This Guy Quit His Corporate Job To Live In A Treehouse Called “Bro-topia”
Foster Huntington used to have a great corporate job until he gave it all up to live in a treehouse he calls “Bro-topia.” The 28-year-old former men’s wear designer got a job at Ralph Lauren straight out of college but decided after a year and a half that he’d had enough.
During his time at Ralph Lauren, Huntington started a blog called The Burning House, where people shared pictures of the things they would take with them if their house ever caught fire. Huntington’s initial plan was to save money while working at the fashion company until he could quit and go on the road.
But his plan changed when HarperCollins paid him a mid-five-figure advance to make a book out of his blog. The New York Times reports that a friend called Huntington’s decision to leave New York decisive. Phillip Annand, a friend who runs New York creative agency Madbury Club, stated, “He was literally, like: ‘Hey, I just bought this van. I’m going to drive to Washington and live in it.’ “
And that’s what Huntington did. He flew to Reno, Nevada in July 2011, purchased a 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon and drove it up to his parents’ property in Washington, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge and nearby Oregon.
After spending a bit of time in Washington, Foster drove around the West Coast and spent most of his time surfing, camping, and doing freelance work. He became one of the first photographers to learn how to make money off Instagram. Huntington used the hashtag #vanlife to share photos of fellow wanderers living out of a van.
Foster told Pulptastic, “I got really into living in a van and seeing other people doing that, too, seeing how much fun they were having, how positive that way of traveling was for them.” The project turned into a photo book called, “Home Is Where You Park It.”
After three years of wandering, Foster Huntington got the idea for the treehouse “Bro-topia.” His motivation for the majestic treehouse was a way to live out his childhood dreams. He explained that he used to build treehouses when he was little, albeit not very good ones. The former designer explained, “I always wanted to do it as a grown-up.”
So, Foster called a friend from Colby College, builder Tucker Gorman, who was living on a sailboat in San Francisco. Gorman designed the treehouse’s structures with the help of treehouse expert Michael Garnier. During the build, which took more than a year, the treehouse crew slept in a bunkhouse on the property, or in tents or in their trucks. When they weren’t hard at work, the team loaded up bows and shot arrows, fished in the Columbia River, or got stoned and raced motorbikes.
To fulfill another of his childhood fantasies, Huntington also contracted a group to build his very own concrete skate bowl at the base of the property. The 28-year-old also gave the camp a name, the Cinder Cone, because it stands on an old volcano site.
In total, “Bro-topia” includes two treehouse buildings with bridges between them, a skate bowl, and an outdoor wood-fueled hot tub. While it might seem like Foster Huntington is simply living out his childhood fantasies without a care in the world, he is doing more. The 28-year-old has been a social media consultant for Patagonia, he has collaborated with financial services company Allianz, and also starred in online ads for HP that played up his off-the-grid lifestyle.