Tag Archives: houseless

Ask A Digital Nomad: How Does Your Life Actually Work?

The most common question people ask me is “how does it work being a Digital Nomad?” “Where do you do laundry?” and “Where do you live exactly?” are popular too.

On reason I haven’t fully answered this question so far in a post, is that I hadn’t answered it in my life! The way I live will continue to change and evolve, but up until recently there were still major problems I hadn’t solved. There was so much stuff in my van that I couldn’t use it as a room, I lacked places to record music, and the van bed wasn’t actually comfortable.

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Van – a bit too full for comfort.

That mostly sorted now, so this is a practical post for those of you who like to geek out on alternative lifestyles, possibly with a mind to try it yourself.

Method: Creating a plan A & B for everything

When I started this incarnation of houselessness, 3 months ago, I’d worry if I didn’t have either a solution that would all the time, or a million backup plans. For example, when it came to internet access (VITAL) I thought I wouldn’t be happy unless I could get it in my van. As it is, I’ve never needed to use the internet from my van – there have been plenty of other spaces I can use.

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It’s possible to get internet in the van, but it’s very slow.

So, nowadays I feel pretty secure with a simple plan A & B.

E.g., Laundry

Plan A: Stick my few clothes in with a friends’ washing, in exchange for something or other

Plan B: Hand-wash / launderette

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Spring brings new laundry drying methods.

Although I feel secure knowing plan B exists, in 3 months I’ve hardly had to hand-wash, and never laundrette.

Having a plan B frees me from worrying about my needs, so I can focus my attention on the people in my life and our relationships. I love the way in which this lifestyle brings me closer to my friends and wider community, through asking and exchange, but I prefer the vibe that comes from me asking out of choice/preference rather than need. That’s why Plan Bs are important.

Plan A usually involves a person, whilst plan B is usually an independent solution. As shown:

Workspace

Plan A: Use a friend’s house as an office.

Plan B: Wifi cafe / wifi in the van (v. slow)

Plan A is more favourable, fun and social, but plan B is also workable and fine.

So, here are my plan As and Bs for most aspects, which hopefully quells your curiosity.

Eating

A: Eat with whoever I’m docking with, and contribute in some way.

B: Eat out / supermarket picnic / in the van

I’m not in my van enough to justify stocking it with food, but I carry a food-bag containing non-perishables such as tins, cheese and hardy vegetables if I’m between van and “docking”. When travelling van-less I carry snacks in my Life-Bag, and my next meal. I’m willing to eat cold or raw food quite a lot, but cooking in the van is also possible.

Sleeping

A: Docking / Housesitting / Van

B: Van

My “Sleeping On The Floor” experiments have helped me to become much more flexible about where I sleep. In this case, I’ve put van under plan A and B, as sometimes it’s a pinch to sleep in it, and other times it really is my number 1 choice, especially now it’s spring. I’m very lucky because so many people have welcomed me that I’m regrettably even having to turn down house-sits sometimes.

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Learning to sleep on the floor has many advantages.

Washing Me

A: At someone’s house

B: At a service station / swimming pool / gym

Amazingly I haven’t had to use plan B yet, and the longest I’ve gone without a shower is 2 days. Prioritising staying clean is very, very important when you’re nomadic, trust me…

Exercise

I have a 10min routine I can do each morning no matter where I am, but beyond that I haven’t got a schedule together yet.

Music Practice

A: At someone’s house

B: Outdoors / In van.

Now it’s spring, outdoor spaces are a wonderful resource, however houses are still better. The van is a last resort: I hate playing sat down.

Recording Music

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In session with Mo and Greg, at Mo’s place.

A: At someone’s (quiet) house / studio

This is the only thing I don’t have a plan B for, and that bothers me to an extent. On the other hand, despite feeling insecure, I’ve actually been able to record enough. Guess we all need to feel vulnerable in some areas of life.

So there you have it. The only thing I’d like to improve on at the moment is finding more spaces to record. This happens so infrequently that when I do get to a space, I have to work very quickly, and this is hampering me a bit. But all in all I’ve been amazed by how welcoming my friends and community have been to me and my current way of moving through the world.

-Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

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The Wisdom Of Supertramps

It’s funny how starting on a particular path leads you to immediately meet likeminded souls. Having decided to take The £0 Challenge (in which I let my bank balance run to zero before I’m allowed to start seeking work) I met Chris almost immediately.

Chris is a 66-year-old professional houseless man, who subscribes to the-Gandalf-look hair-wise and the skip-diver look, clothing-wise. I picked him up in my van as he was hitchhiking to Wales and he informed me that he had been travelling around, living out of a rucksack for 30 years. During that time he’d no income, nor drawn benefits. He currently chooses not to take his state pension because it had been his own choice not to work during his eligible years. When I asked what he did for money he simply said, “I struggle along”, which could be a euphemism for begging, but I sensed he was not a standard tramp. For a start, he didn’t hang around in cities sleeping in doorways, but saw houselessness as a way to stay in nature, where begging would of course be more difficult.

Naturally I was fascinated at the idea of someone getting along in the world with no form of income. I asked him everything, from what was in his rucksack, to what he ate, where he’d travelled. It seemed that he got around mostly by hitchhiking, taking more than twice as long to get a ride than my young blond friend Jane ever does (which is a useful thing to know). He said “yes, young girls always get picked up easy, mostly because most blokes have a daughter that age”. Chris said his most important possession was his bed: a 4 season down sleeping bag and bivi. He claimed tents were too conspicuous and no use unless you were staying somewhere for several nights

It was clear that Chris could get along in the world with fewer possessions than most, but that’s also because all he wanted from life was ramble to around the countryside, sleeping outdoors. Naturally, all he’d need to do that was a rucksack’s worth of stuff. I asked him if he ever ran out of food and money. He answered “Yes, but you just keep going”. It was obvious then that Chris’s success at this way of life depended heavily on being able to accept going without his basic needs being met for short periods of time, without panicking.

Unfortunately what I want in life includes a wider range of activities than walking in nature. My drive for performing and recording music, necessitates a wealth of kit that just won’t fit in that rucksack. Although maybe this guy (below) is doing exactly that!

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This is not Chris. I didn’t take any pictures of him to preserve his animosity. This picture was taken from https://twitter.com/grumpy_oldbloke

However, this raises an important point – Chris proves that to live and be in nature is perfectly possible with the minimum of resources (although I don’t know what happens when he falls ill or needs dental work etc.) So why aren’t I doing the same thing? Well, it’s because I want to continue to engage with the modern world, socially, professionally, musically, use computers, phones, the internet and more.

It’s very important to recognise that this is my choice. It reminds me that each time I panic about running out of money, it’s not my survival, but my connections to the lifestyle I’m used to that’s threatened. One of my fears is that my computer/phone, which I depend on for work and enjoy for entertainment, breaks and I am unable to replace it. Even in the UK, people are running out of money for food but still refusing to sell their car or cancel their mobile phone contract. Why? Because doing so would cut them out of the game of getting another job.

Wait a minute! Panicking about having no food or shelter is sensible, but panicking about computer breaking is 21st century madness. Chris, and other’s like him serve to remind us of alternatives to the norm, where the norm has become as crazy as this: A computer is more important than food. How powerful are we willing to let Apple and Microsoft become?

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

 

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