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Westfalia campervan as minimal nomadic home in Santa Barbara

Last year Sam Jacquette was paying over $1100 a month in rent and working a job he didn’t enjoy to pay the bills. For his New Year’s resolution, he vowed to stop doing things he didn’t enjoy so he quit his job, gave up his apartment and moved into his Westfalia campervan full time.

“The beauty of living in Santa Barbara out of your vehicle is that for 90 dollars a year you get a pass. It’s a waterfront pass, basically, it’s my beach condo,” explains Jacquette, “I’m actually about 10-15 feet away from the beach, even closer to it than people paying millions for their beach front condos”.

His 1985 VW Westfalia (“Westy”) comes loaded with a two-burner propane stove, on-board water, and sink, a refrigerator (which he’s replacing with a 12V fridge), 2 beds, and tons of storage (including a mini-closet). For bathroom and showers, he uses the gym.

“I’m the youngest guy in my parking lot where I park during the day, but it’s for anyone, there are business professionals who live out of there and big-time contractors when the recession hit they only had so much so they run the numbers and ended up buying a big RV or something else that allowed them to accommodates their family and lifestyle. That being said you can’t necessarily sleep in those parking lots but from 6am to 10 o’clock at night you’re allowed to be in that lot all day long.”

At night Jacquette pulls into the driveway of some good family friends and pops the top of his portable home. He sometimes shares the space with his girlfriend (he has found storage space for her pilates gear). Today his new job is working for Airstream restorers HofArc and he hopes one day to upgrade to an Airstream, but for now, he’s happy with a minimal mobile home.