My goodness, you look beautiful today...

No rent. No commute. And most importantly, no washing dishes.

Step Into My Office


What is The Office Hobo all about?

An Experiment-Turned-Lifestyle


.                                TOH Graphic - Rent SavingsUPDATE  TOH Graphic - Commute Hours

My life changed when I gave up my apartment and moved into my office. This site is an exploration of my journey of home-free living, spring-boarding me into a life of intention without ejecting from society all together. The home-free lifestyle is one of many modern variations of the age-old philosophy of voluntary simplicity. Living home-free doesn’t mean giving up life as an ordinary member of society, but it does mean circumventing traditional housing–and the rents and mortgages they entail–in favor of a more flexible, less obligatory lifestyle.

The last time I paid rent was in December of 2012. (Yes, that streak has continued well into 2016.) While living in the office, I built a tiny home in the back of my truck where I spend a decreasing number of nights, thanks to what I’ve discovered to be an emerging “favor-trade” lifestyle–whether house/pet-sitting or trading housing for favors–and spending time on the road. This lifestyle has allowed me to pursue my dreams–writing, filmmaking, traveling, maintaining a healthy emotional outlook on life–while remaining a productive member of society. I vote, I pay taxes, I give my time to non-profit ventures. I socialize. I date. And I work–just not all that often anymore. What I don’t do is pay rent. As of Summer 2016, my total savings in living costs has eclipsed $50,000. But that’s been just one of many benefits of living home-free…

Browse through the ENTIRE ONLINE DIARY here, or check out the EDITOR’S PICKS here to see some favorite entries from The Office Hobo’s diary. Thank you for reading!



“Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have.”

– Henry David Thoreau,




The Benefits of Home-Free Living


TOH Graphic - TravelUPDATE TOH Graphic - BeforeAfter

When I started this journey, I wasn’t thinking much beyond the present. Whatever fate was to come of subleasing my apartment and moving into my office was overshadowed by the momentary impulse to satisfy my most basic needs. At that time, I was flat broke and borderline depressed. I had car loans, medical bills, and student debt beyond what my budget could muster, even with a second job. I stopped devoting time to my passions–writing, filmmaking, travel. The mere question of “Where do you see yourself in five years?” drove up my stress levels, because I didn’t know the answer.

TOH Travel Collage - Abroad_censored

Pictured Above: Brief highlights of my international travels–from partying in South America to diving with sharks in the Caribbean to riding camels through the Sahara Desert–all made possible by home-free living.


While there are downsides to living home-free, I’ve found the upsides incomparably liberating and empowering. The results are staggering. And the minor highlights and rewards along the way have been fun, too. From publishing my first written words to trips around the world to meetings with the most influential companies in Hollywood, the home-free lifestyle has afforded me a path to a happier, more fulfilling life.  CONTINUE READING HERE



“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson



About the The Office Hobo



Actually me…


I’m an ordinary guy. Sort of.

I enjoy a cold beer. I can tell you why SEC football is superior to the Big Ten. I hold the door open for ladies. (Okay, well maybe that last one’s not ordinary in Los Angeles, but…) Pass me in the street and I look like just another Angelino–shirt untucked, hair cleanly parted, footwear straight from Aldo. You know. Sure, I drive a truck, but it doesn’t look at all unusual. Nothing indicating a lifestlye so outside normal boundaries.

My story is an example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…  READ MORE ABOUT THE OFFICE HOBO




“Society is like a stew–if you don’t stir it up every once in a while, then a layer of scum floats to the top.

– Edward Abbey




Why Living at Work Makes Sense–Sometimes


TOH Graphic - Thwarted Theft TOH Graphic - Energy Saved

I’m not advocating for everyone to quit paying rent today and move into their offices. Never gonna happen. Shouldn’t happen. But imagine for a moment…

A world in which millions of square feet of safe, comfortable space are abandoned for more than 50% of any given week. This space is indoors, largely protected from rain and snow, cold and heat, violence and disturbance. Often outside of these spaces lie an ever-increasing population of homeless men, women, and children, unable to afford the rising cost of living within a reasonable distance of where they are employed. Some of these folks wake up in the morning only to work in the very places they are locked out of at night. Yet the disparity remains unchallenged.

If you have trouble imagining this, you’re in luck–you don’t have to imagine it at all. Because this is the reality in most cities around the world.

But what if it wasn’t? What if we took our underutilized space and accepted it for what it is–a safe, livable solution for those struggling to afford traditional housing?

There are many options of underutilized potential residential space. The office is just the one I chose to exploit first.

The idea of living in one’s office has been tested more and more as of late, so it’s not revolutionary to consider commercial-space living as a temporary housing solution for those who need it.

Back in the summer of 2012, I was one of the ones who needed it. I was frustrated with rising cost of living, student and car loan bills, and stagnant pay. I watched others get ahead courtesy of parents’ bailouts or soulless jobs, while I worked my butt off just to turn around hand my hard-earned money to some absentee landlord.

I started to wonder why. Why anyone would I agree to that? To trade my freedom for a glorified cage? So I said “no”. No to slaving away needlessly. No to cashing in my happiness for obligation. No to complacency. I did what I wanted to do despite popular convention. My experiment was to study my reaction and the reaction of others to this change of lifestyle. My lifestyle was born out of the realization that the benefits far outweighed the negatives.

I am far from the first person to test the viability of living in my workplace. In Washington D.C., a handful of members–up to 33 at one point–of the United States House of Representatives have been bedding down in their offices for years. These are people Americans have chosen to represent them to create (or completely filibuster any attempt to create) laws in this country, and remains the highest profile account of office-living to date. In 2012, it was nationally reported that a 19-year-old entrepreneur lived in AOL’s offices for a couple months to prioritize his ambitions over rent. Eric Simons later raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to get his startup company off the ground. In 2014, new Penn State football coach James Franklin admitted to sleeping in his office as his family searched for housing. Countless others do the same without the resultant publicity. Yet we still find the idea exotic and unachievable.

There are arguments for why this shouldn’t change–some reasonable, others downright obtuse. But there are benefits, too. CONTINUE READING HERE.





“Can you imagine doing something in your life that will be fully satisfying and redeeming for your having tried to do it, whether you succeeded in it or failed, and that, correspondingly, would be fully shameful had you not tried to do it?

– Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood 




Phase II of Home-Free Living:
The Truck-Home


The world's tiniest home.

The world’s tiniest home on four wheels, custom built for my convenience and sanity.

During my time in the office, I began building a home in the back of my truck…

My truck bed has a cozy setup, built mostly with my own hands. Plywood panels line the interior of the bed, providing a complex system of storage and shelving that keep the essentials close at hand. A butane stove sits atop the passenger-side cabinet, hinged to fold into a table for work or dining. Across the centered memory foam mattress is a driver’s-side bookcase, housing a small library of my favorite authors—Jon Krakauer, Richard Brautigan, Aimee Bender—below a water jug and paper towel rack. The truck-home includes a clothes hangar, mini fridge, and ever-extended plans to install a solar panel and ceiling ventilation…   READ MORE ABOUT MY TINY HOME ON FOUR WHEELS




“I give boring people something to discuss over corn.

– Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt




The Office Hobo in the Media



Press Logos Photo Update

Click here for direct links…

The 2016 Tiny House Jamboree Keynote Address:

The Office Hobo:
Leading an Ordinary Life from an Extraordinary Space



“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction.

– Ernst F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered




The Home-Free Snapshot Series

Brief encounters with other home-free folks, living in Los Angeles and beyond.

Lizandro - photo 2

“I don’t really care because society don’t pay my bills,” Lizandro says of his home-free lifestyle.   (Photo by T. Maloney)

… Lizandro made the decision to live home-free after a divorce with his wife of 14 years. Suddenly he found himself on his own, working a job that barely paid his expenses. Instead of moving further away from his time, spending precious time, money, and resources on his commute, Lizandro packed up his house and moved into his Volkswagen. Now, as a 43-year-old single man living in his vehicle, Lizandro is perfectly content.

“Yeah, I can live somewhere else and pay more,” he reasoned, “but then I waste more on commute. I love playing soccer, I love being at the beach. Everything kind of for me is right here.”

Instead of pouring his paychecks into monthly rent, Lizandro is saving money. What he doesn’t save is sent home to his family in Guadalajara, Mexico, while the rest funds his hobbies–eating healthy and attending concerts. He can often be seen at the park on days like today, communing with friends over a freshly cooked meal of ceviche. Thanks to his Whole Foods employee discount–and his frugal lifestyle–he can afford to eat without breaking the bank.

“I used to be stressed,” Lizandro says, nodding. “‘Oh ****, I’m paying too much,’ Then I didn’t feel good. I didn’t have energy. Believe me, there’s a big difference. I was sacrificing my health.”






“Being human is itself difficult, and therefore all kinds of settlements (except dream cities) have problems. Big cities have difficulties in abundance, because they have people in abundance.”

– Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities



A Sample from the Diary:

Day 1,068: Apartment Searching in L.A.



The ad called it a sublease. That’s the first promise that wasn’t delivered.

The apartment itself was a gem of a space. Vaulted ceilings with a high-on-character arched hallway leading from the door to the main room, separate openings to the right and left for a walk-in closet, bathroom, and kitchen, respectively. This was a second story corner unit, Southwest-facing with plenty of natural light. The building was a recently refurbished building in the heart of Koreatown. Electricity and gas included, according to Brandon. The place was mine if I wanted it. $900. Just fill out the application for Steven, the manager.

It was almost too good to be true.


It was too good to be true.

First off, Steven, the apartment manager, was something of a hobbit. Not because he was ugly, but because I’d have no way of knowing. I’m pretty sure Steven was an invisible, mythical character, the kind tenants talk about in fireside chats during power outages, wondering who to contact because no one had ever gotten a hold of Steven, much less seen him.

“I’ve heard his mother was Eleanor Roosevelt’s daughter’s best friend.”

“No, no, no! He was an orphan, raised by a rogue tribe of Samoan kayakers off Baja California.”

“Someone told me… Steven? He isn’t a man at all. He’s actually… a Port Orford cedar tree.”

“Chamaecyparis lawsoniana?”

“Scout’s honor.”

You get the gist.

Days later, having had no luck reaching “Steven” (who, at this point, I was convinced was a cedar tree of some sort), I decided to go visit him in person. And when he didn’t answer his door, during his stated office hours, I waited. For twenty minutes. During which time I made some friends. One tenant came by to drop off a rent check. When asked about “Steven”, this man agreed that he was “elusive”. Yeah. Another girl showed up. A prospective tenant. A model.

Take your time, “Steven”.  READ MORE FROM DAY: 1,068 HERE



Scroll through The Office Hobo’s most recent posts below or click here for the chronological blog roll.


Day 1,325: Tiny House Jamboree, Reflections on the Weekend
This past weekend I traveled to Colorado Springs to participate in the annual Tiny House Jamboree. The event featured tens of thousands of spectators, over 50 tiny homes, and a slew of well-known names giving talks and workshops. Oh, and little old me, giving a Sunday talk on the stigma of small-space living for urban professionals. Though much of my focus during days leading up to my talk was devoted to crafting the final details for a solid presentation, I came away from the Jam with a few key takeaways. For those of you unable to attend--and those who did make the trip--here are my 5 takeaways from the Jamboree. #1 The setting was incredible. This year's jamboree was situated in...
Day 1,303: The “Favor-Sharing” Economy
"Where does 'presidents' go?" "Over here," I say, "in the politics section of 'social sciences'." "Man, these bookshelves is really coming together." Mike hands me the stack of titles on U.S. presidents and I file them into the top shelf. A month ago, the room was a shambles. Dusty boxes and random stored furniture. Discarded construction materials and scattered trash. A rotting apple.  The downtown's Midnight Mission is a beacon of hope for many of Los Angeles' homeless, but their facility's library was little more than a disorganized book depository. Until now. My friend, Lori, came in to change that. Lori's non-profit aims to support local community efforts to solve...
Day 1,294: Reviewing the Benefits of Home-Free Living
It's been a haul. A year-and-a-half ago, I wrote a brief report on the benefits of the home-free lifestyle. After 500 or so days, a lot has changed. I think it's time for an update. In that now-dated post, I mentioned that "stress evaporated slowly from my life, giving way to creative thought and--dare I say--renewed youthfulness." Oh, how those days seem now so distant and fleeting! Not that I'm complaining. Lately, yes, I have experienced a higher level of stress than back then. But the changing of tides has brought with it positive trends. Namely, progress. Progress in the career I was so desperately chasing when this whole experiment began. These days, I welcome...
10 Best Books for the Voluntary Homeless (and Those Wishing to Understand Them)
The 10 Best Books for Living Home-Free (And Those Wanting to Better Understand Those Who Do)   Thinking about living a more intentional life? Already living simply and seeking some inspiration to continue your journey? Know someone who lives in her RV and want to read up on the greats to understand why on Earth someone would do such a thing? If you answered "yes" or "maybe" or "kind of I dunno quit asking me questions", this is the reading list for you. Disclaimer: Most literature that helps understand the reasoning behind giving up one's house or apartment and living home-free only indirectly addresses the lifestyle. Most relevant literature discusses...
Day 1,141: Living the #Barnlife
Neigh! A horse bellows behind me as I wring out a newly laundered thermal in the basin, shaking it out before draping it over the fence to dry. The sun hurries off behind the hills surrounding our desert horse ranch, educating me once again on the finer details of wash-by-hand laundry—do it earlier in the day. I’ve been living here, in the Southern California desert, at the southernmost foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, for a few days now, but already it feels like home. I arrived here this past weekend, taking a private room in a part of the ranch’s barn which has been converted into a living space. My goal has been to (finally) finish this beast of a book I’ve...
Day 1,112: Add Cat-Sitter to My Resume
The report of a meow rings out behind me as I open the fridge and reach for a plastic container of food. The label calls for ocean whitefish with organic emulsified kale, kelp, and bok choy. I'm hungry as a grizzly in Spring, but this food's not for me. No, for the first half of January I've been asked to cat-sit for a friend. And the cats always eat first. This gig calls for 17 days of all-out, no-holds-barred feline supervision, complete with two meals per day, medicine administration, and daily cat litter changes. These cats are old, too, so in truth I'm just here to make sure they don't visit Kitty Heaven on my watch. In cat years, these three gericatrics total 263 years, which...
Day 1,068: Apartment Searching in L.A.
There are few pursuits less rewarding than searching for affordable housing in Los Angeles. It was with a measure of reluctance I dove into searching for an apartment again. As described in a previous post, I'd grown weary of the demands of home-free living for the hustling urban creative professional. A stable homestead seemed like a plausible solution, even if just for a temporary stay. Plus, with my social life taking on a recent and unexpected vibrancy as of late, I was more and more deflecting questions about where I lived. Subconsciously, I started wondering if the right rental situation might be out there for me after all. After all, luck seemed to be on my side. I'd recently...
Day 1,015: #vanlife issues
My return to full-time urban trucklife couldn't have been less smooth. Thanks to a bike thief attempting to steal my locked-up ride earlier this summer, I've grown reluctant parking the thing outside overnight. The problem is that, save for Dawn's garage in Calabasas, I no longer have a storage unit. Being that I really want the exercise, convenience, and youthful joy of taking my road bike to the streets, I have little option but to lock it up outside overnight... or sleep alongside it. Inside my camper. At risk of admitting my own absurd level of commitment to an idea, I'll post a photo of the tight squeeze below.   Some might think this is a little ridiculous. And...
Day 1,010: Lizandro’s VW Van (A Home-Free Snapshot)
Lizandro rests his arm on the brim of his classic Volkswagen van’s driver’s side door, taking in the cool winter air of the Mar Vista Rec Center. A group of men congregate nearby, drooling over what will soon be a tasty ceviche dinner. One of the men asks for the tomato and Lizandro points to the picnic table. He should know where it is—he was the one who bought the food. Not that Lizandro is rich. In fact, he’s homeless. Voluntarily homeless. Lizandro and is one of a growing number of Los Angeles residents living in his vehicle. According to last year’s Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority census, over 6,000 vehicles were being used as residences, an 85% increase over...
Day 1,000: Lake Arrowhead and the Cost of Housing
It's Labor Day weekend and I sit in the passenger seat of my friend Dawn's Cadillac Escalade, following a line of European coupes and late-model sport utility vehicles as we wind our way up the switchbacking highway cutting through the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest. Our destination is Lake Arrowhead, where Southern California's ultra-wealthy holiday on the balconies of their mile-high vacation homes and behind the wheels of their six-figure speedboats. For a part-time wage-earner and emerging writer, it's lifestyle shock to the max.                                     . I was invited to spend the weekend here as a guest of the family and I reluctantly...