Quotes I like:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Past Year of Living "Homelessly"

It has now been over a year since I lost my job, gave up my home, put all my stuff in storage and started this experiment to see if I could live without a residence for a year.  It has been interesting and I am proud to say that I have made it!  This doesn't mean I have been living on the streets or like a "bag lady".  I have been very lucky to have a small rv trailer to live in and homes of friends and family to stay at from time to time. 
This has been a real learning experience.  I learned that you can live a very simple life without a lot of "stuff".  Having an 18 foot trailer requires that you pare your life down to the real necessities.  It made me take a hard look at what I actually "need" and what stuff I can live without. I found that family and friendships are more important than any 'thing' I have owned.  I found that there is joy in each day if you just look for it.  I have found that people can be truly amazing and giving, even total strangers.

 I spent the first part of last year living in an RV park with some snow birds and a lot of folks who just live in their RVs due to financial circumstances or just lifestyle choice.  The owners and managers were incredible--helpful and friendly.  There was a fellow who lived in a panel van in the park.  He had very little and wasn't in the best of health.  At one point several of the guys in the park got together and built him a wooden deck with picnic table and awning cover so he could have a nice place to sit outside. They didn't ask anything for this, just did it out of the goodness of their hearts. I ran into similar folks in a small town in North Carolina when my car broke down.  Total strangers who offered their help and kindness to a passing traveller. Amazing!

I visited two of my sisters for awhile and we all spent more time together than we had since we were kids. I rediscovered the closeness that sisters can share while we laughed over fond memories and shared recipes  for dishes our mother used to cook. I also reconnected with my step brother and his wife whom I had not seen in many, many years and it was nice to become friends with them again.

Last summer was spent at the Jersey shore working for a dear friend. I lived in my trailer on the farm and slept with the soft nicker of the horses in the barn.  Some days were challenges but it was hard to complain when surrounded by the warm sandy beaches, ocean breezes and good and caring friends.

The fall and winter have been spent at yet another farm helping family during a military deployment.  I have spent wonderful days with my grandson. Days I will always cherish.  This is something I would never have been able to do if I had been working away at my career.

I have learned to live on less, appreciate the small things in life, get reacquainted with family and develop an appreciation just for living each day.  It has been a real "stop and smell the flowers" year.

I was very lucky to have had this year and very blessed that I was never actually homeless unlike many people have become in this poor economy.  Homelessness is a very real problem and one which still needs to be addressed.  I was happy to find a blog by a young woman who helped inspire me to begin writing this one.  She is a true success story and if you can, please visit her blog at: http://www.girlsguidetohomelessness.com/. Her blog has now become a book which will be on sale soon.  She is very brave and resourceful and I'm so glad things are working out for her.

While I thought that once the year was over I would go back to living my former life, I have decided that I am not ready to resume it.  That life seems very shallow now and I want to continue this journey.  My time at the farm is almost up and I have been offered several new opportunities to travel to new places and experience new things. So I believe I will take another trip around the sun on this journey of life and see where it leads me.  I stopped making plans awhile ago, and while not a very religious person, almost daily I ask God to simply place my feet on the path he wants me to take and I will follow it.  So far he has done a bang up job.

I want to thank everyone who assisted me in this endeavor, whose love and support helped me along the way and without whom this year would have been so much less. You guys all know who you are.

So stay tuned for the further adventures of Wanderwoman! I promise to be funny again soon! (well I am always a little 'funny' (maybe strange?) but will be humorous again!

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