Ysiad Ferreiras, 36, is eager to sign up. Mr. Ferreiras is originally from the Bronx but has been living in a San Francisco apartment for the past three years, working at a political technology company. “It would allow me to try out different cities, if I’m considering a move,” he said. “It would make it easier for me to present as someone currently living in a place.”
Kyrié Carpenter, a 34-year-old anti-ageism activist and coach, who also lives in San Francisco, plans to join. She already has a Sprinter Van she calls Le Rêve (“the dream,” in French). During the pandemic she and her partner have been on the road, working remotely and living mostly out of the van.
“Stealth camping” in cities has always required some strategizing, she said. “We look like a plumber,” she said, since her van doesn’t have side windows, which helps, but finding a safe, flat parking spot isn’t always easy. They’ve learned through trial and error that parking on a hill makes for a rough night’s sleep.
Ms. Carpenter, who also rents an apartment in San Francisco with roommates, said she liked the idea of not being attached to any one place or ever needing to own property. “I grew up in Florida and my mom’s a Realtor. We had a front seat to the housing market crash,” she said.
Kibbo, she added, could help make the sense of freedom that comes with van life a more permanent thing. (Members with their own vans will pay about $1,000 a month to have access to clubhouses.)
Mr. O’Donnell said the pandemic accelerated his timeline for the business, with pre-orders underway and the first communities opening by Sept. 1 (there is already a wait list). Kibbo, named after a camping, crafting and world peace movement in 1920s England, is far from a proven concept.