As I've talked with more and more people about my living situation, I've noticed a few questions that come up all the time. I'm going to answer them here in full, gory detail.
How do you go to the bathroom at night? Do you just pee in the woods?
As cool as it would be, my life is not an episode of Man vs Wild. I do have 24 hour key card access to any building on the campus that I work at, so I could use the facilities in there if I really needed to, but thus far it's just been about planning. I try not to eat or drink anything after about 7:30 PM, and I wash up and go to the bathroom right before I head out to the truck at night. When I wake up in the morning, I ride my bike to the gym and go to the bathroom there.
Where do you, like, shower and stuff?
I've mentioned this one in an earlier post, but my employer has showers and gyms on campus, mainly because a lot of people bike into work and need to shower off so the office doesn't smell like a frat house. So every morning, I wake up nice and early (around 5:30 AM), ride my bike to the gym, work out, shower, and start my day. While I could skip the gym and go straight for the showers, I feel like that would look strange. Even if I got passed that, keeping that regimen of working out every day is a good habit to be in.
Don't you get lonely out there?
The fact of the matter is that I'm hardly ever in here, except to sleep. I'm working until 5 or 6 PM, and then hanging out with friends or working on personal projects until 8:30 or 9 PM. When I'm in the box, I'm either writing these posts or getting ready for bed. The whole point of this experience is that a bed was the only part of a house that I needed, so if I was in here all of the time, I'd be doing it wrong.
How much money are you saving?
A really cheap apartment in the Bay Area (and I'm talking really cheap), would be about $1,000 a month, bare minimum. So over the course of four years, I'd be paying (again, bare minimum here) about $48,000 in rent, and have nothing to show for it. No physical property, no equity, nothing. After taxes, the truck cost me $10,000, plus about $750 a year for insurance. Let's also factor in the cost of gas. Assuming it gets about 10 miles to the gallon, and I drive it about 25 miles a week (I don't really drive it much at all), that's 2.5 gallons a week, and 130 gallons a year. On a pricier week, gas is $4 a gallon, so that's $520 a year. So $10,000 + $750 * 4 + $520 * 4 = $15,080. So for a super conservative estimate, I'm saving about $33,000 over the course of four years. That's just the raw minimum savings, I'll be investing approximately 95% of all of my post-tax, post-401k, post-benefits income. I've mentioned many times that it isn't about the money, but clearly this living situation makes my future plans much more flexible.
Have you ever been caught?/Where do you keep the truck?/What happens when you get caught?
In the week and a half that I've been doing this so far, I haven't had anyone approach the truck while I was in it or question me or anything like that. I keep it parked at the edge of an open-air parking lot on my employer's campus. If security were to come by, I doubt it would be a big issue. I've registered the car with the company vehicle database, so they know it belongs to an employee, and I've read stories about people at very similar companies having short conversations with security, and then never being bothered again. I'm not very worried about it right now, but if security does come knocking, I'll let them know that I work there. Worst case scenario, they aren't happy and they ask me to leave, at which point I get a membership at the RV parking lot down the street.
What do you do for electricity?
I don't actually own anything that needs to be plugged in. The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive, battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small (15,000 mAh) battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cell phone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work. As I mentioned in a previous post, I could get a solar panel/power bank for real AC power, but I just don't even know what I would use it for right now.
Those were all the main questions I could think of. If you have any more you'd like me to answer, and you're reading this, you probably know me well enough to just ask me.