Hey all. This is my first post on SETT. I've been lurking (man what an awful sounding word) around the forum. There is some understandable bias towards the Rialta.
In Tynan's book he mentions the Rialta gets better mileage than comparable yet smaller class B RV's (like the Roadtrek 170) because it has a smaller engine.
Here's my conundrum.
I'm starting up a portrait photography business. Photography and Photoshop are like crack to me.
But I'm looking to save money on rent/be mobile, and have been looking at RV's.
Here are my 3 ideas. I'd like to know what you all think:
1. Get a cheap base van (~$1000-3000), DIY install a hightop, DIY install a sink, water tanks, shower, toilet, bed, and stove (another $1000-$3000) - total of between $2000 and $6000
2. Get a used Roadtrek 170 (seen them as low as $10,000 on eBay and Craigslist)
3. Get a used 1995 Rialta (seen them as low as $12000 on eBay and Craigslist)
Of course I'd love to modify them, add solar panels, make it look better in the interior, paint the exterior white to make it stealthy, etc.
1. My home city I'm looking at 3 options. Portland, Salt Lake City, and Austin. I'm planning on staying there mostly.
2. I am no good with DIY. I'm sure I could learn. I have a friend who is a carpenter and some other people I know who are mechanics.
3. At the moment, income isnt steady. I quit my fulltime job to 'pursue my passions'. Put off for 3 years starting a photography business. http://www.ponecportraits.com/ - not self promoting by any means, just showing ya guys. Looking to make $1000 a month from that or so, and also, eventually spruce up this blog and release some products. http://simpleescapist.wordpress.com/ (I havent seen a minimalism/travel/location independent blogged aimed at the student population aiming to leave school, but I do know Tynan has some great articles on that.
My other form of income I'm also interested in is Poker. I'm setting up my life for low overhead costs so I can afford a more free lifestyle.
My only worry with the Rialta is the stealth parking. I think I would combat that by removing the air conditioner and painting it all white.
Oh and Peter could you send me some pictures of your RV? I might not have 12K by the time you sell it, but that price for your rv/any rialta would be a steal and if I had that money right now, I'd buy it.
I've wanted the RV style for a couple of years, ever since stumbling across Tynan's blog. Most of my friends don't understand that desire of mine, but do they really have to?
The other thing I'd be interested with the Rialta is weight reduction for mileage. However, if it does in fact receive about 20mpg, thats pretty good.
Any other thoughts @Peter or @Tynan.
PS - @Tynan - I have been a fan of your blog for years. We've chatted on and off. I'm obviously not in the same place as you, financially or independence-wise, but you are a daily inspiration. Keep up the great work man!
I would opt away from the van personally if I was you unless your buddy is really willing to help you out and you got the tools. Otherwise, those trips to home depot will be really expensive. But that's purely from a financial POV. The flip side is that your car repairs would be much cheaper with a converted van. So maybe cheaper long term costs....then again the initial investment would also be cheaper for a used van than a RV.
I'd also suggest Ramit's First 1K program, I forgot how much it costs but it has some solid ideas on starting a freelance business.
I can send you some pictures later in the week. If you're on the east coast and willing to drive, you can come in person if you want. Chances are I might try and put it on ebay again but the retired folks don't seem to like changed RVs so I'm leaning towards just keeping it unless I get a high enough bid.
I think the stealth parking isn't too big of a concern. It's mostly in your mind. I was never harassed by anyone. My biggest concern was people would see me entering or leaving the RV rather than anyone seeing the RV being parked. I've never been to Austin (John Dukes would be your man), but I'm pretty sure you will have zero trouble parking in any of those three cities. I think the biggest problem is in large dense cities like Boston, Chicago, LA, and SF. But even then, there are always spots somewhere in the city you can park.
Rialtas never get 20mpg, I think that's a lie. Maybe the 97+ ones with the v6....I was happy to get 16.
I had some skeptical friends but after I drove around, they were envious as hell. They're just jealous because they know they can't do it.
16 mpg is not bad at all. I drove a minivan for a while and I was lucky to get that mileage.
Yeah I'm not really feeling the van either. Doing all the DIY work seems like too much frustration and hassle for me. And I'd be paying for quality, paying a bit more so I didn't have to work so much on DIY stuff which I honestly have very little interest in.
I'll check out the 1K program of his for sure. Sounds interesting.
Yeah I'm actually located on the west coast. Hope you didnt get too affected by Sandy out there. I heard its bad. I mean, if you still have it in a half a year to a year, I might be able to afford it haha.
And thats good you dont really get harassed. I think I'd still have mine be white just so its not obvious to everyone, and so its a nondescript van and wont get broken into.
Got any tips for RV living? Things you've learned about while doing so?
Actually planning on writing a short ebook on my rv travels and bunch of tips and everything i did with the Rialta.
Hit at me in a few months, i'll probably still have it unless it sells somehow but i'm really not pushing to sell it soon anyway. Not to mention it's the winter so I doubt there's a lot of buyers right now on the east coast
I talked to another tynan fan on the phone about it. Biggest thing I think is that you want friends, time, and money if you live in the RV in the beginning, preferably in that order to transition from normal person to RV dweller. Freelancing would help a lot so you're not tied to a regular schedule. Otherwise you learn everything as you need to. And you very quickly have to adopt a minimalist lifestyle
Works out well for me. I'm already pretty minimalist. Actually gonna post soon on my blog a picture collage of all the stuff I have and everything I'm getting rid of. As of right now, I can fit everything important (minus my bed and dishes) into my backpack.
What Tynan fan were you talking to? I don't connect much on forums but you and all the Tynan followers seem like pretty chill, like minded people.
I'd love to review/look at that ebook man. Find me on twitter. twitter.com/stevenponec and let me know when you put out that book.
Looking forward to getting those pictures too.
Have you read Tynan's book about RV living? I have it on my kindle, its pretty fantastic. I do get a bit lost on the technical jargon though.
Tynan has started a new lifestyle here. You would be at least #8 now or something. Quick thoughts/qs
1) What's your home city going to be? Are you planning on staying there mostly?
2) How good are you with DIY?
3) How steady is your income?
In the long run, I would say it's cheaper to live in the van/RV, but there can be a lot of nasty surprises in the beginning that can cost a lot of time and money. I mean we are talking about living full time in a 17 year old vehicle that was never intended to be lived in full time. So be aware of that and make sure you have the cash and time to deal with those unexpected challenges.
I've seen a few converted vans but never actually got to inspect them closely or talk to the owner. I feel like this might be really great if you know what you're doing and have the equipment. For the tanks you would have to jack the van pretty high to get a tank installed somehow. Also, just size wise, it's not as nice as a RV. You won't be able to stand up anywhere and will have considerable less space. On the plus side, you can park anywhere without worry and your car repairs will be much, much cheaper.
Showers are the bane of every van dweller. Your tanks get filled very quickly unless you route the water to street although that's technically illegal. And a water heater takes up so much energy that you can't have hot showers. There are tankless propane water heaters but I haven't found anyone that successfully installed on on their RV yet although I'm sure it's possible.
Finally, I'm open to selling my RV if you want. Mechanically I'd say it's probably just as good or better than any other 96 Rialta out there since I just got a full tune up, tires, muffler, rebuilt transmission, and the works. Repairs were over $6k. Coach side, there's a few maintenance repairs I'm planning on doing. But I already got the wooden floors and solar panels which is like a 3k+ value right there. Could use a propane heater and a better DC frig though. I would sell it for 12k+ but definitely not expecting 20k or anything.
I'm still on the fence with the thing. I would like to keep it but it would be more of a seasonal thing rather than a full time living vehicle....I don't know. I could install the propane heaters and the winters might not be so bad. Summers are still impossible though unless you're in San Diego. It's just unbearably warm inside during the day. Right now I'm planning on moving into my friend's house and just keeping the RV covered in my parents' driveway.
Also, last note, the joy and challenges with RV living are amazing. I was super productive while living in the RV ironically since I didn't have much else to do. I reconnected with a ton of old friends across the US and meet a few others that I expect I'll know forever. I know I'm painting a bleak picture but only because it's so easy to only imagine the benefits of a RV and not realize all the things you take for granted with an actual home. Nevertheless, it is a great experience, and I feel like a changed person for the better for it.
I've been on Tynan's blog off and on. Do you still have your Rialta? I just wanted to check. I'm going to be seriously looking at an RV by the end of January.
One post that people request occasionally is a post about how I go about finding the best of something to buy. It's a bit of an obsession for me, as you may know.
I'll write that post some day, but right now I'm on an airplane so I don't have the necessary internet to get all of the links and such.
Today will be a sneak preview of the steps I took to decide which RV to buy and how I will get the best price on it.
If you've ever hired (and had to fire) anyone, you probably realize it's painfully obvious that a person's resume has just about nothing to do with how good a candidate that person will be for any given job.
That's why I've found a better way, for which I, along with the co-author Dwight Dunton, have applied for a patent.
It all starts with CraigsList (www.CraigsList.org), an absolutely phenomenal site that has a bulletin board for job postings in just about every city nationwide. CraigsList is one of those sites that is life changing. CraigsList enables people to connect in ways that no other site does. Your life will truly become transformed once you know about CraigsList, whether you just have to get rid of an old sofa, sell or buy a house or car, or hire someone for a job (or find one yourself).
I call this hiring method "self selection". Instead of you spending time looking through resumes, instead you are having job hires self-select themselves. Think of it as Darwinism in the job market.
So the first thing you do is put a job posting on CraigsList. For example, let's say I was looking for a web designer. The job posting would look something like this:
If you've ever hired (and had to fire) anyone, you probably realize it's painfully obvious that a person's resume has just about nothing to do with how good a candidate that person will be for any given job. That's why I've found a better way, for which I, along with the co-author Dwight Dunton, have applied for a patent. It all starts with CraigsList (www.CraigsList.org), an absolutely phenomenal site that has a bulletin board for job postings in just about every city nationwide. CraigsList is one of those sites that is life changing. CraigsList enables people to connect in ways that no other site does. Your life will truly become transformed once you know about CraigsList, whether you just have to get rid of an old sofa, sell or buy a house or car, or hire someone for a job (or find one yourself). I call this hiring method "self selection". Instead of you spending time looking through resumes, instead you are having job hires self-select themselves. Think of it as Darwinism in the job market. So the first thing you do is put a job posting on CraigsList. For example, let's say I was looking for a web designer. The job posting would look something like this: SEEKING: The best web designer around. We are looking for a talented web designer for a project. You must know Flash and some PHP. We are a growing firm (etc, etc). Please send some samples of sites you've designed, along with a paragraph describing what makes you unique (especially as compared to everyone else who applies). Note: Please do NOT just send your resume with a blank email. It will be discarded. Now, from that CraigsList posting I may get 100 responses. And what you might usually do is sort through those 100 responses to find a good candidate - a process that's terribly inefficient. But instead of doing that, the moment a response comes in, I sent back a form letter email with a series of questions. In this case that email might look something like this: Dear XXXXXX, Thanks for your interest in the job. Can you please tell me: a) Have you ever worked with Flash? Please provide some of your sites that show examples of Flash. b) Have you ever worked with PHP? Please provide some of your sites that show examples of PHP. c) What are your salary requirements? d) Please do a quick project for me. My current site is www.DROdio.com. Please tell me how you would redesign the site (or if you're especially motivated, do a quick Photoshop redesign). Take as much or as little time as you wish. Thanks, DROdio Point "D" is especially important here. This is where the self-selection begins. About 60% to 80% of the initial people won't be motivated enough to do this homework assignment. And that's fine by me! I don't want to hire those people anyway. So out of 100 initial responses, i might be left with 20 to 40 people, and now the 2nd main part of this process kicks in: I get to see what kind of work people will do BEFORE I hire them. It sounds so obvious, but if you've ever hired anyone, you've probably had that experience where they start their job and you realize they are lacking some key skill for the job!!! I.e., a receptionist who doesn't know how to type, etc. By having the candidate do the job before they're hired, you're eliminating this element. Out of the responses, it'll become very obvious who the top 10 candidates are. And this is where the 3rd key element of the process comes in: the interview. Instead of a normal interview, I take the top 10 responses and give them an even bigger project. So for our web designer, that email might look like this: Dear XXXXXX, I really liked your work from your last email, and I'd like to invite you in for an interview. But instead of a standard interview, ours is a bit different. I have a more involved project I'd like you to tackle. And I'll pay you a token amount for doing the work - $30. When you come in for your interview, I want you to showcase your work to me. So here's the project: Please design a simple one-page site for a new condo development. Again, you may spend as much or as little time on this assignment as you wish. If you have questions please let me know. Regards, DROdio So now, I'm asking them to basically do their job before they're hired. And if I interview 10 people and pay them $30 each, i'm out $300. But that's far, far less than the cost of hiring the wrong person. And there's our hiring process. If you're hiring a marketing person, you'd tweak the "jobs" the candidates do for that job, etc. It works phenomenally well and it's low-cost to you, the employer, while allowing the best candidates to rise to the top. Side Note: There's an opportunity to turn this process into a piece of software or better yet a web service, where all the responses are filtered using a special email address that makes everyone filterable and trackable through the web service. I know I'd pay for that, so you'd have at least one customer if you wanted to take this project on!