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 > You tube Fulltimers getting squeezed

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Posted: 10/16/22 11:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rick Jay wrote:

My niece's daughter just got into the whole "Skoolie" thing... And our rig has dual pane windows and OK insulation. Their bus has neither... if you buy one of these conversions, you have NO IDEA how anything was wired, plumbed, constructed and if it was done with any regards at all to safety. Let alone the engine and drivetrain components. ~Rick

I did the skoolie thing. It's what I'm currently living in. My background was residential construction and in 2010-2013 I put $10K into a $1500 1986 Blue Bird FE All American former school bus (mine spent a few years transporting white water rafters). My Blue Bird had fiberglass insulation in it already but we kept the interior skin in place and added another layer of insulation. I made interior storm windows for all the windows we kept (we remodeled old houses so I knew all about interior storm windows). I had bought the codes for RVs that the RVIA uses. It's a joke. We did the LP to marine standards. We did the electrical to our standards. The RV standards is much closer to "National Building Code" standards and I wouldn't build a dog house to those low standards. The big deal is getting the lousy thing titled as a motorhome and getting insured. There is basically only one outfit that will insure a skoolie. A few others will but they often get the policies cancelled at some point (usually at the worst time).

I do not encourage people to do a skoolie conversion. As a matter of fact, when I replace my bus with another camper (toyhauler fiver), the bus will go to the crushers after I strip out what I want (ie: residential LP fireplace with the 1926 mantle, 30" residential LP range which bakes bread so nicely, 13cf freezer, 1950's rock maple table, late 1800's rocking chair, the big cedar lined chest that my late husband made as my wedding present, the LP generator that I rarely use). The bus is a very personal thing. I'm not "sharing" it so I will remove my special items and crush it.

I do tell people that they are better off with a pull behind rather than a motorized home. Especially if they are going to invest in a lot of customizing. If the motor goes out in a motorized unit, it has to have the motor replaced or scrap it. If the motor goes out in a pull behind, then it is just easier to buy another vehicle to pull it.

As for long term winter parking, try mobile home parks. And a lot of private campgrounds/rv/mh parks do not want a skoolie in their parks for long term stays.

Rick Jay

Greater Springfield area, MA

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Posted: 10/17/22 08:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Thanks for sharing your experience & insight. It sounds like yours is beautifully personalized. [emoticon] In your case, you obviously knew what you were doing and used proper and safe construction techniques. Unfortunately, my niece's daughter and her boyfriend have literally no experience with construction or home maintenance at all. They're at the mercy of fellow "skoolie's" to guide them in the right direction. I guess time will tell.

I hadn't even thought about the titling and insurance, but those are two big issues for sure.

Thanks again,


* This post was edited 10/17/22 08:40am by Rick Jay *

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Posted: 10/19/22 03:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I love watching people drive in vans. I don't remember the name of my favorite channel on YouTube, but you may know the video, for example, by the name "Solo Van Life. Living in a Van for 5 months". I remember that I was very fond of such videos and when I lost the Internet, I found metro by tmobile customer service and fixed everything. Now you know how much I love trailers and videos about it

* This post was edited 10/20/22 04:56am by loralli23 *

Grit dog

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Posted: 10/19/22 03:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

loralli23 wrote:

I love watching people drive in vans. I don't remember the name of my favorite channel on YouTube, but you may know the video, for example, by the name "Solo Van Life. Living in a Van for 5 months".

From the guy who is going to crush his skoolie when he's done with it to this ^.

No wonder the Yoo Toob mooches think they can make a living off of being basically a homeless reality show!

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Posted: 10/19/22 04:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's often quite sad to see some of these fulltime youboobers, many fail and disappear, the fulltime RV or van life isn't easy, it's lonely, and it just doesn't work out for them.

No one forces me to watch, but I found some I liked and followed. Pretty soon they're all begging for money. At the start of the video they put up a frame asking for PayPal donations, then another showing a Tip Jar buy me coffee or whatever, and of course they're selling Stickers and coffee cups and tee shirts. Then at the end they repeat all of that.

I get it, need money, got to pay for life.

But pretty soon, the content drops, who wants to see them going to a cafe and eating, then going to the laundry, then going to get propane, getting water, this and that that is just really worthless. I no longer watch those.

Now the trend is to get a Paid Sponsor. Mattress, batteries, generators, they get these for free to promote them on screen, and some also get $$$ to do so. I get it, folks can learn, but pretty soon it's just blah blah blah on every episode of gimme gimme gimme me money, one way or the other.

As I said, no one forces me to watch, so I drop them. However, I did see one fulltime youtuber snarl into the camera when he said that a viewer questioned the lack of content and too much asking for money by saying into the camera, with a really angry look "What do you want from me? I don't owe you anything". Classless, tasteless, biting the hand that feeds you.

There's one creepy woman, van lifer, who about a year or 2 ago had a really pathetic video up, now taken down, but I know where it is still available, a very short video where she said into the camera "**** you" in a really long drawn out sentence. Disgusting, classless, crass.

I feel sorry for most of them, in a way, because they did not make it in life, they can't hold down a job, they've got a criminal record, etc and this is what they have to house, shelter and feed themselves with.

They need to do something to take care of themselves, so they get a 1990's worn out van with a LOT of miles, or an old Skoolie bus with a pretty much worn out engine/trans, put in a lot of time trying to fix it up, and travel, then it breaks down, and they have no funds to fix.
I feel sorry for them.

Get a job.

There's another one who is infamous for every month or so having a blown transmission, engine out, needs brakes, needs radiator, over and over. UGH.

I've unsubscribed from most of them.

There are a few who have sufficient funds to travel and do interesting things, and don't ask for money. I'll watch those because their content is worth watching.

It's the bottom of the barrel, and I feel sorry for them.

Get a job. If you want to work, you can get a job, it may not be glamorous, it may be in fast food or whatever, but all honest work is honorable and respectable. I respect that.



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Posted: 10/20/22 06:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't understand why anyone would want to watch someone else going about daily life with their clothes on. Now the 4X4 "extraction/recovery" videos are a different story. Those are fun!!


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Posted: 10/20/22 08:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think all of us RV'ers would enjoy the van life. Many full timers actually enjoy van life in their RV's.
Traveling the country sounds like an enjoyable experience.
However it all boils down to money. Most of us that have experienced life understand that survival off of U tube videos is not a great game plan.
Unfortunately many are not that wise and had to learn the hard way that even in Van life you need a solid source of income.
Being broke is tough enough. Being broke while attempting to travel while living out of a van is even worse.
In the end they where hit with a dose of reality to awaken them from their dreams of cross country travel.
There is simply no free lunch in America. For the most part you need to play the game and join the rat race in order to survive.
Van life is not a way out of the rat race

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Posted: 10/21/22 06:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Earlier this year, a Youtuber 'Living the Van Life' did a 3 part series on his trip to the Arctic Ocean in winter in a van. VERY good and interesting series. Very well done videography. I do need to see some of his other work.

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Fort Worth

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Posted: 11/30/22 01:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rick Jay wrote:

My niece's daughter just got into the whole "Skoolie" thing. She and her boyfriend think they're going to save money over paying rent. They bought a good sized school bus and now they're fixing it up. Problem is, they're in Massachusetts. (Well...that's a problem for A LOT of reasons, but I'll stick to the weather related ones for now! LOL) Yup, winter is coming. There are very few campgrounds that are open during the winter, there are some cities & towns which don't even allow you to keep an RV on your property and many more that won't allow you to live in such a vehicle. I've winter camped in our RV several times. And our rig has dual pane windows and OK insulation. Their bus has neither. I can tell you it took A LOT of propane and electricity to keep the interior livable and water flowing, especially as the temps dipped into the single. Sadly, I suspect they are destined to be another couple who pumped gobs of money into such a project with grandiose dreams only to lose it all in the end. I hope not, for their sake. I guess time will tell.

I believe another reason it's so easy to sway today's youngster into ideas of this type is that the vast majority of students who graduate from high school in the U.S. have never taken a home economics course of any type. They don't have a clue of how to budget properly, how to prepare for the proverbial "rainy day", or even how to save so they're not living paycheck to paycheck. None of that is taught.

It makes them very vulnerable to the sales tactics of "It only costs you $xx dollars per month. You can afford another $xx dollars/month, can't you?" That's the way everything is sold now, with the final cost barely mentioned.

I'm not making excuses for them, but it is easy to see why it's not too hard to sway these youngsters into shaky deals.

As an aside, I went to this website: Finished Skoolies for Sale and can't believe the asking prices for most of the units for sale. In my opinion, they're not very attractive and even the cheapest of commercial RVs look better. I think many of them look like excursion buses you'd see in some South African nature show. LOL Regardless of how nice you make it look on the inside, from the outside, it looks like a school bus! Obviously, there's more to it than just looks. But still...if you buy one of these conversions, you have NO IDEA how anything was wired, plumbed, constructed and if it was done with any regards at all to safety. Let alone the engine and drivetrain components. It's just a wild shot in the dark.

Well, hopefully this will be a short-lived fad as folks realize that this is NOT a cheaper way to live for the vast majority of us.


Works from Interstate 20 and south. Not so much getting north from there in regards some amount of year-round comfort. $500 ground rent and no utility cost. But RVs wear down faster and the rate of expenses is higher, with or without much travel.

It’s DIY or Bust as RV Techs almost don’t exist (a curious phenomenon), but then one must be auto mechanic, plumber, electrician, and carpenter to some extent.

Travel is funds-available. Too few make a study of what constitutes “efficiency” (storage capacities against fuel burn) and suffer for it. Nor is “self-containment” understood as it should be (nights aboard without forced re-supply of any sort).

It’s no great shakes to live in one while stationary, it’s another thing to successfully travel AND stay ahead of needed repairs (replace before failure; foreign-made appliances are all over the place on lifespan), THEN what constitutes “drivetrain” and vehicular road standards.

The marine industry has better components, but $600 water pumps and $1800 stove/ovens aren’t what RVers consider acceptable. A new set of best quality trailer tires every (3) years at $1,000, etc.

The current situation is a shake-out like those previous. $1/gal gasoline . . . who can afford THAT? (1979).

It’ll be a good time to trade UP in quality. A used Airstream or Oliver or Bigfoot. Something made decently. The AS also fits the bill on efficiency past having an indefinite lifespan. That last part pays for the rest. A lighter, more capable TV fits better than any pickup, as well.

“Paid for “ TT & TV covers most upcoming problems.

That’s the part which doesn’t work: Still paying for the RV rig and/or second car.

The rest can be dealt with as time & funds allow when the RV rig is bought outright. Temp or seasonal jobs can take the pressures off in order to travel several months of the year (and park for the more difficult or busy seasons).


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Posted: 11/30/22 04:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OkieGene wrote:

it's lonely,

Boondocking for a weekend is one thing. Occasionally it's nice to get away from people. But the subset of full time boondockers is pretty small because most people aren't happy constantly being alone.

I think a lot of the youtubers do it because they don't have the funds to pay for a campground, so they wind up almost constantly in remote areas, stealth boondocking in urban areas or wallydocking...none of which make for good social atmospheres. Most people want to be social at least some of the time.

It also makes it more difficult to handle water, sewage, communications and power far beyond a typical RV in a campground.

So they wind up alone, constantly struggling to manage what should be simple day to day existence with no money...not surprising that many give up if their channel doesn't quickly spit out a lot of cash.

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