In January of this year we were figuring out van life in St Pete, FL. Trying to figure out how to make van life work with no job and no money was hard. So I found a job at one of St Pete’s hipster eateries, Locale Market. It was minimum wage, my co-workers weren’t great and the customers were a little too entitled for my taste. The managers could never seem to make a schedule that worked for me. They constantly wanted me to work nights, but with the daycare closing around 7 everyday, that was not gonna work unless Jax stayed overnight. I tried it once, left him with a friend another night, and I quit the 3rd time they tried it. So I applied for and got an internship with Tampa Bay Watch. The work was interesting, the people were cool and I was making a difference for young students in the Bay Area. We dissected bait squid, went wading in the shallows for specimens, and seining for creatures to observe. It was great. I had a small group of coworkers and it was cool getting to spend time with people who loved marine biology. I started in early February and had to quit a few weeks before the end date. That, I’ll explain later.
So despite all my free time, van life was pretty hard to figure out. I kept trying to live a normal apartment life in my 4-door crossover which was silly. I wanted to cook, or at least attempt to cook, big meals for myself, and there’d be leftovers and nowhere to store them. I tried cooking myself breakfast everyday, which just meant all my cookware and dishes were dirty all the time and they were a hassle to wash in the city streets. I had a cooler but I hated buying ice constantly. Everything just seemed to be a big hassle. So I decided I was going to buy an RV so that we could keep being nomads but comfortable ones. Jax was getting pretty fed up with our cramped lifestyle and sometimes he didn’t want to get in the car. I had filed my taxes super early and got a decent enough refund that I could afford something small that needed a little bit of work. And I was convinced a few months and some love would be enough to get us going. Every camper I found online was horrible. And even ones that weren’t running had $3000-$5000 price tags. It was ridiculous. So I figured I’d only look at that didn’t have too much wrong so that I’d be able to afford repairs. Low miles and a decent interior is what I was going for. Unfortunately, my imagination got the better of me and I bought the first rig I saw in person.
It was only $500 but it didn’t run and the overcab was in shambles. I had read blog posts on how some had rebuilt the overcab for cheap, and convinced myself that if I found a decent mechanic, this thing could be up and running in no time. But before I even withdrew money from my bank account I called a local rv repair shop to see if they could help me out with the repairs. Everything seemed to be going right and then everything went horribly wrong. I’m too embarrassed to go into too much detail. But no one would work on this thing for me and obviously no storage facility would rent me a unit to keep it in since it wasn’t running. After all was said and done I realised that taking on a project this big without my own yard to do the work in to keep storage costs low was not an option. My imagination got the better of me because I was desperate. Things weren’t going my way and I got impulsive. Lesson learned, and I won’t do something like that again. April came and it was about time to leave Tampa Bay. There was nothing left for me there so I applied for a summer camp job in California. I couldn’t leave without a destination and plan like I had in the past. So I had to make sure I’d covered all my bases this time around. I got an interview 2 days later and got offered the job on the spot. I had to accept because I needed out bad. The job wouldn’t start until June 1 but I needed to find a new way to make money. Because bills were piling up and I couldn’t find anything decent in Florida.
Tune in next time to hear about how I went to LA to try out working for a delivery service and finally getting the hang of van life.
To be continued…