Lonely Planet Writer

This adventurous traveller is secretly living in his car - and look how he has customised it for eating, sleeping and working

For the past year, an intrepid young adventurer from California has been secretly living out of his SUV while holding down a career as an executive salesman.

Edward Mjelde has been living out of an SUV for the past year.
Edward Mjelde has been living out of an SUV for the past year.

Edward Mjelde first began his unique residency after finishing a 5000-mile backpacking adventure on the American Discovery Trail from Delaware to California.

During the lengthy walk, Edward had grown accustomed to travelling light and bringing just the bare essentials that he needed to get by every day.

Edward's clothes drawer
Edward’s clothes drawer

Upon his return, he landed a job as an executive salesman but decided to uphold his bohemian lifestyle, taking out a loan to purchase a 2014 Ford Escape that would act as his apartment and mobile office.

Al fresco dining: dinner is served on compact folding table
Al fresco dining: dinner is served on compact folding table

“Everything that I own is in the SUV, I have no need for external storage. All of my belongings are easily accessible in the trunk. Housekeeping items and hygiene products are kept discreetly in the side door pockets and extra shoes are put under my front seats. Showers are taken at the gym and the bathrooms I use are public.”

When it comes to eating, sleeping and the organisation of essential items, 6″2 Edward has a strict system in place that helps him maximise his space.
Everything Edward owns is in the SUV. He has no need for external storage.
Everything Edward owns is in the SUV. He has no need for external storage.

“My cooler serves a dual purpose. I found that when my front passenger seat is moved all the way forward and the back seats are set down, it has the perfect dimensions to create additional space, allowing me to lay down completely in the vehicle at night.”

A locking drawer from Ikea serves as storage for work items.
A locking drawer from Ikea serves as storage for work items.

For office work, a locking drawer from Ikea provides an extra layer of protection for belongings in the event of a break in. The top drawer is allocated for fun activities such as his juggling kit and harmonica, while clothes are kept in the middle drawer or hung up for the next working day. Cooking supplies and food is kept in the bottom drawer along with two miniature stoves.

Edward's food drawer
Edward’s food drawer

“I use a compact folding table and chair to make an outside work station. I have a car outlet in my trunk where I can charge devices. When I park outside of a location with a Wi-Fi hotspot, I have the perfect outdoor office! I choose this lifestyle, it’s what gives life meaning to me. I spend most of my time outside and sleep most of my nights out too. The world is my home!”

The car also serves as an outdoor office.
The car also serves as an outdoor office.

You can follow Edward’s adventure on Instagram where his username is WalkUSA.