FIVE THINGS FOR FIVE MONTHS: A summer of #carlife.
FIVE MONTHS. I have lived in my car for… (nearly) Five. Months.
Three pot noodles, two dodgy encounters and one parking ticket later, I’ve watched the world go by out the boot of my Astra Estate. And now, I’m going to tell you about some of it.
ONE. I’ve never eaten so many bagels.
I swear I’ve never seen a stale bagel. Whilst this should really make me question what could possibly be in them that they last forever, it actually just means they serve as a serious car-life staple. You get 5 in a bag – that’s 5 meals, boyo.
Soup and bagel. Lentil daal and bagel. Smashed avocado on a bagel. Cheese, tomato and hummus bagel sandwich. And for dessert? Nutella bagel.
Minimal cutlery is involved and the empty bag can be used as a bin. Occasionally you’ll find a toaster and it’ll be like winning the lottery. Bagels. That’s all I’m saying.
TWO. ‘Will someone hear me if I scream?’
Finding parking for the night is part of the fun. I love waking up to new scenes and listening to the gentle hum of the world outside – waves, gulls, rivers, songbirds, laughter – all tucked up in my little space.
No one knows I’m here, but I hear everything.
Unfortunately, that also means that I can only hear the car pulling up next to me at night and I have no idea of the occupants’ intentions. Did they see me get into the car? Was my laptop left in view during the day? Are those lads pulling donuts, were they drinking, and what if they crash into me?
It’s a difficult balance between finding spots that are far enough from the rowdier folk but also within earshot of people that might come to your rescue. And so I hear myself asking, ‘will someone hear me if I scream?’. It puts the safety aspect of this lifestyle into perspective. If it doesn’t quite sit right, if something is putting me off, then I don’t stay there. I won’t sleep anyway.
THREE. Keep a diary.
And in it, write down all those tiny little moments you see and swear you will remember but just won’t. Giving a university presentation from your driver’s seat. The lady who carries seashells in her makeshift face-mask basket. The boys on bicycles who offer you their freshly caught fish. The field rat that made off with your dropped tortellini. The first time you find out that Greggs does a VEGAN sausage, cheese and bean melt. The woman and son who quietly released a balloon and cheers-ed a tinnie for his friend that committed suicide, and the kind stranger that sat with them.
A lot is going on out there.
Penknife. Sunglasses. Cushion. Window covers. Travel spoon. Toilet roll.
^^Your start-up kit for #carlife. I don’t think there is any generic situation (other than financial) that can’t be solved with the above items. Get creative. Challenges accepted.
FIVE. Relax, Zo, and figure it out later.
I tried to plan everything – where to park, what I was going to eat, when to shower, where is the nearest toilet. I tried to replicate normal house-life but just in a car.
As soon as I let this ideal go, everything seemed to work it out before I’d even realised it was a problem.
Accept that you won’t be eating full homecooked meals every night.
Accept that, even though you bought soap and a brush with only the best intentions, you will stash those dirty dishes until you next get to the sink at work.
Accept that you will try to use a She-Wee on your bed because you’re in too much of a public space to go outside, and you’ll hear it successfully going into the bottle but apparently you’ve used it at just the wrong angle that there’s suddenly a suspicious little wet patch just appeared on the duvet, and it’s already 11pm so there’s not much you can do about it, so a next-day shower and sheet-change will just have to do. You’ll survive.
Get ready to garner a whole new appreciation for the normally vertical activities such as getting dressed standing up and walking between rooms.
(SIX. Hangovers suck.)
HashtagCarlife remains one of my best decisions. I plan to keep it going whilst the weather stays, and then go part-time for a while BECAUSE… *drumroll please*
Please enter, #CABINLIFE.
Catch up soon 😘
Zoe – @zoallin