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Woman Quits Expensive Rents To Live In A Van


EILEAH OHNING: I had to make a decision that
means either stay or grab a hold of this crazy idea that you just can’t seem to get out
of your head and just go for it. I decided to go for it. EILEAH OHNING: My name is Eileah Ohning. I
am a producer of photography at a local agency in Columbus, Ohio. This is my home and I live
in a van. COMM: Eileah has been living in her van since
May 2017. EILEAH OHNING: I named her Marta. Some people
think it’s really cool. They just want to hear more and a lot of people respond by saying,
‘Oh, that’s amazing. But I could never do anything like that.’ There have been
some people who just don’t get it and they think it is really weird and strange. And
they just think I am an oddball. COMM: Living in a van might seem controversial.
But before that, Eileah lived in her car for a year. EILEAH OHNING: I would say back when I did
the year in the car, the first, maybe 3 nights, I was a little nervous. But I think that was
just because I didn’t know what to expect. And there is this stigma out there that, you
know, because I am a woman I was extra vulnerable. I tend to only park in neighbourhoods or places
that I am comfortable with and that I already feel safe in. I mean, I guess, that’s a
luxury of your home being on wheels, you can move it if you don’t feel safe. Initially,
I was actually looking to buy a home. I was renting and I was renting at a really high rate.
Just because of the current state of economics and what Millennials are up against, I didn’t
have the ability to build capital or down payment to purchase a home very quickly. So,
I started researching tiny homes and then that led to researching minimalism and I realised,
‘Oh, I can save a whole lot of money’ and, ‘Oh, hey I have 42,000 dollars in student
loan debt and I could probably eradicate that in a year,’ which I did. EILEAH OHNING: So continuing the build out,
eventually we are going to be building a closet here, floor-to-ceiling. There will be room
for hanging clothes and then a few drawers for folded clothes as well. The really exciting
part is next to that is going to be a full shower and toilet. So, we will have running
water in here, there will be hot water and cold water. We will have a fresh water tank
inside that’s going to be underneath the kitchen cabinets and then we will have to
do plumbing that will come up across the top of the van over in to the shower area here. EILEAH OHNING: I drastically underestimated
how much time and energy goes into something like this. I thought it would take 3 months;
so far it’s taken 7 months. So, like, maybe another year, a little less hopefully to finish
her. I bought the van for about 10 grand. I would say thus far I’ve spent about 7
grand on the build out. There are have been a couple of repairs that were probably about
2 grand and then to finish the build out I would say I am going to have to spend maybe
another 3 or 4 grand. EILEAH OHNING: The beginning of this project it was still just me. So just me and my dog.
Now it’s me, Brian, my dog and his cat. One of my concerns when we started dating
is he owned a house in a suburb which is very different than the lifestyle that I was headed
towards. I thought that I wanted to live in a van and I wanted to do more mobile living. BRIAN LASTON: I think I dismissed it at first.
I mean she is a very outgoing girl, very busy, always has something going on. I knew it was
something she had interest in. I think I got a text at work one day saying, ‘Hey, I’m
flying down to Florida to pick up a van.’ And I am just like, ‘Wow! Really? Okay,
so this is happening.’ But once she got it back and slowly started including me in
the build, I took a bigger interest in it. So now it’s more or less gone from her dream
to becoming, kind of, our dream. I think it’s been good for our relationship. It’s proven
that in our relationship we are great at teamwork, also great partners. EILEAH OHNING: I don’t know that I ever
see myself going back to traditional housing. I just think that there is a better way to
do housing in general. I don’t need a house. I don’t need something that big. I don’t
need a mortgage that eats up most of my, you know, monthly income. There are plenty of
people who do. Minimalism is about living just off of what you need. So, a family of
6 needs more than a van. But, yeah I think that’s the motivation for me. EILEAH OHNING: I realised a lot of things
that came along with having an apartment or owning a home that I just didn’t have to
deal with anymore. That gave me more time to spend it where I wanted to spend it. The worst things about living in a van? EILEAH OHNING: I don’t know that there are
any worse things.

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