What does it mean to be homeless?
Generally, the word homeless has negative connotations attached to it. But what if you choose to be homeless, not because you can’t afford a home, but because you don’t want to live in one place? I first started thinking about this when I was hitchhiking around Europe last summer. People would ask me, “Where do you live and what do you do?” I would tell them, “I live right here and I do this,” which translates loosely as, “I am homeless and unemployed.” Some people thought this was wonderful, but most cringed at the notion.
I recently had the pleasure of one half of my family visiting me; we spent a fun week between Slovakia and Budapest (a city that I LOVE more than almost any other). I have just cycled from the UK to Slovakia (around 1,600 km) on a bicycle that cost me £30. I had a wonderful time doing this and I am excited for what comes next; my aim to be a Pirate of the Danube (we’ve made the raft already and will soon be floating down the river). But my Father worries that I don’t have a home.
“You can’t want to live like this forever,” he tells me, “always moving.” And it’s true. I don’t want to live my whole life in a tent or from a backpack, but for now, it’s perfect. I move every few months, days, or more recently, every few hours. But for me, a move is simple. It means repacking my bike or loading up my backpack. Moving home for me doesn’t involve shipping pods full of my worldly belongings, moving days, house hunting, months of planning, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead, it’s an impulsive decision, often a whim. ‘I want to go here, so I will.’
I go where I want, when I want, with who I want. I live my life and I see the world. My life of moving around let’s me meet new people and is cheaper than a life in which you live in one place. I push myself to my limits and everyday that I do something new, I go to bed knowing that the day I just lived through is a day that I will always remember.
I love my life for the most part, but life isn’t black and white: it can never be 100% of anything. By moving all the time, I miss out on long-term relationships, having things, and a stable future. By relationships, I mean friendships, people you see regularly and know well. I have a big network of people I feel very close to, but I see them rarely, sometimes not for years. Many of them I speak to online, but will never again see in person (I’ve lived on several continents). As for things, I, like everyone, like having things. But I can’t have anything I can’t carry. Right now I don’t have much more that a bicycle, 3 pairs of pants, some hippy trousers, a pirate shirt, my flick knife, and my cameras: belongings that fit into my homemade bicycle panniers. It’s all that I need in life. I do however, enjoy the notion that if there will come such a day when I choose to station myself somewhere for a longer time and cave in to the need of owning stuff (especially goats), I find it comforting to know that there is the possibility of doing so. But not today!
Life is Balance
As with everything in life, we have to find balance. The good must outweigh the bad. Would I be happy living in one place right now and using my degree? No I wouldn’t. Am I happy exploring and making up my own little adventures? Absolutely. I feel so very alive on these days. In a few days, I will set sail down the river on my recycled raft and you know what?
I CAN’T WAIT!