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The Man in the Van

Who I am and why I chose to do this.

About Me

My name is Dominic and I am 34 years old from Chicago, Illinois. After high school, I worked as a Mercedes technician for 4 years before leaving to build a custom motorcycle. When the bike was finished, I packed everything up and headed for Arizona. Within the first 4 months of living there, I got a job at a premier custom motorcycle shop. By far the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had! But an opening at a Porsche race shop back in Chicago was too good to pass up, so I loaded my stuff and moved back East. Two and a half years later, I left the race shop for Arizona again to help out my grandpa for about 6 months. When I came back to Chicago, I landed a job with a seafood company. That was 2010 and I’ve been with them ever since.

How do you go from car mechanic to seafood?

I’ll save that story for another time. Throughout my past, I’ve lived with friends, rented apartments for just myself and even bought a two bedroom townhouse. My most recent residence was a 17th floor apartment in a prime spot downtown Chicago where I rented for the last 2 years.

So why did I choose to sleep in a van?

I’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years and finally realized I was making a lot of stupid financial decisions. I have worked hard, yet didn’t have any real savings to show for it. So I had to ask myself, “Where did all of my money go?” To get back on track financially, I had to look at every single transaction where I was giving money away, then eliminate them. Rent being the single biggest cash drain, it was essential to find a way to stop paying and keep that money. The answer: a 1998 Ford Windstar with about 150,000 miles on the odometer. I mean really, why not!

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