Living Permanently On The Road To Save Money For Future

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Trucker Transition IdeaGood Morning!

First I would like to let you know that we love your site! All of your information has been so helpful to us!

We do have some questions because you have lived the life full time on the road. We have been considering giving up our home which we rent to live on the road and save money for our future. We are a little nervous though and would like some of your personal advice.

Can you please let us know the pros and cons.

Was it hard to be away from family?

Did Mike’s company allow you to live in truck full time?

Where did you stay when the truck needed repair?

Did you feel homeless or free?

Did you feel like an outsider with your family due to not being close by?

Did you ever think you made a mistake and start missing your home to come back to?

Did you start getting bored living in the truck full time and cramped?

We have been tossing this around and really do not know which way to go. We do love the idea of saving money for our future without the expense of a house.

We would really appreciate any advice you can give us. We thank you very much!!!!

Response from Vicki:

First of all, we are so glad you enjoy our website.

By way of context, we were told before we teamed that since we would be away from home for such long periods of time as truckers, that it made no sense to have a home. We were renting at the time. It was so much less expensive to put our things in self storage and become “homeless” (or as one person put it, “house-less”).

We have made the trucker transition twice. For us, it has always been harder to move back into a home than move out.

OK, let me address your questions specifically. I’m going to reorganize them a bit to make things flow better.

Can you please let us know the pros and cons.

We address many pros and cons on our homeless, self-storage and trucker transition pages.

A big pro is not having to worry about what happens to your home in your absence. But you might instead be concerned about your stuff in storage.

Another big pro is not having some household expenses. Of course, there are extra expenses from not having a home, like paying for a mail box or doing laundry on the road. And some conveniences are “made mobile” (like instead of land-line phone, drivers get cell phones).

A big con was finding a trusted and truck accessible place to park our car. Everyone’s personal auto insurance rate is determined at least in part by where the car is parked overnight. Our premium went up when we parked our car at a friend’s home, but we saved more by not renting than our rate went up.

Was it hard to be away from family?

Both of our families are scattered, with none living nearby. If our situation had been different and we were very close to family members (geographically and emotionally), it might have been much harder.

Did you feel like an outsider with your family due to not being close by?

The geographical distance wasn’t the thing that some of our family members had issues with, but our choice of occupation. We’ve said over and over that “trucking has been good for us” but they just couldn’t get over the fact that we were “in trucking.”

Did Mike’s company allow you to live in truck full time?

Mike never asked for permission. He informed them of our decision. We were hoping that by us both being in the truck and his not having to get “home” as often that his miles would go up. Unfortunately, he didn’t experience that.

He thinks that it may have been a situation where his driver manager didn’t “fight” for him to have higher miles or keep him as “loaded and rolling” with higher utilization than he’d had previously.

One thing to bear in mind is what sort of living situation you will have in your truck. If you’re a company driver, the truck belongs to them. They get to say how the truck is used.

Mike’s at-that-time trucking company had lots of drivers begging and pleading for APUs, but they wouldn’t listen. When Mike’s idling percentage was high — in part because it was very hot that summer and we needed to stay cool and we were cooking all of our non-restaurant meals in the truck — his driver manager said so. We replied, “Get us an APU!” The only thing they did was install a battery-connected climate control unit that didn’t work so well.

Where did you stay when the truck needed repair?

Assuming you’re asking about repairs that take more than a few hours, the company put us up in a hotel at their expense (which happened a number of times). Some of the hotels may or may not have been so-called hotels for truckers (or truck-friendly).

Did you feel homeless or free?

Yes, to both. There were aspects of home life that we missed by being on the road — especially being in church every weekend — but we did our best to adapt (like having our own church services in the truck).

There are some things, however, that are just downright impossible to take care of except in person and during the standard Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours. In those cases, one has to make advanced preparations to be in town. Whenever Mike needed a dentist appointment, he scheduled them first thing on Monday mornings so as to be free to haul loads the rest of the day and week.

If you look on our homeless page, you’ll see a photo of Mike smiling.

Now that we have a home of our own, it would be much harder to leave to go back on the road.

Did you ever think you made a mistake and start missing your home to come back to?

It wasn’t the “home” (or the dwelling) that we missed but the friendships and networking that we missed, especially being in church on a weekly basis.

The world is a lot more connected than it was in the early 1990s when we made our first transition. There are cell phone telephone services and several different kinds of services for drivers to access Internet on the road.

Additionally, some drivers have extensive in-truck entertainment systems or subscribe to entertainment services. All it takes is a laptop computer with a DVD player to watch a DVD these days.

Gmail provides free “cloud computing” email accounts.

The last time we went on the road, we had already begun,
so I worked on our business from the passenger seat.

We never felt that we made a mistake. Any driver considering making the transition ought to consider all his/her personal pros and cons.

Caution: Never get in a situation of being exploited by your trucking company.

Did you start getting bored living in the truck full time and cramped?

For me, no. As a big guy, Mike got cramped sometimes. He needed to get out of the truck and into a hotel every so often (at least once a month). Those times, we paid for a room at our expense.

A driver’s passenger (perhaps his/her home support team member) has got to make advanced preparations about what he/she will do while the driver is driving and doing job-related duties. Sitting in the passenger seat with nothing to do during the driver’s many-hours driving shift would drive both of them crazy after a while.

Trucks bounce while moving. It can be hard to read for extended periods of time. Doing detailed work like cross-stitch or painting may be impossible. Other types of craft work that don’t require pinpoint precision may be an option. Doing anything that distracts the driver could be considered discourteous or even dangerous.

I hope this answers your questions. Please consider carefully all of your options — financial and emotional — before you make a transition.

We wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons

Note: The submission above was edited slightly for spelling and formatting. It was also originally submitted through our Ask a Question page.