When Levi Joseph scored a manufacturing internship in Seattle for his last summer before graduating college, he waited a little too long to scope out a place to stay.
A friend in the area had a spare room … but not until July, leaving Joseph without housing for 40 days.
Limited to options costing over $1,000 a month — beyond his budget — the 22-year-old decided he’d book a space in a campsite through Airbnb for about $600 and live in his Subaru Outback through the month of June.
That left him with a unique challenge: How would he manage to show up to work looking … not like someone living in his car?
“I had lived in my car for three weeks on a climbing and fishing trip two summers ago, but it was more camping next to it,” Joseph told Business Insider. “I didn’t have business suits and things. It was more ‘college guy living in his car’ versus ‘professional guy keeping his stuff clean.'”
Staying in a campsite instead of a parking lot was key. As far as grooming, his campsite had full bathroom, and he joined a local rock-climbing gym for $56 a month to use their showers, their wifi … and their outlets. “I had a small iron I’d plug in at the gym discreetly, when no one was around, and iron some clothes,” he said.
He was pleasantly surprised to find out his corporate office had a dry cleaning service on site. While he credits the fact that he spent more money than expected throughout his Subaru residency in part to this perk, it did make things easier. In the car itself, he stored the trappings of corporate life in a designated area.
Every morning, he’d check his shoes for mud before walking into the office, he said. “That was always funny to me.”