Since we dropped our borrowed Le’Sharo motorhome off in Georgia, we’ve been homeless. Intentionally so.
It’s been a mixture of freeing, intimidating, frustrating and awesome. Nothing is ever black and white, right?
It is incredibly freeing to be able to move around with everything we need on our backs. It gives us hyper mobility to explore various means of transit – trains, planes, boats, walking, local public transit, rental cars and more.
There’s not much stopping us from re-routing our plans and zinging from potential to potential. More so than any other point in our 5 years of living on the road, we wake up many mornings without much clue of where we’ll be sleeping that evening.
We carry with us clothing to be comfortable in any reasonable climate condition we’ll encounter this summer (which have now ranged from 50 degrees in Oregon to 109 degrees in Arizona), with the full expectation that at some point we might need to swap things out. I even had to account for having two client site visits during this journey, which is a rarity to begin with.
We carry with us basic toiletries to keep our hygiene up in environments ranging from train bathrooms, rest stops and hotels. We carry our technology with us so that we can continue to work remotely, keep connected, entertained and doing our bus research. And we carry with us small blankets to keep warm on chilly train rides.
And that is it.
That’s not to say there haven’t been moments of unsettledness as we realize that we have no home other than what is on our back. Unlike being on a vacation with your bags packed for a week or two (or more), we have no known home to return to. We don’t know when, where or if we’ll find home along this adventure.
We’re not on vacation or a temporary break from whatever is our current homebase – we are literally living out of backpacks indefinitely. Where we sleep tonight could be a complete unknown. We are trusting in serendipity and our resourcefulness at every turn.
Sure, we have friends and family who will welcome us with open arms as long term guests until we figure things out – but we have no home of OURS to return to. The closest thing to that is Chris’ folks in St. Louis, where Kiki (and boy do we miss her) and the rest of our ‘stuff’ is currently staying.
While our concept of home has drastically transformed over the years as we both departed from traditional fixed homes to a house on wheels – this has been a big leap for us mentally and physically.
It’s the most minimalist we’ve gone yet.
There are things that one takes for granted when you have a home to call your own. Whether that be a short term rental, a house on wheels, a sailboat or a more traditional setup.
An environment of your own making, a place that you put together to recharge at. A comfortable bed to sleep in, privacy levels to your desire, a kitchen to prepare your own meals and access to your own bathroom.
These things are currently absent for us. And I do miss them.
I miss preparing my own meals, or heck, even home cooked meals in general. We’re eating out far more than I like, and our waistlines are starting to show it. I miss my stir fry pan, my fizzy soda maker, my blender for green smoothies and my spice collection.
I’m a homebodied introvert who needs my own space, and I miss having that. A place I can sit around without worrying about if my hair is brushed, working undisturbed with breaks for yoga stretches and just lounging around naked. And lets not even talk about the impact on our sex life.
And a confession? I hate public restrooms and bathhouses. I really really *REALLY* like having access to my own. I learned this lesson with our first year on the road in Chris’ old 16′ Tab Trailer that didn’t have facilities.
And while we’ve gotten pretty darn good at catching a decent night’s sleep in coach class on an overnight train, have stayed in hotels and crashed at friend’s places – I miss having my own bed. With my sheets. My pillows. My cat.
I miss our foam mattress, and regularly fantasize about the first thing we’ll do when we get our bus – go to the mattress store!
And of course, there’s frustrations in dealing with transit options out of our control – such as three (out of four) Amtrak cross country lines currently being disrupted due to flooding and wildfires. This has caused us to quickly reroute our plans to keep from potentially getting stuck (for those not keeping up on our daily journey via Facebook and Twitter, we had to nix our Seattle and Empire Builder plans, and landed in Arizona two nights ago instead). Which is quite frustrating when there are buses you want to look at that are currently annoyingly inaccessible by our current means of transportation (Amtrak rail pass).
I do so look forward to having home found, and shifting our focus back to living.
But for all the challenges and adaptations we’ve been making, this new phase of our nomadic life is awesome… for now. We often joke that it seems in the past couple of months we’ve been working on a PhD in Serendipity.
We’re pleasantly surprised by how well we adapt to the quickly changing circumstances. One moment we’re charging ahead to look at a bus in Tacoma, but things change and we hop on a train to Los Angeles instead.. without much of a plan. But awesome things always come together – generous invitations for time with amazing people, crash space, yummy food and new bus knowledge discovered.
A few years ago, before I gained massive skill points in adaptability, I would be a complete basket case by now.
And we constantly remind ourselves that we are completely choosing to be homeless and embark on this adventure. Our options are literally limitless as to what home will be next. And there’s something amazing about having created that sort of abundance.
So frustrations and all, I would not change a thing. It’s good to challenge yourself and push your edges.
But I do yearn for home to be found.