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You'll be living in a van down by the river!


If you were to live in a car, what car would it be?

With the gig economy in full swing, America has started a renaissance of the Wild West. Cellular technology and wi-fi have made it possible to once again live as a nomad, exploring the country and working when and wherever the opportunity arises.

Consider Lyft and Uber. Ride sharing has exploded in the last few years thanks to convenience and to the ability of drivers to reach passengers in areas outside of city centers. While they may not always have the lowest prices when compared to traditional taxis, and they aren’t regulated by the same state and city laws that govern those companies, the simplicity of hailing a ride with a few simple taps is often preferable to having to stand outside and flag down a cab or wait for a dispatch from a distant service. Of course, that very lack of regulation is the major criticism of ride-hailing apps, and most traditional cabbies will quickly point out their clean background checks and driving records.

Amazon is contributing to some of the greatest competition with traditional shipping and delivery services in the country. Drivers queue up in the personal vehicles and compete with other contractors for packages and routes, ensuring that the company can keep costs down through workers hungry for hours fighting over the best opportunities.

Even I’m not immune to this new concept of work. It has been a strange adjustment to go from teaching in a traditional classroom to tutoring and teaching writing online to high school and college students across the country at any hour or day of the week. But the availability of hotspots and the constant improvements in mobile technology have ensured that I can work for nearly any location – even literally on the road.

So, if being tied to a place is no longer a requirement for employment, and long-range electric cars with plug-in technology are becoming ubiquitous in the next five to ten years, what contemporary car would be my dream home on wheels?

I can’t help but think of MTV’s Pimp My Ride. For those of you who are unfamiliar, or for whom Xzibit might just be some disconnected meme you see floating around social media, MTV used to surprise people with very sad (and often precariously maintained) clunkers by either completely overhauling the trashed car in question or buying the owner a new car and modifying it to fit their style and interests. Most often, the vehicles ended up with ludicrous upgrades like flat-panel televisions and video game consoles built into the trunk, or some type of James-Bond-meets-Inspector-Gadget trick that would supposedly help them achieve their dreams. It was frivolity at its finest, but looking back, it really gets me thinking about the possibility of driving to live and living to drive.

Sure, there are motorhomes and RVs that can serve as perfectly functional homes on wheels, but what about an environmentally-friendly electric Suburban with seats that collapse into a sleeping area and hook-ups for technology and food storage? There is a real danger of venturing into van-by-the-river territory, but if the Scooby Doo gang made it work in the Mystery Machine, why not in a meticulous modern marvel?

The one thing I know for sure is that you’d better have a good set of mats before you take that plunge. After all, what good is kicking off your shoes at home without some creature comforts?

-Trey Fennell

2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter CocoMats #55 Black and Blue

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