The Bright Side of Sleeping in Your Car

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Last night, while traveling back from a conference in downtown Atlanta, I decided to sleep in my car. I could have easily booked a quick stay at a motel, or perhaps found a friend’s place to crash at, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to use this as an opportunity for personal growth. If you’ve slept in your car before, then you might not think there is much to learn, depending on the circumstance. But for first-timers, it can be quite an interesting learning experience. If you’ve never slept in your car before, here are some reasons why you should consider giving it a try.

Put your life in perspective

I’m not going to pretend that sleeping in my car was a pleasant experience; I hated it. But how can I dare complain when there are some people who have much less than a car to sleep in? In Atlanta, and just about every major city in existence, it’s common to see people sleeping in the streets. If you sleep with a roof over your head every night, then you’re “soft” by global standards. Chances are, the fact that you’re even reading this post means that you’re incredibly fortunate. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should feel guilty, it means you should be grateful. It’s important to realize that no matter where you are in life, or whatever problems you’re facing, there is about a 100% chance that at least 1 of the other 7.7 billion humans on this earth is facing something worse, and they haven’t “given up”, so why should you?

Expand Your Comfort Zone

Since I’m definitely considered a “softie” by global standards, I’ll admit that I was a bit scared to sleep in my car. However, that fear was mostly irrational, and I knew it. People sleep in cars all the time; it’s relatively safe if you know what you’re doing. However, if you’ve never slept in your car before, and the experience sounds uncomfortable to you, then that’s a good sign that you should try it. By consciously choosing to fight an irrational fear just for the sake of expanding your comfort zone, you’ll be less hesitant of doing other things that scare you in the future. In a way, the experience of sleeping in a car for the first time is comparable to how someone gets over their fear over rollercoasters. The ride is safe, scary at first, but you feel like you’ve conquered something after riding it.

Wants vs. Needs

While being driven to where I parked in Atlanta, my Uber driver told me about a 6-month period in his life when he was forced to live in his car. He still had a full-time job, but instead of paying rent or a mortgage, he parked at 24-hour stores and lots for free. He bought a membership to a gym that allowed him to shower whenever he needed. He explained that he “got by” with only what he needed, and was happier and wealthier because of it. If you sleep in your car, even if just for a night, you’ll quickly obtain a better understanding of what things are really “needed” compared to things you simply “want”. You don’t have to be a minimalist to admit that most common possessions are not necessities. Not only can you save money by following a “wants vs needs” philosophy, but you might also be happier living a simpler lifestyle.

To wrap up

Voluntarily sleeping in a car isn’t an idiotic idea when you go in with the right mindset. If you have an itch for a valuable learning experience and an opportunity at self-improvement, you should consider sleeping in your car for a night. Embrace the suck. What’s the worst that could happen?

About the Author

Thomas Knapp: I’m a young visionary with a history of doing cool stuff (or at least my mom thinks they’re cool). I want to use my skills to make things that are practical, meaningful, and fun. That’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s what I plan on doing throughout my never-ending journey of self-improvement. https://www.thomas.vision/

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