Turkish student starts living in caravan as house rents soar

A university student in the northern province of Samsun, Turkey has started to live in a caravan that his family bought for camping as house rents have increased.

Sonkan Barutçu, a student of Samsun Ondokuz Mayıs University’s Industrial Design Department, started living in a caravan last year on the grounds that “it was more economical.”

The 21-year-old plans to continue his life here until next June, when he will graduate from the university.

Barutçu, who stays in the municipality’s “caravan park” and pays 750 Turkish Liras per month all-inclusive, said, “If you rent a house, the annual household expense would be at least 70,000 liras. My cost of living in the caravan doesn’t reach 10,000 liras a year.”

Those who buy a caravan from scratch and choose such a life can amortize the money they spent in two years, he suggested.

Noting that they repaired the caravan that his father bought in 2010, Barutçu said he suddenly started to think that “he would stay in it not only in summer but also in winter” when the rent of his house became expensive.

“My family didn’t like the idea at first because of the safety and the harsh winter conditions and I had to convince them. However, I’ve been here for over a year, I’ve gotten used to it,” he said.

Stating that the area where he parks the caravan is 10 kilometers away from the school, Barutçu said he goes to the campus by tram.

The 8 square meter caravan has two stoves, a faucet, a 40-liter water tank, a portable toilet, a double bed, a dining table, a mini fridge, a wardrobe that can fit four coats and an exterior area of ​​9 square meters, he noted. “I can host three people.”

“Of course, it is not possible to find home comfort in a caravan. I use the toilet and bathroom outside. I go to the dry cleaning for laundry and provide the heating with electric fans. It only heats up in 15-20 minutes, but then it is more than enough,” he said.

“All my friends told me ‘you’ll get cold and come back,’ but I’m comfortable,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 30 percent jump in caravan sales in Türkiye in a year.

Renting or buying a caravan may be in high demand nowadays, but the country is no stranger to caravan life as the Turkish Camping and Caravan Society has been running since 1966. There is also a federation consisting of nine associations.

Holidays have also taken a turn for the greener and more solitary as public authorities advised people to stay far from crowds during the pandemic.

The camping sites in Istanbul, which offer an alternative vacation in tents with “fair prices,” have become a new trend in the metropolis.

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