VanDwelling in LA

VanDwell_1For nearly two years, I’ve been what I like to call “home-free.” Selectively homeless. Currently, I live in the back of my pickup. Not just when I’m on a road trip — full-time.

My truck bed has a cozy setup, built mostly with my own hands. Plywood panels line the interior, providing a complex system of storage and shelving, which keeps the essentials close at hand. A butane stove sits atop the passenger-side cabinet, hinged to fold into a table for work or dining. Across the centered memory-foam mattress is a driver’s-side bookcase, housing a small library of my favorite titles — Jon Krakauer, Charles Bukowski, Aimee Bender — below a water jug and a paper towel rack. The truck/home includes a clothes hanger and a mini fridge. I plan to install a solar panel and a moonroof.

It’s modern, mobile simplicity. Henry Ford meets Henry David Thoreau.

Despite my concerns, Ashley accepts this. I used to wonder why, but I’m learning to accept it, too. I think it started that morning on Lake Powell, my arm around her drowsy body, basking in the solar glory of the remote landscape. She felt at home with my home-free lifestyle. I asked her why.

“Human reasons,” she said.

The scenery changes, but the reality of the lifestyle remains the same.

I moved into my truck this spring, overnighting on the streets of Los Angeles after I lost my job to companywide layoffs. By then I’d already spent the previous 500 days secretly living in my office (a story chronicled in the L.A. Weekly on Oct. 17, 2013).

Read the full article HERE

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