Lifestyle, NTB Topic | Expensive housing was chosen for life on wheels

Lifestyle, NTB Topic |  Expensive housing was chosen for life on wheels

-You learn a lot about life when your surroundings change around you. “I can’t experience this by living in a regular apartment,” says Gurgen Bakircioglu.

He was previously a presenter on Sveriges Radio and SVT. Now he welcomes himself out of the car in a sunny, cobblestone parking lot outside central Stockholm. He apologizes – not because his mobile home is a mess, but because he cleaned it up before the visit.

– He laughs. – It’s never clean, tidy and empty here.

Everything crashed

After four years of working full-time on various campervans, and five long road trips around Europe, Georgin Bakircioglu is now living the “truck life” part-time. He rents out the mobile home when he doesn’t need it, then lives in a group with his girlfriend, dogs and cat.

– It wasn’t so good that one of us lived in an apartment while the other one moved around in a truck. We missed each other, he says.

But even if he gets the key to the house again, his life is very different from before 2016. He was then working at Radio Sveriges, and living in an apartment upstairs with his then roommate. When the relationship ended, everything collapsed, and Gurgen Bakircioglu became worse and worse.

Dream life became a nightmare

-I took a class trip. I grew up with a strong feeling that it was important not to end up at the bottom of the hierarchy. So, after school, conscription, a master’s degree in journalism, and nearly ten years of steady work, a life crisis became a way out of something I had chosen, but didn’t enjoy at all.

Because even though Gurgen Bakircioglu got what he thought was his dream job, he was plagued by the feeling that he was missing out on the rest of his life. He spent every holiday as far away from everyday life as possible, and as soon as he was back in the office again, he dreamed of spending more time in the woods outside the window.

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-There is always something you can shop for to reduce anxiety. But a few times when I was driving to work, I had to stop because it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. He says: I realized that my dream in life had become a nightmare.

Classified tent

Gurgen Bakircioglu then decided to calculate how much time the job would actually require. A full-time position was one thing, plus the rest:

– I realized I used 22.5 unpaid days off every year – almost all of February! – Over transferring myself to a job I didn’t enjoy. I felt empty.

The first step was to find an affordable home, as the expenses of an apartment required him to work full time. He considered a tent (“cheap but cool”) and a pontoon boat (“it’s hard to find space for a boat”) before the mobile home emerged as an alternative.

– today is Van life A complete lifestyle. But then, in 2016, people only lived in mobile homes if they had no other choice. In other words, you were seen as an addict, even if the living arrangement was self-chosen and about freedom, he says.

Adventure

With the mobile home in place, everything went quickly. Georgin Bakircioglu got rid of his apartment and possessions. Erikshjälpen, a thrift store charity shop, collected almost everything he owned. After two weeks of living in a caravan, he still doesn’t know how to flush a toilet, but his enthusiasm for life is back.

– I felt like I learned how everything works again. I couldn’t live on autopilot anymore. Life has become an adventure!

In the first months, Georgin Bakircioglu saved a financial buffer by living in a mobile home and lowering the overall cost of living. His new home was often parked in the parking lot outside of work. Then, after ten months on the wagon, he quit.

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At one point he had exactly 45 possessions in the bag. He describes this experience as very tiring, but says it was important to prove to himself that he did not need so many things. Then came the next thought, which was that he now had plenty of time.

– It was awful. I’ve been forced to think about what I should actually spend my life on.

Leave the hamster wheel

Gurgîns Bakircioglu’s advice for those who want to explore other ways of living and living:

  • If you can, first try to reduce your employment for a certain period instead of quitting your job. See what happens to your life. Maybe rediscover some old interests?
  • Look at your money. Where does the money go? Evaluate and consider whether any large, unnecessary expenses add more meaning to your life. Or is it more about the things you indulge in because you work too much?
  • Think about whether you could live differently. It doesn’t have to be in a mobile home. Maybe collectivism related? There are a lot of big houses that can accommodate many people, so they can live very cheaply.

You will build

Georgin Bakircioglu currently lectures, works on radio, television, and podcasts independently and writes about climate issues in various contexts. He was recently in Brussels, where he was invited as a Swedish representative to a network of sustainability profiles.

Today, he lives the “truck life” part-time. He often just uses the car to park and spend the night somewhere nice, preferably around Stockholm. Besides life in a mobile and group home, he is looking for a piece of land.

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-I want to build a small home settlement for others who are like me. I want to become less dependent on the outside world when pandemics and inflation and other things hit, and to build a community where we can learn how to share resources.

A life crisis was the starting point for something new and meaningful.

Life on wheels is less predictable, but it’s also more interesting. It’s rarely completely relaxing, and it’s made me more alert and aware.

Van Life Tips

These are Gurgîns Bakircioglu’s tips for others considering “vanlife”:

  • Take it at a comfortable pace. The most common mistake people make when starting out is trying everything at once. You quickly become exhausted, the impressions become too many, and it is tiring to pack your luggage and unpack everything in the car every time you drive.
  • Save on resources. You don’t need to shower often, and it’s not smart to wash dishes under running water.
  • Expand your horizons by giving and receiving help. People who live in cars are incredibly helpful, which is very helpful when, for example, you need help with a leaking water pipe. Knowledge sharing is also important.
  • Set up camp in a way that leaves no trace. Respect nature so much that you pick it up after others. Then you will also avoid angry looks from those who live in the area.
  • It’s interesting to see how others have built their cars, but some are obsessed with materials and only talk about the insulation and control of the car. It’s more helpful to dare to be vulnerable when meeting new people — and to talk about things other than the car.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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