Living full time in a Porsche Cayenne

Meet the young US Navy veteran taking the Porsche life to the next level

1w ago

In the spring of 2021, Harrison Schoen made a choice that, on the face of it, might seem like a strange one. After giving up the lease on a rental house in Salt Lake City, he loaded a few belongings into the back of his high-mileage 2008 Porsche Cayenne and started to call it ‘home’.

Born and raised in St Louis, Missouri, Schoen joined the navy at 18, working in a variety of roles and eventually moving to the home of the Pacific Fleet in San Diego. After leaving the military he headed inland, to Utah, and found himself working menial jobs in Salt Lake City to pay the rent. A year and a half later, he decided on a drastic change of direction.

“Being in the navy and living on an aircraft carrier, I learned how to live small. So after getting out, I moved into a two bedroom house and before long I was living in the garage and renting out both bedrooms so that I could live for free. Even then I got tired of things still taking my attention away from just living life.”

It is 09:00 in Utah, and Schoen is speaking from the cabin of his Cayenne while enjoying breakfast. His original plan had to be to travel abroad, he explains, with Thailand mapped out as his first destination. The COVID pandemic put an abrupt end to his international escape plans, but it also focussed Schoen’s attention on making the best of the here and now.

“I realised how short life is,” the 24-year-old says, “and if I had the ability to travel and make a living while on the road, that’s something I should explore while I’m young and able bodied rather than working my whole life, retiring and then trying to enjoy the world.”

It is a philosophy that will strike a chord with many after the last 18 months, and Schoen’s adventure, still less than four months in the making, is already attracting a growing following on social media where regular posts reveal a mixture of romantic escapism and undeniable sacrifice. The Cayenne, although a luxury vehicle in the traditional sense, would not be most people’s first choice for a mobile home, but Schoen spotted one for sale online one night, and bought it first thing the next morning.

A Cayenne S, it had more than 200,000 kilometres on the odometer and Schoen quickly set about modifying it. This included a 3-inch lift kit, tubular upper control arms, new poly-bushed lower front control arms and 18-inch wheels shod in mighty 33 X 12.5-inch off-road tyres. He also added a roof rack to take a storage box, awning and spotlights and removed the rear bumper to increase the car’s departure angle.

One of the other key decisions Schoen made in converting the Cayenne was to rig up a platform inside to sleep on, rather than opt for a roof tent. This was in part because using a roof tent limits drivers to designated campsites, but also because it significantly raises the centre of gravity, a hindrance for serious off-roading.

Schoen has now been living full time in the Cayenne since May, cooking on a portable stove and washing beneath a roof-mounted road shower. He has driven some of the most challenging trails in the western states and is aiming to visit every National Park in the US and even to reach Alaska, documenting every leg of the journey via social media and YouTube. “My favourite experience so far has been driving on the beach in Oregon,” he says. “I arrived at 06:00 and the whole beach was covered in fog. I’d never driven on a beach before so it was a really magical experience. And it made for some the coolest photos yet of the car!”

Schoen has racked up an impressive 32,000 kilometres in the Cayenne since he bought it in February and at the moment he doesn’t see an end to the adventure. “I’m really enjoying travelling at the moment,” he says. “Some of the reasoning was to do something different from every else in society. The navy prepared me for everything I’m doing now; living in a small space but also the solitude. I don’t get that lonely and I’ve been fortunate enough to make friends all over the country. There’s a great community of people living the ‘van life’. I’m just taking it to the next level because my Porsche allows me to get to places most people can’t reach.”

Join In

Comments (20)

  • Driving on a beach for the first time is a unique experience. It’s so different from tarmac or gravel. Back in the ‘50’s when I was a teenager, I drove my father’s car on a long, deserted beach in Nova Scotia. I hit 90 mph (probably the max on the speedometer). What a thrill, as I had never gone that fast before.

    Prior to that, I had never been in a car doing more than 65 mph. One day, my family and I were in a taxi racing to catch a train. We were running late and my father shouted at the driver “ hurry up”.

    The driver flooded it and the old taxi broke through 60 and then hit terminal speed of 65 mph. We all cheered and did catch the train.

      12 days ago
    • Interesting story 😂😂 i like these stories keep writing more!!!

        11 days ago
    • Was The 60s a good time?? Because thats what I think.

        11 days ago
  • Thanks for sharing this story, it led me to his YouTube site where I viewed some of his videos. I hope someone from Porsche picks up on Harrison’s story, he is doing some amazing things with that vehicle. Here is a link to his video capturing his ascent of Hell’s Gate in the Moab, Utah - impressive. Show your support for this young vet and his adventures with the Porsche- subscribe to his channel

      12 days ago
  • This is so cool

      12 days ago
  • Epic

      12 days ago
    • You've got a big fish there , you seem to be an adventure camp guy too

        11 days ago
    • Professional angling coach and consultant. I work a lot with forces vets with PTSD and kids with behavioural issues.

      I spend a lot of time teaching about the environment and ecology.

      Camping out and having a bit of a laugh is all part of it

        11 days ago
  • Like the idea of doing this and congratulate him for doing it.

    My only comment is that the lift kit does indeed improve the entry and departure angles however the oversized tyres remove some axel articulation so whilst it looks cool, it’s probably a bit less capable that a LR discovery/defender.

    Cool none the less.

      11 days ago