I’m living in my car to beat the housing crisis — here’s how I blend in

The “Van Life” trend may inspire images of a liberating itinerant existence in a neatly built vehicle that looks great on social media, but a North Carolina lady has turned to TikTok to illustrate the truth about living in a car.

Nikita Crump, who has 1 million Instagram followers, has recorded her adventures living in her Honda Civic, which she supposedly did out of need.

She opted to live in her car to escape further financial devastation after having difficulty paying her rent on time and missing meals to save money — all while sliding into debt while working two jobs.

Crump moved into her Honda in late 2019 and has stayed in since then and, although her open remarks about what it takes to live this way, it is a method to escape today’s expensive living costs, as inflation continues to wreak havoc on food prices and, yes, rentals.

@nikitacrump #ILiveInMyCar & I just wanted a sub! @Subway why you gotta play with my heart? #hotelcivic #freesubwayforlifeplease #adayinmylife #carlife #nomad #subway #callme ♬ Spring – Aesthetic Sounds

It’s a method for her to save money, but many of her videos have TikTok cautions that read, “Engaging in this activity may result in you or others being injured.”

Crump describes the precautions she takes. In a May video with over 3 million views, she demonstrates the window covers she employs at night to block off any views inside, which she says are homemade and “helpful when it comes to privacy, safety, and warmth. Reflective and insulating materials cover one side of the covers, while black fabric covers the other.

It’s completely unobtrusive, she adds in the video. No one knows she is here.

@nikitacrump Reply to @djustinsimon NOPE. It isn’t. 🚙 Believe it or not, my window covers are effective when it comes to stealth, safety, and insulation. That’s why I made them. ✅ 🥸 #iliveinmycar #hotelcivic #howto #faq ♬ original sound – Nikita Crump

Crump released another video two months later, on July 4, revealing her methods for finding someplace to sleep each night. She utilizes Google Maps’ satellite view to find “good” areas, particularly ones whose aerials show large estates with their own pools. Then she zooms in to see whether there are any other automobiles parked on the streets. The next step, she says, is to go at night and see for herself.

The neighborhood is tidy, lovely, and peaceful and she can fit in, she adds of one neighborhood in an unknown city where she spent a recent night next to an ivy-covered brick wall.

@nikitacrump It took me a long time, but I’m finally showing you how I find places to park & stay the night. 🤙🏽 #iliveinmycar #hotelcivic #howto #faq #nightroutine #carlife #homeless #civic #hotelprius #livinginacar ♬ original sound – Nikita Crump

Other films show her sleeping in parking lots with her windows closed, as well as the practicality of living in such a small area on four wheels. On July 5, viewers can witness her begin her day by removing the window coverings after folding and putting her blanket into her rear seat. She then goes to a Planet Fitness, where she spent the night in the parking lot. She pulls a toiletry kit with her inside to wash her hands and brush her teeth.

Then comes the eating. In the same video, she demonstrates a tiny, black tray that mounts to her driving wheel and serves as a temporary table for eating canned fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, or even Subway takeout orders. Later, she demonstrates the only way to do laundry: in a laundromat during a rest stop on her route to Oregon.

@nikitacrump I had arguably too much fun on this day. And yes, I drive a lot. #iliveinmycar #hotelcivic #slatflats #anothadayanothadolla #adayinmylife #solotraveler #supwitit ♬ original sound – Nikita Crump

She explains she usually fold her stuff in the laundromat. It is not something she is attempting to do in her car.

Furthermore, there are storage bins and portable gadgets in her trunk to keep her electronics charged.

Here are some items in her van that just sound right for homeless existence, she says, bluntly categorizing her situation.

She has been homeless by definition for the most of her adult life, she explains. She has even temporarily lived in her car before. So she is not inexperienced with being in tough circumstances or being homeless.

Despite the gravity of her position, she obtains a wide range of responses to her pictures, like “This looks very lonely” and “Hotel Civic.” Others, meanwhile, back her up.

I appreciate your resilience,” one commenter said in a July video, while another said in a recent tape, “Supporting your path through and through!”

One even learnt trade secrets.

“Thank you for doing this,” another commenter said. “I have an unforeseen desire to leave my house.” This is quite beneficial.”

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