For $367 a Month, She Has 345 Square Feet, a Hot Tub and a River

If there is a word for people who behave like terriers, tucking themselves into cramped spaces that would drive others into fits, it probably has not been invented. But it would describe Liz Gilson.

Born in France to American parents, Ms. Gilson spent several childhood years living in a stately home in England where she begged to move her bedroom into a tiny storage room in the attic. Later, she was a sailor and boatyard worker in Australia.

“In my 20s, I lived on a 26-foot sailboat for five years and loved it; it was just the coziest, happiest time,” she recalled.

“And then in my 30s,” she continued, “I fitted out a furniture-moving van and traveled to the east coast of Australia by road. And a friend of mine painted flowers on the outside. And I got run out of a town in the deep north because I was a hippie. But that was lovely, too.”

  1. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
  2. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
  3. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
  4. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

In her 40s, Ms. Gilson bought a Dodge Ram van that a previous owner had lined in red velvet and embarked on a two-month trip to visit family members in the United States. The trip lasted two years. The vehicle was her primary home; when she needed to work at her job as a proofreader, she stopped at public libraries.

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