The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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Google Software Engineer Lives In A Van To Avoid San Francisco Rent

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An educated full-time employee of a extremely high-paying company would rather live in a ten-year-old van in his office parking lot than pay San Francisco rent. How’s your apartment hunt going?

“I realized I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in — and I was almost never home,” he says. “It’s really hard to justify throwing that kind of money away. You’re essentially burning it — you’re not putting equity in anything and you’re not building it up for a future — and that was really hard for me to reconcile,” “23-year-old Brandon S. headed from Massachusetts” told Business Insider.


He also has a blog about his ongoing #vanlife experience; Thoughts From Inside The Box.

The 2006 Ford E-Series cutaway Brandon calls home is more than just a van, actually. It’s a 16-foot box truck with 128 square feet of space for hauling commercial merchandise or dry goods or you know, living in. Apparently it cost him $10,000 or about five months in what BI describes as “the cheapest corporate housing” Google offers.


I mean, his line of reasoning is logical enough. He’s saving a lot of money and only got hassled by Google campus cops that one time. In his blog Brandon writes that “ten security officers” surrounded him as he climbed into his van late one night, but all was resolved after he produced his employee badge. Security apologized for waking him up and said he had a “sweet setup.”

Outside of, uh, social concerns, the biggest issues with living in a vehicle are pooping, cooking and bathing in that order. Plumbing, power, and other such technologies that make a metal box a home add significant complexity and cost to a vehicle. You can’t just pop a camp stove from Wal-Mart in the back of a box truck and hope you don’t poison the air or burn rig to the ground.

Lucky for Brandon, his employer Google has taken care of that. He eats all his meals and does all his bathroom business on campus, reserving the van for sleeping and...

The joke we’re supposed to make now is that this guy’s never going to get laid living in a van. Whatever, I’ll take his odds of finding love between walls of steel over your odds of finding an affordable apartment in the Bay Area. Also in his favor; as soon as he steps out of the house, he can pretty much buy whatever he wants.


Good luck with the #vanlife, Brandon. Not that you need it, kinda seems like you’ve got things pretty well figured out.


Image by the author with a Ford graphic. Not the “actual van” pictured, but you get the idea.

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