23-year-old Joseph Carlson traveled more than 40 thousand km, visited 130 natural parks and received 50 strangers for the year, offering his van as a “hostel on wheels”.
Carlson suggests sharing his own van for travelers on Couchsurfing.com. There is no electricity in the van, the bathroom (he recommends guests a shower before arrival, or brings them to the hot springs if they are in the national park) and privacy - you will have to share a bed with him. Sounds awful? As it turned out, not for everyone, - Carlson claims that he received about 50 people a year.
Joseph works as a summer wedding photographer and freelancer for the Amazon site during the off-season. For 3 months, he redid the old van in a mobile home to accommodate travelers, installed wardrobes, a couple of beds and a sink without drain.
Now Carlson is based in Portland, Oregon, but in the near future, he wants to drive around the entire Pacific North-West, covering 30 national parks, 100 state parks and breaking another 40 thousand km.
Sometimes he sleeps in parks, sometimes in a campground.In the city, he stops in industrial areas, finds an empty place and parks for the night.
Joseph advertises his location on Couchsurfing.com and picks up guests at the nearest train station. They do not pay - even when he acts as an unofficial guide, showing them the sights, wherever they are.
He currently helps three people create their own vans for travelers. One of them is his girlfriend. She does not mind when he shares a bed with strangers, as she has a polygamous relationship with Joseph. Does this mean that tourists are forced to "pay" for their accommodation in this way? Not at all. “This is not the reason why I accept people,” says the owner of the van. “But whatever happens between two adults in a van, it will stay between them.”