On Being "Homeless"
Since November 1, this has been my life, quantified:
- 4 countries
- 3 states
- 7 friends'/family’s houses*
- 10 AirBnBs
- 12 Hostels
- 5 campsites
Also, I’ve been holding down a full time job, so there's that.
I’m writing this from an AirBnb in Naples, Florida. It’s midnight, and I’m waking up at 6:30am tomorrow to go paddle boarding. I’ll then be attending a wedding. Last night I was at a concert in DC. In a week I’ll be on a flight back to Chile. As I talked with friends in DC last week about my lifestyle over the last 7 months, I kept telling people that it was hard, and much of it was. But I’m starting a 3-month lease in Chile in May, and I’ve taken more time to reflect. Although the last seven months of homelessness has been hard, it has also been fucking awesome.
It’s been awesome, at least for me, for not-obvious reasons. I love not having shit. I have five bags, and if it weren’t for my wetsuit, camera, tent, and sleeping bag, I’d probably only have 2. When I stay in an AirBnBs I look at these people’s places, and while they are incredibly beautiful, all the “stuff” makes me feel heavy. I also love the fact that every day truly is a learning experience. I have had to relearn and explore a new neighborhood on a nearly weekly basis. And when I return to places I’ve been before, I feel like a local, even though I'm totally not.
The freedom of not knowing what the next day will bring has been the most exhilarating, yet challenging aspect of where I’m at right now. Personally, I love it. I can’t get enough of finding myself in a new place, with new activities and new people to meet. It keeps me energized. But…. And it’s a big but, professionally, at least for what I do, it became a struggle. Working remotely in beautiful scenery is great if you just need to browse the web, but my boss’s main requirement for working remote is that I need to be as accessible as I was when I was sitting three feet behind her in Chevy Chase, MD. That means clear and reliable video and audio calls. Good fucking luck at the shanty hostel by the beach
Also, this whole post can't be completed without mentioning Erin, who has made this journey in Chile possible. When shit seemed to be hitting the fan (what an image), or I needed to work, she handled logistics. When living abroad, the highs and lows are magnified, and Erin keeps me balanced. So if you're wondering how this whole thing has been possible, it's largely because of Erin.
When we found Dinamarca 399, an incredible coworking space, in Valparaiso, Erin and I decided that as enjoyable as the last few months have been, we needed to stop for a second and live in Chile, not just bop around. It’s hard to explain; we’ve been living, but making friends with people at hostels isn’t the same as being able to call up someone on a Friday and ask them if they want to grab a drink. Both are valuable, but right now, I want the latter. I haven’t slept in the same bed for more than a two week period in 7 months. Now I’m staring at a 3 month lease. And at last, a place to call home.
As I'm writing this post, I realize it's kind of all over the place, which I think is pretty fitting considering the subject matter. Thanks for sticking through it.
*As of writing, I still have two more moves to make. But they still count in my head. Big thank you to:
- Bob & Cori
- My dad
- Maiten and Ian
- Asha and Matt
- Packy and Rachel
- Jesse and Lauren