I often see these memes about adulting: the burden, the monotony, the reluctance. When did we decide it was normal to hate what we do day in and day out. Did we make a conscious choice to spend most of our time doing something we hate to get money? Or did it just happen? Why do people accept that the route to success is plodding away at a job for the majority of our lives, and the whole of our most productive ones at that?
So what happens when you say, F*** it! I don’t want to be a part of this system anymore! Well, that is what I did, I quit my job, put in my 30-day notice on my apartment, and sold all my stuff. Everything that I owned could fit within the confines of one backpack.
I had no home.
I had no fixed expenses.
What I owned:
Five lightweight pants.
Five pairs of underwear.
Five lightweight Camis.
One pair of sandals. (Which at one point were stolen and replaced with 2 dollar thongs)
Airplane sized toiletries.
A super pack of hair ties.
A small laptop.
A water camelback.
THAT. IS. IT.
In the whole world!
I got a one-way ticket to Europe on the proceeds of my stuff and embarked on some of the best times of my life. I did work trades for room and board, which usually required around 25-30 hours a week of work to take care of all my needs.
I worked on a peace farm, the vineyard of a pair of circus performers, I lived with a British couple renovating an old castle into a B&B… which was complete with a haunting story and a dungeon. I met interesting people, a villain from the old Bond movies who made a kick ass shepherds pie and referred to the local villagers as his “minions”. An old man who had traveled around the world by sailboat and had met Salvador Dali. Peace activists who protested on the corner every week, I joined in! A man who got called away to advise huge companies during the 2008 financial collapse. And I mentioned the circus performers, right? They juggled chainsaws!
I found other kindred souls, and we would travel together for a month or two. People from all over the world who would give me a glimpse into life in their home country.
I learned about life in other cultures and saw things I will never forget.
I hitchhiked. I showered at many public facilities. I got acquainted with everything free, libraries, festivals, public pools, and most importantly nature. I ate weird local delicacies and pub hopped with a few of my hosts.
My biggest takeaways:
Life is about experiences, not accumulation.
Love people, not things.
Material things only hold you down from true freedom.
You might be asking, well why are you not still doing this if it was so awesome! My now husband and I ended up getting pregnant and could not live by the seat of our pants anymore. The desire is still there, and now our family is close to going back out on the road again. This time with a different kind of freedom.
At the heart of this is breaking out of the norm. To create your system. Which is what I’m trying to do now. Or, you live outside of it, which is what I did when I chose to be homeless. You can live a life where you choose how to spend your time. You can do this the easy way by living outside and eschewing everything and live in the flow of the world. Or you can put in some serious work and break the system!
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I would also like to give a shout out to the homeless who did not get there by choice. And while I would like to tell those who are capable, that there are options. Some just are not and in my opinion are a symptom of a sick society. Homeless and Housing Charities.