A little over a year ago, Google employees on a Quora thread announced they’d discovered an interesting way to live in the ultra-expensive Bay Area: Rather than pay for conventional housing, they resided in trucks and RVs parked near (or on) the company’s campus, and took advantage of corporate perks—including free food, gym facilities, and dry cleaning—to get by on a day-by-day basis.
“[One] guy lived in the camper for 2-3 years. Showered at the gym. Did his laundry on campus. Ate every meal on campus he could,” wrote one Google employee on the thread. “After the 2-3 years, he had saved up enough money to buy a house.”
Now Business Insider has a lengthy breakdown of how one Googler, Brandon S., decided to engage in a little off-grid living within sight of Google’s high-tech headquarters. First he spent $10,000 of his Google signing bonus on a 2006 Ford truck with 128 square feet of room in the back, which he filled with a bed, dresser, and coat rack. Google pays for his phone, and he uses the company’s gym and cafeterias to eat and shower.
Brandon claims he’s saving 90 percent of his income by living in a truck. “If security were to come by, I doubt it would be a big issue,” he wrote in a posting on his personal blog. “I’ve registered the car with the company vehicle database, so they know it belongs to an employee, and I’ve read stories about people at very similar companies having short conversations with security, and then never being bothered again.”
For those Bay Area tech pros who think Brandon’s lifestyle sounds appealing, he uses another blog posting to break down the drawbacks, which include “social suicide,” the inconvenience of not having a bathroom or fridge in close proximity, stress, insect infestations, and the upfront costs of purchasing a large-enough vehicle. On the other hand, he’s also using the cash savings to rapidly pay down his student loans.