Van-ness & Music Making – Month 1

Things are going well since I have made the van a habitable place to sleep. There have been floods and gales almost on a daily basis, but I’ve slept through them in a warm sleeping bag.

Back when I lived in a yurt I was interested in being very close to the elements, even if that meant being cold and damp. Experiencing physical hardship is a challenge I’ve always been drawn to facing. But actually, at the moment I feel like I have learned all I need to from that. Right now, my question is “How can I live a luxurious life, want for nothing and yet still feel free?” It’s a challenge in a culture and economy that wants to charge people an average of 43% of their income just for somewhere to be, that insists on vehicles ownership for the usual lifestyle and where most jobs require computer ownership.

Now that I have a van, it’s mainly acting as a bed and a place to keep stuff. I’ve not spent much day-time inside it. It’s turned out to be too easy to get indoor spaces in the city. 1 month in, I’ve not yet encountered a day where I’ve had nowhere inside to go to.

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An example living room.

Sometimes I’m at work of course, but I’ve also visited friends socially, or used their living rooms in the daytime whilst they are at work. For laptop power and wifi there are cafés for the price of tea, or the library or arts center for free. Most days I still get to practice guitar and singing more than I used to. To my surprise I’ve had more time and opportunities to use my portable recording studio than ever I did when I was renting. I’m doing more music than I did when I lived in a house. So it’s going well and I haven’t felt any less creature-comfortable that I did in a house.

At the same time I don’t want to scrounge off people. “Give more, take more” seems to be the space I’m moving into. I’ve always been willing to give and this lifestyle is allowing me to meet more people, which gives me more opportunities to offer help.

Visiting friends is good. Having them over to visit me is proving cramped but possible.

Visiting friends is good. Having them over to visit me is proving cramped but possible.

I worry a little about what I have to give to the people whose living rooms I’m using. Can’t think what I can offer apart from clearing up a bit it’s needed. So, I panic if someone’s house is too clean, but I at least try not to cost them very much. Have even worked out what I cost someone, just to give me peace of mind – fortunately it turns out to be 10-20p in electricity to have me for the day, as long as I don’t switch the heating on just because I’m there.

This morning I was meditating sat on the bed, then brushed my teeth and went inside to someone’s living room to have tea and breakfast whilst setting the portable recording studio and listening to music through my busking amp. I thought, “How is this different to a normal day when I lived in a house, except that there’s more variety and change of scenery?” But most valuable of all is the knowledge that I don’t have to be in any specific environment in order to feel at home. This might be a temporary way of living, but it’s good to know that I could be happy living this way.

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