Archive for the 'Car Living' category

Mentioned in the New York Times Magazine!

 | November 14, 2011 9:39 pm

I just got a (very quick) mention in the New York Times Magazine about vandwelling.  It’s the 7th story down and there’s just a sentence about me, but I’m still excited about it.  Apparently vandwelling is becoming fashionable.  Yay!  I’m a trendsetter!



Working on the Road (or Learning How to Nurse a Scone for Two Hours)

 | March 24, 2011 2:54 pm

Unlike most of my roadtrips in the past during this one, I’m working.  During my next three months of travel I’ll also be doing a bit of work for KJazz, (my regular job) and in the first week of April classes for my masters degree will be starting up again.  My next three months of classes need to be done online so I’m able to continue even while on the road.

As it turns out, working on the road is tricky. I didn’t have internet access the first couple days and was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by all that I had to do. Thanks to iHop, Denny’s, Starbucks, Peet’s, and their wireless internet I’ve been able sort of get caught up now.  It will take some getting used to but I think I’m finding the flow of working on the road.  Once class starts up again in April it might be another situation, but hopefully by then I’ll have things sorted out for the classes I’ll be teaching at the Shuttlebirds tatting conference.

Looks like during the next couple months I’ll be nursing lots of tea and pancakes just for the chance to use the internet for a couple hours at a time.

Vandwelling page updated!

 | January 27, 2009 3:36 pm

While I was in Hawaii my parents drove my car so they took apart the bed and put the front seat back in. It meant that while I was putting the bed back together I had a chance to take some pictures of the process that I’d missed the first time. I’ve added the missing steps to my Vandwelling page and hopefully that gives a more clear idea of what the inside of my little 30 square feet apartment looks like.

Sightseeing on Maui and my very first overnight guest in a car

 | January 11, 2009 6:30 pm

I had about a week and a half for sight-seeing on Maui and spent the first two nights at a hostel, (renting a car for the night of New Year’s Eve was a ridiculous $101 a day, Jan 1-9, was a more reasonable $18). My idea was to rent the car and live in that while sightseeing the island. It’s been interesting because Hawaii is a bit different than the mainland, so some of my little tricks for finding places to stay don’t work so well. Also, going back to not having tinted windows and curtains has been strange. I miss my stealth!

Renting a car makes it real easy to make friends at a hostel, and after I moved out I hung out with J and D, two guys who were sightseeing in Hawaii after J’s brother’s wedding.

We did some picnicking on the beach, drove around West Maui (which I think is a better drive than the Road to Hana), biked down the volcano, hung at the pool and topped it off by watching and making fun of a couple of westerns. Actually, come to think of it, we made fun of a lot of things. Exactly my type of company.

Lack of planning (partly our fault for constantly distracting him) left D without a place to stay the night before he took the ferry to Honolulu so I had my first overnight guest while living in a car. I wish it’d been in an area I knew better. We had a couple false starts (or stops, rather) trying to pick out a place to stay, but in the end D found a nice residential area and we slept pretty well until about 6am. Or at least I did. D is 6’1″ so I doubt he was quite as comfortable in the passenger seat as I was in the driver’s seat. I was happy to introduce the whole sleeping in a car thing to someone new. I was quite amused by the whole thing.

Then again, I’m quite amused by many things.

For J: Why does the moon rise 50 minutes LATER each day. Trust the astrophysicist.

My “Situation”

 | August 29, 2008 11:27 am

I’ve been quite free with talking to people about living the car and traveling. During the pledge drives we have over a hundred volunteers come into the station, some who already know and asked about the car from the last pledge drive. I enjoy talking about the car, what I’ve done to it, and what it’s like living in it (if I didn’t I wouldn’t have started up this website). I’m more than happy to show people the website and if time permits, the car itself. In short, pretty much anyone who knows me knows I live in a car. Those who don’t just haven’t been around when the topic came up.

A little while back, someone who I don’t know really well, but who I see on a fairly regular basis made reference to my “situation.” It took me a minute to figure out what this person meant. At first I thought they were referring to the fact that I keep coming and going. Spending a month or so in LA and then two months on the road. Then it dawned on me that “my situation” is just that I live my car. As if it’s something too horrible to actually name; it must be hidden behind the phrase “your situation” like it’s the 1950′s and I’m unwed and pregnant.

On the whole, I get mostly positive reactions when I tell people I live in my car. (Many are very amused, but they’re willing to accept it.) This comment made me wonder if perhaps I’m just seeing what I want to see, or people are smiling and humoring me on the outside, but inside are thinking: “That poor, poor girl. How sad it is that she must suffer the horrors of having to shower at the gym. If only there were something I could do so that she could experience the joys of outrageous rent and a 90 minute commute.”

Maybe I haven’t actually been doing a very good job at getting across the point that this is exactly the situation I WANT to be in.

This got me wondering why it is that vandwelling might even need to be defended? When I tell someone with a big smile on my face that I live in a car why might they ever consider that I’m actually miserable and just trying to put a good spin on it?

I want to make it clear that 95% of the people I talk to about vandwelling think it’s awesome even if it’s something they’d never consider doing themselves. In this post though I’m trying to figure out what’s going on in the minds of the other 5%.

Earlier this year my brother spent a month and a half wandering around New Zealand. He carried all he needed in a backpack, hitched rides, slept in campgrounds or on the sofas of people he just met, or sometimes just spent the night the city park. He had no itinerary and no paying job, but it didn’t matter.

Talking about our travels with other people, he and I might get the some questions about logistics or safety, but his travels are not something that would be discussed in hushed and secretive tones. Part of it, of course, is just the portrayal in the media of people who live in vans or cars. (Cue Chris Farley.)

I suppose that does make some sense, backpacking around the world is not something that people are often “forced” to do, while moving into a car or a van is more often than not something done out of economic necessity. Not for me, but usually.

So I suppose backpacking around the world is not really a fair comparison.

Well, what about an RV then? If I were traveling the country in an RV I doubt I would get this reaction. I would argue that traveling in my car isn’t all that different than traveling RV. What is it about the existence of a bathroom that makes that type of travel more acceptable?

Perhaps it’s because I’m not traveling full-time yet. The person who’s comment started me off on this train of thought only sees me while I’m in LA working. During that time I’m staying put. Maybe this is the big difference between traveling in a van/car and living in a van/car. Traveling is acceptable, living is not.

Because as we all know, (from tv shows and such), people who are living in vehicles do so only because they have no other choice. And so of course some people will assume that must be the case for me as well.

Inexplicably, this has not translated into people offering to buy me lunch. Perhaps they think I’d be insulted. (Really, it’s ok. Insult away.)

I spent three years saving, planning, and waiting until the time I’d be able to do this. I work only five months a year at a job I enjoy and spend the other seven months traveling. I am not touching a dollar of my savings. In fact, over the course of last year I’ve still been putting money away into savings. I’m visiting old friends, meeting new people. I have the time to read books, work on my own projects, or do absolutely nothing at all if I feel like it.

That is my situation.

And that is precisely why I talk to everyone I meet about living and traveling in my car. There’s nothing so bad about it that it needs to be discussed in those hushed tones.

I'm happy to use Increase Sociability.