I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now, but I always seem to talk myself out of it. Maybe I’m worried that it will come off looking like I’ve got my nose in the air, or that I somehow consider myself better than others. Let me assure you that neither case is correct. But I present the following for your consideration.
On more than one occasion, we have received the following comments from friends and followers:
1. Boy, you guys are lucky! Imagine living like that, must be nice!
2. You’ve got the blog established, you should start a GoFundMe/Patreon account.
Luck Has Nothing To Do With It
Let me address first things first. Luck has very little to do with our lifestyle. We’ve worked hard, very hard for so many years, raising two children, keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. Looking back, there were so many times I have no idea how we managed, but we did. We were never cold or hungry, and the bills were always paid. Sometimes late admittedly, but always paid.
We come from an area where the economic climate is very rarely stable. We’ve changed jobs so often, I can’t keep track anymore. Pensions and RRSP’s were something other people had, but never a possibility for us. Our fondest wish was just to get through to the end of the month again. Paycheck to paycheck was our norm.
And all that work paid off when we sold our house. That became our nest egg to finance, at least for a while, the traveling lifestyle we had dreamed of. Yes, we could have re-invested it and waited a while, but for what? We’re still healthy enough to be able to do this, and young enough to enjoy it. This is our reward for working hard for so long. Neither of us have ever been believers of “he who dies with the most money wins.” As long as we have a roof and enough to eat, we’re happy.
But of course, the nest egg is not going to last forever. So to supplement, we’re still working hard. This summer it was a hosting job at an RV resort in British Columbia. There were some long hours and trying days, but because our lot was included as part of our wages, our cost of living was very low and we were able to bank most of what we earned to fund this winter in Arizona. Kind of a win-win, we still get to explore somewhere new, but make some money in the meantime.
But it was hard work that got us here, not luck. Well, unless you count how lucky I was to find a partner who knew the value of working hard and didn’t run at the first sign of hard times. That was luck.
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!
The second comment gets up my nose even more than the ‘lucky’ subject.
There are lots of people who have chosen the same lifestyle as us. Live in an RV, move around as the wind blows you, and see the sights. Some have pensions to live off of as they travel. Some, like us, have savings, and/or choose to ‘work camp’, picking up jobs as they can.
But there’s a third group that has become apparent. I call them “E-Beggars.” They are, for the most part, a younger demographic, although there are some that are older. Most have YouTube channels and think they’re going to become rich, because when they can get enough subscribers, they can monetize the channel, meaning YouTube pays them for every viewing of their posts.
The most successful of these is an older gentleman who lives to convince us all that living in a van is the only way to be truly happy and free. He assures us that a person can live quite comfortably on just a few hundred dollars a month, and the most important thing he can show us is how to go to the bathroom while living in a vehicle (this usually involves a bucket). His followers (and I use the term because he reminds me of a cult leader) hang on his every word, but what most don’t realize is that it’s reported he has a large house hidden somewhere and rakes in several thousand dollars each month from his devotees viewing his channel. Apparently talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
For those who are not quite up to his level of viewers, most have taken to some kind of a ‘hook’ or gimmick to make them stand out from the sea of wanna-be nomad TV stars.
Giving the Dog a Bone
Pets work well. A cute animal seems to drive subscribers, and the nomads even get ‘hate’ comments if they don’t show the pet in every single video. One full-timer travels with his cat, which he takes for walks in a very expensive stroller. Another has three small dogs, which he pretends to speak for, in three different voices, of course. Another had a dog, which regrettably passed, but the nomad managed to milk for a good six months of ‘grieving.’ Every time a tear fell, another subscriber signed up. It was embarrassing to watch.
T & A Doesn’t Stand for Travel & Amble
Others prefer people-shaped hooks. One continuously places his wife/girlfriend in scantily-clad provocative positions on the video thumbnails, wordlessly promising a better view. Of course, the video has absolutely nothing to do with her and she barely appears in it, but it gets subscribers to press the play button. A whole new meaning to ‘click bait’.
Another slips in ‘accidental’ shots of his girlfriend sleeping naked on her stomach, or trying to get dressed when he, oops, comes around the corner with the camera rolling. A third has his woman constantly dressed in a bikini, performing tasks like chopping wood, operating a chainsaw, or other safe activities. Nothing like whoring out your significant other.
Still others have opted for a much more permanent gimmick. Two different YouTube families have had babies in the last year. Talk about commitment. But look at those numbers go up.
And it’s all perfectly legal. So if you’re willing to sell yourself, your children or your pets for views and followers, have at it. It’s your pride. This in itself, while annoying, is not my beef.
Please Sir, I Want Some More!
My grumble is that the vast majority of these YouTubers also have what’s known as a Patreon service. It’s similar to a GoFundMe, but for ‘artists’. When you subscribe (yes, it’s a monthly bill) to their Patreon, you sometimes get exclusive content that regular subscribers aren’t privy to, or at least you see it sooner. Others consider their videos to be enough of a gift, and expect to be paid for something that no one has asked for. Either way, you’re on the hook for a monthly bill.
And the device that seems to work the best in this scenario is a real good case of bad luck. Mentioning you blew a tire, your transmission fell apart, your solar panel blew off along the highway is a sure-thing, money wise.
Are you having troubles with the management company you’ve hired to run the six income rentals you own? Did you buy a used vehicle and somehow not check to see if the title’s clear? Are you broke down in the middle of nowhere and the mechanic/garage owner is being mean to you? Mention that Patreon subscription. It makes everything go away.
Again, it’s all perfectly legal. But it’s the sense of entitlement that sticks in my throat. I’m sure that there are those out there who are self-sufficient and happily so. And I have no problem with charity. But charity is for those who are in need, not want.
Is It A Feast Or A Famine?
I tend to look at this in two different ways. If you’re crying hard times, and really can’t afford to go from spot to spot without someone sending you money, then you don’t get to do this. It’s not up to someone else to pay for it, it’s up to you. If you can’t afford it, this isn’t the lifestyle for you. You have to earn this.
And the second way I look at it is if you’re on your third brand-new RV and fourth brand-new truck, and you’re still working remotely at a good job, and you’ve just bought another 6 bedroom “cabin” as a third vacation home, you don’t need my money, you’re just greedy. Insultingly so. Don’t hang by the neck waiting for that check.
I realize this has been a rant, and I apologize. But as I mentioned, it’s been something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for some time. As I said, charity is fine. But this isn’t charity. It’s selfishness, privilege and entitlement.
Suffice it to say, you will never see a plea to join our Patreon, or GoFundMe, or any other begging service that the web offers. If we have a bit of bad luck and mention it here, you can bet it’s because it’s already been taken care of. I have no plans to get a pet, I am well past my ‘baby’ years, and I will never appear in a bikini. Trust me, NO ONE wants to see that.
As always, thanks for listening.
We’d love to hear from you!
Your ideas, your questions, your thoughts, your suggestions. What topics would you like to see us post about? C’mon guys, I know we’re not alone out here. Let your voice be heard!! Comment below or message us here!