The 22-year-old intern lived in a car for 40 days and managed to go to work in a suitBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/the-22-year-old-intern-lived-in-a-car-for-40-days-and-managed-to-go-to-work-in-a-suit
When 22-year-old Levi Johnson managed to get into a production internship in Seattle in the last summer before graduating from university, he could not decide on a place to live for too long. "I behaved stupidly, I just didn't understand how things were going in Seattle," he said.
In the spring, when he started looking for housing, there were few offers on the market, and the places he looked at cost $ 1200-1400 per month. In the end, a student at the University of Texas at Austin found a local friend whose roommate was going to move out. "He was free from July to August, but I had to from June to August. There was a gap of 40 days in which I had nowhere to live," the guy says.
Levi Joseph and his Subaru Outback, in which he lived for 40 days.
Inspired by the story of a friend he met on a bike tour of the USA a year earlier, Joseph decided that he could live this time in his Subaru Outback car. Having taken care of a safe place to park, he booked through Airbnb a camping place in the suburbs for $ 600. And the guy managed to live 40 days in the car, appearing in the office every time in a suit.
The campsite that Joseph had booked was populated by people who stayed here for both short and long periods. The owner of the campsite, Stephanie, made a bonfire in good weather, and the residents gathered to talk about everything from politics to conspiracy theories. The guy did not always have the opportunity to sit by the fire, as sometimes he had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get to work by six.
Joseph gets dressed at the campsite before going to work at the office.
But when he stayed by the campfire, those were memorable moments. "I'm writing a thesis on the environment, and one night I was sitting by the campfire, they talked about world politics, then about traces of chemical pollution in the sky, and everything turned into a loud argument about conspiracy theories," Joseph recalls. "It was like a small commune. It was strange to them that a person working in an office was among them," he says.
He kept the trappings of his corporate life in a separate part of the car and could take his clothes to the dry cleaners in the office. "I lived in the car for three weeks during a climbing and fishing trip two years ago, but it was in nature. I didn't have business suits or anything. It's "a student living in a car" versus "a professional who tries to keep his things clean,"" says Joseph.
In front of the office, he always checks if dirt has stuck to his shoes.
Every morning, before going into the office, he checked to see if dirt had stuck to his shoes. "It made me laugh all the time," the guy says. In search of household amenities and to keep fit, Joseph signed up for a local climbing wall for $ 56 a month. In addition to a locker room with a shower, Wi-Fi and an iron, which he slowly used, he was in for a surprise: a whole party of extreme people who live in cars.
"It turned out there are a lot of people who climb rocks and live in their cars,— says Joseph. — There was a whole community living in cars in the parking lot. There were vans that I noticed when I was there, and I started spending weekends parked in the city, closer to everything I wanted to do. I'd wake up and use the local shower, and sometimes we'd wake up and make coffee together and wait in the parking lot for the climbing wall to open."
The campsite had basic amenities, but Joseph signed up for a climbing wall to use the shower there.
According to him, most of the other residents were guys living in vans. "There is a small difference between living in a car and living in a van. Vans are much easier to equip for yourself. People attached shelves and installed a bed on the platform, hung curtains. Some have generators or refrigerators, which give the feeling that you live in a house that moves, and not in a car."
"I wish I had curtains," Joseph reflects, "that would be a significant improvement. It is very difficult to darken the car. I was camping in the woods, so it was pretty dark, but there were bright lights next to the gym."
Inside the car.
While he was living like this, Joseph deduced for himself the three commandments of living in a car. At all costs, it is necessary to avoid theft, evacuation of the car and locking the keys in the car itself. There were no problems with the first two items, but one night he made a fatal mistake with the keys. "It was half past ten, I had to get up at 4:30 for work. I was changing for bed, so I was without a T-shirt and I didn't have my phone or wallet with me. Just a flashlight. I went to another person at the campsite and called the emergency service. They drove for two hours." The next morning could not be called kind.
It was easy to sleep in the dark at the campsite, because there was a forest around. But in the parking lot at the fitness center with darkness is more difficult.
One of the difficulties of living outside the home is the lack of space to relieve stress after work. As a result, you yourself do not notice how you spend your free time in the car. "At first I found myself spending time in the car reading or writing letters. Then I started going to coffee shops, but I didn't want to spend so much money. I was in the suburbs, so I started going to the nice local library after work. I made friends with the local librarians."
As for the food, Joseph took with him Jetboil, a miniature device that boils water quickly. In the mornings he used it to make instant porridge and coffee, but in the evenings he went to the cafe more often. Because of this and the cost of cleaning office clothes, he ended up spending more money than he had planned. Although he was earning the salary of a novice analyst, he focused on saving where he could.
All of Joseph's possessions, including his laptop, clothes, and watch, were in the car.
Joseph kept his life to himself. "At first I told my roommates about where I live, and they were delighted with this idea. I have a lot of friends in college who have lived in cars for a long time. It's almost fashionable for students to live in a van after school." Knowing that his parents would be worried, he didn't tell them anything at first. But he told his sister, because he decided that it was necessary for someone to know where he was.
Living in a car means no place to relieve stress after work.
At the beginning of July, Joseph moved out of the car into a vacant room at a friend's. The guy says that his move from the car to a normal home did not go quite smoothly. A lot of cost savings did not work out, as he believes — because of the food, and, although he is not sure that this is due to life in the car, a week after moving, he caught a virus.
Joseph prepares breakfast using the Jetboil device.
"I didn't feel homeless, but I didn't feel as comfortable as if I had an apartment. This, as well as the beginning of my first serious internship in a large company, turned out to be a lot of additional stress. But I think it made me for a month to be quite inventive and appreciate the basic amenities. Now I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment and I'm thinking, 'I love this sofa.'"
According to him, living in a car has become almost fashionable in student circles.
In addition, as a person who has lived on the university campus for several years surrounded by classmates, he was surprised by the huge amount of time spent alone. "Having time to be alone for 40 days turned out to be very instructive and ultimately positive."
Having lived in the car for more than a month, Joseph now values comfort and household amenities more.