Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living

Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living

2014, Society  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 8.57/10 from 225 users.

How much does anybody need? Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living seeks to answer this question through testimonials from people who voluntarily live "off the grid" in any form of vehicle or mobile home. Noting that 47% of the average American's take home pay is spent on housing, the film focuses on the imbalance of freedom versus comfort in modern society.

From the onset there is a line draw between those who choose mobile living versus those who are stuck in homelessness due to unfortunate circumstances. The film's subjects are all living in vehicles by choice, and emphasize the societal constructs that stand to be questioned and challenged, namely a consumer mentality that dictates a constant sense of need. By scaling down and moving into a vehicle, be it a van, camper or RV, the subjects argue that mobile life makes up for a reduction in living space by allowing more mental space to re-evaluate one's actual needs.

Subjects share their various reasons for choosing a life on the road. For one man a costly divorce and rising medical bills led him to consider purchasing a van over renting an apartment; for one woman a devastating fire resulted in simplified living; and for others Henry David Thoreau's poem Walden served as inspiration to scale down on material needs. One couple who document their lifestyle with a blog note improved dietary habits and reduced consumption as two primary benefits they've experienced. Each member of the mobile community interviewed here mentions a greater sense of overall freedom.

While some communities, typically those in small and dying towns across America, embrace the mobile movement and reap the economic benefits of welcoming caravans into their parking lots and campgrounds, there is also a broader societal bias against them. Larger, more prosperous areas often enact "qualify of life laws" that forbid sleeping in public or living in vehicles. These laws exist to protect neighborhoods against potentially dangerous transients, whose criminal backgrounds and mental states are unknown. But one interview subject suggests society's general direction will lead to a greater number of folks living in vehicles, eventually necessitating a greater acceptance of the lifestyle.

Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living presents touching insight into an alternative lifestyle as well as an optimistic outlook for those who are engaged in it.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. PATO Gigante

    Joseph Elsener, your view point comes across as simultaneously intolerant & highly co-dependent.

  2. Sally

    My ex husband sold everything and bought a tear drop trailer and a small truck and got his 'new gal' (a dog). He p!anned his route for about 6 months then left....He was a bit unstable before he left and he had quit communicating with me. He had plenty of money....He seemed very excited about his adventure. A year after he left he came back to see our kids and sadly committed suicide. He was 57 years old. I think he was lost before he left and was looking for something he never found. I'll always love him and I'm sad for my kids they lost their Dad....

  3. Mama

    LOVE this. Great viewpoint! The ups and downs of freedom. GREAT film!

  4. Joseph elsener

    Ok. Nice enough but what when you get sick. How does that work. Where do you get your money? Where are your grandchildren and family? Did you just dump them? How about your old friends from years ago? Your neighborhood? How selfish you seem.

  5. Time Traveler

    I live this life off and on it is how I vacation but as far as a full time lifestyle think twice . I think you need a home base that is payed for before you Embark on such a life style or you turn into a bum .Not all people you run into are as cool as these folks . Try doing this say 100 miles from home base camping then go on your big adventure it takes time to get used to this life style .My big adventure was to sell everything and move to Hawaii and live this life its a little harder to do over here but fun . Best of luck live free . I live in My Van , Solar 4# -100 watt panels , running water ,Hot water tankless , small freezer , computer , 120 volt 2000 watt inverter 4 deep cycle battery's, nice full size bed. I live on the beach and work when I can . I keep my van looking like a work van plane and simple no defining marks or bumper stickers when I park some where in town i shut it down and i don't move till first light .

  6. Rika

    I really like the idea of living this way. I have to admit, though, that this film made me a little depressed. Despite its optimistic message, it came off as a positive spin on being homeless rather than a viable, fulfilling life choice. The people I liked quite a bit. Fighters and survivors, all of them. But now I'm worried about all of them because they were in this bleak and uninspiring film that did a terrible job of representing the way they live. Sorry if l seem harsh...I wanted to like this doc. Better luck with your next effort!

  7. Fk_censorship

    I thought this was a poor documentary. The subject was interesting, but there was very little in terms of substance: how they outfitted their vehicles, how they funded their lifestyles, and where they went. Not one vehicle was filmed inside, and there was very little insight into their actual lifestyles (and addressing challenges such as cooking, bathroom use, showers etc.). I wish they had gone into these practical aspects of can living, rather than just talk in generalities about being free to roam.

  8. Deborah Jean

    Great documentary, just wonderful. When my husband lost his job and we sold our house,
    we lived in a utility trailer, the biggest issue is all the things we had collected and had to store.
    We all need to take that look and figure, just what is it all about, seems you people figured it
    out. This gives me happiness that life can be easy and happy.

  9. Wayne1962

    I've dreamed of doing this for years, and am still trying to disentangle myself from the expectations of society. But, yes I have planned a future living the grey nomad lifestyle. Being in the city centre most of my life and surrounded by people, working in service industries, I am so looking foward to the peace and freedom - keeps me going.

    What was said about the puppet masters keeping us fearful and the ultimate irrelevance of materialism is so, so true. Peace out.

  10. utopaiqn

    This has been a dream of mine for years. But you need money to go off the grid. Sigh.

  11. Kansas Devil

    I wish I had known about this lifestyle many years earlier so I could have gotten an earlier start.
    This documentary and various YouTube videos are showing the way for a certain segment of society.
    That being said, if not for those who have the houses and the things, the mobile lifestyle would not be as convenient.
    Hopefully more small towns will learn from Quartzite, preferably in the Midwest where there is potential from cross country travelers.

  12. dewflirt

    Outlaw living. I might like it as long as not everybody tries to join in ;))

  13. BIGDAVE1954

    Who made the remark about taxes? Every time fuel is bought taxes are paid. Really anytime anything is bought taxes are paid. I should not be bad mouthed because I refuse to pay the way for Malibu Barbie's gaudy new beach house.

  14. equilibrium

    beautiful people

  15. lj

    very annoying "background" music!!

  16. ChiefW4

    Personally, I found this to be a magnificently done documentary. There's far too much negativity put out by our society at large regarding people who just LOVE to travel. Now that I'm retired, with a pretty good income, I've wanted to live on the road, but have been dissuaded from it by people who can't imagine living on the road. As long as I can have a DVR and a TV, I'm happy, and you CAN have those today. Thank you for letting many of us know just how doable it is.

  17. Tim Chisholm

    I can relate to the pack rat.

  18. CURI0S

    Well done, considering the small group that was interviewed. This could be expanded to include different people, different areas, even showing some rough stats on comparing the different lifestyles, locations and the associated costs. Perhaps a part 2 down the road (pardon the pun)

  19. LostHearts

    We are working towards this goal. If there are no kids to consider, I think it is a feasible and a great way to live. If someone gets tired of living where they are or the neighborhood is going downhill, just start up the motor and move. Do you want to spend your money on a 30 year mortgage, paying taxes etc. or would you rather lead a more adventurous life? To me it's a no-brainer.

    1. a_no_n

      if nobody paid taxes you'd have a hard job living like that because there wouldn't be any roads.

    2. LostHearts

      I don't quite understand your post. Please explain.

    3. a_no_n

      I'm just saying that it's perhaps not all it's cracked up to be...Plus you would still be paying taxes, as well as a lot of tolls. And if you're not in an area designated specifically for travellers you're going to receive a lot of open hostility.

    4. LostHearts

      Thank you. LOL sounds like the area I live in now. Having lived in some really dicey places (including a house where the heat never went above 48 degrees in winter). There is a lot of info on the internet about where to park your "home" and forums that are of a lot of help.

      Willing to take the chance. Don't want to say "wish I had". Said that too much already :( But appreciate your info.

    5. a_no_n

      Don't get me wrong, very few of the problems stem from the people who actually live that lifestyle.

      Where I live for example, the local newspaper always ALWAYS prints the full details of where any travelling families are staying. That's the kind of hostility you can expect.

      So just bear that in mind and get something sturdy.

      I always wanted a houseboat myself. Same thing just a bit wetter.

    6. ChiefW4

      Is it for everyone? No. However, some of us are nomads at heart. I've felt confined every single time I've bought property or signed a lease. I spent 13 years in the Army, and would have spent longer if I hadn't taken rounds. I live in FL, but haven't stayed in the same place more than 6 months in years.

      Don't get me wrong. I get how for some people moving all the time, and having to meet new people all the time would be a chore. For me, it's a way of life. It's the best part of life. Again, it's not for everyone, but to try to dissuade those who feel it IS for them is just as backward as it is for those of us who love it to try to convince people who are NOT change adept that this is what they should do.

    7. a_no_n

      can't imagine it. Never had that kind of money.

      I'm not trying to dissuade anyone, just pointing out it's not all flowers and good times.

    8. ChiefW4

      Certainly fair enough. NO life is all flowers and good times. There are always trade offs between security and freedom, right? If you're a nomad at heart, however, there are far more positives than negatives, and probably vice versa. I guess my point is those of us who would like to live a nomad's life get negative feedback from seemingly every angle, so when a video like this paints a positive light on things, I'm quick to react to negative feedback aimed at it. If you came at it from my angle, and had everyone telling you how silly you'd be to live that kind of life, you'd get exasperated too.

  20. bionara

    That lad's elocution is spell-binding! He sounds like a modern-day Abe Lincoln (from what the movies tell me).

    Great documentary.

  21. Timmy Suckmeister

    Interesting video and interesting perspectives on what constitutes the American Dream.