Just Say Hell No to Wage Slavery

Sooo many people say to me, “I wish I could live in a van and travel around like you. I just can’t be a stripper and there’s no way to make money on the road.”

First of all, van dwelling is not expensive. I think I spent way less than $5k on gas and food last year. Paying rent is expensive, so if that’s something you don’t want to be doing, you should stop sooner rather than later.

Okay, now let’s talk about making money. There are so many ways. Jobs are very rarely the most efficient ways to make money. If nothing else, look at it like this: the people you work for are taking your work and selling it, in some form, to someone else. They pay you a little bit of what that someone else pays them, and the rest is profit for them. Then they start bossing you around and telling you what time to get up and get there in the morning and how you can talk and what you can wear. It’s crazy.

You can make money from almost anything. Literally. I made money from this blog. I make money selling used, broken stripper shoes on the internet, and I make money sitting on the sidewalk singing songs. Once there were no strip clubs and I washed cars at an office building. I made $700 in three days! It was a ton of car washing. I mean, way over a hundred cars!

It’s good to make money with something you love. Someday I will build dulcimers and paint them like women and sell them at festivals. But sometimes it’s more efficient to make money in some other, quicker way, and have more time to spend doing what you want with what you love. Let’s look at a few models for making money.

1. There is the marketplace. The flea market, the women’s festival, pagan festival, carnival, renn faire, etc. Go there, and either sell things or a service. I feel like selling services is always cleaner and more honest. At flea markets try selling things scavenged from junk yards, dumpsters, and yard sales, or things you make, or buy big lots of books on ebay and sell them for a dollar each. Or do henna tattoos, fortune telling, foot rubs, make-overs, the possibilities are endless. Just know your market. Foot rubs do great at trendy farmers markets, not so much at flea markets. And you don’t have to carry anything.

2. Fuck that market shit. You don’t need to pay table fees. Just offer your services to people. There are a few ways to do this. Craigslist, of course. Then there’s just walking up to people. Not on the street. Pick a setting where you get some credibility. Knock on their door and tell them you’re a carpet cleaner and you’re cleaning carpets in their neighborhood tomorrow. Would they like theirs cleaned? Or walk into an office and tell the receptionist that you’ll be washing cars for their building tomorrow, if anyone wants their car washed they should bring their money. Here’s your brochure, would she mind letting people know?

3. Sell something on the internet. Ebay. Ebanned. Keen. Etsy. Copywriting. Whatever you do on the internet, network, network, network.


  1. Absolutely ! If you want to find a way … there is a way. I’ve always had a problem with people ” skimming ” off of my effort. I only let this happen for about a year full time until I found my way.

  2. Exactly. When you work for someone else they take most of the profit from your efforts. They can also dump you whenever they choose.

    Build your own business and name, over time it will be worth far more than the little scraps employers will throw at you like a good little doggy.

    Take HoboStripper for example.

  3. I’m glad you addressed that topic, because I’m one of those people who were starting to think “hmm, I wonder if I could do that too for a bit, someday in my life” and now I’ve got a better idea of what I could do for money, because I couldn’t strip. Not currently anyway.
    Here’s another thing I thought about after reading your post: ghostwriting would work really well as well. I am a freelance ghostwriter (among other things) and that’s a business that one could take on the road really well, provided one has a laptop and an internet connection. When I left my city in Germany to move to Switzerland, I was able to take my best client “with me” because of the miracle of the internet. Now, I even have some living as far away as London. So if you like writing and think you are up to the challenge, ghostwriting is an excellent idea on the road and it’s a better source of income per hour than most other jobs. Tutoring kids would also be a good way to make money and you wouldn’t have to let them in your van either, they (and their families) just love it when you come to their place.

    Anyway, great post Tara, thank you!

  4. First of.. great blog..

    I did exactly that. Left a very comfortable (read well paid) corporate job and made a hobby into a business. We’re not living in a van, but I spend my days doing what I love and never feel that I go to work..

    One of the best decisions I ever made.

  5. Hello!
    I was in this world 2 yrs ago and I laugh at the comments that people make about stripping. Guess what ladies..if you have to survive; it would amaze you at the limits that you will go to. It’s not like one day you roll out of bed and go hummm I think I’ll be a stripper.
    It’s not all money, fun and games. You are judged by the outside, you can have your kids taken away and guys are jerks most of the time.
    The world of stripping is not a nice place and the world inside the club in not real. The relationships you build will go away when you leave the life. The only thing you take with you is money that you have saved and hopefully an education that you were able to pay for. nothing else.

  6. Hello, love your blog!! So cool and interesting. I found your blog through “Wide Lawns.”

    I’m a boring old “Soccer Mom” :mrgreen: who lives in New Hampshire (where its FREEZING right now!). I’m married and have 1 child (a boy). I love reading blogs about people with totally different lifestyles than me.

    I had a question for you about how you make money on this blog…if you have some time, could you please email me back? I have blog about my family that is set to “private” and “invite Only”…but I also have an idea for a “public” blog I want to start up soon, and I’d like to make some money off it through ads, etc. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions on how you do that.

    Thanks, Laurie

  7. On making a living –

    I have a fulltime and then some career as a web designer. I have never met my bosses or managers, and I work in my pajamas with my dogs at my feet.

    There are many ways of making a living not chained to a desk or being a slave to the commute. The hard part is finding what works for you.

  8. As someone who works in pyjamas, I second most of the thoughts here.

    However, I would say that it’s important to note that “wage slavery” is a way of making money, it’s just not the best. I think it’s important that we honor hard work, even as we encourage people to do better things in their interest.

    Many of the options are hard for people to do. We should affirm the dignity of people who trouble to play by the rules and sacrifice to support themselves and their families. All honest work is honorable.

    I’m by no means saying this post takes a contrary view, but rather only emphasizing something I think could use a lot more emphasis these days. If we look down our noses at humble employmets, it disparages honest people and can sap morale. Why be honest if people will only ridicule you?

  9. I glad I found your blog! I lived in my van last summer and had a great time. It amazing how much money one can save when there’s no rent to pay!

  10. I’ve always been able to make a little side-money by making things (knitted bags, scarves, purses found at re-sale shops I’ve embroidered….) on the side, for any of you crafty people.

  11. Thanks Anthony.

    Remember that some people will lose their children to the state if they don’t play by the rules.

    Some people need expensive healthcare to stay alive.

    Some people are caring for disabled friends and relatives.

    Personally, I like staying put and I like watching people who travel go by. I don’t want to be on the road, but I like waving at you! We’re not in competition. I hope you come by my place sometime, Tara.

  12. I wanted to come back to this because it’s an issure I’m very close to and read the comments.

    Anthony: You have made an excellent point. Hard work is honorable and to be honest , having your own business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I work from home 80% of the time and it’s wearing on me right now. When I got away from a boss and co-workers , I didn’t think that y biggest challenge with my current gig would be the isolation. I’m trying to come up with ways to remedy this right now.

  13. The way to have health insurance is to buy it!

    Insurance companies have been steadily expanding their product portfolios for individuals, and individuals are also banding together to be able to get group rates.

  14. Hey Tara,
    Did you have debt before you started van dwelling? I have a bunch of student debt, and I’m wondering if I should get rid of that before giving up the 9-5, or whether I’m going to end up more trapped in wage slavery the longer I go.

  15. lol renn faire.

    Ok, really, faire circuit is nice, if only for the garaunteed safe place to sleep, the community, and the relatively easy way to make at least a minimal amount of cash on weekends.

    I should probably start doing more stripping and less faire, though, but I’m sucked into the community at the moment.

  16. i was wondering what you do about mail and car insurance? i love traveling and want to also be a hobo in a van but i always get stuck on the whole what about mail and car insurance. any tips would by much appreciated. I adore your blog and am in awe that you exist and make the world better 🙂 (so basically thank you)

  17. Hi Andrea,

    The best way to handle mail in my experience is to rent a P.O. Box from Mailboxes etc, UPS Store, or some other private mailbox company (you don’t want to rent from the U.S. Postal Service, because they won’t accept mail from competing carriers).

    When filling out forms (such as for your driver’s license, or insurance), use the address of the mailbox company as your home address.

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