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Old 01-04-2015, 07:36 PM   #1
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big dreams, no funds

hi! sarah here, currently living in arizona, originally from florida. i have had a fascination with living minimally in small spaces since i was a kid and iíve been dreaming of creating a cost-efficient, nomadic lifestyle for a couple years now. while i still donít have all the money or skills needed, my determination has only grown.

i want to build a cosy cabin-like living space with a nicely finished but rustic hand-built feel i can be glad to call my home and have the flexibility to take it with me wherever i may go. originally i had my sights set on converting a large school bus and having as much space as possible, a long-term dwelling solution and exciting first home. but for the time being iím more motivated to start small and finish the project sooner and be on my way, possibly a short bus camper that will be even more minimal, but plenty sufficient for me to continue pursuing my travel and lifestyle goals. iím also considering a large van as an option for this first project, and iím sure a lot of it will come down to affordability. my thoughts are that after gaining experience with a smaller project such as this, when i do become ready to expand my living space i could take my time, having already created an affordable dwelling and lifestyle, and make the perfect long-term bus home with some veteran skills. in any case, i want to build as sustainably as possible and hope to find reclaimed wood and other materials to keep costs and new materials at a minimum.

any suggestions on what i can do to make progress and move toward getting started with a nonexistent budget? what methods of generating needed funds and cutting costs have worked in your experience? as far as making that first big initial purchase, where should i be looking to find tried and true sellers? thanks for any helpful tips you can offer!
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:45 PM   #2
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Keep as folder of pictures that you find of ideas to use. A digital folder on your desktop. Keep searching the net. Include friends that can give their input and encouragement. See what you can do without by taking a camping trip or some other type of excursion where you dwell in a small area with minimal supplies and support such as a cabin or camper rental. Take lots of notes of pros and cons as you go and don't give up.
Welcome to a wonderful lifestyle that can be fulfilling!
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:21 AM   #3
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thanks for the reply and encouragement, holybus! i’ve definitely started to amass a wide collection of images of others’ good ideas and bookmarks, always adding more. already been working on downsizing water needs, the real work will be to get down to the business of getting rid of all unnecessary belongings and clothing and try real minimalism on for size.

i keep waffling between wanting to get my feet wet with the nomadic lifestyle as soon as possible by starting small and manageable (no experience driving or parking a big ol’ bus!) and wanting to put all my effort toward my ultimate goal with my ideal full-size floor plan. i still have no definite idea of the floor plan for a short bus or van. also waffling between the desire versus actual need for a shower. i imagine i’ll spend more overall time staying put in one place for an extended period (where i’d have consistent access to a water source) than i’ll actually be on the road or camping (where water would need to be conserved more and a shower would be less realistic) but space is also always a consideration. so many things to decide and figure out! the only thing i’m fairly certain about is that the pre-1996 dt466 engine seems to be the one to look for! =P
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:44 AM   #4
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I'm a big fan of the dt466.
But I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bus with the Cummins 8.3. Pre-96, of course...
And don't worry about having lots of money.
How's arizona? I'm in Florida myself. The weather has been awesome this "winter".
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:33 PM   #5
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I searched for a dt466 and am very happy with my dt360 with an automatic. One shock I did not anticipate is the volume of oil for an oil change and the cost of oil/air filters. Cheaper than I pay to have my lawn cut for two months so it is still a good deal.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:37 PM   #6
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in northern arizona we just got our first snow of the season, and thankfully i was out of town in sunny santa cruz! still a florida girl at heart for sure.. =P

oil changes... i hadn’t even thought of what an expense that would be (too busy thinking about tires), but that’s a great point, still better than maintaining a house!

it’s so frustrating because there’s no way to know how much room i’ll be working with until i find the exact model that i’ll ultimately be buying, and i’m dying to figure out my floor plan!
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:14 PM   #7
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Yeah buying 5 gallon buckets of oil is the norm for bus owners.
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:34 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum!
I too have.....financial challenges....that I'm figuring out. But I might be ready to pull the trigger on something crazy...."break a leg" on your endeavours!
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