October 6th, 2016
How to Live Out of a Car
YogaSlackers Sam and Raquel have been living together out of their Peace, Love, Car (a 1988 Ford Festiva) for over 4 years. During this time they managed to visit all 49 continental states in one year. Here are their main secrets to life on the road and how to maintain a healthy relationship on a mere 28 sqf of living space.
1) Understand ‘The Why?’
Before you decide to sell all your belongings, buy a car and hit the road, you first need to have a clear idea of why you want to do this. For this set of nomads, it all started in 2009 when Sam realized that he could travel longer and further if he didn’t have to return home every single time. His car - the Peace Love Car (aka PLC) - organically became his home allowing him to explore the US without the constraints of a traditional life. His 'why' was clear: He wanted to travel. When Sam and Raquel (also a traveler used to live out of a backpack) met, the transition to living on the PLC was natural. Her 'why' was clear: she wanted to travel too! Plus they both wanted to travel together. This naturally meant that the PLC was their new home. To make this a reality they both needed to create their own set of compromises.
It doesn’t matter if you decide to live on a 25 ft RV or on a tiny Peace Love Car - if you decide to go at it alone or to share your adventure with another human - you will need to be happy about creating compromises. For Sam that meant, sharing his tiny space with someone else. For Raquel that meant, not having a bathroom. Once you are clear about your 'why' making compromises is easy. The road opens up and all you have to do is prepare for what will come ahead.
3) Plan for Your Basic Needs
When boiled down to the very basics, our needs are: food and shelter. A car naturally provides shelter from the elements. A few customizations here and there can allow you to turn your four wheels into a place to live and rest. A simple sawing job allowed Sam to turn his passenger seat into a bed - long enough to fit a 6 ft person. When Raquel joined the team, they added a memory foam mattress to make the space cozy enough for two small people that really really really like each other!
Other considerations were privacy and temperature control. They solved this problem by purchasing bubble foil insulation from the hardware store. An easy fix that can be installed and stored in no-time. They sprayed insulation on the side panels of the car and purchased a fan. Yep, the PLC does not have air conditioning! Reason why they spend most of their summertime north.
As for food, they repurposed a tiny fridge made for ambulances to keep some perishables in the car and a hardware store bag to keep their non perishables. Added a few camping cooking items and they were almost set. One more thing was needed: water. To solve this challenge they installed two water bladders in each side of the car and carry a bunch of water bottles.
They realized that part of their work, was not only teaching classes, but planning and communicating with others. This required a lot of computer work, image processing and to stay connected. Sam installed about 20 USB ports, eight electrical outlets and an inverter on the car. A solar panel to take care of the charging and an external battery. Yep, no air conditioning but this weird looking vehicle has more charging opportunities than the new Tesla. They added an antenna and a signal booster to stay connected to the internet pretty much anywhere and a tablet on the dash to ‘navigate’. By no means they use this connectivity to stream netflix and watch movies while they drive. Nope, they wouldn’t do that. ;-)
5) Always Be Ready
Living on the road means that you will need to be ready for whatever life throws at you. Be ready to grab opportunities or to make changes to your plans. Keep your toiletry bag accessible for when a bathroom appears, your laundry bag at reach for when someone offers their laundry room or your running shoes in hand for when you see a nice trail that is calling your name. Make plans to create the best adventures possible and be opened to changing your plans unexpectedly. Is it raining today and you wanted to go climbing? Well, maybe today is a coffee shop and computer work day instead. But make sure to have the “Why’s” clear and repeat them to yourself, to your friends and to your family over and over. Only then you will be able to stay in track and to enjoy the life you have created.
It is not necessarily easy to live outside of the box. But life can be hard anywhere. There will be moments of joy and moments of sorrow. There will be moments of creativity and moments of stagnation. There will be moments you will enjoy and moments you will regret. Those moments will come to your life regardless of the place you decide to live. Therefore, if life on the road is calling you: go for it. Maybe we will cross paths somewhere.
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