A waterfall of questions splashes the once-calm, reflecting pools behind their eyes.
“Where do you sleep?”
“How do you eat?”
“Do you hitchhike?”
“How do you pay for things?”
Everyone wants to know how they can be so free. How they can take their lives in both hands, as I have done, and travel the Earth as if it were all one giant community park. How they can escape the constant burnout and find fulfillment and meaning in their lives without the call to prayer or struggle for social justice.
I’m sure too, that in some way it seems a sort of return to roots, in a religious sense, leaving it to God and returning to Eden. Maybe for some it seems zen or something a Boddhisatva would do. For me, although in a way meditative and more peaceful, this isn’t at all my reasoning.
Strangers ask, “what does your family think?” I reckon they think the same about it as most people do: it’s antisocial and lonely, more or less homelessness, and downright different to a degree that’s recognizable. Dare we say; dangerously different.
I’ve always stuck out as unique and strange, among friends, family, and the majority of my peers, so as far as antisocial and lonely goes, I can’t say it’s a radical change for me. I always felt alone and misunderstood. At least now I can practice making myself understood in multiple American dialects.
I’ve made a lot of new friends as well, so, Ha!
Per the homelessness portion of that, there’s a lot to unpack there, and a much larger conversation about that topic to be had. There’s a lot of stigma around homelessness; period. To be clear, I’m camping and staying with other people who have travelled similarly, I don’t consider myself homeless, but maybe houseless.
To that also: I did my research before heading out and created a route. I track the weather, plan for resting, and follow a number of rules of my own in order to make it safer to rest, fast, be vegan, and walk hundreds of miles. I also downloaded a couple useful apps in addition to reaching out through Facebook groups.
First: Facebook groups. As a trans woman, I find other trans women to be immensely supportive and a good place to start in said groups. Basically, seek out your community wherever you’re going. Seven billion people live here; no matter what, you’re never alone. Find your religious sect, your brand of feminism, or, goodness, if you’re a Nazi, find your party.
Only after I’ve done what I could to find accommodations, etc. in my community did I download these apps. Start with your peers or community regardless of how you feel, you’ll feel a lot better with a reminder that you’re never alone.
Now, those apps you can download: Couchsurfing and Travello. The latter is still growing but it’s a nice way to meet fellow travellers before reaching an area, plus — is this a plus? — the creators are like Tom from Myspace, they’ll be the first to add you.
Couchsurfing on the other hand, I can’t recommend enough. It’s had more gestation time than Travello, for one. For two, there’s a lot more people actively using it.
There’s an initial membership fee for most of the services I’ll mention, but most if not all are very useful and completely worth the annual or one-time fees. In another article I’ll go into more detail regarding all of these services.
Before that, I must mention Wwoofing and HelpX. They’re both great places to look to to exchange accommodations and food for labor. Volunteering is a similar route, but may be less hands on than you’d like unless you’re working with a relief organization such as Habitats for Humanity.
That aside, you’ll find it’s pretty easy to pick up temporary work almost anywhere. A helping hand is often rewarded, even if you don’t want to be. However, plan ahead for those times that you’ll need the cash, plan a place to stay, and inform employers before they hire you, that it’ll be temporary in nature. Thankfully, and unfortunately, many entry-level positions are insecure jobs and only part-time, making much of your competition spread finely
That last point, as well as a discussion on this lifestyle’s difference from others, will be the subject of a future article. In that subsequent piece, the financial insecurity of today will be parsed out in regards to this. Spoiler alert: financial insecurity is more common now than cows’ milk in grocery stores.
What’s stopping you from living well and living well within your means?