Monday, October 29, 2012

Living in Your Car

So I did my "get rid of your stuff" video and several of the comments were people talking about living in their cars.  I figured today there must be some kind of sub-culture where people do live in their cars and probably have made an art of it, and BAAM!!!  What do you know?

The idea of living out of your car intrigues me on several levels.

One, with all the hiking, adventuring and mountain climbing I do, it inevitable that I would have to sleep in my car at times.  Additionally, if you can avoid paying for hotels, you can take what would be a mere week long vacation and turn it into a two week vacation with the money you save.  It wasn't until quite recently anyway that I allowed myself to sleep in hotels.  I would either push onto my destination staying awake the extra 8 hours and saving $70 or I would find a wayside, get 4 hours sleep and finish the trip.  Regardless, it was interesting to see my experiences taught me most of what he presents in his video/blog.

Two, if the SHTF living in a vehicle I believe is going to be the default option for a lot of people.  Myself and most of us here i believe have the mental fortitude to do that, but I wonder how many preppy suburbanites who rely on their daily Starbucks would have a mental break down.  Oh, and no nesting in the car.

Three, in my pursuit and obsession with minimalism, I am intrigued by the savings power of living in a vehicle.  STick with me here.  How long would you have to live in a car, essentially rent free, to save up enough money to just pay for a house?  Or heck, pay for college.  Assume $750 a month and that's about 15 years for a $150,000 house.  Not likely to do that, but it is possible.  Additionally, consider the freedom.  With no mortgage or rent to pay, your living expenses are just food, gas, and toiletries.   If you can make some kind of income off of the internet, then you can pretty much just drive where ever you want making "homeless" a term of freedom, not a societal class.

Four, I was going to say the one drawback of this would be it would kill your love life, but after thinking about it I'm not even sure about that.  How many loser musicians do you know that mooch off of girlfriend after girlfriend?  You're not playing "Dirk Winthrop Investment Banker" game, but poor starving, impoverished loser man game.  Certainly better than being a nice, reliable guy.


Anonymous said...

I happen to know a guy who lived in his car for six years.

He was single and had a good job (software developer). He just said that he got frustrated paying rent for a place that he rarely saw. Between his heavy work load and taking all the time he could to go camping on weekends it just seemed like a waste.

I think the key is that he lived in Alaska and that is a state that 'embraces the quirky' and so he really kind of fit in.

Have you ever considered Alaska? It seems like your kind of place.

Reido said...

I used to have old VW campers, but for the truly frugal, any Dodge minivan is the ticket. Take the seats in the back out, get an airmattress and a sleeping bag, build a wooden shelf up on side to put it on that you can store stuff underneath and you are all set. In my VW days, truckstops were my campground of choice, 24 hr washrooms with showers and if you were feeling particularly well to do, the trucker breakfast special would last most of the day.

. said...

Been there, done that. A truck with a canopy is nice, and a black and white TV that plugs into your cigarette lighter is a worthwhile investment for only $20 or $30.

When I got my pilot's license, I drove all over God's green acre looking for work, and slept in the truck. Like you said, you can stretch out a trip a lot further if you forgo the hotels. I also used to keep my own firewood in the back, and also, a cooler filled with kaiser-buns and other various picnicable items, which I generally shopped for each day - saved a lot of money to eat my own picnics rather than restauranting it.

One of the best adventures of my life, by far. Man, did I travel far and wide. I even made it to the Arctic Circle!

Anonymous said...

O/T...SDA site down?? Do you have any connections?

Paul, Dammit! said...

Nope, this is where I'll say no thank you. I do believe in minimalism, but I also believe in ejoying myself, and nothing says bottom of the barrel, officer" like enjoying a decent glass of scotch in the seat of my fucking truck.
We go this way once, then spent a long time dead. I'd just as soon spend more time doing what I love than fulfilling the intellectual challenges that lead to saving one's fingernail clippings and 40 years of newspapers.
Plus, I'm averse to taking a shit in plastic bags where such things can be avoided.

Anonymous said...

As a minimalist, have you looked up Early Retirement Extreme?

Anonymous said...

The in-between option is to have minimalistic living arrangements -and- a vehicle that you could live in for at least a short time if you had to. For some good ideas, look at skiers who stay in their vehicles for one or more nights. Not only is skiing physically exhausting, which means you need something comfortable and flat to sleep on, but there is a lot of extra gear that needs to be stored (hint: a pod-shaped, lockable ski carrier on top of your car can carry a lot more than just skis). And of course there is also the fact that they are sleeping in their vehicle in sub-freezing weather.

Anonymous said...

I may have mentioned this: "Teardrop" trailer. Any car can tow one. A couple tanks of propane, a small gas fridge, a small "suitcase" genny, and a small motor bike and you can go and camp just about anywhere.

Andrew S said...

Since you're an outdoors enthusiast, you might look at an expedition truck - an offroad vehicle that brings some of the comforts of home along with you. You could live out of one with minimal hardship, they're designed for long-term camping. I want one just like this: . I don't think you'd have any trouble pulling pussy in a ride like that, and the costs to upgrade a stock truck would easily be recouped with a year of not paying rent.

Cogitans Iuvenis said...

I have to agree with Paul. If necessity dictates I do so I will, but there are so many other options that can come first.

CMY said...

Another idea- sailboat. That's really the only way a 'homeless' person lives like a rockstar.