This was my life for two months out of this year. I moved into my car on purpose, not because I had to. It was roomy. I have a 2014 Subaru Crosstrek. It was kind of like luxury car living. My windows are tinted so I didn’t have to worry about anybody looking in. I had it set up pretty sweet. A little plastic dresser from Walmart. A pretty comfy bed (three floor cushions from World Market, a tiny air mattress from REI, a sleeping bad, my furry blanket, and a cute blue Mexican blanket from Seaweed and Gravel). I was set.
Personally, I think everyone should experience living with limited means. Meaning, get out of your comfort zone. See if you can do it. It makes you feel alive and more importantly, it teaches you a lot of lessons.
One thing that I learned is it feels great to get rid of all the unnecessary shit. I wheeled and dealed on Craigslist the week before I moved into my car and made, I believe, over $300, selling stuff I never used. Don’t think about it, just get rid of it.
However I did keep all the essential stuff (mainly kitchen stuff and my bed) that I knew I would need if I moved back into a place. I’m so glad I did this. We rented a storage unit to store our necessities and it made the moving process into our current apartment so freakin easy.
I also learned that you do not need all the clothes that you think you need. I’m talking to you girls. I think the major reason girls go shopping so much is that they get bored with what they have. I hear you. But if that’s the case, stop buying stuff that goes out of style in a month and start figuring out what your personal style/uniform is. What do you always wear? Okay, buy that and get rid of the rest. When you live in your car, you don’t have the luxury of switching up your style all the time. You might think that sounds horrible, but for me, it was actually a relief.
When I first decided to move into my car, I was scared to tell anyone (watch this video if you plan on doing this, it will make you feel better). I remember when my boyfriend told me he was going to move into his to save money and I thought he was nuts. Then he pointed out how much I was paying in rent and how much I could save ($1,250/mo!!!). Suddenly, he seemed so smart. But still, I knew some people would freak out about it if I told them. And some people did, but most of our friends were extremely supportive. They were so kind in letting us spend the night every once in a while or giving us house-sitting opportunities. So actually #carlife brought out the best I’ve seen in people.
You see a whole different side of your community when you’re living in your car. Let me tell you, there are a lot of people living in their cars here in Encinitas that I had never noticed before. There is a whole movement of drifters in cars, vans and RVs. Go to Moonlight Beach at 7am and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And for a writer like me, it was fascinating.
Living in your car makes you live in the moment. There’s really no time to check out, theoretically, because you’re constantly having to find a place to go; a place to get Wi-Fi, a place to go to the bathroom, where to buy food, where to take a nap, etc. At first I found this so liberating. I literally did not have the time to think about bullshit. But after a month or so, it did get tiring. However, this is what I learned from living in the moment. I learned I only have this one life to live and I want to spend it doing what I love to do, or even sometimes doing stuff I don’t necessarily love…the point is, I don’t ever want to be checked out again. Checking out on life is death.
#CarLife makes you appreciate things! Refrigeration and bathrooms. Privacy.
I think the most important thing I learned from living in my car though is not to be scared anymore. I went against the norm, and yes, it was scary and I felt like a bum, but I did survive. And it has allowed me to spend almost the last two months focusing on what I love to do, writing and photography. #CarLife was a sacrifice of luxury living. Things were pretty bare bones and I survived. I even kind of miss it a little bit.
I think I appreciate what I have now more than ever. The simple things like making a smoothie in the morning or watching a movie in bed with my boyfriend, or being able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Most important lesson from living in my car…don’t take things for granted and somehow be okay with that.
*Note: The photo above is not an exact replica of my set up during this past summer. For some unknown reason, maybe because I was still a bit embarrassed by my situation and was trying to keep #carlife under wraps, I didn't end up taking a photo of my little car house while I was actually doing it. I had that dresser I spoke about above and lots of other crap (although I tried to keep it organized as much as I could) back there. I took this photo for the sake of showing you that it is possible to be comfortable in the back of a Subaru Crosstrek...it's like car camping. But when I showed my boyfriend this photo, he gave me the Kurt Russell look of disdain and said it wasn't the real thing...meaning, my car looked like a messy wreck compared to this compared to this pristine photo. But my cute little car bed always looked this comfy.