Monday, December 3, 2007

I'm living in the Truck now

I've got an internet connection for the minute, so here's what's up. I'm down in Key West. I've spent 2 nights in Truck House, and I'm still adjusting. It smells like wood and paint. I don't know anyone in Key West, which is kinda difficult for a man who's made like me, but I'm dealing. Last night I parked on the north end of the island, and was serenaded by big vehicles going by fast, and planes taking off from the airport right next door. I was absolutely beat from the ride down, and only had about 4 hours of sleep if that. I zonked at 8:30 or so, and managed to get some good solid rest. I'm going to try for some quieter parking tonight.

The weather down here is insanely beautiful. It's the weirdest mix for me between being in love with the weather, and completely tripped out every second of the day from the 'experience' I'm having here.

My thoughts so far about vehicle living are that if you plan to try this, you should think really hard about getting a normal looking van. In my mind, a box truck looked low key to the core. Now that I've been looking at it, it seems like a big white flag with an RV door on the side. I take comfort in what I've always known: nobody notices shit. If you act normal about it, you can do whatever you want. My original plan was to leave Truck House parked in the same spot for weeks in West Chester or Philly. That is no longer my goal. I'd rather have something that takes less gas, has more windows, more ventilation, access from the cab or front (important!), and is more agile and invisible. Life is all about progress. I'm going with Truck House for now. What does the future hold? Maybe a van. Hopefully some eventual land with a BIG version of Truck House including a wood stove, huge skylights and a lot of love. Now you know about my present and my future. My heart is wide open to dreams. Though things are currently strange, I'm looking forward to relishing the present. Right now I'm the kid at the dance leaning on the wall. Better than staying at home, but my heart isn't beating at the proper speed all the time. I hope that doesn't sound to tripped out or silly.

Also: I realize that I was just on the front page of the Philly Inquirer, below the fold. If you're reading this because of that, you can definitely leave comments or send me some email. I like people. Pre-today, this was probably only checked out by about 4 people, hence no comments, etc.

48 comments:

Steve said...

Hey Chris,

I wish you all the best with your truck. It's exciting to know that people are trying endeavors instead of sitting dead in the middle of where they don't want to be. I know all about anxiety - keep your head up and your dreams up higher.

-Steve Pugmire from Kennett High

Steve said...

PS.

I've linked to you from my blog.

PAYNTERinFLORIDA said...

Chris-- PinF here. I've found you via Philly.com I'm and Philadelphian (media actually) I like your story and I'm gonna link to you, hopefully get you some traffic. I cycle down to the keys whenever I get the odd few days to do so. So when I'm next motoring south I'll holler atcha so I can attend a Truck Party. Best of luck if I can be of help let me know..I know of a few Philadelphians in the Keys if you get in a jam....hit me back pinflorida@gmail.com

ac said...

Hey Chris, saw the article about you on the Inky's website.

Good luck on the journey, dude.

Eric Chase said...

Best of luck! I used to live in Orlando and can recommend some fun places if you head up there. I too found you on Philly.com

Hollylynn122 said...

Found your blog from the Inquirer--I love it! Looking forward to the next post. Good luck with everything!

mergenow said...

Dude,

I wish I had your idea, myself, 10 years ago!!

Best of luck with that, don't let the nay-sayers get you down.

Only advice: If the philly.com article is correct, find a way to move that purchase off the credit card. That's going to kill you, man!

-mergenow

addi said...

i was in key west this summer. how the hell are you breathing in the truck once you go to sleep? Have you cut air holes? Is it unbelievably hot?

Oh no Joey, not again... said...

chris

i like what you are doing a lot. i saw you on philly.com too.

if you get bored of the keys, you should make it out to san francisco. there's a city that is very tolerant to this sort of thing and there are a lot of people doing it. well, actually they're mostly hippies. they're probably cool and it looked like they had it all figured out.

can you put me on a mailing list so I know when you put more post up?

thatwasmyidea(at)gmail.com.

all the best,

joey

mike said...

ok chris, i did somewhat the same thing about 12 years ago and said the hell with everything and moved down to the Keys. Word of advice, pick up a copy of "sailboat trader" mag. Look thru it and see if and body would be will to trade your u-haul for a sailboat. If you can find somebody to do it, then do it! You can anchor out in the harbor and use a dingy to get to shore, plus you will meet all of the other sailors who are basically doing the same thing you are:-)! fun bunch of folks. enjoy the Keys...they rock!

Brad&Lisa said...

Chris,
I really admire your spirit to "do something adventerous". However, I need creature comforts way too much to ever do something so forward thinking. Kudos my man.

larry said...

Chris,

Best of luck to you in your adventure. Next eating contest I do in Florida I will look you up. Take care.

"Humble" Bob
www.humblebob.com

Jessica said...

I read your article from Philly.com.
I must say that I think it's amazing what you're doing. I am a firm believer of taking risks and following your heart.
Remember it's the quality of life, not the quantity. I used to be a squatter for 8 years, and now I am 26 and finally semi settled in San Francisco.
Keep doing what you're doing. You may not know anybody now, but you will meet them gradually.
The whole world is opening up to you. Embrace it!
haloedjal@hotmail.com
- Jess

gruevy said...

I've totally had this idea. Now I'm thinking I might actually do it. I was about to ask where you bathe and crap, but then I thought, no, I should figure that out on my own. Living in a van and going to college while writing a novel. Hm. How many people on their deathbeds can say THAT?

One thought, tho... do you want the door to the cab of the truck? Why is that essential?

Susan said...

Chris:

You rule. I'm 44, single, no kids... can I do it?

Susan

Jeff said...

Good luck with your truck livin'. You are an inspiration to a lot of slacker chic elite out there.

Roy said...

The best stealth housetruck I have found is a big, white, stock-appearing Stepvan. Like a retired bread truck with lots of cubic feet.

Keep it clean and white, and install a large skylight than can be propped open from the inside.

This one can work just about anywhere and you can go all-out on the interior.

Have Fun!
Roy

joc said...

Keep blogging & keep trucking !

Apparition said...

Hey, I found you via Fark.com. There's a nice long thread about you, you should check it out.

Anyways, good for you for getting out there and doing it.

Somewhere said...

Hey man, good luck to you! I have to say, I'm a bit envious. I'll definitely be thinking about the kind of adventures you're going be having while I'm sitting at my dull-ass job!

I wish you all the best!

Rebecca said...

Hey I found you on Fark.com.

keep truckin!

markjamesmurphy said...

I love it.

I'm going to do this exact same thing - I'm in the early experimental phase with a small truck camper.

I want to be free.

What you are doing is awesome.

Steve said...

just me again. this is to simplify your life even FURTHER.

http://zenhabits.net/

not only are you simplifying your living space you can now simplify your personal belongings, debt, mental clutter, etc. all! Enjoy!

FaulknA said...

Keep on trucking dude. Give it a try and the hell with being safe.

Pissedoffcabbie said...

Your truck house rules. Who said Thoreau was dead?

Val said...

Wow! I think what you're doing is great!

(I read about you on Fark.)

Christie said...

I read about you on www.fark.com as well, and yes there is a very lengthy thread about you there. Just be sure to ignore the naysayers...most people sit around thinking of what they really want to be doing, but continue to go about their boring daily corporate lives and never fulfilling those dreams. I think what you're doing is awesome and scary, and I know I personally don't have the guts to just get up and go. Good luck to you, I look forward to many updates, and the book!!

Jhaysonn said...

sooo, this is awesome. My friend just saw this and posted up to let me know hwo I might do something like this - AND tell me that you look just like me... and really... YOU DO!

http://myspace.com/auralart

i used to have a mohawk...man it's really rediculous

Hvyhitter said...

yeah bro.. you just hit Fark.com.. so.. expect ALOT of traffic now. I was wondering... do you have a digital camera (if not i have one I might be willing to donate) to take pictures of what you see? I gotta be honest. I am sitting in my office in Cleveland Ohio with the weather being 32 degrees/snow with seemingly 50 mph winds, and I will be honest with you. I am a little envious and living vicariously through you. I would love to see some pictures, understandably not of your truck but some of your travels.

Thanks for the breath of fresh air.

Me said...

Hey - saw you on Fark.com. Good for you. Wish I had the guts to do it.

The Hermit said...

Good luck man. You won't regret it.

AbdMalik said...

Hey dude. Thank you for the quick email reply yesterday. Saw you in the Phila Enquirer. Continue to march man! You're doing what a lot of folks would love to.. Including me! Some day.
Peace

Brad&Lisa said...

g

pecker said...

Dude,

You are a rock star. Love the motive and love the execution. I'm a buddy of PinF - I found you from his blog - and am also a transplanted Philly area native. Stay out for as long as you can and definitely document as much as you can. I'll be tuning in regularly cheering you on.

David said...

Dude, You're totally going to end up in jail doing this down in the Keys :)

Tableside Hack said...

Hi!
I saw your blog from fark.com, and I loved it!
I love doing weird things like this, and I so want a truck-house of my own now!
I'm originally from Florida, so I'm glad it works in the winter time, but I'm interested in hearing what the truck-house will be like in the summer-time of any hot state.
Anyways- keep on truckin' (literally) and post all your funny stories- I will definetly keep checking this blog out.
Sweet deal, boss. Sweet deal indeed.

Maggieliz said...

Hey - good luck! And so you know, you made it to www . fark . com 's website, so you'll likely get inundated.

Good luck!

andre said...

Hey Chris,
I saw and now read your blog off PhilInq too.. But I am in Utah.. I picked it up from a forum where people BS about 4WD vehicles and vehicle dpendent xpeditions. Anyway, a lot of us live out of our vehicles at times too so we can slightly relate. Piss bottle and all :) (key is to not drink it one night by accident).

I think it is super cool. In my opinion you do want to focus strongly on the creature comforts like a ceiling vent/fan, ventilation, and some sort of water containment system maybe, and staying clean and healthy and hygene. These things go a long way towards happyness. Find yourself a friend with a 4" grinder and some cutoff wheels (or you can get this yourself, $30 for everything at Harbor Freight, if there is one of those near you, remember eye protection and gloves) and cut the hole in the roof. Then use something like this:
http://www.jcwhitney.com/RV-Ceiling-Fan-Vent-Install-Kits/600005236.jcw


You could even build a shower in there and use engine coolant the heat the water using some sort of hot water heat exchanger.

I'm sure you'll find a location. Also worse comes to worse you can pay someone $20 a month for a parking spot or something if you do get nailed. Key IMO is to approach them (clean and positive feeling) riding your bike rather than rolling around in the truckhouse...

I say totally keep it up. Also stay strong and positive. It is tough when you are by yourself. My fiancee and I have this funky old Brown Ford van from '77 called "Brown Sugar" (Brown Sugar rules). We bought it off some surfers for $500 who took it and parked it and lived out of it for the summer. It is also one of the best running cars we own. And again its totally awesome. It is a little ghetto-looking though and feeling, if you let it be. With my fiancee I feel like a million bucks and not ever ashamed in fact proud because its funky. But I did a road tripping in it myself and the combo of little funds at the time and being in it by yourself can mentally wear yourself down a little. I recall rolling into some random town and getting some looks even from cooler looking hippie type people and even they seemed a little off. Not feeling that cool all of a sudden to the people who did think I was living out of it (which I sort of was). But when I returned home I remember how awesome the trip was and I realy was living out of Brown Sugar, and it was awesome. Similar deal but maybe different, I dunno. Anyway, just enjoy it and for life you will be able to tell all the future rightous people you meet that you lived in a box truck of your own construction for at least a summer in Key West, got debt free, and hell, even got a news article published about you on the front page of the Philly Inquirer. That is just awesome.

Also in my opinion, good random immersion in all sorts of things are good. Try not to hang around the junk too much and personify the junk but drink beer merrily (with budget in mind though) and eat sushi now and again and talk to hot chicks as much as possible. Cheers!

Grimmy said...

Sounds like a fun adventure. I found you from the same place Andre did. While I don't plan to live full time in my 4Runner. I do plan to camp for a week or two at a time out of it and a 4x6 trailer. I believe my neglected blog will be linked with this comment.

As Andre pointed out there is LOTS of ways you can improve creature comfort while still being stealth. Wally world sells some Zodi products including a shower heater. Make a little drain area on your porch and instant shower room if you park nose up. Just be careful of the Co2.

Wally world welcomes overnight campers in their parking lots. They feel it will bring in extra revenue to welcome motor homes parked overnight. http://www.freecampgrounds.com/noparking.html

I say keep the stealth and put a sky hatch in and sleep in Grandmas attic.
There is a RV salvage place in FL where you could score some stuff to make it more of a camper inside.
Bob's Used RV Parts RT 2 BOX 1145 High Springs, FL 32643 386-454-5733

You know of Rodger but have you been to Rogers Buddy MrSharky's bus barn?
http://www.mrsharkey.com/busbarn/busbarn.htm

Good luck and if I make it down to Key west this winter I'll keep an eye out for you.

Craig said...

Dear Chris,


You've given me purpose.

josh said...

just wanted to wish you good luck and have a great x-mass and happy new years..

Eric said...

Chris,

Caught your interview on Bob and Sheri this morning...you and I are kindred spirits or at least I understand were you are in life. You sound a lot like I did when I was in Iraq two years ago strangely enough. I was witness to a lot of unfortunate things, but I grew a lot. Life is about experiences and I am wishing you all the best in this chapter of yours. Keep your dreams alive no matter what the cost. I'm very idealistic as you are and enjoyed getting your take on life. Hang in, man.
Eric from Lexington, KY. eric77+gmail+com

SHOCK said...
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SHOCK said...
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m.t. said...

Not only are you the best, you're also a great drummer with a cool tattoo.

SHOCK said...
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SHOCK said...

Hey Chris,

Heard you on Bob and Sheri here in Charlotte, NC. I know many people, including myself, who would love to drop out of the rat race and fly under the radar. Good luck brother. Keep us all updated. I will link you to my blog. http://atlasshrugged1.blogspot.com/

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

I've been a reader for awhile (I can't remember how I found your blog, but it's been on my BlogLines). Anyhow, keep on truckin' ;).

S. FL this time of year is awesome, enjoy it!

http://notesfromthecouch.blogspot.com/

-TR