I lived in my van from Jan. 2009 - Jan. 2011.
It was my goal to graduate from Duke, debt-free.
First Semester - Spring '09
1/6/09 - I find my the van on craigslist and buy it.
1/8/09 - I renovate (or pimp out) my van.
1/14/09 - I read "Walden" for the second time, reflecting on why I've decided to live in a van.
1/16/09 - It gets down to about 10 degrees F.
1/28/09 - With funds rapidly dwindling, I resort to doing MRI studies for money.
2/5/09 - My van leaks and I deal with smells. Not the first, nor the last time I deal with this chronic issue.
2/11/09 - I'm lonely as hell, so I tell a bum my secret.
2/16/09 - I describe how I cook in the van.
2/18/09 - I unveil my cookbook.
3/1/09 - My mom finds out about van; thinks I'm crazy.
3/25/09 - I hike the Appalachian Trail with my friend Luke for 6 days.
4/5/09 - I get food-poisoning and throw-up in the van.
4/19/09 - I take pictures of myself doing resourceful things.
4/22/09 - I get my tax return and reflect on wealth
5/5/09 - Some passersby compare my van to the A-Team's while I try to nap.
5/6/09 - I entertain my first guest and discuss what it's like to tell other people that I live in a van.
5/8/09 - I clean out the van and reflect on my first successful semester of vandwelling.
5/9/09 - I break down my finances and compare them to the average American's.
[I go to Alaska to work as a backcountry ranger for the summer. Click here to view my Alaska Stories]
Second Semester - Fall '09
8/26/09- I shave off my summer beard and reflect on celibacy during the process.
8/27/09- North Carolina is F-in hot in August.
9/3/09- Ants take over my van.
9/30/09- I'm lonely in my library.
10/3/09- I almost witness an orgy unfurl.
10/9/09- Mom finds out about the blog.
10/16/09- I read aloud an article about living in my van to my travel writing class. The article would later be edited and submitted to Salon where it printed.
10/19/09- I eat trash for the first time and enjoy it.
10/22/09- Another 4 days on the Appalachian Trail.
10/25/09- I cook up another pot of spaghetti stew.
11/4/09- I go to halloween dressed as Thoreau. Also reflect on the miseries of grad school.
11/9/09- Some guy inspects the van while I'm in it.
11/16/09- A family has a picnic next to my van for 4 hours. I must remain still.
12/2/09- I find a pile of something mysterious in the back of the van.
12/7/09- I print an article in Salon. Chaos ensues.
12/13/09- I reflect on my newfound fame.
12/26/09- I visit Thoreau's Walden Pond.
Third Semester - Spring '10
1/11/10- I talk about going to the gym. Videotape myself shooting the hook.
1/25/10- I get in an accident and sprain my knee, cleverly blaming my blunders on a girl
2/2/10- I'm interviewed by radio host, Dick Gordon.
2/22/10- I stroll through Duke's infamous K-ville.
3/1/10- A picture tour of the van.
3/5/10- I have some mice problems.
3/20/10- A sleeping bag company sends me a free bag. I review it.
4/7/10- I go to Cameron to watch Duke win the NCAA Championship match.
4/18/10- Second installment of my "Image of resourcefulness" series
4/25/10- I hurt my tongue in a game of pickup basketball and use the opportunity to reflect on my lack of health insurance.
4/30/10- ABC News airs their interview of me and I get preoccupied with my image
5/9/10- I participate in a campus study by taking a drug.
5/16/10- My parents visit me.
5/24/10- A girl has a seizure and I reflect on the ridiculousness of school.
5/30/10- I talk about the people I met this past semester, including David who'd let me stay at his home for the summer.
6/8/10- I issue a belated manifesto and give back all the money people had given me over the past couple years.
6/16/10- I describe the inhabitants of my new home -- Acorn Abbey
7/6/10- I go on a three-day fast: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
7/26/10- I describe the animals of Acorn Abbey
8/27/10- I sum up my summer at Acorn Abbey with lots of pictures
7/16/10- I respond to a letter from a father seeking advice about his daughter.
[I spend my summer with a hermit in Stokes County, North Carolina in a cottage called Acorn Abbey. Click here to view stories from that summer in my "Other Travels" series.]
Fourth Semester - Fall '10
9/3/10- I clean out my van and discuss my first impressions of being back on campus
9/10/10- I go shopping and wax philosophical about anti-consumerism
10/2/10- Uh-oh P.1--I get an email saying I have to move out of my lot
10/4/10- Uh-oh P.2--I learn more details about getting kicked out of my lot
10/7/10- Uh-oh P.3--I decide that I'm not going to leave my lot
10/13/10- I spend fall break on Appalachian Trail again.
10/18/10- Uh-oh P.4--I say goodby to the Mill Lot. I put together a video montage
10/20/10- I learn that I've been illegally parked on private property so I say goodbye to my lot. Also, Duke decides to prohibit all students from living in their vehicles.
10/22/10- I write a letter to Duke complaining about their new law to prohibit on-campus vehicle-dwelling.
10/27/10- I create an adventure scholarship.
11/3/10- I reflect on why I've enrolled in graduate school.
11/13/10- I'm running out of money!
11/25/10- I go to Wal-Mart on Black Friday, and reflect on the ridiculousness of our economic superstructure.
11/29/10- I publish Part 1, of my op-ed to the student newspaper in which I complain about how the "university experience" makes us into debtors
11/30/10- I publish Part 2, also complaining about a new anti-vandwelling parking campus law
12/5/10- Images of resourcefulness Part III. Getting desperate.
Fifth Semester - Spring '11
12/19/10- I return to Acorn Abbey where I'll spend the rest of the semester writing my final project.
12/26/10- I reflect on my religious upbringing
1/7/11- I write a guest post about David's three chickens
2/6/11- I start writing my final project, which is also a vandwelling memoir.
3/6/11- Spring at Acorn Abbey
3/17/11- I visit Duke for a class and reminisce.
4/7/11- Summer's coming to Acorn Abbey.
4/14/11- I'm getting worried about my future.
4/19/11- I prepare for my last week at Duke
4/24/11- I take some pictures of Duke's natural scenery
5/2/11- My last day at Duke and in the van
5/5/11- I move out of the van for good and prepare it for sale.
5/8/11- I take note of spring growth at the Abbey.
5/8/11- I capture a groundhog on film
5/11/11- Is Duke evil?
5/12/11- I get frantic about my graduation robe and the speech I'll soon have to give.
5/21/11- My conclusion to my vandwelling experiment. My mom films the speech I give at my department's ceremony.
5/26/11- I say goodbye to two baby chicks who were eaten by a raccoon.
5/29/11- I wonder aloud why members of my generation aren't revolutionaries
5/31/11- I get rid of most of my stuff and take off for Alaska to write my book.
6/3/11- I leave Acorn Abbey
6/16/11- I review a student loan documentary.
9/2/11 Some tips on how to afford college
2/11/12- I get a book deal (Part I)
2/12/12- I get a book deal (Part II)