I suppose this post will end up a little more personal as I really can’t speak for anybody but myself. I can assume that others may have similar reasons for becoming a hobo, nomad, houseless, or homeless, but I can’t be sure.
To this day my family is rather… dissatisfied with my lifestyle. Although they’ve finally started joking about it (“If she gets a dash cam, it’ll be traffic and home surveillance”), which is good, but I know that they are still far from fine with it.
Why would I want to live like this? Let me try to explain.
- Freedom is important to me
I don’t enjoy being held back by my possessions or obligations. Think of all the things that come with renting an apartment for example. You have to keep it clean, you have to work your rear off to pay for it, you are stuck in a particular area at least for a while, you own furniture and carpets and curtains and desks and chairs and tables and oh my! You spend all your time at work, at school, outside, running errands, just to come home to a place that is half the reason you are never home. Is this madness or what?
I own a vehicle, which gets me from A to B. I also rebuilt the back to offer a bed, storage for clothes, food, and hygiene articles, and an area to relax after a long day. If I drive anywhere, I already have everything I need. I can leave for the mountains in the spur of the moment. I have time for personal growth and living life. And, other than my student loans, I do not have to worry about money.
If you are like me and absolutely cannot deal with having roommates anymore (it worked for many years, but I am just over it), you’ll pay at least $800 a month for an apartment in my area. If you are fine with random shootings and living next to a bar and a liquor store, then you may be able to squeeze by with $650 a month. At just above minimal wage, I’d have to work 22 hours a week, just to pay for an apartment. By the time you add food ($125 a month), gas ($130 a month), utilities ($100 a month), and cell phone costs ($25 a month), I’d need to add another 10 hours of work per week. What about clothes, hygiene products, cleaning products, fixing the car, and school supplies? Add another 5 hours for good measure and I’d be working 37 hours a week just to scrape by. And of course I am a full time student, which means I spend an average of 20 hours in class and studying. Why on earth would I want to live like that? Just in the last year, I saved a little over $6000, which will be my down payment for that van I’ll be purchasing soon.
These factors may overlap with my need for freedom, but they are not quite the same. My upbringing was very restrictive and abusive, and while I have done well for myself after leaving home, some things stuck with me. Being inside for long periods of time is depressing to me. I feel locked up and lonely. Not being able to spend time outside within nature and enjoying life leaves me depressed and anxious as well. I simply cannot be spending every day of the week working AND be happy. I become miserable if I don’t get to break free every once in a while. I need quality time to enjoy life. Who doesn’t?
- What I do actually matters
I’d rather spend hours setting up a camp, cooking food over an open fire, scouting out new spots, or cleaning my vehicle, than spend 40 hours a week at work. What I do matters for my survival and health. When is the last time you’ve done something at work that actually mattered? Sure, there are many professions, such as police offices and doctors, who matter in most of the activities they do at work. But how many of us sit at a desk, push papers, and spend countless hour staring at a screen just to receive money at the end of the month? In comparison to withstanding mother nature in one’s daily journey of survival and LIFE, what does it really matter if I copy another student’s paperwork and enter it into the system. To me, that feels like a cushioned version of what could possibly resemble life. But not life as it is “meant to” be lived.
Even before I began living life houseless, I wasn’t consuming as much as most people around me. These days, however, I am consuming even less. I don’t have my own electricity, running water, or heat. I buy a majority of my clothes from goodwill, buy used whenever possible, recycle, and walk everywhere. Of course, my vehicle is the great exception eating up resources like a starving wolf on a sheep farm, but I suppose that’s the price of keeping one foot in society. Overall, I’ve not just gotten closer to nature, I feel like I am a part of it.
What’s on your mind? Comment!