Ken Ilgunas is the author of Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom ($15.95, Amazon Publishing/New Harvest)
Once upon a time, I lived in a van for two years at Duke University. When I enrolled in grad school I was broke and desperate, possessing little more than a suitcase full of clothes and a backpack full of camping gear. But I was determined to get my degree debt-free. So, without any better idea, I bought a 1994 Ford Econoline for $1,500 and secretly lived inside it in a campus parking lot.
"Vandwelling," you might expect, had more than its share of drawbacks. Mice would move into my ceiling upholstery, washing pots and pans became so inconvenient I stopped washing them altogether, and the bathroom was a quarter-mile sprint from my parking space.
But people adapt, mice are flattened with frying pans, and bladders grow firm and strong. In the end, living in a van would prove to be a life-altering education -- in personal finance, in the resiliency of the human body, and in how we can turn our wildest, weirdest dreams into realities -- an education arguably more valuable than that which I'd receive in the classroom.
Here are ten reasons to try vandwelling: