Is a person who decides to travel to the middle of the country by bus and stay with a friend on an Indian Reservation for 3 weeks a homeless person? I pondered that as I was once again asked that question by a curious relative.
ARE YOU HOMELESS?
“So, you are homeless, right?” I have only been asked twice, but the implications of that question make me laugh a bit but also make me ponder the differences and similarities between being ‘homeless’ and nomadian by definition.
HUD has a distinct definition of homelessness:
A person is considered homeless only when he/she resides in one of the places described below:
• In places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings (on the street).
• In an emergency shelter.
What it is not:
• Persons living with relatives or friends.
More in that same document from HUD…
4 years ago, “technically” I was without my own home, yes. A live in relationship ended. I rented rooms and lived with various friends for one year. I was also not getting very far in saving for my own place. In Los Angeles, you essentially need a minimum of 3 months rent to secure a place. How easy is it for any of us to save between $3000 and $5000 dollars? I am a freelancer and although I make a living, I do not have all sorts of extra cash laying around.
I was blessed to have an “angel” friend come into a large sum of cash and he helped me with my costly entry into my first apartment without my mother, son, roommate or partner, at 44 years old.
I lived there for two years. Then, I got wanderlust and decided to place teh contents of my studio apartment into storage and travel. That is when I started this blog. I bought myself a laptop and a high end amateur camera, a bus ticket to Arizona and left for the start of a 3 month trip to visit friends and family.
I spent 10 days with a dear friend in Phoenix, 2 weeks with my father and his family in Webster, NY right on Lake Ontario #bliss, and 2 months with my mother in Massachusetts. I took the train back to Los Angeles in late October.
I stayed with a friend and saved money while working virtually as a Project Manager for a firm in Dallas and building websites.
The rental market in my area had lost it’s mind and as I looked for a place to call my own it was clear that my rent would be more than I wanted to pay, so I found a room to rent in a great house nearby. My new “host” aka roommate was a great woman in her 50s and it was a very comfortable, peaceful, fun place to call *home*.
Is a person who rents a room in a house homeless? Not by the HUD definition.
NOMAD LIFESTYLE vs. HOMELESSNESS
no·mad: a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer.
What is the line of demarcation between Nomad and a homeless person? The line could be fine for some. I guess it depends on perspective and also a bit on perception.
I cannot consider myself homeless while traveling with my $1500 of electronic equipment and knowing that I have a room waiting to be rented by me upon my return to Los Angeles. It feels quite disrespectful of the plight of homelessness and the suffering that many experience.
Homelessness is not a choice.
I made a choice to live this way. My priority is seeing loved ones and seeing the country/world. I make enough money that I could get my own lace, but I don’t have to in order to be safe, dry, fed, comfortable and even live in a way maybe yearn for.
How many folks you know who own houses or pay rent and work 9 to 5 can take off for 3 months and travel? Not many I would imagine!
If I had $10 for every time a person said, “Must be nice to have the freedom/money to just travel.” Those are some of the same folks who call me homeless to my face or behind my back. Ponder that for a minute.
SO WHAT AM I?
1.one without a home who moves around or travels freely without ties holding them back.
2.a constant or full-time traveler
I am a DIGITAL NOMAD.
More on this in my next blog post.