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I've lived out of my car for 4 years — see the incredible photos from my life on the road

INSIDER Logo By Ari Schneider of INSIDER | Slide 1 of 18: 
  
    Climber and writer Ari Schneider lives in his car while
    traveling full time and writing remotely.
  
  
    For the past four years, he has explored some of
    America's most impressive landscapes with fellow
    travelers.
  
  
    Here, Schneider shares photos of his remarkable life on
    the road.
  
  
    
      Visit Insider's
    homepage for more stories.
    
  

  "Hey! You know you drool in your sleep?" asked the police officer
  standing in the middle of Highway 1 in Canada's Yukon Territory.

  He was flagging and greeting drivers as they came down a quiet,
  rural stretch of northern road between the border of Alaska and
  Yukon's capital city, Whitehorse.

  I sat there with my car window down and my mouth wide open, but I
  was speechless.

  "Look, I took photos!" the officer said, breaking into laughter.
  "I think I'll post them on Facebook!"

  The night before, I parked in a pullout on the side of the road
  and slept next to my close friend and road-trip partner, Zephyr,
  on a wooden platform bed I built in the trunk of my 2004 Subaru
  Impreza hatchback. The bed was only 4 feet long, so the sleeping
  quarters were tight. But we still slept soundly, not even waking
  when that police officer stopped by to look inside and check on
  us. 

  That car was my home during the summer of 2016 when Zephyr and I
  came up with a harebrained idea to drive from Boston, where we
  went to college at Tufts University, all the way to the north
  coast of Alaska, solely for the sake of adventure.

  Being rock climbers, Zephyr and I set off in search of mountains
  to climb and interesting terrain to explore. It was a beautiful
  road trip across the American West, up through the Canadian
  Rockies, over the tundra-covered landscape of northern Alaska,
  past grizzlies and muskoxen, ending at Prudhoe Bay, where the
  road ends at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

  "You guys are doing things right," said the officer. He told us
  about his college years, when he hitchhiked across New England,
  experiencing the freedom of the road like Zephyr and I were. Then
  he wished us luck and waved us off.

  That road trip changed my life. I realized how fulfilling it was
  to explore North America in that style. Sleeping in the back of
  my Subaru every night wasn't particularly comfortable, but it was
  worth it.

  Since that road trip, I've passed on paying rent every spring
  through fall, instead living in the back of my car, eventually
  upgrading to a pickup truck with a built-out bed in 2018. I am
  rarely alone. I almost always have my little terrier, Breezy,
  with me, and we often meet up with friends along the way who also
  enjoy a wandering lifestyle. 

  Many of my friends that live on the road with me are also
  climbers, so we focus on traveling to places with interesting
  cliffs to climb. When we're not scaling mountains, we're often
  posted up in cafes for Wi-Fi since most of us work remotely.

  Through this lifestyle, we've experienced so much of what the
  natural world has to offer, and we've built a far-reaching
  community of friends all over the States. Read on to see what
  life on the road looks like for me and my fellow travelers.

  • Climber and writer Ari Schneider lives in his car while traveling full time and writing remotely.
  • For the past four years, he has explored some of America's most impressive landscapes with fellow travelers.
  • Here, Schneider shares photos of his remarkable life on the road.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Hey! You know you drool in your sleep?" asked the police officer standing in the middle of Highway 1 in Canada's Yukon Territory.

He was flagging and greeting drivers as they came down a quiet, rural stretch of northern road between the border of Alaska and Yukon's capital city, Whitehorse.

I sat there with my car window down and my mouth wide open, but I was speechless.

"Look, I took photos!" the officer said, breaking into laughter. "I think I'll post them on Facebook!"

The night before, I parked in a pullout on the side of the road and slept next to my close friend and road-trip partner, Zephyr, on a wooden platform bed I built in the trunk of my 2004 Subaru Impreza hatchback. The bed was only 4 feet long, so the sleeping quarters were tight. But we still slept soundly, not even waking when that police officer stopped by to look inside and check on us.

That car was my home during the summer of 2016 when Zephyr and I came up with a harebrained idea to drive from Boston, where we went to college at Tufts University, all the way to the north coast of Alaska, solely for the sake of adventure.

Being rock climbers, Zephyr and I set off in search of mountains to climb and interesting terrain to explore. It was a beautiful road trip across the American West, up through the Canadian Rockies, over the tundra-covered landscape of northern Alaska, past grizzlies and muskoxen, ending at Prudhoe Bay, where the road ends at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

"You guys are doing things right," said the officer. He told us about his college years, when he hitchhiked across New England, experiencing the freedom of the road like Zephyr and I were. Then he wished us luck and waved us off.

That road trip changed my life. I realized how fulfilling it was to explore North America in that style. Sleeping in the back of my Subaru every night wasn't particularly comfortable, but it was worth it.

Since that road trip, I've passed on paying rent every spring through fall, instead living in the back of my car, eventually upgrading to a pickup truck with a built-out bed in 2018. I am rarely alone. I almost always have my little terrier, Breezy, with me, and we often meet up with friends along the way who also enjoy a wandering lifestyle.

Many of my friends that live on the road with me are also climbers, so we focus on traveling to places with interesting cliffs to climb. When we're not scaling mountains, we're often posted up in cafes for Wi-Fi since most of us work remotely.

Through this lifestyle, we've experienced so much of what the natural world has to offer, and we've built a far-reaching community of friends all over the States. Read on to see what life on the road looks like for me and my fellow travelers.

© Ari Schneider

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