I've been having blinding flashes of the obvious lately that I wanted to share.
A friend of mine just got a few AS degrees in IT, not realizing just how FUBAR the business world is for his new profession. IT professionals are no longer employees. They're contract workers, rarely working in a position more than a year, and often a lot less. They don't get benefits or retirement packages. They get specific tasks, get done, get paid, and get shown the door. This is not conducive to stable living. The career has changed so much that they are doing the minimalism trick and moving to the job. At first, that means renting long term stay hotel rooms, economy suites etc. But that's pretty expensive. The blinding flash? A trailer.
Get a town vehicle and pull a trailer that you can live in. Depending on pay and vehicle defines the kind of trailer to pull, but I've found through my own Google searching that there's many manufacturers of modest very light trailers which can pull behind any pickup or SUV, and even behind a Subaru. Ones you can stand up inside. Ones with hookups for most trailer parks. There are even ones with garage space, called Toy Haulers, which could be used for workshops for many professions, including space to store a table saw or electronics bench, welding rig and generator and gas bottles. All sorts of stuff, and its out of sight, out of mind. The Garage models are heavier so will require a stronger tow vehicle, but anyone driving and RV could tow a specialized trailer to a job site instead, chain it to something solid, and live next to it. Put it in the contract. I can see contract labor is the future, or even the present, and businesses are veering away from employee benefits in the modern economic disaster area thanks to that last election and the ongoing Derivatives Bubble. Investing in business seems very risky. Contracts avoid the risk.
Since the Tow Vehicle is massively fuel inefficient thanks to its specialization, the answer to getting around is either bicycle or motorbike or scooter. Roads being what they are, scooters are somewhat risky. They go down in potholes, in the road, often in front of traffic. A used Enduro motorbike, road legal with license plate and mirror and turn signals, or an older but working small displacement road motorcycle offers a means to get around, buy groceries, run errands. And it can be carried on or in the trailer. People do that. Its not as comfortable as a car, but its more comfortable than walking and cheaper than an 8 MPG tow vehicle.
As for the trailer itself, insulation seems to be key, as is power generation. Not all jobs will have hookups, meaning a (really quiet) generator is going to be needed unless you've got solar panels installed on the roof. Cheap solar that charges a battery is the answer. The more panels you've got, the more power for heat, lights, radio, fridge, and living humanely. Water will always limit trailers, so a hookup is far preferred. If you park somewhere with common showers, room to stretch out, and real hot water that might be a better choice. This also implies there's a real business opportunity there: running trailer parks for traveling professionals and technicians. Installing WiFi or including ethernet in the hookup bundle? Winning strategy for a business based on short and medium duration stays. Run a restaurant that delivers in the park center and you make yet more money and attract clients that have no time to cook or cleanup.
Professionals are going to be there to sleep and clean up, then back to the job they're on. Its not the traditional slumming situation. You'll have doctors and repair techs, IT guys, web designers who work directly with the customer (a niche that exists), event planners (business marketing, MBAs), horse dentists, mechanics, factory design engineers and techs, welders, CNC machinists, compliance officers, all sorts of things which make for contract labor. As the cost of fuel goes up and goes synthetic ($33/gal for synthetic biodiesel), the people who do this will be modestly to highly paid. They're just living in trailers so they keep more of it.
The strongest argument for residence trailers is that if you live light enough, you have your bugout gear with you, and you are yourself bugging out every time you move. Moving to jobs and away from bad economies is a viable survival strategy. You can't take hold of opportunity trapped in one place, not really. You "make do" in one place. You build labor saving devices and get things comfortable, but business moves with the economic winds, and those winds are turbulent today. America has largely exported its thinking and manufacturing jobs to China and India, and its left us with high unemployment. That unemployment is hiding behind the largest Back To College surge since the Veterans returned from WW2. Students aren't counted as Unemployed. When they graduate, we'll see more real numbers. They'll hit the job market and find little or nothing unless they starting thinking outside the box. And some will be thinking about this. Sincerely, - InyoKern