Episode 12: Living in a Prius with David Swanson

Could you imagine living in a Prius? It’s no easy feat! Tom and I lived in a Prius in 2015 in the San Francisco Bay…

Could you imagine living in a Prius? It’s no easy feat! Tom and I lived in a Prius in 2015 in the San Francisco Bay area to pay off debt and save money. That’s why I wanted to interview David Swanson for Episode 12 of The Wayward Home podcast. He lived in his Prius for 7 years, traveling across the U.S., making friends and even appearing in the Oscar-award-winning movie Nomadland.

David tells us about why he started living in a car, and tips for making your care safe, cozy and comfortable.

Listen here:

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In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why David started living in a Prius
  • How he set up his Prius for full-time living, including cooking inside a Prius
  • Fermentation and food storage techniques for car living
  • What you need to know if you have to live in a car
  • Why David no longer lives in a Prius anymore

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Who is David Swanson?

Many years ago, David was a successful potter and martial arts enthusiast in Wisconsin. As time went on, he had a harder and harder time using his thumbs. He’d developed severe arthritis from his work.

David had to stop working and start living on disability.

At first, he moved into a 34′ motorhome with a wood stove and solar, spending four winters trading working in sustainable gardens for parking spots.

But he got tired of getting only 6 miles per gallon. David had heard about other people living in a Prius and the minimalistic lifestyle appealed to him.

So, he moved into a Prius, determined to make the experience the best it could be.

How David Set up his Prius Interior

Living in a Prius means getting creative. This teak board is David's kitchen during the day.

David took out all the seats in his Prius and added a wood slab where he could cook and set his food. He had an induction cooktop, a pressure cooker and a 12-volt Engle fridge.

He slept on a comfortable camping mattress in back with curtains covering the windows.

David thinks the most important parts of making a car comfortable for living are a cozy place to sleep, a way to cook food indoors and privacy, so having curtains over your windshield.

David also installed 200-watts of solar with a lithium battery on his Prius, which he used to power his induction stove for cooking, his fridge and a folding electric bike.

Are You Also Living in a Car?

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