Urban Rooftop Living

Urban Living on a Roof

Aside from living in a vehicle, there are other unusual places to reside, at least on a temporary basis.  (In a future series of posts I will cover squatting situations).  One of the weirdest I have discovered is roof-top living.  You see some of it even in movies.  In cities like New York, the hot summers in those squalid apartments with no air conditioning drives thousands of people to camp out on the roofs.  Hey, it’s cooler up there on a hot, sweltering night!

The first time I noticed this on the West Coast, I was visiting a friend in a small California city.  She had a shop in the downtown area.  One night late, we were sitting in her shop chatting and I heard a noise outside.  I looked out the back window and saw this guy going up the fire escape.  Even though it was dark, I recognized him, a homeless guy who hung around the area.  He was basically harmless, would pan-handle for food, and sit on a bench and talk sports to anyone who would listen.  He avidly read the sports pages of all the newspapers he could find abandoned in trash cans and Starbucks, and he was a sidewalk sports commando first class.

One day I went up on the roof to check out his lair.  He had put his bed roll in the shade of a giant air conditioner, and leaned cardboard over it.  Smart.  Best to be hidden from the searchlights of the ever-present helicopters at night.  He was tucked away from those eyes in the sky, a sleeping bag, a portable radio, a bag with a few personal items, a water bottle.  He would only go up the fire escape late at night, and come down early before people would notice him.  He had the perfect free apartment in the summer time in sunny Southern California.  During the winter months, when it got colder, he disappeared, who knows to where.  As long as he stayed out of sight, he was OK.  I imagine that once in a while an air conditioning repair man would see his stuff, maybe say something to the building owner, maybe not.  Once in a while he might lose his gear, but the local temporary aid would restock him with new stuff.  Go ahead and laugh, the dude was around for years, living free while YOU (and I) were paying thousands of dollars in rent.  Who’s the smarter one?


Today You…Tomorrow Me

This Post From Chef Duanio:

I, Duanio,  have had this happen to me at least three times.   the
people who helped were poorer than me, spoke no English,  and asked
for nothing, and gave me food, too.  I hitchiked and have also broken
down and needed help.   Immigrants from Mexico have helped the
stranger.     I am not that good, myself.   Articles like this build a
healthy humility.    It will be needed,  as well as healthy self
respect,  in order to be successfully Gypsy Cool.

Check out this story:  (It’s titled Have You Ever Picked Up a Hitch Hiker)

Today you..Tomorrow me

Food Circles and Food Meet-Ups

Why You Need To Organize a Food Circle Now

About a year ago, when it was evident that more and more people are becoming either homeless or “financially challenged”, some of my friends started to seriously worry about having enough to eat.  Many of us were going through times when there was just no money to buy food.  Constant hunger blinds you to a lot of other things, and the human body needs to eat.  Living in a vehicle makes it harder to eat at all, much less eat healthy.  If you have some money left over from your job, or if you have an income that is at least modest, you can eat at restaurants every day.  However, many now do not have that much money – it gets expensive to do that.  If you are living in an RV you at least have a refrigerator and cooking facilities.  If you are in a van or car it gets tougher to prepare meals.

There’s things you can do when you are in a car or van to help on this, but it is another subject for another post, and I welcome reader comments on your experiences.  This post is about creating what we call a “Food Circle” or Food Meet-Up.  When the realization hit that food was becoming a problem, we started to exchange information about where to get cheap meals, places to get free food, where to “dumpster dive” for food, and other topics.  The information led to us getting food and then distributing it (for free of course) to each other and to other needy folks.  Now a part of our lives has become constant searching for food solutions, the first of which is GETTING the food.

Talk to a few of your friends about this and form a mini food “co-op”.  Find out where to get free food.  Each person gets a bag or two.  Markets and market dumpsters are good for fresh stuff. I will have more detailed posts on places to get food, but now GET ORGANIZED.  I don’t mean elect presidents and secretaries, this is not the film club.  Get a few of your friends and agree to get food for free (or cheap) and share it.  Meet at least once a week.  Give your excess to others who are unable to physically participate.  Once you start looking for food you will find it, but believe me, with friends helping friends it is much easier.  10 -20 people is a good number for a Food Circle.  Everyone goes to different places and gets food.  At the weekly Food meet up you share it.  This will give you a new attitude on the real meaning of life and friendship.  There is nothing better that sharing food and love with your friends, and then with others you don’t even know.  You can even have a food “picnic” once a month, where your group goes to the park and have a fun pot-luck food festival.

In some parts of the cities the problem of hunger is really overwhelming.  You can’t do it all, but you can start with one Food Circle and help your friends.  Meet up now, and get started in a meaningful way.  Urge others to do the same.  When this first started, some of us were really embarrassed that things had gotten so bad that food was such a problem.  The truth is that the economy is not good and getting worse.  The VALUE of your dollar is going down, the more the banks print money, the more the money is worth less.  It’s called inflation.  Think back to 1960 (if you are old enough and still have some memory cells).  A gallon of gas was 25 cents.  A pack of cigarettes was 25 cents.  A cup of coffee was 5 cents or 10 cents, the same with a coke.  A paperback book was 25 – 35 cents, comics were 10 – 15 cents.  Are you starting to get the picture?  You could rent an apartment in L.A. for $50 bucks a month.  How much are all these things now?  Everything has gone up 10 to 15 times since 1960.  Except of course, YOUR WAGES, if you even have a job.  Because of inflation, the minimum wage should be around $30 an hour, just to keep even with 1960.

When the government tells you that there isn’t much inflation, they are lying.  They don’t count food, rent and gasolene, some of the most important things in your life.  Now you can clearly see the seriousness of our situation.  Don’t feel embarrassed about it, it’s a crushing fact.  Now all we can do is to help each other out of this.  Solutions are there for us.  We are thinking about a new slogan:  “Starve a banker, feed a Senior”.

Future posts will cover:

Where to get Free food

Where to get cheap food.  Much help is around for Seniors especially.

How to prepare food in your car or van.


1990 Xplorer Xtra Van

1990 Xplorer Van For Sale

“Semi-Stealth” Van for Sale

Metro RV in Burbank has a 1990 Xplorer van for sale.  Here’s the details:

GREAT CONDITIONThis 1990 van is well kept and runs great, well equipped with a 2.0 generator, rear bed,fridge, shower/toilet, dinette, 2 burner stove, roof air conditioner, this great rv gives you about 14mpg,and you ca park it anywhere.
 Model Year  1990
 Model  Xplorer XTRA VAN
 Retail Price  $10,990.00
 Price  $9,990.00*
 Color  White / Blue
 VIN#  719820
 Stock Number:  1914M
 Miles  120436
 Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)  VARIES
 Length Feet  19
 Fuel Type  Gas
 Fuel Capacity  25
 Sleeping Capacity  2-4
 Engine Make  DODGE
 Fresh Water Capacity  25 aprox
 Black Water Capacity  15 aprox
 Grey Water Capacity  15 aprox
 Axle Quantity  2 aprox
 These Xplorer vans are popular with singles and couples.  It’s really a mini-RV, but much easier for “stealth” living in urban areas than a full size RV.  You can contact Metro RV at metrorv.com for more information.

Stealth Honda

Click here for video: Stealth Honda

Living in a Tricked-out Stealth Honda

Skip Freedman helps lady create a Stealth Car for Urban Survival

Check out this video on a created Stealth Honda.  The lady living in this Honda is celebrating her First Anniversary of freedom from rent.  Her pet cat lives with her! This was not a hard conversion, fold down the back of the rear seat and clear all obstacles so that access to the trunk from the back seat is available.  This makes a comfy sleeping area, your feet go into the trunk area.  Be sure to cut up some cardboard to cover the windows at night or have the rear windows tinted dark so any passer-by can’t see inside.  You can carry an amazing amount of stuff with you, but a storage unit is recommended.  Use your cheap storage unit as your apartment – set up your dresser, have your stuff organized.  Most of the good storage outfits have clean bathrooms where you can wash up.  You can go there every day if you wish, get fresh clothes, re-stock your cooler with food, if lighted, as many are, set up your desk and laptop.  Some units actually have power, giving you unlimited opportunities.  The great thing about a stealth car like this is that you can almost park ANYWHERE with impunity, no one will suspect you are sleeping in there (unless you snore loud).  Remember the rules, move your location every night!  Have GypsyCool fun now that you are free from the grasp of the corporate real estate landlords.  You are FREE, you are INVISIBLE, you are now a POWERFUL person who goes where you want and you do what you want!