So, our table at lunch is known by its members for having crazy, random conversations about nothing. Today after everyone else left to pursue other homework, Billy and I realized the best, most economical solution for my housing for school next year.
That's right, a van! To give a little background, the college has an age limit for students who live on campus, and I will reach that limit at about week three this fall semester. Therefore, I need to pursue alternate housing options. Enter van! This is a fairly sustainable solution that is cheap and mobile, so I can take my home to other places! (Yes, Chris's van-living model from aberrant-travels.com had quite a bit of inspiring power... This also fits well with the tiny house concept that has continually been intriguing me more and more.)
The van model is stunningly simple. All I would need is a van (obviously), a sleeper sofa, table and chair (both optional), some insulation, and a heating apparatus. The majority of this is fairly understandable (the couch to sleep on, the insulation because I live in Wisconsin, table and chair as work area), but the main thing I would need to setup is the heater. We decided the best way would be to have a car battery that powered an electric motor that turned a big alternator. This would not only recharge the battery running it but would also power an inverter which could power my computer, recharge my phone, and run a space heater. I might try to add some lights onto that too, if we haven't already used all the power... That's pretty much all you need in the van!
Then we come to daily living needs. Seeing as I'm using this as a mobile dorm room, I am largely basing this on the school. I would park on the side street (I'd need a parking permit: $60) so I would be off their property, but otherwise, I would use the school for everything else. I'd use their bathrooms, locker rooms for showers, piggy-back off the campus wifi, and get the biggest meal plan available so I have more than enough meals to eat there every day (they also have microwaves in case I need a leftover reheated).
I'm starting to think a mini-fridge wouldn't be the worst thing to add to my van, assuming the power capacity is there. Billy also said I should get Netflix streaming, but I think that could be easily cut from the budget.
That should be everything! We thought about this concept for almost a half hour, and we only came up with two possible issues. The first is that I might get ticketed or possibly towed, but that could be alleviated by being more sneaky and moving from night to night, and the second is fairly inevitable and obvious: it's a four-wheeled, 2 ton chastity belt. I'm thinking about naming it "the abstinence-mobile" or maybe "the lonely wanderer." Not sure. I'm sure I'll think up something...