This Student Camped In a Tent For a Year To Cut Accommodation Costs
For most of us, paying for university accommodation is a necessary expense. The dodgy paint jobs and drab décor all add to the experience – sort of. But for one Canadian student, the prospect of a warm bed and running water didn’t outweigh the threat posed by increasing debt, so he devised the perfect money-saving solution – he chose to live in a tent.
Evan Eames, a 24-year-old studying astrophysics at Manchester University, began his outdoor journey by appealing to locals via Reddit and Gumtree. In return for a small plot on which to set up camp, he offered tutoring, free home security and the promise that he wasn’t “a crazy person” to anyone that would indulge his thrifty dream.
His online username was ‘physicshipster’.
For Charley Mantack, this was a match made in heaven.
Mantack, a 34-year-old from Stockport, had been looking for a housemate for some time when she came across Eames’ ad. Despite the unorthodox approach, his offer of tutoring was too hard to pass up, so she loaned him her back garden in return for some much-needed help with her Maths and Physics GCSEs.
For Mantack, that wasn’t the only up-side to her new guest. The pair became good friends over the course of the academic year, and she even began to refer to him affectionately as her ‘physics gnome’.
“I was looking for a flat mate. I saw he wanted to stay in a back garden and I thought, why not, it was weird enough,” Mantack told Manchester Evening News. “I loved telling people about it, I like weird out of the ordinary things like that.”
Mantack would offer her spare room in winter, but the Canadian student was determined.
At his coldest moments, Eames would layer-up his clothing for warmth. The outfit would often consist of two pairs of thermal leggings, a jumper, a onesie and a winter coat. And for warm water, he used the University’s facilities, namely The Alan Turing Building.
Eames kept the tent well-stocked with essentials as well, installing shelving units for his toiletries, books and headlamps. The only thing the tent couldn’t provide for him was security, so he kept his laptop in a lock-box at the university.
Eames’ girlfriend occasionally slept in the tent with him.
Of all the girls he met in Manchester, she was the only one not to judge his choice of accommodation. The pair are now planning a long-distance relationship upon her return to India and his departure for Paris this summer.
“It was a really fun experience, I am super glad I did it.”