Are you still in the dreaming or planning stages of living in a car?
Ever wonder what a REAL day in the life of a full-time vehicle dweller is like?
Well, wonder no more! I’m going to break down exactly what my typical daily routine is like. But be forewarned…
It is NOT like the glamorous stuff you see on social media or read about in the news. Instead, it’s actually pretty mundane.
Most vehicle dwellers don’t travel to instagram-perfect destinations as a career and lay on beaches all day sipping cocktails. Instead, many of us lead quiet lives while enjoying our retirement on the road, or work a job and live in a car to save money.
Everyone’s story is different. And this is mine…
I was never an early riser in my pre-vehicle dweller days, but I have so much going on now that I do tend to wake up on the earlier side. Go figure 🥸
Generally, I’m out of bed between 7 & 9am. (Yes, this is early for me lol).
After taking a “shower” with baby wipes and brushing my teeth, I’ll normally check my various emails (work & personal), read the latest news online, and start making mental notes on what I need to accomplish that day.
Just like when living in an apartment or house, stuff has got to get done! Fill up the car with gas, food shopping, doing laundry, etc.
By this time my belly is normally grumbling, so it’s time for a light breakfast. I usually start with a small bottle of water to hydrate my body, then down an Ensure protein shake. I love these because they’re tasty and good for you.
I’ll also have 3 or 4 hard boiled eggs, or a yogurt, depending upon the mood I’m in. I’m also fond of apples & bananas. Once in a while, a healthy cereal of some kind.
If I do have chores to run, I almost always take care of them after breakfast. This way, I get everything completed before the roads begin getting busy later in the day when the entire world starts buzzing.
Another plus is, once they’re done, I can devote the rest of my day to other tasks without interruption.
By about 10 or 11am I’m ready for work. I’m a salesman by trade, and have been in this line of work since I was 19.
I have a couple of flexible part-time jobs that I work directly from my car. One is ad sales for a newspaper, and the other is customer service & sales for an eBike company.
I absolutely LOVE working from my vehicle, as there’s no commute to deal with, and I have the freedom to choose the hours I want (most of the time), as long as I get everything taken care of that needs to be.
Both jobs are comprised of about 70% emails and 30% telephone calls. Which means that many of my days can be hectic & stressful. But again, it’s better than having to slog into an office every day wearing a monkey suit!
The newspaper sales job is what I do first, as it’s easier to reach business owners earlier in the day.
Around 1 or 2pm is usually when I break for lunch. As I’m mostly a vegetarian, I’ll have some fruit like an apple, banana, or strawberries. If I’m really hungry I might have a few more hard boiled eggs.
One of my favorite things to eat are Tofurky veggie slices! I normally eat them plain or sometimes dipped in horseradish sauce, but will also do a sandwich with cheese from time to time. They come in a variety of flavors and are awesome ❤️🔥
Aside from grabbing a bite to eat, I might also work on this blog for 45 minutes to an hour.
When I get back to work at 2 or 3 I switch hats and start tackling to-do’s for the eBike company. More calls to take, emails to answer, and issues to fix.
6pm or so is usually quitting time for me.
After work is finished I’ll start thinking about dinner. If it’s too hot outside or I’m tired or being lazy, I’ll avoid cooking and have some lighter fare, like; trail mix & cheese, hummus, a protein bar, a salad in a bag, etc.
If I do cook, 90% of the time it will be with my HotLogic oven, as I hate breaking out my camping stove and fussing with pots, pans, dealing with cleanup, and so forth.
Below are some of the meals I make with it. The HotLogic can cook almost anything, as long as you’re a bit creative and have the time. It can heat/rewarm foods in about 15-30 minutes, but depending on what you want to cook, it could take 1.5 to 3 hours, so you have to plan ahead when using it.
After dinner I usually do some more writing for the blog, and take care of other odds & ends before relaxing for the night. Some of these include…
- Getting my bed tidy
- Emptying my urinal container (it's how us fellas go #1 in our vehicles)
- Restocking my fridge with bottles of water so they're cold the next day
- Emptying my trash accumulated from that day
- Hitting a bathroom to go #2
By 8:30 to 9pm I’m ready to slip into bed, where I may watch a few YouTube videos, a movie, or call family & friends to catch up before finally dozing off to sleep.
There you go…an average - realistic - day in the life of a full-time vehicle dweller.
I apologize if it wasn’t sexy enough or too exciting, but believe me, this tends to be the norm for most nomads.
All of the stuff you see on social media about endless travel, a stress-free idyllic lifestyle, and lounging around in our gorgeous vehicles 24/7 is either very rare, total bullcrap, or represents only a limited snapshot of our true daily lives.
Don’t get me wrong, this lifestyle IS a ton of fun and offers endless adventure! But for most of us, being full-time nomads is a grind with plenty of ups & downs. And many times, the downs outweigh the ups. Though, when you compare it to living a conventional life, it is 1,000 times better.
Soooooooo, you probably have a few questions. And I have answers!
If you have to work anyway, why live in a car?
There are many types of nomads, and as I said at the beginning of this article, each has their story, along with reasons for why they live the way they do.
I have an article about the different types of nomads, coming soon. Keep an eye out for it!
For me, the biggest draws of being a full-time nomad is the money I save on rent, and the adventure of this lifestyle. Those (to me) are what makes this existence appealing. To others, it might be traveling, constantly meeting new people, etc.
Because I’m disabled due to a stroke, my earning potential isn’t as great as it once was. If I had to live in an apartment (or pay a mortgage) I would be stressed beyond belief and constantly broke. Living in my car - even with a smaller income than in years past - allows me to survive VERY comfortably. And I actually save more money now than ever before!
I also dig adventure and the unknown. Due to the nature of being a nomad, there is a lot of that.
Can anyone do this?
I believe almost anyone can enjoy this lifestyle. I say “almost” because this is a demanding way to live, and not everyone has the ability to do it. For example…
If someone has extreme physical disabilities, living out of a small vehicle would be enormously challenging, if not downright impossible.
I myself suffered a major stroke in 2020, and my walking is extremely limited. While I've adapted my routines around this deficit and make it work to my advantage, it IS difficult at times.
Another aspect is mental…and I don’t mean sane or crazy! One must be mentally tough to live on the road full-time. There is a lot of solitude, there are constantly unknowns to deal with, there are risks involved, and there are wild highs & lows in this lifestyle. It takes a certain type of individual to enjoy and appreciate vehicle living.
Can I really make money while living in my car?
Absolutely! No matter your skill set, no matter your age, no matter what, there are COUNTLESS jobs that you can get while living in a vehicle.
And you’re not just limited to sales or customer service types of work either.
There are an enormous amount of different jobs out there for ANYONE. Provided you have the will to work and are disciplined, making money - especially in our modern world - is easily achievable…even while being a nomad.
Just a few possibilities are…
- UBER/LYFT Driver
- Working the Sugar Beet Harvest (earn over $4,000 in just 2 weeks!)
- Tour Guide (and other jobs) in National Parks
- Providing Services Online (writing, secretarial, video editing, etc.)
- Tutor or Personal Coaching
That's just a start! Here are a few companies that specialize in an assortment of virtual/remote jobs for nomads. You can literally make money anywhere in the world!
I sincerely hope that I was able to provide a clear picture of what life is like for a full-time vehicle dweller.
Again, to stress, this is MY life and MY story. If you ask 10 different nomads what their daily routines are, you will probably get 10 very different answers. This is just a personal window into the road life that I’ve built for myself, and am very content with.
In closing, please know that you do not need to structure your nomad lifestyle like mine. Instead, use this information as guidance and a loose template.
Living in a vehicle is possible, and you can create any world that you wish. However…
The absolute hardest part of this lifestyle for most people, is starting.
If this is something you really want (or need) to do, study up, make a plan, and then dive in!
Enjoy the journey before it ends.
LIVE WISELY, LIVE WELL!