Is #HotelPrius Still A Thing?

Hello Friends!
Wow! It still blows me away how many of you still write to me and share with me your stories and your generous words thanking me for inspiring you to get out there and explore, to travel, and and to see the world. I have been so honored to be play such a small role in so many of your journeys – or at least be able to partly inspire them. It also makes me laugh a bit when I see or read of post from one of you, outfitting your Prius and making it resemble mine. I saw one guy even named his car #PriusInn and I think that’s Awesome.

I have to admit though, the lifestyle I once lived, feels so long ago for me. It’s only been a few years, but I certainly have kept myself busy since then. But to answer you questions: No, #Hoteprius has not been a thing for quite some time – at least not in hotel form;). I do still drive it from time to time and is still going strong at 236K miles!! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t. This thing is a machine. #Prius4lyfe.

If you want to know what #Hotelprius is doing now, I’m happy to share: Check out the website to see what I’ve been up to. This is me now. I think I’m what…. 31 years old now – Yikes!

In short, I’ve started a design and construction company called #HomeIsHowYouBuildIt. Sounds Familiar? Some of you already made the connection. It was inspired from the popular hashtag #HomeIsWhereYouParkIt. I started building vans and buses and little campers for a few years then finally transitioned to homes – mostly design and remodeling. I really like it. It’s been a really exciting time in my life but BUSY to say the least. Aren’t we all? Sadly, I haven’t too much cared about sharing my life with the world as of late. I’ve been keeping everything relatively private, even with the new business. Not for any particular reason other than I haven’t made time for it, and honestly I’ve really just always struggled with the role of social media in my life. I learned it had a pretty big influence on my day-to-day life and I felt my quality of life was better without it. I post from time to time but I must admit I do it mostly because I feel it out of obligation to stay “relevant” -or whatever that means. I’m happy to still talk about it, but the desire to be known by strangers became less and less appealing to me as time (and I suppose myself) grew on.

If you want to still connect with me or have questions about the #HotelPrius Lifestyle, I’m still here and check in from time to time. The best way to get a hold of me though is through my website.

It’s been real friends! Happy Travels!

Chris (#HotelPrius)


Sleeping In Caves

Every once in awhile I’ll leave the comforts of my home (#HotelPrius) and venture out, exploring new and sometimes familiar sleeping arrangements. With everything I need to survive in the overhead Thule suitcase above my head, what I call my attic, there is sometimes no reason not to branch out and sleep somewhere different. And no, I’m not taking about hotels.


As of today, I’m headed west, still undecided as to where I am going or what I plan to do. Not to be all cliche on you, but…

It really is about the journey and not my destination.

As mentioned before this trip is my therapy, my medicine, my…dare I say it… rehab. You see, over the last several months I’ve had utter and complete control over my life. In January of 2016, I started a company called #HomeIsHowYouBuildIt specializing in custom renovations and conversions for vans, campers, school buses, and other small homes on wheels. I’ve been busy. I’ve had no time for a vacation or even the time to remind myself I need one. The whole new adventure has been very similar to climbing a mountain, up and down. It’s been enjoyable and exhausting, both creatively rewarding and character challenging. It’s also been completely controlled. Down to every detail. From the slightly OCD organized garage of tools to every cut, cabinet, drawer and dimension, all under my deliberate and all-knowing eye and hand. I governed it all and to my own demise, my life began to govern me. I would wake up knowing exactly what I wanted to do and accomplish for the day, and I would do it. Exactly as planned. I knew what package would be arriving, whom would come over and when work would stop. I managed three employees whom I unknowingly conditioned to come to me with every decision that needed to be made. In short: I became a control freak. As a result, my relationships, my creativity, my character suffered. I created a false world in which I became king and Efficiency and productivity became the god I served.

I started to notice this becoming a problem only after my 105th argument with the people around me. Not just with the team but also with the clients. I was called out by friends but refused to compromise. The control I had in my life led to a unwavering sense of entitlement and need to constantly have my way. With a healthy desire to change bad habits and become the opposite of the person I was becoming, I knew something had to change. The voice of an old wise house-parent growing up in children’s homes, echoed in my head.

“Keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.”

And so here we are…


There is something very primordial about sleeping in a cave. I’ve slept here before, so this is nothing new. The first time was with a long time girlfriend, the most memorable was with my adopted little brother and sick sister who contracted “Montezuma Revenge” by accidentally swallowing the water from the Rio earlier in the day. Despite the now composted piles of little sisters diarrhea memories scattered across the desert,  it has still become one of my favorite places in all of Texas.


I’m sure you can see why.






Hello my friends!
It’s been awhile. I want to first welcome all the new followers to the blog and say thank you to everyone who has commented, liked, or posted over the last year since I’ve been away. Your words have been a pleasure to read and have brought me tons of encouragement to me as I’ve made yet another big transition in my life.

To catch you up quickly:
Since #HotelPrius ended back in June of last year. Quite a lot has happened. Of course so much more has happened but I’ll share with you highlight real:

  • I bought a camper in Tennessee. It was old and crappy.
  • I renovated it and nicknamed it #MotelCamper #GoogleIt
  • I lived out of it for 6 months and moved back to Austin Read about it.
  • I listed it on Airbnb and it got some attention. House Beautiful Magazine Article
  • I bought another camper, renovated that and put that on Airbnb.  Check it out.
  • I then helped a friend build a real life #TinyHome and learned a ton!
  • From there I started a company called #HomeIsHowYouBuildIt converting vans, campers and buses for those who wanted to live on the road.
  • My first client was @JaxAustin and his Short Bus Dan. Check out his Daily YouTube
  • Since January I’ve been nonstop converting vans and buses and campers alike. Check out my Instagram and see all the progress. Click here. You may have to do some scrolling. 🙂

It’s been nuts to say the least. After spending 15 months full-time in a prius at an average speed of 65 miles an hour, to full-time starting a business at an average speed of 120 miles an hour, I’m exhausted, but proud. I’m more stressed than I have ever been, but I could say I’m also the most fulfilled. Living in #HotelPrius was and has been one of the greatest experiences of my life simply because it allowed me to get where I am. It was no doubt the catalyst for what I do today. But the journey isn’t over yet.

As of yesterday, I’m back on the road for a bit and planned to do some writing and a little vacationing. #HotelPrius is outfitted up and I’m currently in my favorite place on earth – Big Bend National Park. My plan while I am here is really to take a break from it all. I’ll break this down a little more when I have some time to process and put into a readable linear format for you, but for now, I just wanted to catch you up.

For a little more details of whats up and for more of a live view of what’s going on, check The Gram to stay updated.

Adventure What does it mean to you?


In light of recent emails I’ve received, I’ve felt it appropriate to share this blog post with you all in hopes to continue to inspire you. Enjoy!

Recently I was in the grocery store and overheard a woman directing her 10-or-so year old son to the breakfast isle to pick his favorite cereal. “An adventure!” he declared with a fist aimed toward the sky as he took of around the next corner. “Really?” I wanted to say. “You should get out more kid.” But then I thought, “Who am I to define what an adventure means to this kid.” I ditched my groceries and pulled into a coffee shop and wrote the following:

“What is that itch inside of us that longs for adventure? And what is it about adventure that makes us feel so…alive? Is it the excitement? The challenge? The unknown? I guess the real question we need to ask ourselves is, what does adventure mean to me?”
My goal in this post is to not define adventure for you, but to cause you to think about what adventure means in your own life. These are just thought on paper. Questions I’ve been asking myself lately. Questions like: What characteristics need to be present for a truly defined adventure? Does adventure mean taking a trip? Does it have to be fun and exciting? Does it have to be risky, dangerous, lawful? Is an adventure exclusive to traveling somewhere, and if so, does it have to be to a place that is new or unfamiliar? Must a true adventure challenge you or can it be easy? It’s true, a truly great adventure seems to have most of these great qualities, but do these qualities define what it means to have an adventure?

I have a few thoughts.

What Adventure is NOT:

Adventure has nothing to do with fun or excitement:
Sure, some adventures can be a ton of fun and super exciting, but I would argue that a true adventure is not depended on whether or not there is a smile on your face or if there is a release of endorphins to your brain. Last year, I made the choice to live out of my car instead of dealing with the financial obligations of paying rent. I remember the moment when I finished packing my car and sat in the drivers seat and closed the door for the first time, to begin this little “Adventure” of mine. As I sat there, in the seat of my Toyota Prius, still, I remember feeling a variety of emotions and sensations. Of course there was a large part of me that got excited because I knew I was going to at least have a little fun. But even if I didn’t, that is not what my trip was about. For me, it was something much more. Fun and excitement were just possible bi-products of a much greater goal.

An adventure does NOT have to be a new experience:
Contrary to popular belief, an adventure does not have to be something new. Yes, I will agree newness is great. Newness is exciting. But newness is not synonymous with excitement number one, and number two, and perhaps most importantly, newness wears off. Like any new car or new toy, or game or thing or place, the excitement associated with the “new” dissipates over time and most often the thing that once occupied the majority of our time, thoughts, energy and temporary affection is forgotten and replaced in time with something else. This, sadly, is the culture we live in. We are always wanting more and more. We want the next biggest and best thing. We become bored and the desire for more stimulus is only deepened with each passing “new” thing we aquire or place we visit. Case in point, newness does not define an adventure. You do! Regardless if you are experiencing something for the first time or for the thirteenth, it is your choice what and how you do and choose to spend your time. Not every experience is the same every single time. Tell that to your second kid! Much has to do with who you choose to adventure with.

Adventure is not about the Travel:
We like to think adventure is synonymous with travel also. Why? Because social media platforms like Instagram do a really good job of convincing us that traveling across the world, climbing a big mountain, experiencing some remote place is where the real adventure lies. That may be true, but one thing is certain, travel itself is not a requirement for adventure. I was having a conversation this week with some friends of mine who recently got married and are strongly considering trying for a baby. For anyone familiar with having a baby, they know that this experience and process is nothing less of an big and risky undertaking. An adventure of a lifetime one could say. But travel? Traveling back and forth to the hospital maybe.

What Adventure IS!
Adventure may not be defined by travel, but it is defined by the Journey! 
First and foremost I think an adventure needs to be a journey. But not necessarily a physically one. You don’t in fact need to travel anywhere to be on a journey. Journeys can be emotional, spiritual, intellectual, personal. If I have learned anything in my 27 years on this earth it is this: Where I go, ultimately means nothing in my story. It’s the people I meet along the way. And I don’t think I need to state the obvious, but I will. You don’t have to cross state lines to meet new people. The truth is, people travel for lots of reasons. We travel to expose ourselves to the experiences of new places, new perspectives, and new world views. Some do it just to escape. But for those of you who feel you have to get out to experience this, or I guess more importantly, for those of you who feel they are missing something because they are not out gallivanting the globe, don’t worry! The meaningful life and adventure your heart seems to longs for, can be attained right where you are. And It doesn’t have to be right NOW. Listen, by all means I want you to travel, I want you to experience new places and people. I want you to learn about life outside your town or city or country. But what I don’t want is you to feel that if you don’t travel, or don’t have the means to travel right now, you are missing something that is required to feed and sooth your soul. As I mentioned in a previous post. Travel will not help you find yourself, all it will do is help you realize who you were back home.
A real adventure involves at least a small level of risk.
This, I think is the kicker. Good stories and a good adventures involve risk. A leap of faith. Or at least a step into the unknown and unfamiliar. The unknown is inherent IN the risk. It’s why it’s considered a risk, because you don’t know the outcome. This can be scary because all of us to some extent fear failing. Failing and falling are apart of life and something we need to experience at some point in order to move forward. Its how we learn, its how we grow, it’s how we toughen-up when life throws us a curvball. And when that same curveball hits us in the kneecaps and sends us to the ground. I like the way Thomas Edison says it. “I didn’t fail, I just came up with 1,000 ways to do it wrong.” I like that. But I also know that sometimes we fall and it hurts. I’ve never known a kid learning to ride a bike to not fall at least once. You are going to fall! It’s bound to happen. But that can’t stop you from setting your eyes on whatever it is you want to do in life, and be willing to suck it up, brush off your bruised knees, and try again! Don’t be afraid of risk. Big risks equal big rewards. Adventure thrives on risk, like oxygen to a fire. Go for it!

A true Adventure needs Challenge.
I want you to think about every good story you have ever read or watched. What does it have in common with all other great stories? I’ll tell you. It has a character who wants something and has to overcome a challenge to get what he wants! Think about it, every good movie or book has this very important element. If life is a story and you are a character, the question you must ask yourself is, “What do you want?” And better question: “What are you willing to do to get it?” I think every good adventure needs to challenge you in some way. Very much like risk, It’s how we grow, its how you learn, and it’s all apart of your journey. Challenges in our lives need to be embraced not pushed away. But you know what I love about challenges? They can be fun! That is with the right state of mind. What if you started thinking about the challenges in your life not as stumbling blocks, but stepping stones to where you want to be! Let that sink in. Read it again.

It’s all about how you look at it. When I made the choice to live out of my car, it was paramount I viewed my setbacks with that stepping stone perspective, or else I’m not sure I would have ever made it. Truth: Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment after completing something big, especially after setbacks. The excitement, the rush, remembering the struggle, the strategy, the new found confidence! Wait, was I just describing an adventure? See what I mean?

So now I ask you this: What’s your current adventure? What story are you telling? What challenges are you currently going through? Whatever it is, I encourage you to Find it. Embrace it. And call it what it is – an Adventure. And scream it outloud with your first held high like the boy in the grocery store, unashamed! Whether that is moving to a new place, starting a new job, getting married, having a kid, roadtripping across the country, buying a home, starting college, building a garden, volunteering with a new organization, trying a new church, or whatever it may be. I want you to think of your life as a whole, as one big adventure, not a bunch of individual ones comprising of a life. And remember, not every moment in that adventure needs to be a mountaintop experience. What you do along the way, no matter what it is or how you go about it, rest assured it is part of your individual unique story and journey that makes you, you! Live the life you dream and don’t live with regrets and don’t be afraid to fail!

Go for it. I believe in you!

Happy Adventure yall!

-Chris Sawey

Lesson 14: Starting New Friendships is NOT as Fun as Starting New Restaurants

FullSizeRender 22If you have ever wondered how #hotelprius funds its adventures, restaurant startups is your answer. As an experience server, educator, and all around efficiency efficinato , I had this great idea once.

My idea? I would combine all the things I was good at and pursue a field that could benefit from my skillsets and experiences. I wasn’t looking for a career, just something to give me an excuse to travel. After some thought, an idea come to the forefront. But in order to make it seem “legit” to the outside world, I needed a fancy title. So I made it up.

I now call myself a “Quality and Efficiency Specialist.” (I may be giving my secrets away here but I don’t care.)

Now, I make a living by jumping on board promising restaurant start-ups in new-to-me-cities and teach what I know about efficiency and the customer service experience. It is my excuse to travel, and it’s a great excuse to try new delicious food from chefs all over the world. The secret to my success? With proper timing and marketing, most restaurants are successful in the first 90 days. Why? Simply because people love new food and new experiences and there will be always be people wanting to try a local food source in their city. Essentially, I make my money from tips delivering stellar service and promising to bring in positive reviews. With each new restaurant and new city I drive into, comes with it a new set of people.

What I’ve leaned, investing in restaurants is easy. Investing in friends is much harder. With new restaurants, the order of action is, I come in, present my knowledge, implement some efficiency strategies and teach it to the team when needed. The tools for my work exists in document form on my computer and my initial investment is minimal, but highly educational and productive. When it’s over, I walk away with more experience, full pockets, and a sweet lingering taste in my mouth.

My new made friends on the other hand, not as easy. Simply because investing in people is much different than investing in restaurants. There are no easy tools and efficiency tactics to be a good friend. Only time and a willingness to be venerable and show your true self is how to be successful in this market. True friendships, well they take time that a 90 day period most always doesn’t allow. When I leave a restaurant my job is done and I don’t need to come back. With new friends however, that is never my intention. I don’t want to be a friend for 90 days and leave, but inevitably that is what ends up happening. Starting a new restaurant is always fun. Starting new friends over and over, not so much. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to how to maintain long lasting frienships while only being in a city for only a few months. I wish I did. If this lifestyle has taught me anything though, it is that I CAN’T do this forever, (at least not in #hotelprius), but it is a great way to travel and make money and gain experience at the same time.

Lesson 13: Life is a Story and We Write the Chapters.

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It is perhaps this idea that “life is a story” that has catalyzed so many of my latest risks and adventures. Somewhere in my early twenties, through a series of books, personal life events, and talking with inspiring people- people like Don Miller and Bob Goff, I began to subscribe to this idea that life is only what you make of it and that in order to live a life of measurable value, it needed to contain great stories. Stories full of love and adventure and meeting great people. Stories of taking big risks and having great faith. Stories of failure and successes, stories full of whimsy and grace.

I guess, not every story needs to have these things, but the goods ones seem to and I want to live a good one.

I think all of us want to live great lives, and for me, seeing life as a story has really encouraged me to live life to it’s fullest. I love stories and I love great characters. I want to be able a great character and want to look at my life as a whole one day, and say, “Yeah that was awesome!” I want to run after the things I think are important while I still can. Above all, I want to be me to the best of my ability.

Here is what I have learned though in the last year in living out of my car. If you sit around waiting for life to happen to you, you are going to miss it. It will pass in front of you and before you know it, and you will miss out on the one chance you have in this life to make or be apart of something great. Life is a story that we have to write ourselves.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that #hotelprius was my gift to the world, no not by any means, but it did provide me the launching board to discover and explore new things, new people, new cultures, and helped me hone in on where my gifts and talents lie. It helped me strategize and write my story without the distraction of bills and debt hanging over my head.

My journey is not even close to being done. My character is still being introduced, and I’m still finding my niche. However, I am hopeful, I will find it in the next couple of chapters. Eventually, I’ll settle down, and you know, get a house and a wife and kids in all that. But right now, I’m enjoying this chapter as best I can because I will never be able to live it again.

Lesson 12: Learning to be content in every circumstance is by far the hardest task in the world.

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What is contentment exactly? Contentment is being satisfied with what we have and where we are in life, no matter the circumstances, no matter what.

Yeah…I’m not there yet. Not even close!

I think all of us desire to be happy in this life but sometimes, at least for me, I find myself believing that if I had more, I would be happier! If that was true, then people with the most would be the happiest. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far to see that is just not reality. So knowing this to be true, I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to pursue contentment rather than happiness. Happiness is fleeting. It is here for a moment then gone the next. It is different from contentment because while happiness usually requires something external to fuel itself, contentment is derived from within. Being content takes constant work and the constant reminder to yourself of the things you do have, and being appreciative for them. For me, I have to go out of my way to do this. Through my everyday, there is apart of me that wants and desires more, either more stuff, a better job, or just more out of life in general. And that’s not a bad thing. I think it’s good to be thinking of ways to improve the quality of life. But it is the desire of wanting more that makes me unsatisfied with what I do have. I have to force myself to convince myself I don’t need more and having more, is not what I need. Finding contentment is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do because it requires tricking the mind into believing something that is completely contrary to everything we have learned and thought we knew. We live in a world where wanting more is hardwired into American culture. Wanting more is literally what fuels our American consumerist economy.

But if we are honest with ourselves, haven’t we missed it?

Are we willing to admit that maybe we have gotten a little out of control with the things we want and feel like we need? Why do keep wanting more when we already have so much? And if the things we do have, aren’t bringing the satisfaction we had hoped for and we are still not happy, then why would having something else be any different? I’m afraid the problems are not our products, but us! Some of us, myself included are seeking the wrong things and we don’t even know it. Contentment is difficult because it’s not a product to acquire; it’s a state of mind. And that may be new to many of us because again, its contrary to everything we though we knew. The sooner we realize that we are being lied to about what will make us truly happy the closer we will be to finding contentment with who we are and where we are in life. I am by far still working towards being content. I struggle on a daily basis and expect to struggle for the rest of my life.

The only real advise I know how to give in this area that has worked for me, is to be continually thankful for what I do have and remind myself that having more is not the answer.

Seek to be content. Not happy.

Lesson 11: I don’t need nearly as much as I try to convince myself I do


Everything I own and need fits in my car. So, as you can imagine I don’t own very much.

Honestly, the bulk of what is in #hotelprius right now is sleeping bags and/or gear to better prepare me for the different weather conditions I encounter in the different places I visit. Stuff like extra jackets, my laptop and a few cooking needs, a day pack with toiletries, a flashlight, a stove, an air pad, and clothes. Clothes are perhaps the things that take up the most space. It takes a lot of different types of clothes to stay prepared for all weather conditions.

I will say, I don’t have very many clothes now, at least relative to most people with… you know…real closets. These days, I only wear one of the two pairs of jeans, a flannel with a plain tee underneath, and usually the same grey Patagonia sweater or jacket almost everyday. I do have some nicer clothes on reserve but only for special occasions like job interviews or dinner parties. What I own currently is truly all I can fit in my car and in the small “basement” that rests under my head, and the little extras up top in the “attic.” End sidenote.

The truth is, every single day I am bombarded constantly with advertisements and billboards, and other people that do such a great job convincing me I need something that they have. Some times I can avoid the bait dangling in front of me, but other times I fall for it hook line and sinker. But, I will say this: living out of my car has caused me to really evaluate what is truly a need and what is merely a want.

The thing is, I used to not think or be this way. I was excess’ biggest advocate. Just a few years ago, I wasn’t a minimalist, in fact I was on the complete other side of the spectrum. What happened? Perhaps this great purge of mine was in response to the fact that I finally saw my stuff for what it truly was; just stuff, and I arrived at the place where I had enough and was tired of looking for material posetions to make me happy.

It was before college and certainly before #hotelprius was ever even thought of. I was in my early twenties and I took a few years off from school and began building my empire. Just kidding. But in a short few years, I accumulated more than I’m proud to admit. I had it all. From several big screen TV’s to the latest gadgets and coffee makers. All different kinds of things to make life easier and more comfortable, but mostly crap I didn’t need. Sadly, I used material possessions to try to add value to my life that ultimately never gave me what I was looking for. In retrospect I realize now, the things I owned made up a large part of who I thought I was and who I was trying to be. I let stuff be apart of my identity. Without it, I’m not sure there would be have been a whole lot left. The way that I saw it, my stuff and what I owned was a direct representation of my success at such a young age. It was only when I had to sell everything and get rid of my stuff, that it was revealed to me just how much of my identify was placed in what I owned.

Fast forward to a year ago. When I chose this adventure last December, I forced myself to get rid of everything again, of the what I thought to be accumulated “excess” in my life. It was a huge purge and I rid myself of almost everything. Everything had to go through a very rigorous filtration process… and then another, and then another, just to make it all fit. Am I glad I did it? Yes and no. But mostly, yes!

Yes, because it made me realize how much of the crap I could actually live without. And no, because I’ve learned that little things do add up and nothing is worse than a wasted investment and having to but something for the third time.

But even in the last year of having minimal and finding contentment by living as efficiently as possible, and even with this newly learned life lesson, I’m amazed at the crap I still try to convince myself that I need. I need this new Iphone or I need these new jeans. I need these _______(fill in the blank). Now I’m not saying these things are bad in and of themselves. I don’t believe they are, at least not anymore. In fact, I think having nice things is great and certainly some things make life easier or more convenient and there is nothing wrong with that. But need? I think the real battle I fight is finding balance between the minimalist lifestyle I live now and the excessive one I lived before. The real battle is fighting the lie that having more things will make me happier. I unfortunately still make this mistake more often than I care to admit. On occasion, when I am looking for something to do to kill time, I’ll find myself window shopping. This is partly due to boredom and partly due to how American consumerism has conditioned me to believe that I will be happier, more confident, more productive, more comfortable etc if I have more. The worst part of it all is thinking that this logic is somehow right or okay. It’s not, and I think most of us know this and desperately want to get away from the consumerist, “I-need-everything-lifestyle” if we could. We know we have become excessive but most of us don’t care. We keep buying things and spending our money on more stuff in hopes that the next thing will give us what we are looking for. Then something newer or prettier comes out, and suddenly we need that too.

I don’t have any solutions to avoid the american epidemic plaguing our country. I don’t know if it will ever end. We are too far gone. The only advise I know how to give is what I have been trying to focus on in the last year of my life. And even still, I’m not claiming it as foolproof. For me, I have to remind myself and be thankful every day that what I have now, is truly all that I need. And it is. The truth is, we really don’t need much to live. And we don’t need much to be happy, but coming to the place of contentment with what I have, I find is the biggest challenge of all.

Lesson 10: It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with that matters

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I’ve done some crazy stuff in my day and #hotelprius only scratches the surface.

But I will say, #hotelprius is by far the longest amount of time I’ve spend doing something this intense for this long.

If you have spent any time with me at any point in my life, you don’t have to think too hard about a time I convinced you to do something outlandish with me just for the sake of having a little fun and living to tell a great story about the experience. Maybe it was the time I called you to climb a construction crane at midnight. Or the time I asked you to help me build a street sailboat out of an old shopping cart in preparation for the hurricane. Or the time the streets of Boston were shutdown because of the blizzard and we skied down the empty streets. Or what about the time we spent the whole day constructing that igloo so I could add “Eskimo” to my resume? Remember when we met up one night with my moped and your skateboard to sketch the streets of Boston? How about the time we climbed that mountain with sleds on our backs so we could say we sledded Massachusett’s biggest hill. Or the time we swam across that freezing lake in the middle of November on an inflatable air mattress to film that film project last minute? What about that time we made a bon-fire and slept on that beach in the freezing wind so we could watch the sunrise?

(Okay, we get it, you and your friends are crazy Chris!)

The truth is, I like to do crazy things, because I like the crazy payoffs. No way would these stories be as memorable had I not had someone to share in these experiences with me. Stories are always better when told together. I am thankful for the people I have met on my journey through this crazy life and I would not at all be the same without the influences of these people and letting me be me and keeping me safe.

In short, Life is better when shared.

Lesson 9: Dreams don’t come true!…..Goals do!


Our whole lives we have been told that “dreams really do come true if we just dare to dream them.”

Bunch of Fewee if you ask me!

The people that tell you this are most often trying to inspire you and/or are just full of it. That, or they can’t think of anything better to say and just repeating some ridiculous rhetoric they heard from Buzz Feed or the Disney channel. It’s just not true! A dream will never be anything more than a dream, until you turn that dream or idea into action! You do that through goals. But goals don’t happen overnight and it takes work. It’s about setting for yourself not just goals but attainable step-by-step goals. Undoubtedly some dreams are bigger than others and will require a bit more work and a few more steps. But with a little persistence, a little help, and that hard work thing you’ve heard so much about, I’m confident the dreams we dream are possible.

Easy for me to say, right? Yeah maybe. But I’ve been there and #hotelprius was not started because I dreamed of living out of my car. That’s lame! No, I dreamed of more for my life and #hotelprius became the means in which to attain what I wanted. Sacrifices had to be made, I had to stay focused and it was hard most of the time. I just made it work. And you will too. That is if you want it bad enough.

I believe that if you want something bad enough, and your heart is in the right place, and ask the universe (I call it God) for it, and create attainable goals, there is little that will stop you from achieve whatever you set your heart on.

Lesson 8: Don’t Make Coffee Unless You Have A Place to Poop

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I make coffee out of my car every morning. And not just coffee, but the best coffee using fresh grounds I keep in a airtight container. I have this great little stove I whip out that fits right next to my feet. I heat the water and can have a cup of joe ready in under 2 minutes.

Watch the quick video below:

I love it, and no doubt one of my favorite parts of my day. But if I am not strategic when and where I make it, I could be in for a much browner…I mean bigger problem. I don’t know about you but even just the faint smell of coffee will send my stomach churning. If I’m not somewhere close to a bathroom or woods when my tum-tum makes its first turn, I’m in trouble. “Prairie-doggin” it only gets me so far.

Lesson 7: Spending Too Much time Alone is Dangerously Unhealthy


I’ve learned I am much happier doing nothing with someone than doing anything by myself.

Its true. I think that is because humans, much like many animals, were just not designed or meant to live alone. Now don’t get me wrong, I think being alone sometimes is important and certainly needed, especially for an introvert like myself. I would argue however, that being alone for long periods of time is not just a bad idea, but straight-up unhealthy. Let me explain.

I am the type of person that “recharges” when I spend time away from other people. But just like with iphones, if I leave it recharging too long, the battery begins to wear and over time the iphone (myself) looses the ability to recharge the way it was meant to.

The problem with spending too much time alone is after enough time, there is a tendency to only think about me. This is expected I guess, because there is no one else around to think about. What inevitably ends up happening in these long periods of isolation is I somehow trick myself in to believing that all space in my space and all time is my time. I begin to feel entitled. I start to become short-fused and much more frustrated by other people who infringe on my time and space (especially in traffic). The problem with this is, there is no one around to contend with this lie I have convinced myself of – that I am the best and most important person in my world. This lie, given enough time, roots itself deep into my being and I slowly become more unaware and even less curious of the other people around me. I become more and more self-centered and am only in-tune to my needs rather than accepting the reality that I am not the only person in the universe.

You can see how this is a problem.

To put simply, being alone makes me behave like an ass. And nobody wants to be around an ass. Henceforth a vicious cycle of being alone manifests itself, and if one is not careful, the damage can cost many unhappy years of living life alone and bitter because the world is not catering to ones needs.

Lesson 6: Community is more important than Financial Security


When I started this little adventure of mine over a year ago, I really had only a few priorities. One of those priorities was to arrive at the place where I felt financially stable –whatever that means. Before college I had experienced a few years of what the “real world” was like. I maintained a job, paid rent, paid bills, and did the whole paycheck to paycheck thing. With college and a few more years of experience under my belt I was ready to enter the ring with the “real world” again, but this time with a new and refined left hook. What I would soon learn, reaching the place where I felt financially stable never came. Probably because when it comes to money, no amount ever seems to satisfy. While chasing this goal of mine, I unfortunately lost sight of what was most important – community, and the true value of a few close friends. I went from having a reasonably established group of good friends that I spent time with most days out of the week to living and spending the majority of my time alone. I was after financial security and gave up what matter most to chase it. At the time though, I just didn’t know that. As cliché as it sounds: what I thought was missing from my life, turned out to be in front of me the whole time. Community and a group of supporting people is a far better security than a number in my bank account. Because really, at the end of the day, money comes and goes, but good friends will stick around forever if you let them.

Lesson 5: Blogs are Hard To Maintain

IMG_5628Believe it or not, keeping up with my blog is like pulling teeth for me. I started this blog with the idea that I would document the days and write about my experiences on the road and as I wake up from place to place. I am officially over a full year in now and I’m not even close to the amount of material I expected to have together. Many of my pictures and “almost blog posts” are sitting in a file on my computer waiting to be finished or edited. Being a perfectionist is definitely part of it, and wrestling with what I want to share with you is also what keeps me from posting when I feel I should. Mostly however, my lack of material on my blog after a full year is due to the fact that I don’t really enjoy writing very much. If anything, I like more what I have written. When the words look and sound better on the page than they do in my head, I like this feeling, but sitting down to write just stresses me out. I’m often grumpy, not in the mood or have absolutely zero material or inspiration to write most of the time. More often than not I find something to get distracted by and never write a word. Other times I somehow muster the courage to show up and force myself to push through the grump. Sure writing has its great moments on occasion. The moments where the words flow and the fingers follow. But the majority of the time I stumble through the keyboard and struggle with spelling. I get frustrated and move on to Facebook or Instragam or play a game on my phone. In these moments, sitting down to write is the last thing I want to do. I think what else it is, is taking the time to organize my thoughts. This is the hardest part of the process for me. It takes an exuberant amount of effort and energy that I don’t always believe I have. Communicating I feel is one of my stronger gifts, but organizing them into a structured and linear format for the page is perhaps where I struggle the most. Add the fact I suck at spelling and I feel no one actually reads my blog anyway, all give good reason to why I don’t want to write and give excuses for why my blog isn’t updated. Excuses mostly, but nonetheless, a blog is very, very hard to maintain.

Go ahead…share this below…Thanks.

Lesson #4: Releasing all ties to commitment is not true freedom


I used to think that if I released myself from everything that tied me down or left me feeling stuck, then and only then would I experience true freedom. After a full year and the ability to go or do whatever I wanted, completely free of any and all contractual obligations or commitments, I now know the freedom I was looking for does not exist. The truth is, commitment has always scared me and has been a struggle of mine. Big shocker right? Blame it on my upbringing or negative past experiences, my age, the culture or time I live in, or whatever…but the idea of commitment or permanent tie to anything has frightened me for as long as I have been making my own decisions. When I think about it, the real problem for me lies with the forcing or pressure of a choice that I feel am not ready for.

My guess is that this hesitation to commit comes a place of fear. The fear of wasting time, but ultimately wasting my life. For a long time, I’ve been afraid to loose something that I was worried once lost, I could never get back -my freedom and independence. By making a commitment to something, I feel I am signing my life away. Unfortunately for the significant people in my life, my fear of commitment to material possessions and worldly contracts have transferred over to my personal relationships. The sad part is, I didn’t know this was possible, but it is, and it has cost me deeply. For years my brain has struggled to distinguish and separate the difference between the good kinds of commitment verses the bad, and as a result, my personal relationships (in the area that matters most) have suffered the most. I believed the lie for many years (and only a year in #hotelprius could have taught me this) that if I cut ties to all my commitments completely and live life untethered of everything keeping me “tied down,” I would in fact experience the true freedom I was looking for. This I have learned is emphatically untrue.

Allow me to use an analogy of a kite on a string to further emphasis my point. Kites, as you know have been engineered to fly through the air with grace and ease. But what allows to kite to fly at all is simple string that connects the kite to the one flying it. Without this string, the kite would not fly. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am the same way. You see, by cutting myself (the kite) loose from the tether of commitment (the string), it is impossible for me to experience the kind of flight and true freedom I was made for.

Dare I say it, but some commitments are necessary. My wager is that the commitments that are necessary in life revolve around the people that care about you most. Case in point: Commitments are not always a bad thing.

Lesson #3: Traveling will not help you find Yourself

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I hear it all the time, and I even used to say it myself. “I just want to travel you know? I need to ‘find’ myself .”

First off, what does that even mean?
And second, Traveling will not help “find yourself,” it will only help you gain a better perspective of who you already are back home.

Like many people my age, I was hit hard with the wanderlust bug right after graduating college. Wonderlust is that feeling many my age experience that longs to be apart of something greater than themselves, and feels that only travel will satisfy. Let me tell you, I had it bad! I was bored and unhappy with where my life was going and I longed for more daring adventures, deeper challenges, and a life full of better stories. For some reason, traveling and experiencing the world seemed to be the thing I wanted most, and #hotelprius seemed the best vehicle (both literally and figuratively) to allow me to chase that insatiable dream I felt was missing from my life. But here is what I have learned to be true: Travel is not what I was missing.

I’m convinced the thing I was missing was NOT to explore new and unfamiliar terrain in my world, but new and unfamiliar terrain in my heart. That may sound corny but I needed and longed to feel things deeper than my current level of involvement. I needed to experience life on a more intimate plain. That meant, I needed to get more deeply and intimately involved in something I truly loved and believed in, either romantically or behind a cause. I needed to feel and experience life in new ways, but I was convinced that traveling (probably because it seemed the most fun) was going to satisfy the itch I couldn’t seem to reach. But don’t get me wrong, traveling wasn’t at all that bad or in any way a complete waste of my time. In fact my experience helped me learn that traveling is an art-form and this world is a beautiful work of art that should be celebrated for the beauty that it is. It was also through my traveling that helped me understand that it is the difficult challenges and often uncomfortable circumstances in our lives that allows us to see ourselves for who we truly are, showing our true self in the form of our responses. It is in those uncertain and sometimes extreme circumstances outside of out control (that travel often expedites) that exposes the parts of us, that we ourselves have not yet seen – the parts of us we are convinced we need “to find.” You don’t have to travel to gain perspective. Travel is just the excuse to jump in. If you are looking to “find yourself,” commit yourself to a relationship, get a new job, or join a movement.

Lastly, character isn’t something you find, it is something you develop.

Lesson #2: Comfort is Relative

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Think about it.

Like most things, something can only be labeled good or bad, when it is compared to something else. When you say something is good (or bad), lets say a burger, what you are really saying is, that this particular burger is only good or bad relative to the other burgers you’ve tasted in the past. Right? How else would you measure if your burger is good or bad or not? The same is true for comfort. Lets use the comfort of a small bed and space of #hotelprius. If all you have ever known is a nice, lush, comfortable queen size mattress and were to spend a night in #hotelprius, you probably not get a very good nights sleep. Why is this? It is because, relative to your cushy mattress at home, my bed would just not reach your level of comfort standards. However, if all you have ever known was sleeping on the cold hard ground, #hotelprius would be quite an upgrade. Better than what you had before, right? Now, I am not saying that all I have ever known is a sleeping on the ground, or that I’ve never experienced the comfort of one of those nice Temperpedic mattresses before. I’m just saying that I’ve spent many a night on the ground in a tent somewhere on a mountain and #hotelprius is way more comfortable. Also it just became my new normal. In time I really did forget about all the various comforts of a home, and a real bed, and lots of space and just got used to the new way of living. For the record I sleep very well. I’ve invested well in my air pad and it helps I don’t move around a lot when I sleep, and that a small space doesn’t bother me. The difficulty is saying no to friends when they invite me to crash in a real bed. I have to say no every time, because I know that once I get a taste of a real bed, especially those Temperpedics, I’m going to loath going back to the bed of #hotelprius. I would just rather not go through that torture. Comfort is relative.

Lesson #1: Limitations Force Creativity


When there is little to work with, it forces you to be creative with what you have. This doesn’t just apply to the limited space of #hotelprius, but also a great truth for me in life as well. Due to circumstances, most often out of our control, we don’t always have the abundant resources to make life work the way we want, dream, or plan. Sometimes in order to achieve what we want or gain access to what we consider most important in life, sacrifices most often need to be made, and we just need to start thinking creatively.

The reality is, life for the majority of us can be limiting and can often catch us off our guard. #hotelprius was creatively created by some of those life’s limitations that caught me by surprise. Read the full story here. The short version of this story is, I had just moved across the country after college and life was not panning out the way I expected it to. I was unemployed, money was running thin and I was out of practical options for what to do next. The last thing I wanted for my life was to fall behind, and living out of my car became the most efficient solution I could think of. So that’s what I did. With limited money, I didn’t have the option of buying a solution to my problem (i.e buy and live out of a van). Instead, I had to use what I already owned (a Prius and some used camping gear) as a solution. This forced me into thinking creatively. I had no choice but to take what I already owned and make it work as best I could. I played with the space inside my car and strategized with how to turn my Prius into a livable, practical and sustainable lifestyle. Maximizing my efficiency was my biggest priority and it was important that I was frugal with both my spending and my space. The Prius just made sense. I gathered my available resources and prioritized my needs – what you might do in a survival situation. A comfortable bed, a place for my clothes, curtains and extra storage space came first. Once those were in place, I used the additional remaining small pockets of space to add things that could serve multiple purposes and functions. For the space by my feet, I used a hardtop suitcase that also served as a desk and small work station. Later, I would add solar panels to charge my phone, a pull out table for my stove, and added new an improved curtains from old pillow cases. Maybe some of these things I didn’t necessarily need, but things I could justify to continue to help me live more efficiently.

In a year of living out of my car, I’ve carried this life lesson with me wherever I go. Before buying my way out of problems that arise, I look for other, more creative solutions first. Solutions that require only what I already own, then moving on to potential low cost solutions second. To question whether or not someone else has ever done it before is completely irrelevant. I may not be the only person living out of my car, or even my Prius for that matter. But I guarantee you, there is no one who has done it for cheaper and does it this efficiently. And I guess I’m proud of that.

P.S. No, that is not a picture of Jesus, that is a picture of me back when I had long hair. Crazy, I know.


1 Year Today!

IMG_5343 It’s hard to believe, but exactly one year ago today I embarked on a journey that would forever change my perspective of life and the world around me. I have learned so many valuable life lessons not just about myself, but about people, about God, about different cities and cultures, about traffic, about the thirst for adventure and the importance of great friends and healthy relationships. Although a very enlightening experience, there is such a thing of spending too much time alone and after a full year of the “rolling-stone, carry no moss” lifestyle, I’m at the place where I’m ready to take what I’ve learned and apply it to a more consistent, well-balanced life around great friends and people I can invest in. I’m thankful for all the places I got to see and the people I met along the way. If #hotelprius has taught me anything it is that I don’t ever want to have experiences like these again, by myself. Life was meant to be shared and experienced in community. As for what’s next, I’m headed back to Austin to be with friends and regroup for the holidays. I have a few tentative plans for what is next, but need to rest and really assess what is best for me in the the next season of life. I do have plans to turn this last year of my life into a little coffee table book, to remember for years to come. I hope to have it printed with many of the pictures and morning musings not published on the blog soon. I can only hope you will all buy it, as it would be nice to share what I have learned and pass it on to others who could maybe benefit from the experience. Who knows? Thank you to everyone who has supported me and followed me during this crazy journey of mine this last year. I’m thankful for all your kind words and support, more than you know. Let Life’s Big Adventure continue…. -Chris

The Full Story (with Pictures) of How #HotelPrius Became a Thing.

Hi, my name is Chris Sawey, and 1 year ago I made the choice to live out of my Toyota Prius, my “home” while I figured out the details of life post-college. What started as a one-month experiment to cut back on “unnecessary spending” and to get ahead, turned into a full year of so much more than I could have ever expected or anticipated. I call my home #HotelPrius.


The Beginning

After Graduating in May of 2013 from Emerson College in Boston, MA., I loaded up my newly purchased 2007 Toyota Prius with my belongings and hit the road headed south, towards Austin, TX. I didn’t need much of a reason to go back to Austin. The truth of the matter was, I was burnt out from my degree and was in no huge hurry to start a career. For me, Austin was the safe choice and required no real risk at all. As a kid, I had grown up at a children’s home near Austin and heard they were hiring a new Youth Activities Director and put in my application. Because I had lived there as a kid, my application went to the top of the list. While still in Boston, I had made it through several levels of the interview process and felt really good about getting the job. We discussed the fact that there really was no better fit for the kids at the children’s home than a kid who grew up there. My ability to empathize with the kids was unmatched by the other applicants and I was confident the job was mine. Although the job was not what I necessarily wanted after college, I still saw it for what it was: an opportunity to work and save money while I waited for another to come along. I felt like the job was good fit for my skillsets and at the very least would build my resume and gain me some work experience while I figured out what I really wanted to do.

Before the trip, I had mapped out a route, planning to stop in National Parks and big cities along the way. I had no deadlines or time frames, and my plan was to take as much time as I needed getting to Austin. At this point, I had an insatiable itch to travel and to experience new cities. And that is exactly what I did.


The road trip lasted just a little over two weeks. I went to Maine, New York and Pittsburgh. I visited a few places in the Virginia’s, and stopped in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, New Orleans and several little stops along the way. I bought a GoPro to document the adventure and planned to start a blog with all the footage, discussing the importance of travel and how to do it efficiently.

The Break-In

After a long and relaxing trip across the east coast, I finally arrived in Austin late one weekday evening. I called some friends a few hours before arriving and booked a bed and a warm shower for the night. We parked on the street outside their home and was greeted with hugs and good-to-see-you’s by our awaiting friends. That night, too exhausted from long hours of driving, we passed out in our separate rooms without even showering or going to the car for our bags. A big mistake. At some point in the middle of the night, someone had broken into our car. With everything we owned in the car from the road trip, it was too hard to immediately assess what had been taken. In the next few hours I would learn piece by piece what the thieves had walked away with. The 7-Up can outside by my tire and the ripped boxes in the back told me they had been quick and sloppy. It was clear they didn’t spend too much time in the car and only grabbed things that were easily accessible. Things like my day-pack in the back seat that was full of my most important possessions. The crooks had walked off with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment, my GoPro and all our footage and pictures from the road trip. They stole my Macbook (laptop), and few other smaller knick-knacks they now seem relatively unimportant. The worst hit was my back up hard drive with every journal, picture and file I had spent the better part of my life working on. All of my hard work from the last 10 years– gone!

And if that wasn’t enough to make me feel lost and helpless, a week later I got into an accident and totaled the Prius. Now with no job, no car, no place to call my own, limited money, and no convenient way to apply for jobs, I struggled. Needless to say, the decision to come to Austin was strongly reconsidered. It was very difficult to navigate through life during that time but I was fortunate to have friends guide me and get me back on my feet. I stayed with friends for the first few weeks and used their computers to retype my resume and cover letters while I waited for my claim through State Farm to finalize.

The Rebuild

The process was less than speedy, but I was thankful I had full coverage insurance on my car and that the car was paid for in cash. After several long and depressing weeks of waiting and sitting around the house. I received a phone call and a check from State Farm to pay for a new car. The outcome was so much more than I expected. The check was significantly more than what I paid for my last Prius. It allowed me to buy a newer model Prius I had found on craigslist with considerably less mileage. I even had a little extra to help cover the expense of a new laptop and the huge spike in my car insurance. I had a car now, but I was still very far behind. Everyday I was reminded of the loss of not just my laptop, but the files that I could have used to help me make money and get ahead. With backup graphic design experience I could have at least made extra money freelancing, but with no portfolio to show for it, I had to start completely fresh. It wasn’t easy remembering the last ten years of job experience for a resume either. I typed up what I could remember and put together a resume as best I could from memory. I started applying wherever I could.

Camp Life

Finally, I had landed a job at a summer camp relatively close to Austin that needed a senior counselor. The pay was minimal, and I would be sleeping outside for 6 weeks, but it was fulfilling work and provided food and pay. Most importantly, it gave me six weeks to continue playing catch up and hang out with teen boys who needed a mentor for the summer. During the day I spent time with my campers, rock climbing, fishing, and kayaking down the Colorado River just telling stories, getting to know each other and goofin off.

My days at camp were long but rewarding. On the nights when I wasn’t exhausted from the Texas heat and when all the campers were asleep, I would sneak back up to the main cabin and apply for jobs. A short 6 weeks later, camp was over and life resumed to the way it was. A harsh reminder.

Great, Now What?

The timing wasn’t perfect, but I managed to land a few other part time jobs and a place to crash with some friends after camp was over. Still unsure of exactly what I wanted to do as a career, I decided my best option in the meantime was to try my hand at substitute teaching during the day and wait tables at night. With the subbing job, I took it because I felt it was the perfect next step to see if teaching for the public school system would be something I could invest in as a career. With waiting tables, I had done it in college and was good at it, but I hated the idea of going back. To me, it felt like I was taking steps backwards rather than forwards, and that was a feeling that left me very unsettled. Finally things began to unfold. I stayed at a friend’s house until my job training was over and then moved out as began to feel my presence was becoming an unspoken burden to my friends. Whether or not that was true, I felt it, and I started looking for places of my own. I had found a place with my own room and monthly rent with another older friend of mine, Julian. I had met Julian through friends years back and despite the 20 year plus age gap, we became great friends. Julian is someone I can’t imagine my life without. He has been a great teacher to me and wise counsel the some of the more uncertain and rocky seasons of my life. He agreed to let me stay at his house for a few months while I organized my life again. He preferred living alone, but would take in roommates occasionally as he had the rooms and it would help pay for the mortgage. No lease, but an agreement to pay $600 on the 1st of every month for each month I planned to stay, and it was furnished! Perfect for what I needed and as long as I booked 10 days of subbing a month, I would cover the costs of rent and bills. With the money I made waiting tables, I planned to use towards gas and food and maybe even put some money away for the next chapter. The inconsistency did make me a little nervous but I was assured by the teachers at the schools and my boss at the restaurant that I would have no problem finding as much or as little work as I wanted, and they would be flexible with my schedule. The first month of rent and bills was not a problem, I was prepared. I used the leftover money I made from camp to pay for the next months expenses, but by the second month I was cutting it too close for comfort. Because I was new and only worked part time, I was not getting the good sections at the restaurant and not getting the classroom hours I wanted at the schools either. Both required seniority I did not have yet. I still made my estimated 10 day subbing minimum but had still not received a check from the schools as they only paid out once a month. Finally, my check was deposited into my account a day late from when rent was due. With taxes and everything else taken out, my total for the month was $590.49. Not even enough to cover rent! I had been eating like crap, losing weight rapidly, and sitting at home on my days off hungry and depressed, trying to not go out and spend money. When I was given invites to go out with friends, I said no because I couldn’t afford it. I hated that this is where my life had ended up. I was a college graduate with the experience and the skill-sets to do just about anything I wanted, but yet I was back to waiting tables and subbing! I had five years of college and had nothing to show for it. I was exhausted and depression was rapidly taking over. Something had to change, and quick. I discussed with Julian my concerns and my options for the future, but we couldn’t seem to get around the topic of rent being late. I didn’t need a lecture, but he felt he needed to give me one anyway about priorities and planning. The way he saw it, I was at home most of the time waiting for work, when I could be working somewhere else and making money. But that wasn’t my problem. I already had two jobs and a third wouldn’t make things easier. Plus “any other” job wasn’t the right investment of my time or energy. He didn’t see the details of my life, my hard work, my depression, my exhaustion or my efforts. He only saw the money he was missing for rent. It was understandable, but I needed him to see how hard I was trying. I needed help and I needed grace. The conversation didn’t go too well and his attitude towards me undoubtedly was the final deciding factor to move out. For the sake of keeping our friendship, I was convinced his home, his lectures, and rent was not something I appreciated, but ultimately did not need in my life. I did, however, need a few days to figure things out and told him I would have a decision for him within the week and would pay him the money I owned him as soon as I knew a plan. He agreed, and for the next week I thought hard about my options.

The Plan

I knew this season well. I called it “survival mode.” If life has taught me anything, it was that limitations always force creativity, and I’ve been served a fare share of limitations growing up. Living in Children’s homes as a kid prepared me well for how to navigate through touch circumstances and taught me how to adapt quickly. I went to my room and assessed what I owned. I considered what was important and what was excess and then wrote out a list of expenses of what I thought to be “necessary” spending. Netflix and new clothes unfortunately did not make the cut. The only thing I considered “necessary spending” was my car insurance, a cell phone, food, gas, and saving for the future. I looked at my car outside the window and knew exactly what I needed to do. I removed everything from the car and studied the space. I toyed and played with the seats and the inside of my car, measuring and strategizing with ideas, mapping them out in my head. My biggest priorities were a bed and space for clothes. I needed it to be efficient and organized. I needed a system. It was the only way to make this small space work. Within the week I had a plan. I picked up a few tupperware bins from Target and materials from Home Depot to help with some construction constraints, but mostly I used my already owned camping gear to set up home in my Prius.

Once the bed and closet were installed, the idea of living out of my car, I thought might actually be plausible. Many details still needed to be worked out, things like where to park, where to shower, laundry, free-time, etc, but I knew I would figure it out in time. Not to mention, my friends were going to think I was crazy. But I didn’t care. I was done relying on friends, sleeping on couches, sharing space and feeling like a burden. I knew this was what I needed to do. This was my best option to get ahead. It was a sacrifice to save my sanity, my money and to avoid slipping further into depression. Most of all, it was for my health and my well being and I was convinced it was the best thing I could possibly do in this particular season of life. After all, this wasn’t the first time I’ve slept out of my car. The last time was years ago in my teens, more by force circumstances really because I had nowhere else to go. My own mistakes had brought me to that point the last time, but this time was much different. If I was going to live in my car again, it was going to be by choice. It was different not only because I had a better car for it, but also because I had a place to go, I just could no longer justify the cost of keeping it. For me, it came down to cost-benefit analysis and the benefits of a room with rent was not worth the cost to keep.

The Leap

After 11 days of preparation and gathering my supplies, I finally was ready. On December 12th, 2013 with my Prius loaded and home ready, I was prepared to embark on my journey. I had paid Julian a pro-rated amount of what I owed him for the month and drove away both excited and a little nervous to start the adventure. Earlier that week I had spent some time scoping out places to park and sleep for the nights ahead and had an idea of where I would go. Around 3pm on a Thursday I sat down for the first time in my new home, not exactly sure of what my newest adventure would bring.

The first night of #Hotelprius was spent at a local automotive repair shop waiting until morning to get my car fixed, a perfect reminder that the next steps of my journey would not be easy or smooth. After leaving Julian’s, I had stopped at REI to pick up some last minute gear and wool socks to keep warm. It was cold that day and I had left my car running to keep it warm. When I returned to my car, my battery had died. At least it was in front of my favorite store. It could have been worse but I wondered if living in my car was still a good decision.

I waited several hours for a tow truck to arrive. I laid on my new bed and read several chapters of Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years on my Kindle, a book about living a good story and how every good story contains a character having to overcoming conflict to get what they want. By the time it finally came, all the local mechanic shops were closed for the day. I had the driver drop me and my Prius off at the Lambs Automotive in town, close to food and free Wifi till morning. The next morning, I woke up early and was at the front door waiting for the mechanics at Lamb’s as soon as they opened. It was an all day event and the battery set me back $250. Thankfully, it was money I would not have had if I had paid rent that month. I walked away thankful I had made the decision to live out of my car and smiled at the thought that I was on my way to living a good story.

After the battery ordeal was finally over, I headed directly over to the YMCA and bought a monthly membership using my old college ID to get the student discount.

For $25 dollars a month I had a place to shower at any YMCA in the city. No matter where I was, there was always a YMCA near by. For food? My plan was to take advantage of my discount and free “family meal” at my restaurant, and to get to know local daily specials around town on my days off. If I wanted to cook instead, I would pop in to an HEB grocery store or Traders Joe’s and buy a skillet friendly meal and cook it out of the back of my car. This excited me, because finally with the extra money I had I could eat well again and gain back some of the weight I had lost.

The Income

I continued to wait tables and subbed when I could. The subbing gig didn’t last very long though. The kids were certainly a reason to stay, but I ended up leaving after the first few months because I knew teaching for the school system was not my next career move. I didn’t quit before finding another job first though. For my next job I was fortunate to get involved in a new hotel restaurant start-up opening downtown, working for a local Austin celebrity chef. The opportunity more fell in my lap than me having to find it. A few weeks prior, I had sought out counseling for my increasing depression and met a man named Mike K., who was absolutely paramount in helping me find emotional stability again and helped me change the bandages from the last few months of emotional injuries. He did more than listen and give me advice. I could feel he cared about me and believed in my potential and wanted me to be successful. He set me up with an interview with his cousin, the Chef, and I was hired.

The restaurant was expected to start in January and held promise from the very beginning. In a few short weeks, I transitioned out of the subbing job and my other restaurant and began full-time at Chavez in downtown Austin early that January. During the day, I helped at weddings and banquets in the hotel, and at night I served in the restaurant.
I loved it. I was learning new things, tasting great wine and meeting great people from all over the world. For the first time in a really long time, I felt that I was going to be okay. By the time of the grand opening, I was already one month-in of living out of my car but the quality of life was better than it had been since college. I walked with my head up and with a smile. I finally felt I was beating life instead of life beating me. Chavez was a higher end restaurant on the bottom floor of a hotel downtown with a well known celebrity Chef, so we stayed consistently busy. The money I made was almost too good to ever want to leave. I might of tried to move into an apartment by this point had the new  restaurant not encouraged me to stay living out of my car. This hotel downtown had everything #hotelprius needed to thrive. Free downtown parking, a great view on the parking garage overlooking the city. Perfect access to sunlight to charge my solar panels during the day and cover from the occasional storms at night. I had access to water and ice when I needed it, and restrooms and free food on the days I worked. Plus the commute was less than a minute to work, and the YMCA was a 5 minute walk down the street. How could I not stay living in my car? With limited expenses and bills I was saving over $1000 a week. It could not have been more perfect. My coworkers complained about the traffic getting to work and their 30–45 commute. When asked about my commute: my answer, “Oh you know, about thirty to forty-five…seconds.”

The Name

As far where the name came from. After long satisfying days working for the hotel I would go “home” to the top level of the parking garage and sleep for the night, only to do it again the next morning. Because I practically lived there already, when asked where I lived, I could’t lie, so I told people I lived at the Hotel. When they asked what floor, I told them “the top.” Confused when they asked what hotel, I told them “Hotel Prius.” It actually started as a joke but after saying it to my co-workers and friends enough, the name kinda stuck. At first, I was too embarrassed to admit I was living out of my car and kept it under wraps for the first month or so. But after awhile I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of and became actually proud of my lifestyle. It was smart and resourceful. It was a direct representation of who I was as a person.

The Design

The inside design of #hotelprius took on many forms. In my free time during the days, I would continue to strategize and think of ways to improve my living space. Within the first month I designed curtains in a parking lot of a Joanne Fabrics and added a pull out table in the parking lot of Home Depot. Not only was it enjoyable for me, but it also made for a great use of my free time. It was exciting and I loved it.

Everything else, I would figure out as time went on as new experiences and situations called for it. I later added solar panels to charge my phone at night, and even played around with a few fridge options and mounted a foldable moped to the top. Look closely at the picture above.


I was constantly making little upgrades here and there, all the while still managing to save money and eat well. My stomach grew and so did my savings. Depression slowly disappeared and life provided me with the kind of challenges I loved to work out and solve. Life felt real and organic. It felt right.


What started as a one month experiment to get ahead and to catch up on life after a turn for the worst turned into so much more than I could ever have hoped or imagined. This is that adventure.


#MorningMusings // In the Smoky Mountains


I had arrived in the Smoky Mountains yesterday evening in time to go by the visiter center for a map and helpful advise on where to visit while I was here. I had been advised by Nick, the friendly South Carolinian Park Ranger of some of the best campsites in the smokies. We talked for awhile and he gave me a few options of some great hiking loops and where to park my car. “Newfound Gap is probably my favorite place in the park to catch the sunset,” he said. “If you leave now you can probably catch it.” I thanked him and hopped in my car and proceeded to drive the windy, snow banked roads up the steep mountains for the next 13 miles, driving slowly and admiring the beautiful mountains God created. With the windows down and radio off I let in the mountain sounds and cool breeze and told God I was thankful for being alive. I stopped on the occasional overlook along the way, to get out and breathe-in the fresh, cool, crisp air. I didn’t take a single picture though. Moments like these were for me only. I made it just in time to see the sunset. I pulled my car into the empty parking lot and watched as the sun made its final decent over the mountains in the distance and the sky painted for me the most beautiful landscape of clouds and colors. I grabbed my camera in the passenger seat quickly, lined up the shot, and snapped the shutter. I got it.


I set the camera down next to me as I leaned on the hood of my prius, taking in the last and final moments between me and this unique sunset that would never be seen again. I enjoyed the serenity and quiet of these moments so much, I decided to stay for the night and enjoy it longer. For dinner, I made a four cheese ravioli with a basil marinara I had picked up from a grocery store on my way here. After dinner, I used the rain water to clean my dishes before finally crawling into my sleeping bag for the night. I read my kindle for several hours in my car before finally drifting off to sleep. And just like that, it was morning. This was my view. I laid in my bed for what felt like hours just gazing out the window, still sleepy and with no real desire to move or get up. I had nowhere to be and a full day ahead of me. I had to remind myself that I was allowed to take this time, as much as I needed, to enjoy just being alive. But still, I felt like I needed to be doing something productive. The effects of working in a big city, still lingering in my soul. I ignored these feelings and decided today, what I needed was a detox. I turned off my phone and laid in my warm sleeping bag till noon. Today was my day, and it was going to be a great one.

Snowflakes: Their beauty defined by the scars of their journey

As the first snow falls in Nashville, I am reminded of the beauty and unique intricacies of the individual snowflake.


In 1951 a man by the name of Wilson Bentley coined the phrase “no two snowflakes are like.” Fascinated by the beauty and individuality of snowflakes since childhood, Bentley dedicated years of his adult life collecting the snowflakes on glass plates and photographing them before they melted. Accredited for more than five thousand photographs of snowflakes, published in numerous scientific journals, Bentley concluded that thousands of factors contribute to the creation of a snow crystal, factors such as temperature of the sky, density of the air, wind speed, trajectory, and altitude of the cloud from which the crystal falls. According to Bentley, it is theoretically improbable that any two snowflakes resemble the exact same geometric shape anywhere in the world.

This morning as I lay cocooned in the warm sleeping bag of #HotelPrius, watching the small snowflakes collect on the glass of my rear hatch window, I am reminded not only of the scars that each snowflake bears on its journey, but also the scars I bare as well. An inevitable part of life.

It is nothing new to anyone to hear that experiences undoubtedly have the ability to shape who we are. There are the good ones that we have learned to love and appreciate, and there are the painful ones that scar us, leaving us feeling broken and insecure.

My encouragement today is for anyone that might be going through a stormy season in their life right now.

Hang on. You are a becoming a beautiful snowflake. Enjoy the ride as best as you can. Know that the weather will pass and that you are on a journey that is far from over. Where you land is not important. What is, is the fact that you are unique and special. There is no one else in the world like you. Rest assured that you are also not alone and there are other beautiful people in this life that have ridden out this storm before, in the same conditions.

Your journey, your experiences and your pain are what make you you. They are what make you uniquely you. It is what makes you beautiful!

Inspiration and information about Wilson Bentley gathered from Donald Millers book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Go check it out!

There is a Fine Line Between Bondage and Freedom.

artwork by me

There is a story in the Bible I’ve only recently learned to appreciate, but one I think is often overlooked. It’s not your typical David and Goliath or Noah’s Ark story, but a good one nonetheless. It’s a small story, only making up about 9 verses in the 5th book of John, so it makes since that its not very well known. The story itself is about a sick man and his mat and every day for many years he sits near a pool called Bethesda. What is interesting about the pool of Bathesda is during the time it was believed that the water had healing powers to the first person to enter it when it was stirred up by God. Although the Bible does not specifically label the sick man as homeless or even a beggar, many smart “bible-people” seem to agree he was probably both. Because this pool was known for its healing powers many of the sick, lame and disease ridden could be seen at the pool during all parts of the day or night waiting for the waters to be stirred. The Bible says that this particular man could not walk and that he had been there every day for thirty-eight years! Without the ability to walk and the capabilities to work, begging and asking for money was no doubt how this man made his living. One day Jesus comes up to the man by the pool and asks, “Do you wish to be well?” to which the man answers Jesus something to the effect of, “Well I would, but you see I have no one to place me into the water and every time I get close, someone gets in before me.” What’s particularly peculiar about this situation is not only does it seem to be a very odd question for Jesus to ask (because you would think the answer would be quite obvious) but also it seems the man is giving Jesus a whopper of an excuse. Granted I know the man couldn’t walk, but Jesus knew exactly how long the man had been there and doesn’t ask him why he’s not well yet, he simply asks him, do you want to be well? You could find plenty of biblical commentary on this I’m sure, but I like to think what Jesus is really asking the man (and us) is, do you really want to change? I think he is saying that if we truly desire be well, there will be change and it will be costly. For this man, being healed meant no more begging. It meant no more comfortable mat. Being free from the bondage of his disease meant everything about his life would change. It meant he would need to find a new line of work and probably some new friends. He would be free but at the same time he would have to learn to adapt to a completely new lifestyle. Jesus was asking if he was really ready to be free from his life that had held him back for so long?

Although it may seem strange, this was the perfect question Jesus could have asked him. I wasn’t there, but I can only imagine this question rocked the man to his core. When you think about it, thirty-eight years is a very long time and thirty-eight years of the same thing day-in and day-out, I can only imagine this man had just given up hope on changing, and probably without realizing it, he allowed himself to get a little too comfortable with who and where he was in life. I think in thirty eight years he lost the interest to be better. Wouldn’t you? If I’m honest with myself, I feel sometimes that I am no different from the man in the story. I like to think I genuinely want to be a better person. I think we all do to some extent. I want to treat people better than I do. I want to change some of the bad habits that I have. I want to get less frustrated in traffic and less annoyed at people whom I think are incompetent. I want to be the guy who does the right thing every time, even when it’s hard. The truth is, I have a tendency to get complacent and a little too comfortable with who I am and the current condition of my character to the point where I just don’t do anything about it. If the development of my character is important to me, which it should be, then I should be a little more proactive in my attempts to be better. Why? Because My character essentially is me. But the truth is, I’m not always in the mood or frame of mind to put in the work to really try to fix the character qualities I’m not so good at. And I’m certainly not always super eager to ask for help either. As a result of my complacency and without a community of people to encourage me to be better, I only get worse. Like a vehicle on an incline – if I’m not being intentional about moving forward, I will only begin to slowly slide backwards.

I’m learning that freedom from the addiction of myself (selfishness) is possible. Addiction from anything is possible. It’s possible to be free from the things that keep us down and hold us back from becoming the best versions of ourselves we can be. We all want to be better, but wanting to be better is not enough. I’m learning there is a very thin line between bondage and freedom and knowing that line starts with believing that change is actually possible! Because it is!

At the end of the story Jesus tells the man to stand up and walk. And he does!

Back from the Break


From Septeber 16th @ 9:07AM

Outside, the gravel stirs and wakes me from my first night back in #HotelPrius after a short 2 month break. The shuffle of the rocks beneath the tires of the passing vehicles sends my brain to immediately think of a tow truck backing in to tow my car away. Somewhere between half awake and almost dreaming, I quickly turn to peak out the curtains behind my head. Thank God. They are just cars. I open and close my eyes again. I inhale a big long morning breathe. It’s about nine something in Nashville and I’m parked in an excess parking lot across the street from my climbing gym I joined last month. Today, this is where I will shower. The weather outside is wet and cold. Raindrops have been falling and collecting on my windows all morning. I usually love the rain, but after 4 days straight, I’m over it. I stay snuggled up in my sleeping bag waiting for the rain to stop so I can prepare for my day. Heavy condensation blankets my windows serving as an extra tint to the passing onlookers curious of the lone prius with all the stickers. I hear more rocks shuffling and turn to look out my curtains again. My nervousness has lead me to believe I may not be allowed to park here despite the sign that says “for customers only.” I’m technically a customer but I’m not sure they know that. I’ve been in #hotelprius for a full 24 hours now and the transition has been less than smooth. I struggle to remember where things belong and need to time to develop my old routines and systems. I’m a little rusty I guess but confident I’ll find my stride again within the week. It will all feel like normal again soon.

They Say It’s When You Least Expect It….

Sometime in early August of this year.
I pulled into Ashville, North Carolina around 10AM. It was a Sunday and apparently Asheville was the place to be this weekend. The sidewalks were full of families and couples holding hands and cars and trucks lined the streets.  This made finding parking almost impossible. “This would be the perfect time to make use of the bike that I have been carrying around on top my car,” I thought to myself. If only I could find a parking place. I was beginning to get frustrated and considered almost scrapping the idea of roaming Asheville, but somehow I convinced myself to stay. Finally, after about 40 minutes of driving around block after block of gridlocked intersections, I nabbed a parking spot from an older couple just leaving. It was a considerable distance from the center of town but no matter. That’s what my bike was for. I unlatched the bike from my roof rack and filled my favorite blue Patagonia day-pack with the days essentials: water bottle, raincoat, laptop, extra phone charger and a half empty bag of dried mango I picked up at a Trader Joes in my travels. I opened the map app on my phone and dropped a pin in my location so I knew where I had parked. I mounted my bike and headed off.

The cool North Carolina wind blew around my face and body as I coasted down the large hill on my bike towards the center of town.  The air was clean and crisp and I could feel the sun on my neck and back. I was excited to see where the day would take me. I rode around for several minutes, admiring the people and the little boutiques on the sidewalks of this cute and small little up-and-coming little town. As I rounded a corner at the top of a hilly street, a small quaint brunch restaurant caught my eye. With no real plans for the day other than to explore this city I heard so much about, I decided to stop and maybe grab a cup of coffee and maybe catch up on some of my writing. I didn’t realize I was hungry until my nose caught the scent of unmistakable smell of bacon and maple syrup. It was around 11 o’clock at this point and the thought of a sit-down brunch sounded too good to pass up. After locking my bike to a nearby street sign, I went inside. The Early Girl Eatery. The inside of this small little restaurant gave off a very southern hospitable charm, mixed with that slightly contrived “hipster” aesthetic. All the furniture was heavily used but had been refinished and the walls painted several different shapes of blues and yellows. It reminded me of Austin almost, and surprisingly I didn’t feel as out of place as I expected. I made my way through the crowd of couples and families huddled around the door and approached the small host stand and asked for a table. “Just one” I said with a smile. The cute waitress with black short hair in brown vintage glasses and a flowy grey dress told me the wait was going to be almost an hour. I looked around and noticed a few empty seats and asked if it would be possible to sit in the empty bar stool by the tiny turquoise wall-bar adjacent to the door. “You sure can!” she said with a slightly southern twang, grabbing a menu and a roll of silverware as she sat me down. I guess this seating was by request only, I thought as I adjusted the bar stool from under me and made myself comfortable. I set by bag down around my feet with the strap wrapped around my leg as to not get it stollen. Not that I feared it would, just as a precautionary measure being so close to the door an all. I opened the menu and scanned the laminated sleeve for something that would satisfy my craving. I knew I wanted something hearty and healthy, but at the same time my mouth seemed to want something slightly sweet. And then I saw it.

Local sausage with sweet potato scramble and homemade biscuit – $9.  Done!


Within moments the hostess had come back and taken my order. I guess the hostesses had sections to. Moments later, a woman, with long dirty hair that covered most of her face sat down beside me. Without even looking at the menu she ordered- clearly a local. Not really in the mood to talk to anybody, I pulled out my phone and began scrolling through some of my pictures. A few minutes later my food was delivered and I could feel my mouth begin to water as the smell of maple sausage and fresh sweet potatoes filled my nostrils. Without hesitation I ripped the thin white piece of paper around my napkin and let the silverware unroll into my hand. I placed my napkin in my lap and dug in, my eyes never leaving the plate and my fork never leaving my hand. When I finished I leaned back in my stool and rubbed my stomach as if to say thank you to my breakfast for its nourishment. “What did you have?” I hear the woman ask, turning her body to face me for the first time.
She was older. Older than I expected her to be from when I saw her come in. She was maybe around 50. She wore a smile that she seemed proud of and had thick laugh lines around her eyes and mouth that suggested she laughed often. She wore no makeup but didn’t need to. Her skin was clear and well hydrated. I didn’t mean to be so quick to access her and try to categorize her in my mind, but I could tell she was a hippie. The all-natural, organic type. when she spoke her voice was soothing and slow. She words came out calm and friendly. She seemed genuine and I liked that about her. I smiled and told her what I was having. “It was really good,” I said, “I might just have to borrow the recipe.” After a few back and forths of small talk and questions of where we were from, our questions to each other began to transition to slight deeper conversation . The moment she told me she was a gypsie and world-traveler my interest peaked. I swiveled in my stool and faced her directly. She did the same. Little did I know the next two hours would be the two of us, getting to know each other without ever remembering to ask each other’s names.

We talked about life and culture and education and travel. We talked about our mutual fascination with the mountains and flowing rivers and how we would undoubtably find ourselves planted near them both one day. We talked about conformity and our different generationa values. We talked about technology and the vast advances we have made just in the last decade and life before the cell phone. We shared in the love of writing and the importance of being truthful to ourselves. We exchanged our ideas of the meaning of life and spirituality and we were able to talk without any negativity or judgement towards one another. We discussed finding our identity and presence in the world and the importance of being self aware. We agreed on how easy it was to miss moments like these if we weren’t careful and how appreciative we both were for the people we have become because of the experiences we’ve had along the way. We told stories of our travels and moments that changed our perspectives of what we thought we knew about life and love and people in our lives. We talked about the importance of having great friends, and told more stories of people and experiences that have changed us for the better. For the better part of two hours we talked, not once experiencing a lull in conversation, only to be interrupted ever so often by fits of laughter and smiles. As she talked I listened. And as I talked she listened and the whole time we were together, I felt like I was talking to the older woman version of myself. Finally, one of us asked the time and we realized how long we had been sitting there. “I’m Chris by the way.” I said realizing we had not known each others names this whole time.

“Zara” she said smiling. “Its nice to meet you, Chris.” There was a pause.

“Can I take your picture?” I asked.

“Of me?” she questioned as she started combing her hair with her fingers.

“It’s just that I’ve really appreciated talking with you and would like really like a picture of you to remember you by. Is that weird?”

“Sure! That’s not weird. That’s really nice….you mean like of two of us or just me?

“Actually, if I could get one of just you. I don’t want you to pose or anything, I just want it to be natural, you know, they way it really happened.”

“Like this…” she said laughing.




“Give yourself Permission to Fail” -Bob Goff


Hopefully, you have failed at least a couple of times in your life. I say hopefully, because I think failure is good for us. Failure, unlike success  has the power to humble us and teach us lessons we would have never learned had we not tried first and failed. Failure also has the  ability to change and shape us and help us mature and grow into better version of ourselves. As hard as it is in the moment to accept we have failed at something, I believe the big failures are often the best kind. Without them, we would not know and fully appreciate the pleasure of success. I am learning it is through our biggest failures that we learn and grow the most. I haven’t always felt this way. No, it wasn’t until about this time last year that I had lunch with a man named Bob Goff, that I started to give myself permission to fail, and fail BIG.

The story of how I met Bob Goff.
Bob’s book Love Does was just released in May of last year and Bob and the Love Does team was hosting a conference in Austin the following October around Halloween. When I first heard about the conference and that Donald Miller was also going to be there, I immediately purchased my ticket. Having been introduced to Bob, through Donald Miller’s book Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to meet these men I had read and heard so much about. I had been to conferences like these before, but this one I knew needed to be different. My goal from the very beginning was not just to meet both of them, but introduce myself and spend time with them, and maybe if I was lucky, become friends.

The day of the conference was packed. I had intentionally arrived at the conference early because I had come up with a plan. Before the crowds of people flooded through the doors, I had intended to sneak in by way of acting like I was somebody important and get backstage to introduce myself to Bob and Don before the long line of people competed for their attention. I wanted more than a picture and a handshake. I wanted a conversation. I wanted lunch. As luck would have it, I pulled into the parking lot of the church where the conference was held around the same time as Theron Humprey and Maddie his dog. I had been following @thiswildidea on Instagram for some time, so when I got out of my car I immediately recognized them. I played it cool and sparked up a conversation with Theron as we walked through the parking lot towards the conference together. I asked why he and Maddie were there and he told me he was invited by Bob to speak at the conference. It didn’t take long for me to put together that he and Maddie were my perfect ticket in, to meet Bob and Don. As we talked, I walked confidently and briskly like I knew where I was going. Like I was familiar with the place and been there thousands of times before. I wore a big smile and waved to people pretending to say things like “Hey Sharleen! Great to see ya. How are the kids?” Theron was apparently buying it, and we kept up conversation as we pasted the sign-in tables and crossed through the double doors that blocked the crowds from going in before the conference had started. Theron must have thought I had worked there because he was asking questions I had no idea the answers to and had even assumed the position behind me a few steps back, as I lead him to the auditorium. At one point he even asked if I could lead him to Bob. “Sure!” I said, not having a clue where I was, much less where Bob or his team was either. But, Theron didn’t know that. “I know he is around here somewhere,” I said, trying to maintain confidence and sounding like I had run into him earlier. After walking around the inside of the building for a few minutes, trying not to look lost as I attempted to open several locked doors, Theron and I finally managed to get in through a small side door someone had walked out of. We walked in through the top of the auditorium and down the isles to the stage where a few crew members were doing last minute preparations and Bob and Don were coming on to the stage to do sound check. I did it! I couldn’t believe it! I got in! It was apparent at this point Theron no longer had a use for me and thanked me for my help as he walked backstage like someone who actually was supposed to be there. I didn’t follow him though. I stayed back acting like I had to take care of something because I was too caught up by what just happened and needed to let out the air I seemed to be holding in for the last 10 minutes. I sat down in the audience by the stage for a moment while my heart rate settled back to normal and waited for the right opportunity to approach them. The moment with Don never came. As I would later find out, Don was just there for the introductions and a brief talk to kick off the conference and didn’t plan on staying for more than a couple of hours as he had another flight to catch. Bob however, would be there the whole time and I was determined to meet him and stand out from all the others he would meet that weekend.

Bob finished sound check and handed over his ear piece to a pretty blonde girl and walked off stage left. I hesitated for a few moments wondering if now was the right time to introduce myself. I knew only thinking about it more would only cripple me and keep me seated. I stood up, grabbed my bag and made a bee-line up the stairs onto the stage. With my heart racing, I pretended not too notice the questionable looks from a few of the stage hands, and continued to carry the “its okay, I’m important” look as I made my way straight for Bob. I passed one, two, three people on my way back stage as I just smiled and tried not to make direct eye contact. “Hey Bob!” I yelled, perhaps a bit too loudly, still a few yards behind as he was making his way through a doorway. As he turned I extended my arm for a handshake. Bob was a man that was always smiling and I could almost see his smile before he turned around. He turned, and without hesitation he stepped forward to give me a huge bear hug. “Hi!” he said, in an almost too excited tone. “Hi, Bob. I’m Chris Sawey. Big Fan.” There was a pause so I kept talking. “Listen. Bob. I’m here for the conference because I read your book and think your awesome and wanted to meet you and hopefully if you up for it, take you to lunch while you’re here maybe to eat some Austin’s BBQ. I’m buyin!” I took a breathe. “Oh wow!” He said laughing, “That’s great!” as he reached out for another hug. “Man! I would love to Chris! I don’t think I’ll have time today but maybe come back tomorrow and LETS DO IT!” he said, still laughing. “Great!” I said almost giddy. “I’ll see you tomorrow then!”

As lunch came around the following day, I was beginning to get a little nervous. Not nervous to meet Bob again, we were practically best friends already. (He did hug me twice.) I was more nervous because I hadn’t seen him yet and worried I might not be able to find him. Or worse, what if he forgot? As lunch was getting closer I made the decision to skip out on the last hour before the lunch break and go get the barbeque and bring it back. Just in case he was too busy to go anywhere. I arrived just in time as everyone was breaking for lunch and crowding the stage to get a picture with Bob. The line was long and I worried that the barbeque would get cold and Bob would hate it. I stood close to the stage waiting patiently for the line to go down hoping Bob would glance over and see me holding the white paper lunch bag with grease and barbeque stains beginning to seep from the bottom. He didn’t see me. He turned to walk away and I quickly made my move up the stage stairs towards him. “Bob, I brought your lunch!” I said, immediately feeling foolish that I chose to say that, among the thousand of other things I could have said. “Chris! You made it!…and with barbeque! Awesome! Come on back!” I felt special and important as we talked side by side across the stage, past the stage crew as we made our way to the lounge that had been set up for him and the team. Colorful balloons littered the floor and walls when we walked in as Bob invited me to sit on the couch while he grabbed us some plates. For the next 40 minutes Bob and I talked. He asked me questions and I did my best to try to give him an idea of who I was and how much I admired the way he lived his life. I told him that from what I had read of him, I thought we had a lot in common, and that maybe the two of us were cut from the same cloth, as a lot of his stories were strikingly similar to my own experiences. Without wanting to bore him I jumped right in on why I was so interested in meeting him. I told him that I was afraid that I had started to notice that as I got older I was becoming more “safe” and less willing to step out and take big risks. I told him of my doubts and regrets I had in choosing the career path I did, and my fear of running out of money because what I had went to school for, didn’t pay as well as I hoped or imagined. I let him know I wanted to live a life that was bold and different, much like his, and confessed I had let the world sike me out and convince me that failure, the older I got was more costly. I asked him if he could give me any advise on what I should do. He asked me few more questions about my passions and my dreams and gave me a lot of just interesting Bob Goff advice that could have only come from him. Advice like “quit because it’s Thursday,” and something about not continuing to chase lost dogs. But as he continued, he did something that really stuck out to me. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Inside his bill-fold he pulled out two red tickets – you know, the kind you get at carnivals or fairs or whatever. “You know what these are?” he asked. “Tickets?” I questioned. “Permission.” he said. “Permission to fail. I carry these tickets around with me because every year I give myself permission to fail and fail BIG.” These are a reminder to me that its okay to fail sometimes and that everything will be okay. Anytime I fail in a big way, and believe me I do it all the time, I just pull one of these red tickets and rip it in half acknowledging my screw up and then I move on.” I laughed out loud because of the ridiculousness of what I was hearing. But at the same time, what Bob was saying kind of made since. I guess in that moment while talking to Bob I acknowledged that failure happens to everyone, even people like Bob Goff. And regardless if we fail sometimes and things don’t go the way we hope them to, everything will be okay in the end. The red tickets aren’t supposed to make the failure non existent or the consequences of the failure disappear, but the tickets did symbolize and simplify that these BIG failures are something that is bound to happen to all of us in life, and give ourselves permission to fail big from time to time. As silly as it sounds, it helped me. Bob reached across the couch and handed me his two tickets. “I’ve got a whole roll of them, you can have these.” I laughed again and told him thanks, and that I appreciated him taking the time to talk with me. Before he stood up to go back on stage he grabbed a fresh napkin from the table and started writing on it. From my angle and his bad lawyer handwriting it was hard to make out what he had wrote. When he was finished, he folded it up and stuck it in his shirt pocket as he stood up, giving me a little wink. I stood up as well and moved around the couch to give him another hug. When we let go he grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to do whatever my heart was telling me to do and to not be afraid of the outcome; that God is going to take care of us. In the background I could hear the music that prompted the audience to find their seats to get started again. I hung back cleaning up our lunch while Bob disappeared for a moment and made his way back on stage. He greeted the audience in big Bob Goff fashion and admitted he hadn’t prepared for what he was going to talk about. He made a couple of jokes and then did something I did not expect. He reached into his pocket and revealed the folded napkin he wrote on during our talk. For the next hour, Bob discussed with all of us fear and the reality of failure. Needless to say, I walked away very encouraged and to this day will never forget my lunch with Bob Goff.


P.S. One month later, I quit my job (surprisingly on a Thursday) and moved into #Hotelprius. Thanks Bob.

You can be comfortable or courageous, but you can not be both.


Today I’m learning that comfort and courage can not coexist. To be courageous means to confront yours fears, to be bold, and to step out into the unknown. This process by it’s very nature, is uncomfortable. I will admit I don’t mind being courageous. I love being comfortable more. Truth is, I have a very difficult time being courageous when it comes to making big commitments and signing contracts. Commitments scare me because I’m afraid to be stuck. If im honest, I think it’s more about me wanting to have control. For the past year I have had no ties to anyplace. no contract, no leases, no commitments of any kind. One might call it, an experiment of life untethered. To some, my particular lifestyle could be considered “true freedom,” but I would question if that is really true. I’m learning that commitments aren’t necessarily a bad thing and like with anything, it’s about finding a healthy balance.

Not Every Adventure is Awesome

It’s easy to think sometimes when we say we are going on an adventure, it means we are about to embark on the most exciting and enjoyable time of our lives. But that’s not always true and that is not what adventure means. By definition, a true adventure is one that involves both risk and the elements of the unknown. No one says “I’m going to the grocery store to get eggs, and it’s going to be an adventure!” Why? Because there is no risk involved in buying eggs (unless your clumsy) and there is very little room to experience the unknown.

No, a true adventure is one that requires a step out of the familiar, the comfortable, and requires you to take some level of risk. It should be scary. It should make you consider if you are making the right choice. And you should be hesitant. That’s part of it. That’s normal. Whether that means moving across the country for a new job, getting married, having a kid, buying a home, climbing a mountain, living out of your car… etc. If your “adventure” doesn’t make you question what will happen further down the road, and is not a little scary, you might reconsider what you define an adventure.

Eight months ago, when I decided to start this new chapter of my life of living out of #hotelprius, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what the road ahead looked like and thus, no way to really prepare fully. But I pushed forward, I embraced the unknown, and went in with the believe that this adventure of mine, would not always be fun, comfortable or exciting, and it certainly would not always be awesome.

This week, those expectations and that reality hit hard. Life happened! In the short span of only a week, I’ve moved across the country for a job that didn’t work out, ended a two and a half year relationship with my best friend, had my bike stolen from off my car, broke my phone, lost my sunglasses, and was in a moped crash, all while trying to navigate through decisions and choices in a new city by myself. Needless to say, it’s has not been fun or comfortable and has been very difficult to sift through and process. Now, I’ve always considered myself to be pretty resourceful and fairly resilient, and this isn’t the first time the life has taken a few slugs. But this week, the bangs and bruises of life’s blows have really left me feeling sore and a little disheartened. Needless to say, not every adventure is as awesome as you might hope it to be.

If I have any advise to pass along it would be this:
It’s important to have realistic expectations of resist the impulse to fantasize about any adventure, just so you are better ready when these times and these seasons come. Because they will come and and will most often come in waves. During this time, it’s important to stay positive and thankful for the things and experiences you do have. It’s important to do your very best not to dwell on the people and events that have hurt you. It’s important to feel and process these emotions and feeling as they come, and try not to ignore or save for later in the mindset that it will be easier later. It won’t be and it only makes it worse. Do yourself a favor – Allow yourself time to grief, to be sad, to be angry, to feel hurt, to feel pain, or whatever else you may be feeling or experiencing and then do your best to remind yourself of who you are, what’s most important in your life, and focus on the person you want to be. Do you want these small trivial experiences to be the reasons you slow down or give up? Do you want to look back on your life 20 years from now and regret what you should’ve done. I hope not. The truth is, experiences like these can be very, very difficult. But at the same time these experiences can be opportunities. I want you to see these times and brief moments in the timeline of your life to either be stepping stones or stumbling blocks in your personal growth. You need to know, you have options. By choosing to dwell or blame or ignore, or hate, either yourself or others, is only going to trip you up and slow you down in becoming the strong and beautiful you, you were meant to be. Instead use these hard and difficult moments as stepping stones. Moments to learn and grow from. Moments that absolutely have the power to shape you and launch you forward to the future person you will become.

Lastly, try to see life as a story! In every good story these is a character that wants something and has to overcome certain challenges to get it. No good story is complete without a little risk, without a little discomfort, and without a little challenge and adventure!

Not every adventure is awesome! But you are!

So to my fellow adventurers,
just keep climbing!

#MORNINGMUSINGS // My Morning View

Heavy eyelids. Heavier with each passing moment as I stared out the windshield across my steering wheel into the darkness. Only my headlights and the moon illuminating the road in front of me. It was time to pull over and sleep. I hadn’t realized it but I had been climbing in elevation as I cornered the last long and windy bend into my parking place for the night. I crawled onto my soft, but chili bed and fell immediately asleep. I awake. My eyes open slowly and adjust to the sliver of sun peaking over the Shenandoah mountain landscape in the far distance. It is completely and utterly silent. I am up even before the birds. I’ve almost forgotten what silence sounds like. I reach for my phone as if to think it was actually possible to capture a moment such as this. I set the phone down and take a deep breath, doing my best to take in this moment as best I can. I shuffle in my sleeping bag and immediately notice the damp cool due that has accumulated around my feet. I left the hatch open last night, too tired to remember to close it. For several moments I stare at through the back of #hotelprius admiring the beauty and the magnitude of the mountains I have just met. If these mountains had eyes, I can imagine them saying to me “Stare at me as long as you like.”

Inside #Hotelprius: EXCLUSIVE LOOK

There is a lot that goes into living out of a car. For this post, Ive added some text to a few pictures to show you exactly how I have organized my Prius into a fully functional efficiency apartment. Complete with Bed, table, stove, desk, coffee table, pantry, closet, laundry room, mailbox, bathroom, curtains, bike, fan, basement and attic!

Gotta see it to believe it.