Learning to Drive Later In Life? (1 Viewer)

Inhibition

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I've been looking into the Bus and Van conversions. They look like a great way to stop paying landlords, and with the ability to travel freely with your home, it seems like a good idea all around.

Problem is, I don't drive and don't have a license. Driving schools look very expensive, and I don't currently know anyone I can train with to learn with a learner's permit for free. I did some training with a learner's permit with a sedan many years ago, but never followed through with a license or vehicle. At the time, I didn't enjoy driving and found it stressful. I had social phobias and all the other drivers around were causing me enough stress I didn't want to proceed. The main reason people kept pushing me to drive was to get a job, but the idea of working a job, where the majority of the profit from your labor goes to the shareholders, CEO, etc and then you use the majority of what's left, to pay a landlord, none of that sat right with me. I just figured I'd never drive and was at peace with it.

After researching options, like bike touring, disperse camping in national forests, trying to buy a small plot of land and having some kind of shelter there, converting a bus or van seems like the best long term way to put a middle finger to capitalism I could probably sustain. I think having a shelter with basic amenities is something I'd likely want to have long term and having it mobile sounds really nice. The other options sound like too many legal regulations, too expensive, would require a vehicle anyway for transporting materials, or like something I would probably have difficulty sustaining.

I've made progress with my phobias and feel like having an actual good incentive to drive, to never pay a landlord and live freely, would help me push through the discomforts of learning. But now my options are pretty limited. Has anyone here learned to drive at a later date? How did you do it? My immediate family isn't in a position to help me much. My mother is old and ill, and no longer certified to drive, and my brother is many states away. Anyone have any input or ideas?
 
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Matt Derrick

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Hmm... that's a good question, I think your best bet would be to have a friend teach you. Alternatively, you could maybe post an ad on Craigslist explaining your situation and that driving school is too expensive, maybe you can get someone that needs the money to show you how to drive for cheap. It's not drastically complicated, so once you know the rules and get some driving time under your belt it's not too hard and will become second nature.

This might sound a little silly, but just to get the rules of the road down, you might try video games! Believe it or not, there are actually some driving simulator games that are designed to teach you how to drive like a normal person, not jumping ramps through hoops of fire like most games:


Driving a school bus or large vehicle is a bit more complicated/dangerous, so I would start small and work your way up before buying that big rig to convert :D
 
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You should probably call your local dmv to find out what to do if you are going to go after a license. Some states require actual classes before you can get a permit, and usually you have to have your permit a certain amount of time or drive hours before you can get an actual license. The only real way to know the requirements and path are to ask your locality.
 

Inhibition

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Matt, those training video games actually look promising to internalize some of the rules. The video games I have played all teach bad habits, even the ones that are on the more realistic side have generally been racing sims. There's rarely a major consequence for crashing and usually a reward for going fast, so I'm good at recklessly driving fast or weaving through traffic illegally, not driving slow and carefully. I do think you can learn some of the skills but traditional games are designed to reward irresponsible driving so the educational sims might help.

I'm open to a craigslist ad, but might push my comfort levels a bit too much as it would already be stressful with people I know, and with a stranger it could be more so. If it's the only feasible option I would be open to it. I should probably be trying to socialize a bit more and see if I can find some people in person who would be open to it that I trusted more.

Corvina, I'll definitely be contacting the DMV and I'd have to do so to get the permit and will be trying to do things mostly by the book. Driving safely is an important skill and it's one of the state regulations as an anarchist that I am cool with honoring. It's deadly machinery and making sure everyone knows how to operate them safely is totally fair. I don't think I could live with myself if I really hurt someone else and that was a big reason I didn't want to drive. But if my back is against he wall with capitalism and this is the best way to gain some freedom, security and fight back against these greedy landlords, I have to take some risks.

Chaseur, I'm in Bellingham, Washington. So we're on opposite ends. I've been in Atlanta briefly for a short stay. I do appreciate the offer! I'd prefer to learn from sympathetic people.

Styxpi, I have looked into seeing if there were any resources to help with costs, but I haven't asked the DMV directly. They might have some. For teens they have some programs for financial aid here it looks like, but I'm in my 30s.

At the moment, my family is in the process of trying to move. We secured an outrageously expensive crap apartment after being told to vacate by our prior landlord as he wanted to renovate and double the rent. It's hard for me to do this, as I never want to pay any landlord ever again, but I don't have a feasible plan out yet and my family needs housing at least for the moment.

But I'm willing to take it slow, try to build the driving skills, and research the vehicles and the conversions as well. I'd like to do it correctly even if it takes time to get all the pieces in place. The used vehicle market is looking quite brutal right too. Prices are 30 percent above last year so it's not an ideal time to buy either. It does seem like school buses might be the least effected, but I'm not sure a school bus would be the most practical vehicle for me. My heart says yes, as they look very spacious, super comfortable, well built, and fun, but there's no stealth. Being able to park an anonymous van, box truck, step van, and having no one know there's someone in there sounds really nice.
 
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Matt, those training video games actually look promising to internalize some of the rules. The video games I have played all teach bad habits, even the ones that are on the more realistic side have generally been racing sims. There's rarely a major consequence for crashing and usually a reward for going fast, so I'm good at recklessly driving fast or weaving through traffic illegally, not driving slow and carefully. I do think you can learn some of the skills but traditional games are designed to reward irresponsible driving so the educational sims might help.

I'm open to a craigslist ad, but might push my comfort levels a bit too much as it would already be stressful with people I know, and with a stranger it could be more so. If it's the only feasible option I would be open to it. I should probably be trying to socialize a bit more and see if I can find some people in person who would be open to it that I trusted more.

Corvina, I'll definitely be contacting the DMV and I'd have to do so to get the permit and will be trying to do things mostly by the book. Driving safely is an important skill and it's one of the state regulations as an anarchist that I am cool with honoring. It's deadly machinery and making sure everyone knows how to operate them safely is totally fair. I don't think I could live with myself if I really hurt someone else and that was a big reason I didn't want to drive. But if my back is against he wall with capitalism and this is the best way to gain some freedom, security and fight back against these greedy landlords, I have to take some risks.

Chaseur, I'm in Bellingham, Washington. So we're on opposite ends. I've been in Atlanta briefly for a short stay. I do appreciate the offer! I'd prefer to learn from sympathetic people.

Styxpi, I have looked into seeing if there were any resources to help with costs, but I haven't asked the DMV directly. They might have some. For teens they have some programs for financial aid here it looks like, but I'm in my 30s.

At the moment, my family is in the process of trying to move. We secured an outrageously expensive crap apartment after being told to vacate by our prior landlord as he wanted to renovate and double the rent. It's hard for me to do this, as I never want to pay any landlord ever again, but I don't have a feasible plan out yet and my family needs housing at least for the moment.

But I'm willing to take it slow, try to build the driving skills, and research the vehicles and the conversions as well. I'd like to do it correctly even if it takes time to get all the pieces in place. The used vehicle market is looking quite brutal right too. Prices are 30 percent above last year so it's not an ideal time to buy either. It does seem like school buses might be the least effected, but I'm not sure a school bus would be the most practical vehicle for me. My heart says yes, as they look very spacious, super comfortable, well built, and fun, but there's no stealth. Being able to park an anonymous van, box truck, step van, and having no one know there's someone in there sounds really nice.
A school bus is definitely not the way to go if you are looking for practicality. You will quickly spend more than you would have spent on a different vehicle, they are exhausting to take care of and drive, and really hard to drive around cramp places like cities and parking lots and forget drive thru. Lol You can still find vans pretty cheap though if youre looking for something to live in, unless youre looking for something already built out. You still can do that pretty cheaply if you dont need a lot of fluff.
 

Matt Derrick

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A school bus is definitely not the way to go if you are looking for practicality. You will quickly spend more than you would have spent on a different vehicle, they are exhausting to take care of and drive, and really hard to drive around cramp places like cities and parking lots and forget drive thru. Lol You can still find vans pretty cheap though if youre looking for something to live in, unless youre looking for something already built out. You still can do that pretty cheaply if you dont need a lot of fluff.
As someone that has thoroughly examined just about every rubber tramping option imaginable in the USA and abroad, I would say there's pros and cons to every kind of vehicle. Additionally, no vehicle will be perfect for everyone. Some people require the extra space a school bus can afford (whether for logistical or mental health reasons) and can justify the cons you speak of; others might be happier with something smaller and easier to maneuver/lower gas costs/more stealth.

I definitely do not disagree with your assessment of skoolies (I'm a former full size skoolie owner) but sometimes, the trade offs are worth it. If it wasn't, the skoolie community wouldn't be nearly as large as it is :D

@Inhibition, you can do this. People before you have conquered greater, wilder, and more insane journeys with much less resources. it might seem insurmountable now, but you will conquer it with time and get where you want to be in life!
 
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As someone that has thoroughly examined just about every rubber tramping option imaginable in the USA and abroad, I would say there's pros and cons to every kind of vehicle. Additionally, no vehicle will be perfect for everyone. Some people require the extra space a school bus can afford (whether for logistical or mental health reasons) and can justify the cons you speak of; others might be happier with something smaller and easier to maneuver/lower gas costs/more stealth.

I definitely do not disagree with your assessment of skoolies (I'm a former full size skoolie owner) but sometimes, the trade offs are worth it. If it wasn't, the skoolie community wouldn't be nearly as large as it is :D
I absolutely agree, but I was speaking solely about his situation with the information he gave. I currently live in a 27' skoolie, and have gone through many other vehicles over the couple decades Ive been doing this, but again, they were speaking of practicality so I was listing reasons some may not consider so practical and not just financially. The things that people who have not ever lived in a skoolie may not consider before jumping in so that they have more information to base their own decision on.

Skoolies are great, but for someone who does not know about vehicles and does not currently drive, it may not really be the best *starter* vehicle. If you dont know about vehicles, it is a lot harder to work on it on your own, and finding mechanics that will work on it is equally as hard and even more expensive. A van is a lot easier and cheaper to get parts for and any mechanic will work on your van.

A typical vehicle takes 5-8 quarts of oil, 4 quarts of trans fluid, ~3 gallons of coolant. My bus takes 16 quarts of oil, 4 gallons of trans fluid, and 7 gallons of coolant. That triples the dollar amount already of any maintenance you may have to do on the things that are most likely to go wrong. Not to mention the difference in price of tires and parts. That is not practical for most travelling people, and I think we can both agree that skoolie culture is bigger with those you all would call "yuppies" and "oogles" because of the cost sink. Anyway, thats just my two cents. I was just trying to give OP information to make his own decision, I was not knocking skoolies or skoolie life.
 

Inhibition

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It's a bit of a dilemma as the larger vehicle would likely make a much better long term home for me. Some of these mid sized vans that you cannot stand up in, I could see myself being able to do that for a few years, but would ultimately I'd be tempted to return to a house. That's not good, as the primary goal is to never pay a capitalist for housing or land ever again.

If I had a place to park it, I would probably be relatively happy with a full sized bus conversion that didn't run if I could build a badass tiny home inside. But again there is nowhere to put it.

The biggest advantage of building the home inside the vehicle is there are no regulations. There is no one to tell you, that you need spend 5k to 10k on the foundation alone. That the structure needs to be up to code, or that you need to hire an electrical or plumbing expert which also would raise the price by 10s of thousands of dollars. There's no building permits, fees, or having to pay 'experts' to do the work. We have the internet to learn how to do electrical, plumbing, framing, and building. The information is now in the public domain. Is it hard, yeah, but is it doable, of course!

The DIY method could allow me to build a home that I could be satisfied with for 15k to 50k or so. There have been over 200k dollars spent on this apartment I'm currently being kicked out of the 20 years we've here. We could have had like 4-5 tiny homes by now and not a single dollar would have been paid to a filthy capitalist landlord pig.

The fact that the home also moves, that is awesome. Who wouldn't want to be able to move their apartment around, but it's kind of the bonus for me. My current apartment it doesn't move. It still has value.

So I guess I have a choice of what degree to aim for a starter vehicle to for my driving practice since larger vehicles are more difficult to drive and learn, are unwieldy, expensive, and hard to hide or park. If a starter vehicle is a mandatory step, I may not even want to get a van at all if there are cheaper crappier vehicles that I could learn on, and save the bulk of my money for the final vehicle which would be intended to be the final home itself.
 

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I didn't learn how to drive until I was thirty.

You will have to keep in mind that a lot of things that come automatically and almost naturally to others are going to require your conscious mind for awhile.

And by that I mean years. As in your tolerance for alcohol and even cannabis may be absolutely zero if there is any chance at all that you might have to move your vehicle.

Like most people who have lived in a passenger car for any amount of time, I can't exactly recommend it.

Minivans are readily available, reasonably stealth (as long as you don't plaster them with stickers or anything), and not much harder to drive for a much more comfortable tiny house on wheels.

It's small enough that there isn't really much building out required, just some bungees to keep your stuff from sliding around at high speeds. You'll figure out soon enough what you actually need and use.

An SUV is another thing to think about if you are wanting to get out into public land. There's nothing comfortable about breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
 

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