Silicon Valley tech employers like Apple, Google, and Facebook offer incredible perks to their workers: free meals, swimming pools, gyms, and spas. Back in the real world, the city of San Francisco, rents have reached astronomical heights, posting a record high average rental rate of $3,057 per apartment this year. So it's no wonder some employees have tried to beat the system by living rent-free in the company parking lot. A Quora thread detailed the best practices from Google employees who lived on campus, and a recent article about this from Alyson Shontell inspired a lengthy comment thread on the tech forum Hacker News. The best bit of advice came from "AJWR", who describes himself as a "Full-stack Developer, Family Man - Cyclist - Gamer", and left an 18-point list of how to maximize your happiness while living our of your vehicle. That's his actual van pictured above. We've collected some highlights of his advice below.
- Get a small camper/van that can park in one car parking space with a diesel heating system. Kitchen is irrelevant. Bed/toilet/heating system/space to sit and type/space for clothes to hang.
- You need a toilet but usually you time your bowel movements to only need to use it as a urinal unless you decide to go for a crazy hot curry.
- No it's not 'hot' to invite a girl back to your van in a car park.
- Be proud of what you are doing. The limited space you have frees you from clutter.
- Do crazy things...like continue to run an ebay magic card sales business inside the van!
- Go stealth mode if possible. No windows on the sides of the van, roof windows are perfect. You want somebody to think there is no one in the van.
- Always go for a van you can stand in.
- Check your drinking laws. In the UK sleeping in the back of a van is legal if drunk.
- Be social. Get out of that space. Do not go back to the van and lock yourself away and watch stuff on the internet. GET OUT.
For those daring few ready to live in a van down by the valley, here's the list in its entirety.