from a survival class. I wrote the rest in someone else post. I started camping in the woods and working 3rd shift at a gas station. Saving my money and buying a van, and then buying a starter parcel of land and living in a rent to own shed.

After a few years I sold out and went to Oklahoma in the van. I found a better chunk of land and have spent the last few years getting everything set up and comfortable.

I am glad to have a home base that I can always return to. I am starting to get itchy feet again and am thinking about heading out West.
 

r3yn

Rambler
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
75
Location
China / Canada
Wow, that's quite the vagabond life, man.

Were you happy in those places, like staying in that shed for a few years, etc? Your posts aren't clear if you were enjoying it or just surviving it.
 
OP
D

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
r3yn, I will try to answer your question.

My life has had plenty of ups and downs, like everyone else.
Jail and the military were the worst. But you know if your doing the crime, be prepared to do the time. I am glad to put all that nonsense behind me .

My time in Florida was good. But living full time in a van over the summers is tough. Winters were great. I loved the beach and ocean, and spent time fishing and metal detecting. Found a gold ring that I still wear. I spent a lot of time camping in the Ocala National Forest and enjoyed myself.

My time in Missouri and Arkansas was the best. I learned a lot going to survival schools and made some good friends. I enjoyed living on my first property. Having the shed was great, bigger than the van and for the first time in years I didn't feel like I was looking over my shoulder. Somewhere I could leave things and not worry about theft or things getting lost. In the back of my mind I was never truly relaxed until I was on my own land. One angry cop or person from having to move on down the road. I only left because I wanted a bigger place with more privacy.

I am doing the same in Oklahoma with more land. Built a larger shed myself, more like a actual home. More rain catchment. The main thing is more privacy. I can do anything I want here. I have planted a bunch of fruit and nut trees and like sitting on my porch, drinking homemade wine and sparking some legal bud, watching them grow. I hunt and fish on and around my property and grow a small garden.

This allows me to get by on almost nothing. I only work from Thanksgiving until Christmas every year now. Off grid equals almost no bills.

Now I can leave on a trip with the peace of mind that no matter what happens that I have somewhere I can come back to that is comfortable with my own belongings and nobody can make me move on down the road.
 

Comedy

Lurker
Joined
Jul 10, 2016
Messages
7
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I have thoroughly enjoyed your stories so far!

Do you have pictures of this shed? I must put a picture to this seemingly vivid shed theory I have.

My first shed experience went phenomenal..... My grandmother found me in her shed at 14 years old, passed out on dunkin' donuts, and my first experience with..... Natural Ice
 
OP
D

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
Comedy, I'm sorry for no pictures but I don't have the equipment. If you are interested in the style, google starplate cabins. It's a funny shaped dome that is very roomy inside.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2020
Messages
17
Location
The place beyond the sun
Starplate! Those eco-cabins are pretty comfy. I made one initially as a greenhouse and am sincerely thinking of building two to seasonally live in over the course of a year. At the very least it would provide a base to air out my feet after traveling.

Any trouble with property taxes?
 
OP
D

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
The property taxes on my land are $6 a year. So no problem so far. I pick up any cans I see and use them for the tax money. I wondered if having a structure would make the taxes higher, but so far it's good. Maybe the tax people don't know it's here. I have not gotten around to getting a address yet.
It is great having a place to kick back and recharge between travels.
 

r3yn

Rambler
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
75
Location
China / Canada
Interesting, you have the land, but it doesn't have an address.... What's written on the property's title? Just a lot number?

How did you find that land? I've been looking for land online, but it's all ridiculously expensive. I'm guessing it's a better idea just to drive around and notice a hand-posted "for sale" sign on some woods somewhere.....
 
OP
D

Darren Scout

Pilgrim
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Oklahoma
R3yn, The post office won't give you a address without a habitable structure. Meaning a house with water, sewer, and electric. You have to show paper work that list all your passed inspections. A certificate of occupancy. I legally built without any permits, but can't hook up to any services. I could get a 911 address but why tell the man where I am, I still couldn't receive mail.

Although it is legal to use solar power, rain water catchment, and a composting toilet. You have to have permission from the department of environmental quality, which was easy enough, but in America you shouldn't have to ask.

My problem is my address is still a mail forwarder in South Dakota, who sends my mail to a post office box. So my vehicle tags and bank have to be in S. Dakota.

The land just has a legal description on the title. Kind of like the NW Section of Township 43, plot 12 east, just numbers and letters.

I found my land using Lands of Oklahoma. Just type in lands of which ever state you want. There are a lot of filters you can use allowing you to search for size, price, type of land, owner finance, area, ectera. I looked for over 5 acres, wooded, for under $15 thousand. I found 10 acres of woods with a wet weather creek for way under my price. I am thinking about another 10 acres in the San Bois mountain area for 10 thousand, just as a backup vacation place.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$20.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $20.00 of $50.00
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $20.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $20.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $20.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.