People are always asking me what it’s like living the way I do, so I thought it best to write about a typical day. I usually write about the ideas and ethos behind what I do, but I’m often asked about practical matters so I’ll try and address those.
The trouble is, there is no routine, so it’s hard to give a clear picture of what my life is like. There is no 5 day week, no weekend. The “garden” is different every day. I like variety. In the last few days I have written to people to ask for Kickstarter backing, done some test recording at a new “living room” I’ve been offered, started promoting my next “Secret Gig” (Aug 9th, Exeter), booked a Goldflower Studio client, been to the beach, sat by the estuary, gone busking and much more! Where can I start?
Well, yesterday morning, I woke up in the van, parked in a coastal village near Exeter. Knowing that I’d be coming back later to do some enabling work for a disabled friend, I decided to cycle into Exeter to put up posters for the next Secret Gig on August 9th. Secret Gigs are fast turning into a hip new Exeter happening, which is great news!
My bike is kept van when I’m driving it and is locked outside when parked to give me more living space inside the vehicle.
After a beautiful bike ride into town, following the water’s edge in the morning sunshine, I ride around town, distributing posters to shops and talking to whoever I meet about the Secret Gig. Having woken up late I’ve missed breakfast but meet a friend who’s sitting outside a café with a half eaten plate of food he can’t finish. Problem solved! 18 posters later, I drop in on my Secret Gig host to tell him that the publicity is up. He gives me 2 donuts to “help him with his diet”, which I gratefully accept and start to make my way back out of town. On the way, I spot 4 transparent bin bags of waste groceries dumped in the street and totally fill my pannier bag with food.
Back in the coastal village, I re-join the Vansion and take a little time to sit by the water. Now it’s time for work. I arrive at my disabled friend’s house and help her by doing a variety of things, from typing, to heavy lifting, to driving her around. Soon I get a text from some friends in the next town, inviting me to look after their 10 year old for the evening whilst they go on a date. They promise food and a night indoors as my reward. It sounds like an ideal evening, but I explain that I don’t need food, simply to use their kitchen as I have that whole bag of veg and potatoes I picked up earlier and it would be great to be able to cook them before they goes bad, especially since the van has no fridge. Actually I can cook on the gas stove in the van, but it’s a lot easier in a real kitchen with more space and running water.
So here I’m sat typing after a treacherous evening of eating delicious food, watching cartoons and reading bedtime stories, 10 year old safely in bed. Today has been a good day. Some days there is more music. Sometimes I spend all day on my laptop. Sometimes little things go wrong, like I get rained on and have nowhere to dry my clothes, or I drop a raw egg on the floor when I’ve just run out of tissues. Other times big things go wrong, like van breakdown, or more entertainingly, the side door fell off last week. But all in all, I prefer this lifestyle. There are some downsides; everyday things such as eating, laundry, going to the toilet, are more complicated than they were when I lived in, or attached to, a house. But the upsides are that my life has more variety, I spend more time outside and constantly see new things. I meet more people, have no routine work to feel tied to and more importantly, I make music more hours per week than I ever did when I was employed.
Reading about minimalism has made me wonder if I am a minimalist. Minimalism seems to be about living with no more than you need (which of course is different for each person). It’s funny to call that “minimalism”, when surely living with what you need and no more should be called either “common sense” or “abundance” and everything else should be called “excess”. After all, to be rich, you only really need to have £1 more than you need.
I hope that writing about this way of living in a pragmatic way has helped shed some light on what it’s really like. Perhaps I shall write about a day of my life once a month or so to give a more rounded picture. Some people who are thinking of living an alternative lifestyle have emailed me asking for input, or requested to meet up to chat about it. I’m more than willing. Please contact do contact me through kimwei.com . I’m also giving a short talk at The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter on Tuesday August 12th 2014, which hopefully will be recorded, so watch this space.
Love & Light
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