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.

10 of the most frequently asked questions about #Hotelprius

When people first learn about how I live out of my car, questions always follow. And that’s cool. I get it, you’re curious. Here are the top 10 questions I get about Hotel Prius. Hopefully, this will help shed some light on how and why I choose to live out of my car. If you have a question thats not listed below, add a comment, I’ll be happy to reply.

#1 Where do you shower?
For some reason this is the #1 most asked question about hotel prius. Its simple, the YMCA. For $25 a month (student membership) I have access to all the local YMCAs in Austin. Fortunately for me, there is always one close to the areas of town I like to hang out so showering or washing up is never really an issue. The downside is its not anytime I want. It takes a little planning because of their business hours. But other than that, it is as simple as bringing a backpack with my toiletries, a towel, and an extra change of clothes. It couldn’t be any easier honestly. And for only $25. Some people pay more that that on their water bill.

#2 Where do you park?
Anywhere I want really. I have my favorite spots around town depending on what neighborhood I am in and where I want to be close to the next morning.  Really, I can park anywhere that isn’t private property and doesn’t have some kind of curfew.  I have a few favorite views of the city that I go to more than others, but after two months of really knowing the city I am in, this is really the least of my concerns. Want to know how I find parking? See my other post here: 4 Tips to Finding Places to Park and Sleep While on the Road. 

#3 What fits in your car?
Surprisingly alot. More than most people would expect. Maybe that attests to my ability to maximize space or my fixation with efficiency, but with just over two months of trial and error, I now feel my car has everything it needs to live (reasonably) comfortably. I have a soft bed, a closet, curtains, a desk, a kitchen table and chair, a pantry, a bike rack, a laundry basket, a charging outlet, and a balcony (my roof). I even mounted a solar panel for harnessing free electricity during the day for changing at night. I also have a bathroom if you count the nearby tree. Its a small efficiency apartment and its all I really need. The only thing it really needs is an ironing board, but i’m still working on a fold out design concept for that. Coming Spring 2014. 🙂

#4 Does it get Old?
I imagine it could get old for some people but not me. I like it. I’m weird like that. And honestly, after you’ve been doing something for long enough, you get used to it. Things just become easier over time. It’s really all about developing systems and sticking to those systems. See my post on that here: The Importance of Developing Systems

#5 How long are you going to live out of your car?
As long as it takes. For me it comes down to saving money in order to do the things I want to do in the future, while at the same time being able to say yes to the things I want to do now. With the mobility of a moving home, and with minimized bills I have that freedom. If I want to take a week off I can. If I want to drive to a national park for the heck of it and stay in the mountains for a few days (my favorite thing ever) I can. If I get a job and need to move, I’m ready. I’m willing and able to do this as long as needed. If I’m honest with myself though, I wouldn’t want to do this for more than a year. 

#6 Where do you do for work/money?
I work in Austin at a 4 star hotel right in the center of town. I work for tips. I work banquets and various lunch-ins and wedding parties during the day and serve tables at night. I really enjoy it. At least for the time being. I meet really great people from all over the world and have really great conversations about life and business and am making great money just being myself and doing what I’m good at. It’s a temporary gig until I’m able to find the next thing. But for now, its my money maker and a great place to be for this season in life. My real passion is working with kids, but finding a salary that I can live on is hard to find. 

#7 What is the best part of living out of your car?
IMG_0043The freedom. That, and the satisfaction of knowing that I can make this work. It feels so rewarding to live the life I choose. Because I choose it, and its not forced upon me. I love the the freedom of going and doing what I want and not having the constant pressure of fitting into a mold and a lifestyle that I don’t want or feel I need in this season of life. I am open and free to do what I want when I want, and the limited space that #hotelprius brings me prevents me from buying things that I know I don’t need. I don’t buy the extra stuff i don’t really need simply because I just don’t have the room for it. It’s the perfect kind of accountability and forces me to save my money for more important things, like living life and blessing those around me with things they need. It’s fun.

#8 What is the hardest part of living out of your car?
If I’m honest, being alone. Don’t get me wrong, having my alone time is great and is certainly needed for as much as I am around people everyday. But too much time alone is unhealthy. The truth is, when I spend too much time alone, I have a tendency to start overthinking things and stay inside my head. There is a whole world inside my head and I can go there and get lost if I let myself. Usually when I get to that place I get fixated on my problems and stoop into a weird kind of depression. I don’t like getting to that place and have to stay intentional about finding good friends and good people to stay around. But that is not always available, and in those moments, I find it to be most difficult thing in living in hotel prius. Either that or needing to poop late at night. #kiddingbutnotreally

#9 What’s next for you?
Who knows. Right now I’m just enjoying living life and making the most of what I have. I’m staying open to opportunities and saying yes to them when those opportunities present themselves. I’m learning to let go and let God take care of the rest. Its one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever had and I really see myself as a blessed person for being able to take such an adventure.

#10 What would you say to someone who wants to live out of their car?
It’s not for everyone. I probably make it look more glamorous than it really is. I mean its cool, don’t get me wrong, but i’d just say be questioning your motives for why you want to do it. If you want to do it because you want to run away from your problems or because you are desperate for change, all you will be really doing is exchanging your problems for different ones, and the change you think are looking for, this might not be it. If you are doing it because you need to minimize your bills and live more efficiently, then this may be a good option for you. I will say this, having the right kind of car is very important. You probably couldn’t do this in a civic or anything of that size. Quite frankly a van is the best way to go if your looking for space, but nothing beats the MPG of a prius. That being said, there are right ways to do this and there are many more wrong ways to go about it. If you are considering this, just make sure you prepare yourself adequately and learn as much as you can from other people first. Learn from their mistakes to minimize yours. And follow this blog. 🙂

You have any more pressing questions, shoot a comment. I’ll answer. Promise.

Hotel Prius

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“Sometimes the best option is to stick to what you know. It may not be ideal. It may not be glamorous. But if you know it well, you can make it work .” -Me

Hi my name is Chris, and right now I’m a man in transition. I graduated college in May of 2013 and am still scrambling to find a job that sticks. I’ve given up on finding my “dream job” for the moment because I know that kind of stuff takes time. What I’m looking for now is a job that will keep me busy, put some money in my pocket, and hopefully if I’m lucky, give me a reason to get up in the morning. But sadly, hitting this “tri-fecta” in this economy, in my niche field, is a challenge so many people today are familiar with. So instead of blowing my money on an apartment I don’t need, I have chosen to live out of my car. I call it Hotel Prius.

Efficiency. It’s no mystery that the Toyota Prius is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road (and surprisingly spacious too). It was the reason I bought it in the first place. This May, I needed to move my things (and my girlfriends things) from Boston, Ma to Austin, Tx in the cheapest way possible. After hours of research, I decided the Toyota Prius was my best option and finally bought one during the last week of my senior year in college. To maximize my space economy I bought an old roof rack from a friend, mounted both our mountain bikes to the top, and took a two-and-a-half week road trip across the East coast in a carefully thought out, efficiently packed, Toyota Prius while stopping at National Parks and landmarks along the way. I learned many valuable life lessons about traveling, but perhaps the most valuable, is that if you really wanted to, if you had to, you could actually live in one of these things. So after about 6 months of bouncing around, from part time job to part time job, desperately trying to make rent and catch up on the huge spike in my car insurance, I was left with two options, 1. continue doing what I was doing (which was clearly going nowhere), OR 2. cut back on “necessary” spending and wait this thing out. And that is exactly what it comes down to, “necessary spending.” The truth of the matter is, in any other part of the world, having a home (not to be confused with a roof) is a luxury – A luxury, that on average costs you hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars a month to keep, and for the most part is not, or ever will be your own. So why pay it? Apartments, from my experience (and I’ve had dozens), are not worth the return on investment, unless renting to own. So, because I don’t want to pay (a.k.a can’t afford) rent at the moment, this is my best solution. 

Another reason I choose to live in my car is it doesn’t limit me. Having the mobility to go anywhere means I can literally keep my options open to take a job anywhere. Most apartments come with lease agreements and lease agreements usually mean contracts, and contracts means –  getting tied down. If something were to fall through with a job (like they have been lately) and I’m in a lease agreement, that’s just more money I have to come up with. It’s just not worth it. Yes, I’m aware of temporary (non-lease/contract apartments) but still there are deposits and application fees and other nonsense  that I’d have to pay for and quite frankly, I’d just rather live in my car. It gives me options and in this economy it’s good to leave those options open.

So what about food, warmth, showers, electricity, coffee, laundry? Where do you go when it rains? Where do you take your morning poops?  What about money? Where do you park? So many questions it seems like and I want to answer them all. I will. In time. But honestly, I’m still figuring things out along the way. I don’t claim to know everything, but I do know some stuff and what I happen to know, helps me very much in situations like this.

So here is the deal, when I learn something useful, or interesting, or funny, or whatever, I’ll share it. I’ll post it to this blog and just see what happens.

So if ya want, tag along for the ride – metaphorically that is, because this baby only fits UNO.