Hello, how are you doing? I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned from this travel. Normally in regular life I learn a lot, but it’s quiet home things. This learning from a time of not having a home is more intense and quick.
I can’t control the pace–life is just coming at me, and I have no choice but to take it in and learn really hard. Yes, I get the feeling I’ll be chewing on all this for years to come.
Here’s a list of what I’ve learned from this travel.
how we frame homelessness
How we frame homelessness has a huge effect on how it’s received. If I live in a culture where being homeless means I’m considered worthless and incompetent, as well as smelly and bad, I might not choose to tell anyone that I’m homeless.
Saying, “We’ve been traveling for a while,” gets a very different reaction from, “We’re homeless,” right? The reality is we have slept outside only once, and we’re not really suffering. How do you define homelessness?
Whatever we call this, having no home is a disadvantage. I would prefer to have my own bed, an address, and a place I made cozy with art and pretty colors of towels.
I was briefly homeless when Ming and I were first getting together, and I didn’t think I would go on to spend any significant amount of time homeless. But maybe we should just call this being address-free or unwanted vacation. I’m not eating out of garbage cans, so I’m ok. Will let you know if it comes to that.
Being on a different sleep schedule from other people in a living situation can be uncomfortable. On the special farm we visited in California north of the Bay Area, there were several dogs. So when I got up to use the outhouse early in the morning, the barking dogs woke everyone up. That was unfortunate because some of the people had worked hard butchering two cows all night until 4am.
I felt bad for making the dogs bark. But what can you do, when nature calls?
Then this place we stayed in Bakersfield, I was totally exhausted at 7:30 pm when the other people in this house felt social. They were talking loudly in the kitchen, and I was losing my mind. I put a towel under the door, but that didn’t help. I tried over and over to get the earplugs in my ears right, but my left shoulder has been messed up, and my right hand isn’t fully functional because of a pinched nerve injury.
I want to say it’s ok to be different, and all sleep schedules are valid, but it can make things way more difficult, to need things others don’t need. We have so many already. If we’re going to live with people, we might consider being on the same schedule.
Outdoor showers are beautiful. It’s a different feeling for sure. We saw one at our the house of our old friend who lives in Oakland near Sconehenge. I think he built it himself. He said he hadn’t taken a shower indoors in decades. Wow.
Then we stayed at a house in San Luis Obispo that has an outdoor shower. I used it twice. Ming helped me by holding a towel as I passed outside naked. And he let me hold his arm as I took the big step down into the tub and the big step back up onto the deck. It was fun to have his help and company.
The outdoor shower in San Luis Obispo was hard to photograph, but here’s my best try.
I’ve learned some flexibility of cooking skills. Traveling with a rice cooker / crock pot is divine. We make rice or quinoa almost every day. We can put veg in too.
I make this nice soup, in the rice cooker. It’s two carrots, with the ends bitten off, when I don’t have a knife. And some tofu, crumbled into large crumbles, since I can’t slice it. Then some garlic broth, and black pepper if I have any. And tahini at the very end.
Wow, it’s delicious. I thought I wouldn’t like the tofu crumbled, but it comes out like dumplings. My mom used to make chicken and dumplings, when I was a kid. I adored those soft dumplings, and the tofu reminds me of that. Even though it’s a protein, and the dumplings were carb.
what I’ve learned from this travel
I need less than I thought I needed. Knives are useful for getting into avocados and slicing apples. Otherwise, I don’t need knives very much.
I need my health, social connection, food that suits me, delicious water, Ming, and for the car to keep working. Those are the really important things. I need to do art also, and privacy. That’s really it.
Great to learn–I hope I remember what I’ve learned from this travel. I hope it doesn’t all fade and disappear, when we have a home again.