Senior Editor

The Inertia

Jay Nelson is doing something very interesting with his life. He doesn’t really subscribe to the whole white-picket-fence-9-to-5 sort of thing. Instead, he lives in various places and builds various things. You may have seen one of his builds before this—have a look at his website for a few incredible examples—but no matter. Each build is just as amazing as the last one, and this one was built for a road trip from Byron to Sydney along with Derrick Disney and Toby Mossop.

A few years ago, I bought a beat-up camper van and drove it away from my home on Vancouver Island. After a few weeks of tooling around, I ended up in Southern California. The van became home, and the street was my front yard. We battled crack-addicted psychopaths at night and pissed in kitty litter jugs. We shared tacos with hobos in the sand while LA’s glitter bounced off the night sky behind us. It was an interesting few months. Then I started building a tiny little house in the hills and moved the van to Mexico, where it sits and patiently waits for me and south swells, its guts filled with surfboards, old t-shirts, and wetsuits. It is perfect, and I don’t use it as much as I should.

After living in the van and building a house, I have come to a few conclusions: living in a vehicle is only fun if you’re moving around in it, and building large, complicated things is the most satisfying and frustrating thing on earth. Here is a picture of both my stationary home and my driveable one. I love them both very much, despite their many obvious flaws. Both of those conclusions appear to be things that Jay Nelson has already figured out, and they are things that everyone else should try and figure out, too.


malibu house night lights mexico van

Homes. Top photo: Dan LeMaitre

See more from Jay Nelson on Instagram


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