“We sold everything we have and decided to find, as we put it, our American dream,” says Josiane Simpson. She, Jared Holfeltz, and their son Gabriel are currently living out of their car. Jared Hopes to start a contracting business helping rebuild after natural disasters, but he recently hurt his wrist working a construction gig. So their dreams are on hold for a few weeks until his wrist improves.
Because Walmart has a policy of allowing overnight parking at its stores, people from all walks of life camp overnight in Walmart parking lots in their cars, RVs, and even makeshift tents. Photographer Nolan Conway visited two particularly popular Walmart lots in Flagstaff, Arizona and took portraits of the people who were gathered there for his photo series, “Waking Up At Walmart.” For more on the series, see this Wired article. We previously posted about Conway’s wonderful portrait series of McDonald’s customers.
Joe Torpey has been alternating between stays in a Walmart lot and spots in the woods for the past seven years. Due to a back injury he received several years ago, he’s had a tough time finding work. “This car saved my life,” he says of his 1998 Ford Taurus station wagon. He fears that his car will break down, because he doesn’t think he’ll last living on the street.
Sheldon and Jackie Britton from Phoenix, AZ enjoy their morning coffee by the gas fire in their “fifth wheel” camper trailer. They were on their way to Milwakee for the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson. “I have everything in there that I require without having to pack a suitcase and take it into a hotel,” Jacquie says. “I have a full-size walk-in closet. I even have my china if we’re entertaining somebody.”
From left: Megan Hoffman; Sophia Stauffer and her boyfriend, Alex Daby; Deanna Bunch and Kerouac (dog). They were traveling from Prescott, AZ, to Montana. Each of them plays at least one instrument, and they fund their travels by “jamming” on street corners. Sophia describes the nomadic life as an opportunity to “do what I want to do and not have to worry about all the bills and worry about what’s happening next.”