Do you recommend traveling with or without a vehicle? (1 Viewer)

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Hey, Y'all! My name's Bats. I wrote out this post on here before, but accidentally deleted it instead of posting it. Hopefully, things will go better this time :)

So I'm finishing up my last month or so of high school, and I want to hit the road afterwards. At this point I'm not sure how soon I'm gonna start traveling, but I've been doing lots of learning and some practice in the mean time (for about 2 years).

I have a small car that I've slept in before, and I'm wondering if I should travel in my car, or go without a vehicle?

I remember asking this question to Jessie from Days 'N Daze, and he said he recommended going "with a car, for sure!" He told me a story of how he got stranded for 6 days at a gas station while hitchhiking.

The benefits I can see of traveling with a car is that I can get myself places and I can use the car as shelter. The downsides that I can see (but am not sure if they're really present) is the added expense of gas, and the car potentially limiting my experiences (is this a thing?).

What I mean is, I want to travel with other people, and my car can hold up to 5 people while driving, and less while sleeping. Will I be limited to only traveling with this many people? I also want to try squatting, tent camps, and other sorts of living situations. Would I not be able to do these if I have a car (e.g. will the other people at a tent camp try to break into my car if they're desperate, will having a car parked outside of a squat give it away, etc.)?

I appreciate any input you have.

Thanks!
 
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TayNZ

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I had this debate in my mind not too long ago.
I sold my car.
A rule that I stick to with travel is my Pack never leaves me, I never leave my Pack. I would feel anxious leaving my vehicle for a prolonged amount of time and out of eyesight. Getting rid of my vehicle removes any possibility that it will become a future burden. It could break down, get broken into, stolen and cost me money that I absolutely do not have. It also means i don't have to budget for petrol.

Also as you mentioned, I also believe it could potentially limit my experiences on the road. I wouldn't be able to do anything without worrying about my car. But with just my backpack, I can go anywhere i want to, Hide anywhere I need to and access almost anywhere with my whole home on my back.

However these circumstances change if your a dedicated rubber tramp with a good vehicle. If I had the money, I'd definitely kit out a 4wd as my home once I have experienced living without a vehicle.

Also stay tuned to listen for Matt Derricks upcoming travels, hes currently kitting out a Prius for rubbertramping which sounds insane but I can't wait to hear how he goes with it!

Good Luck,
Safe Travels.
 

MetalBryan

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TayNZ makes a good point about security while traveling in a vehicle and feeling "too" connected to it and its contents. I felt this way during the three years I had my van, though the sensation faded after a while it was always there. Selling your car will get you some extra dollars for your first adventure, but there's also some fun to be had driving around. I would keep the car as long as it is manageable. It is much easier to sell it in the future than it is to sell it now and then try to replace it in the immediate future.

I guess to make my point, have the car adventures now. Use those to visit a large variety of places, meet people, take notes, swap stories, and collect supplies for future plans. When your car needs major repairs, sell it for parts or have it towed away for free.
 

Coywolf

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I think it comes down to this:

Do you like your car? Because you will need to have at least some money saved up to travel with it. Unless you are has jugging.

I personally prefer travelling without a carand only a pack. There are alot of barriers traveling with a car, you need a place to park, gas, insurance, possibility of it breaking down, parts, ect

You see MUCH more of the country traveling without a vehicle. Also it builds a skillset of independence. Being able to get around without a vehicle.

It also depends on what you want to see/do. For example, it's much easier to get out to/stay in the slabs with a vehicle, where it would be harder to HAVE a vehicle in LA/SF.
 

drea99

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I have done quite a bit of hitch hiking. I have also experienced what it is like to live and travel in a van. They are two very different ways of living, and they both have their pros and cons. If you have the income, traveling in a vehicle gives you a lot of freedom, comfort, and security. It is a shelter, it is a door to lock, and a place to keep your personal belongings. It also comes with a lot of responsibility. Every single dollar i made busking, panning, working, went into my van. It was getting a little stressful having to make serious money while i was on the road. I recently sold my van to go back to living out of a backpack. Now that summer is coming soon, I want to live outside full time again. I found that I met a lot more people while hitchhiking than I did living in my van. I often found myself cooped up, staying in the same spot for a long time, having to make money. I do think that having no vehicle allows more freedom, but that's me. Everyone's situation is different.
 

quad8

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I have gotten familiar with driving, hopping trains, and hitchhiking. For me, it easily became a do-whatever-the-fuck-you-have-to-do way of reaching my next destination. If I want to rest or take shelter from the rain or something while either on the road or off, I would try to pay my way into a moving van/u-haul or something, could be cheaper than renting a motel room.
 

Maki40

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I've done both. Yes, a vehicle will limit your experiences. Backpacking is less comfortable, but adventures aren't supposed to be. I'm much happier without a vehicle for lots of reasons. I walk around and don't give a fuck about anything.
 

Mrcharwe

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You also have to have a backup plan for if your car breaks down.
Do you:
1. Abondon it and most of your stuff. While continuing the trip going out of just a backpack.
2. Quit the trip and go home.
3. Have enough saved for a few thousand in repairs or enough to buy another vehicle.

Cars are great when they are working, but they can quickly turn into bottomless money pits when they start to break down. If you have the skills and knowledge to do major repairs this can cut the cost signifgantly, but its a skill I never had or cared to learn.
 

xpolx

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Both got posi's and negs I hitched or biked it for years but my dogs got too old for that so we're vanning it now, I reckon it always comes down to your expectations and openess if something starts to feel like a burden time to think and make a change
 

roughdraft

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I've traveled a lot with a vehicle and i found between my own (a sedan) and those of others, say those with a truck, i actually saw 'a lot' more because of ease of access....or at least, some special places that are more "meant: to be reached in an automobile..this may be because i work a lot and usually in more traditional jobs..what's that mean? time crunch.

same places i went to in someone's truck or jeep could've been walked to if time was not a factor. But what becomes more of a factor when time is not? not money but.. water and food...if it's 100 degrees in the day and dry as fuck and you gotta walk 15 miles to the hot spring well you're gonna need some serious fuckin water and a little food...

one of my closest friends, we were tight in high school. took different paths and are still tight after years and able to compare and contrast experiences - @ridintiltheend - told me after he was "done" riding (he is a father now) that his biggest regret was not seeing more, sure he saw and exprtienced different than me but he didnt get to go to a lot of places i was reminiscing about at times, because he was very, very train oriented in his travels throughout the west (we are marylanders) and anyone can tell you that these trains do not go "everywhere". a car will go closer to everywhere, comparatively, but it is very expensive and can be a stressor. both the presence and absence of that car have benefits and disadvantages such as reality is, see the yinyang symbol.

i enjoyed having a car very much but as i am now relatively settled in the big city i have no desire for one. and as well if/when i ever leave i sincerely doubt i will go back to one. though if i had one and was comfortable with one I'd know what it can do for me and my company.

i am a hypervigiliant person so I was always thinkin when traveling by vehicle...my vehicle my vehicle my vehicle la la la. But when i was out hitchhiking or any alternative and i felt that phantom anxiety and realized everything i had was on my back it was a huge rush of joy.

but you are younger so live your experiences and do it all. especially where you are, there is so much in the west that a car is great for. take the advice of @MetalBryan and @A Simple Step Van seriously especially and I would say make sure you make the best of it - go to the hardest to reach places while it's convenient - just be insanely prepared

ah yes and it should be noted that you can be socially limited by a vehicle. sure if it's you and a couple people cool. but if it's 10 people how are you going to all go to camp together in one vehicle? it's nice to just walk out to the woods in a group. it can make things great a car, it can also complicate things

finally i had some street kids hate on me for having a car but that's a small thing
 
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Anagor

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They are two very different ways of living, and they both have their pros and cons.
Yes, my opinion as well. A few times me and friends thought about getting a van to travel around, but (fortunately I think) it never happened.

It is appealing, but as you said - a van/car comes with a lot of responsibilities. Money for fuel, oil, tax, insurance and always the risk it may brake down and need repairs.

So I prefer traveling without such responsibilities. Lightweight. :)
 

dumpsternavel

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I was actually having this conversation with my little sister, who will be turning of age this summer, and has a car.
Personally, I started travelling full-time while I had a vehicle. That lasted 9 months, and by the time I was ready to get rid of it, I traded it for a sleeping back, a glass pipe, and a 1/2 lb. of weed. After I got rid of the car, everything about my traveling life changed for the better.

I have a friend right now who did some work in Alaska, and with her money- bought a nice pick up truck.Though, she's now trying to sell it about two years later. She found that she mainly just finds a place to park it (friends place or whatever) for months, because she'd rather hop trains, and not worry about insurance.

Plus, regular gas chugging is MISERABLE when you're doing it all of the time, because you have a dry spell in regards to finding work, or are stuck in a place that you can't really panhandle..

I also found that certain pieces of shit will prey on you because you have a car- and they are tired of hitching.

The only thing that would make me say, "yeah, travel in your vehicle." Would be if you had a decent amount of money saved up before hitting the road, so you wouldn't have to worry about making end's meat as your learning your flow on the road.

Either way, good luck.
 

benton

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I dislike sleeping in cars. I would much rather sleep outside with proper gear.

As far as mode of travel, there are advantages and disadvantages either way. Its up to you to decide what suits you best in a given circumstance. I've done both and for extended periods of travel I much prefer to travel with a pack and hitchhiking, walking, and taking buses (and the occasional plane ride).
 

Coywolf

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finally i had some street kids hate on me for having a car but that's a small thing
These people are out of touch man. Being jealous of, or hating on, other peoples belongings, when you have made the choice to live without them goes against the very nature of making that choice to begin with.

I've seen some homebums in my area talk shit to people with cars saying, "oh, you're like a poorer housie, having that car to hide out in while we are in the rain"

That goes along the same lines as gutter punks yelling at tourists in eugene that they "deserve money" because the other person is "better off" than them.

I hate that mentality. I dont even tell people I have a truck because I seem to get the cold shoulder at the soup kitchen. Not to mention those fucking tweakers will take notice and try to roll my shit because "I'm so well off"
 

roughdraft

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These people are out of touch man. Being jealous of, or hating on, other peoples belongings, when you have made the choice to live without them goes against the very nature of making that choice to begin with.
I completely sympathize with jealousy, envy and bitterness. Especially because for a lot of people, it is *not* a choice to be on the street, in a soup kitchen, or without a vehicle.

I recognize that within envy, it is rooted in ignorance - because no matter how *much* someone has or *what* it is they have, that I don't have - they undoubtedly have undesirable aspects of life that I may share or that I don't, and wouldn't want. So it's not good or "conscious" to be jealous but it's also understandable.

My more recent experiences in South America have shown me this in a new light. I almost never meet other North Americans anywhere down here - I meet a lot of people from all around South America, I meet a lot of Europeans and a handful of Australians - contrasted by very few Asians, Canadians, Central Americans, Africans and USA folk. If it was a pie chart maybe call the above at 45, 45, 4, 2, 2, .5, .5 and 1 respectively %wise.

I have had to face that I have at times a fair amount of envy for Australians, Kiwis, Swiss and Europeans in general. Some of this is based in ignorance - I don't know the *entirety* of their beautiful lives and the stuff one deals with - but some of it is based in the reality of things they have going for them in their respective home countries. Easier to do college legally without paying off debt, healthcare, all kinds of anecdotes from these sorts of things. Then there are the more subjective things but let's leave that alone.

On the other end of the spectrum out of the many folks I've met from around the continent I have encountered some attitudes about my being *an American* - some of that is grounded in a slice of reality, our money is worth more, plus welfare and all that - but some of the assumptions are not. Some people are surprised when I get real and tell them about how fucked it is for a ton of people, that it isn't like it is in the movies, to put it succinctly.

Anyway. off topic mini rant. Just thought I'd point out, I completely sympathize with others' misery, unless it's completely obvious they're just fuckin it and fuckin with me.
 

Coywolf

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AS a quick reply, I am talking about people who are choosing the street life, @roughdraft people who I know as those who are down and out are generally more supportive of someone who is making an effort to gain independence via such things as a vehicle/job/housing
 

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
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I personally do not feel those negative feelings toward people better off than me. Only when they talk down on me will I feel resentment
 

roughdraft

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[]...people who I know as those who are down and out are generally more supportive of someone who is making an effort to gain independence via such things as a vehicle/job/housing
that makes a lot of sense actually, they don't have time for the extra shit and they know better
 

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