Sam Salwei lives in a 28-square-foot pod. It was built in 1988, and formerly the car was known as a Ford Festiva. Salwei, a founding member of the YogaSlackers group and a GearJunkie contributor, calls his highly modified vehicle the PeaceLoveCar.
A solar panel on the roof gives power. The seats fold down into a bed. Under the hood is an oven. “We bake burritos in there,” Salwei notes. The back seat has a fridge.
408,841 miles grace the odometer. The Guinness World Record for a Festiva, Salwei says, is 640,000 miles. “I might break it.”
Since 2009, Salwei has lived in the car. It was originally purchased in 2002 by fellow YogaSlacker Andy Magness. He bought it for $600. Andy and his brother Jason, both climbing bums at the time, used the car to get to crags and mountains around North America.
Salwei first drove it in 2004, from San Diego to Fargo. He now calls the car his office, home, and transport system. A year ago he met Raquel Hernández-Cruz, a yoga instructor with a master’s degree in marine biology, and she moved in.
The couple travels the country teaching, filming at adventure events, and generally living free. “I don’t know anything else,” said Salwei, who is originally from North Dakota.
The pair sleeps in the car many nights a month, folding down the seats and unrolling a pad for a bed. Friends around the country provide couches to crash on when they get to an event or teaching venue.
This month, Salwei and Hernández-Cruz stopped by Minneapolis and the GearJunkie office for a visit. They were en route to Utah to teach yoga and slacklining at a festival. Salwei then has gigs lined up to film at an adventure race in California and then a mud run near Fargo.
And that’s how the year goes. Rarely in the same place for more than a few days, Salwei attempts to make his Ford as much a home as possible.
We opened the hood and kicked some tires. The PeaceLoveCar is a crazy creation, a hybrid art-car as well as an ongoing experiment in living inside a movable “home” with tech and creature comforts in a small pod over four wheels. —Stephen Regenold