A Postcard From My New Home

Sitting in my new dwelling today I wondered how to write a post that would best explain how I came to be living here. Well, whilst I was making my decision I was corresponding with Richard The Piano Tuner (piano-tuning.co.uk) so it seemed easiest simply to post that dialogue here.

Here tis.

On 24 Jan 2014, “Kimwei” wrote:

Hi Richard.

I am thinking very carefully about my lifestyle, having lived without a house, van, or yurt for the last month and a bit. Of the 42 days between then and this coming Sunday, I will have spent 4 nights at my Dad’s in Oxford, had house-sits for 12 nights, and have been sofa surfing for 26. I’ve been amazingly lucky with house-sits and if they happened all the time I probably would just do that permanently, but alas all good things end and it’s time for me to find me feet, or fly the nest, or some other metaphor.

Honestly, it’s been more than 40 days and nights, so if Jesus had worked out what to do by that time, surely I can too? I suppose the UK hasn’t exactly been a desert (!!!) but nevertheless, soon I have figure out what to do next.

I’m not a “house” person and I would like to live some kind of alternative lifestyle that has a lower impact on the environment.

So, the puzzle is this: the life I want to lead, pitted against the resources I have. One resource is money. I know that I can’t currently afford to rent or buy a property whilst working part time so that I can devote half my week to being creative as a musician.

Like you, I’m keen to dip in and out of various different solutions and feel free to roam. I don’t like being tied to renting because that has a knock on effect: Must pay rent, must have steady job, must stay in one location.

These are my current needs:

  • To be in Exeter 4 half-days per week for work.
  • To have a place to practice guitar and vocals (if not more instruments) and use my computer and portable recording studio every day ideally (unused living rooms are good).
  • To be warm enough
  • To have a safe, secure space to keep my electrical stuff, and still be able to access it.

Here are the options I can think of:

Permanent Cycle Touring like Richard The Piano Tuner: An immediate no I’m afraid. My 2012 of only using a bike as transport showed me that it’s simply not compatible with gigs.

Van living: I don’t really approve of vehicles but see above. I think having a vehicle instead of a house is kind of ok, since most musicians have both. However, now that diesel is so expensive a big van to live in would cost more to drive than taking the train, so it’s not hugely practical. On the other hand, if the van was big enough I could practice and record in it. But another problem with vehicles in general is that electrical music gear can be damaged by being kept in one all winter.

Small Van or Car Living: I used to sleep in a little car, and spend half the month in it. It fitted my gig stuff, clothes for a week and a bed in it, and the rest of the time I spent outside, at work, or with friends. Then I’d come back to my parent’s place in Oxford and recover for a bit.  However, right now it’s winter, so a car or small van would be rubbish to live in. I hate living somewhere that I can’t stand up. Also, this time around I don’t have a place to keep my things besides that vehicle. Therefore I’d be limiting myself to only owning what would fit in a car. I know you live on a bike, so for you that would be an upgrade, but for me… tricky.

I will probably start blogging more heavily soon. I’ll tie up FullTimeFixie (fulltimefixie.wordpress.com) and add a lifestyle blog aspect to my music one. Essentially I’ve been driven into an alternative lifestyle by my choice to devote half my time to art (which is the only way it can be done in the current UK economic climate, unless someone has an exceptionally high hourly rate on their day-job). I think that journey will therefore be of interest to people.`

I’d be interested to hear your ideas.

Kimwei x

My next post will show Richard’s response and reveal where I chosen to live.



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2 responses to “A Postcard From My New Home

  1. Chris Lowings

    That I am in Adelaide aside, I have a really huge shed with a room attached that would suit your needs beautifully. Rent free and close to the city but downside is it’s about 14,000 kms from Exeter.

    • Some day Chris, some day. Anything’s possible. You are a kind and generous soul. Did I ever tell you that I used the money you gave me a few years ago to buy the microphone that I’m making my new album with? It was a lifesaver as I had been borrowing one and had been asked to give it back just that week.

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