Update on the sleep situation: Thanks to a commenter on Facebook (and many thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and support!), I found an organic cotton hammock from Handmade Hammocks, a British company. Even with the cost of shipping to the U.S., it’s very affordable, so yay!
But, in my desperation after writing the previous post, I found a solution that’s good enough for now: I removed the lumpy futon from on top of the cot and just slept on the cot. Duh! I thought that would be worse, but it’s actually much better. No more back pain! That gives me some breathing room financially, because:
I’ve decided to take the plunge and get a loan to buy my van now rather than try saving enough to pay cash by March.
This is a leap of faith for me. I’ve had an ironclad rule for years never to go in debt for a vehicle again. Car payments on top of rent, utilities and all the other expenses of modern life add too much stress. But worrying about how to earn and save up a few thousand dollars in the next three months has been even more stressful.
And when I move into the van on April 1st, I won’t be paying most of those expenses any more. So instead of nearly $1000/mo. in rent and utilities on my Social Security and freelance income, I’ll be paying less than $200/mo. for a van. Yes, there will be the cost of gas, but I can easily budget for that, and save on gas by what’s known as ‘slow traveling.’
Getting the van now will give me time to make it livable (setting up the hammock inside, along with the various bits and pieces I’ll need for a comfortable life) and put in a few practice runs as well.
The biggest reason to do it now is that I plan on attending a gathering of vandwellers called the Rubbertramp Rendezvous (RTR) in Quartzsite, AZ next month, and I just couldn’t see going to the trouble and expense of getting the Volvo roadworthy (new tires, among other things) and livable (where do you put a porta potty in a car?) just for one trip. Why not put that money and effort into the van instead?
So the decision is made, and it feels right. Now, instead of wistfully perusing craigslist in daydream mode, I am on the hunt in earnest.
With any luck, I’ll have my first test drive today. Woot!