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A New American Dream?


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Hello, y'all! I'm really considering getting an Ollie and living a fairly free life. I am 25, and since 24, for many months now I have struggled with what I call a quarter life crisis. I have been living on my own, with a solid professional career as a licensed massage therapist. Then I kinda felt this unceasing existential dread and became very nihilistic. Everything in the world seemed to be terrible, and I felt trapped, like I was a hamster on a wheel that I didn't want to be on. I don't want to keep renting, but I don't know where I want to live to own my own home. I keep accumulating more stuff - furniture, washer/dryer, decorations, pots, pans, books, on and on... I want to check out of this society where I work hard until I'm old and if I make it that long then I can retire (maybe, if I'm lucky) and enjoy my last years, and somewhere in between there I need to marry and have kids and a house and settle down. I understand that many people like this lifestyle. I thought I would, in fact. But I want out.


I casually looked up RV living one day and then fell into a hole where I started learning about all the different kinds of RVing and camping and all the different vehicles and homes available. Basically, I fell in love with everything about Ollies. I can have some modern conveniences I love (such as showers, I love showers so much lol), but I can also be eco-friendly in ways I cannot at an apartment - I can use a compost toilet, be much more aware of power and water usage, and leave a smaller destructive footprint behind when I die. I could even learn to use a bow and arrow, and occasionally hunt and fish (with proper licensure and during proper seasons, of course). I can travel all I want and explore America and Canada. I can come back to home base and visit friends and family when I want to - no more worrying if I can afford the time off, or if I have the time on my off days in the first place! I can work as a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and movement therapist while I am on the road for income. Limitless possibilities when my home is on wheels! And definitely more of a boondocking/wild camping kind of thing, RV parks have never appealed to me.


So I am now preparing a 4-5 year plan to 100% own my own truck, own my own Ollie home, and pay off my student loan debts by age 30, so I can truly live and enjoy life. When I figured this out, that this is what I want to do, it's like all my anxiety fled from me, and I now have a set goal to achieve for a dream life (as much as one can get a dream life, anyways, in this old world).


I just had a few questions:


- I am 6 feet 1 inches tall. The Ollie is 6'6"... Will that be cramped feeling for me? Anyone else a similar height level?


- Can I realistically ship my Ollie and truck to Hawaii to explore Hawaii? I've been there once... perhaps backpacking there for a vacation would be more ideal than an Ollie?


- Can I realistically ship my Ollie and truck to Europe for travels? What about Australia/NZ (I know I'd need one of their right side driver vehicles, though). Or would this venture be mostly limited to North America? I could also do Mexico and South America, but I feel like that would get more dangerous...


- Is this a good investment? I think yes - if I live in it for 5-6 years, that would be the amount I paid for an apartment in that same time, just stuck in one box in one place. I definitely see myself living in it for more than that, though. If I ever sell it, the resell value would be better than a RV.


- Realistically, what kind of terrain can I expect to go over with a truck and an Oliver camper trailer?


- Also, for towing an Oliver and doing off road stuff, is a manual transmission or automatic transmission better? I love manuals.


Thanks for any and all input! :)

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Hey Justin,


You sound an awful lot like me 35 plus years ago.  When I got out of high school 40 years ago my father got me a job working in the same factory as him except a fairly decent job in Quality Control. I hated it from day one but made the best of it and actually worked my way up into a pretty good position today. I know the nihilistic angst you speak of firsthand. Looking back at this point, I'm glad I stuck it out but only because I'm less than 5 months from collecting a pension but if I would've come across something else, I would've left in a heartbeat.


Sounds to me like you're actually in a pretty good position. You have a vocation that doesn't require you to be tied down too much. There are thousands of retirees out there living in RVs that would probably love for someone to show up at their doorstep and provide them with a nice relaxing massage and some youthful banter (thinking like Quartzsite in winter). Why not 'Have massage table will travel'? I bet if your energetic enough you could definitely make it happen. There are a lot of forums you could let yourself be known on and word of mouth travels pretty good as well. Seems like it'd be a pretty cool enterprise and as with any new enterprise you might want to have a nice cushion in case you land on tough times. Or you could find a town you like and stay long enough to make enough money and move on.


Good luck, wishing you a 'Long strange trip'.



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Justin, welcome!


I'm a big fan of goal setting.  While I don't know enough about your profession to comment on your plan, if you set realistic goals and stay the course you should be ok.  I went the traditional route, working 40 years in the same profession ending with an ample retirement.  Fortunately, I enjoyed what I did, traveled the globe and lived all over the place.  Speaking of living all over the place....


A couple of thoughts on your quest to ship truck/trailer and explore - we lived many years in Europe (Belgium, France and Germany) and also Hawaii.  Having shipped vehicles over both oceans I can say it is time consuming and not cheap.  If your trailer is your home you will be without it during the time it is in transit (1 - 3 weeks).  If you ship to Europe there are customs issues, fees, temporary licensing, etc.  You will need to ship any personal belongings separately.


I would not ship an RV to Hawaii.  There are no RV parks that I know of on Oahu, Maui or Kauai.  There might be something on the big island, but I doubt it.  You said you don't like RV parks, but you do need to park somewhere and the islands are small and you're not going to find boondocking areas like in BLM and CoE areas here on the mainland.  Even if you can find somewhere to park you will also need somewhere to dump and refill water.  Plus, unless you are only going to explore one island, you've got shipping time and expense from island to island.  Backpacking is the way to go in Hawaii.


RV's are popular in Europe.  Standards are different (220V electricity, plumbing connections).  RV parks are away from the beaten path.  Many of the roads are much more narrow than in the US.  Forests and parks are tightly controlled.  Unless you stay at an RV park you won't be able to just stop and boondock.  Fuel is much more expensive.  You'll need to get special insurance that is recognized by each country you visit.  You'll need an international drivers license.  If you were set on RVing in Europe I would recommend renting a European spec RV and vehicle once you get there.  Otherwise, my recommendation would be to pack light, use the fantastic train system and stay in hostels wherever you travel.  Much cheaper, more flexible and more convenient.  Even at my somewhat advanced age I would backpack Europe before considering shipping my truck and Ollie.


If you want an Oliver to live in and travel the US/Canada I would say good call.  Overseas, not so much.



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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L


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Love your ideas, Justin. I'm a big fan of the TinyHome movement, and a fiberglass RV like an Oliver is a truly portable choice, especially for a single person with a scrubs work uniform.

In 2008 or 09, I looked into the economics of shipping our Oliver to Europe. We have the original smaller Ollie, so it would fit in many of the European small roads. Our idea was to ship it, not our truck, buy a Volvo xc90 on the European delivery plan, and leave the camper near one of my relatives in Norway. Repeat the next year(s). Also looked into a French made lease tow vehicle, which is quite economical. (See ideamerge)

I actually spent a lot of time on tracking down insurance, licensing, and retrofits (different propane fittings, cassette toilet, etc), and finally said no. Better to rent a cabin, and lease a car, or cabin camp and hostel our way around ....

Our Oliver has been wonderful in the USA and Canada. When we camp foreign, we rent cabins, hostels,houseboats, apartments, or, in Australia and new Zealand, small motorhomes, or camper vans.

By the time you get to that point, your trailer will be paid for.

With the money you save by living small and debt free, you will have choices.

Best of luck. Oh, and thanks. You now have me looking at Iceland camping sites. Only spent two nights there in cabins, on a stopover to Norway, and so beautiful....




2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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