Missing the Transient Life

For the 2000 census I was living in a hotel. I was seen as homeless and was considered part of an invisible and at-risk population. From my perspective I was living the dream!

My monthly “rent” was not much more than what I could find an apartment for in my area. Yes, the room was smaller than an apartment. But for the same money I got “free” utilities, once a week house cleaning, and no one ran a credit check on me.

And I was always ready to go, able to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. When I went to a festival I would move out – everything I owned fit in my car – and on Monday I’d move back in, saving myself 3 days rent.

Later in my life, after years of living in “real” houses, I lived in a van for a while. I bought an old passenger van, sold nearly everything I owned and slept stealth parked in apartment complex parking lots. I absolutely loved the inside of that van. I had exactly the stuff I needed and no more.

Even in the years when I wasn’t hotel- or van-living I was a renter, and I tended to move almost every year. It was a nimble lifestyle.

I live in a house that I own now. I’ve been here for almost 7 years. I feel like a freaking hoarder, and I haven’t even begun to fill this place up. It doesn’t have very many closets, which does help!

Dylan and I stayed in a hotel over this weekend during a quick trip down to Atlanta. Every time I stay in a hotel I feel the pull of the transient life. I have two changes of clothes with me, and I start to forget why I would ever own more than that. I look at my one bag, and I can’t figure out what I need a whole house for.

I feel a little constrained sometimes. Weighed down. Obliged. I dream of throwing everything away and going somewhere else in a heartbeat. And somewhere else the heartbeat after that.

But this complaint doesn’t have any depth. I experience incredible benefits because of living at The Wallow. I’ve built a rooted life – gardens, and pets, and hobbies that require a lot of equipment. It’s harder to “just go”, but there’s always this immense comfort to come back to when I do.

But, you know. I’m still going to feel a little wistful when I get that hint of freedom.

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