Prius Camping or Vandwelling in America: 2 “Must Haves”

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In my opinion these are two absolute musts: A good smartphone with a good plan / carrier and a 24 hour gym membership. Why? With the smartphone you will navigate these United States (aka The Matrix) via GPS and have the amazing option of making money from anywhere through one of the several gig economy options (Lyft, Uber, Doordash, eBay, Amazon etc). Younger generations may not grasp just what a game-changer the invention the smartphone and internet actually was / is. I continually gawk at what a smartphone can do via apps, photos, video, social media, phone calls etc. So a good smartphone is a definite must. Gotta have that thing protected by a good case and screen protector as well, and try to get a phone with a good battery life…and pony up $25 for a really good smartphone charger for your vehicle.

We are all in the Matrix… Might as well embrace it or perhaps you can transcend it.

I am not an affiliate for them, but I have used Cricket for several years now and things are fine. AT&T recently bought them out however so they may end up jacking up prices or tanking the company on purpose. I used to be a Cisco / Avaya Engineer for AT&T, and several of the employees referred to AT&T as the death star from Star Wars. Anyway Cricket is solid.

As for gym memberships, for several years I was a member at Planet Fitness, however I now refer to it as “Planet Shitness”. Planet Fitness is a great deal – $20 a month for nationwide gym. There are thousands of them all over the USA and most of them have 24 hour access. So you can be anywhere in the US and take a hot shower or go for a workout. Its quite a good deal considering what you get. Some of the gyms are amazing and some are really bad. I grew sour of PF after several years of how unprofessional the staff was and how filthy some of the gyms were. Then you have to endure all the PF ads over the loudspeakers 24 / 7 so they can brainwash you some more about how great a place Planet Fitness is. Plus there is the ‘lunk alarm’ which is beyond words ridiculous that I will not waste any time discussing it but yeah in some of the PF gyms it sounds like a Nazi prison camp and the bathrooms smell like horse stalls. And people spray and clean after themselves like a bunch of robots…its really weird. If you are sweating, great that is a nice gesture. But c’mon, I did not come there to clean the machines. PF gives out free pizza every Monday night as well. Its not unlike watching a herd of cattle coming to the trough to feed. Its kinda smart of them though – who will turn down free pizza and it keeps them stuck in a cycle of fatness. Gosh I really need this PF membership, maybe a few more hours on the treadmill will work….

I’m not tryin to pick on this guy but yeah Homer Simpson would love PF and PF would love him…

Plus PF has gotten so popular that its a real meat market just about anytime of the day, loaded with people. That may appeal to you dear reader and you may not give a squat about all the things that annoy me regarding PF. If so, that is totally cool, I am not offended – PF remains a great value for the budget conscious traveler in America. The Happiness Detective is now in his mid-40’s so take all this advice with that in mind. I am just not willing to deal with certain things that I used to not give two-shits about when I was younger. Now I am a member at Anytime Fitness. Its $44 a month but worth every penny. I am in so much better shape now than I was at PF as well…working out there is like having your own private sanctuary. No staff, few people and just your electronic key for 24/7 access. Its a piece of heaven on earth and no I am not an affiliate for them. I am really a stickler for the VIBE of a place and AF delivers the goods for me. I am very grateful to have discovered this fantastic gym. A little known fact is that there are more Anytime Fitness gyms in America than any other gym, except the YMCA. That is crazy to me! I’ve even used AF in Canada, its legit y’all.

A.F. is Legit for ME

If you wanna go VIP with the Gym idea then there is 24 hour fitness and Lifetime Fitness gym chains. I have not tried 24 hour fitness as yet but I have been a member at Lifetime in the past. LF gyms are super impressive, but the staff kind of nag you all the time to buy a personal training session with them. They figure you must be loaded because you are dropping around 100 bucks a month for a gym membership or whatever. Plus there are not as many LF gyms as they other options I’ve mentioned. But I stopped using LF after getting really sick one winter. I’m nearly certain I got deathly sick from one of their massive swimming pools or perhaps while in the sweaty sauna that looks like it has not been cleaned since the early 80s. In some places during winter an entire town will take over the Lifetime Fitness gym so it can get crowded as well. Too many negatives for the price imo…

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