Comfort, essential, items…

If you’re like me and see this lifestyle coming then you’re fortunate. You have a choice.

I could have paid rent where I’m at for another couple months. And when I left I would have been penniless. No gas money, no way to move my truck (leading to it being towed and me being without even that as a shelter), no clothes, no place to sleep, and so on.

But by leaving the nominal security of the place I’m living in now, I was able to decide what few items would make my homeless sojourn comfortable.

First I decided the height of my camper. The higher it is, the less gas efficient it is. The slower you need to drive, the more careful you need to be about parking when there are high winds. But, being able to sit up fully or stand up is a huge comfort factor both physically and emotionally.
When you become homeless it is important to not let your body language betray you. You need to appear confident, ready, and “normal”. This is even more important when you’re homeless because you don’t want predators thinking you’re an easy target. Being able to sit and/or stand tall is important. If you must slouch all the time in your habitat, it’s likely that the habit will follow you out of your habitat.
Because I am short it was possible for me to make my camper just high enough that I could stand up straight. I’ve never been so thankful that I’m short.

Second, I researched power. Our civilization is connected by electricity, the internet and cell phones. We work on computers, conduct business and pay bills on computers. But being homeless it was not likely I would have ready access to electricity.
So I invested in a solar panel and battery/inverter setup. I will need to be very careful with my power but I will be able to have a light and charging power for my small electronics.
I would love to be able to purchase another solar panel and battery in the future, maybe if I can find the occasional temp job I”ll be able to do so.
If you’re interested, I purchased the Goal Zero products. The solar panels and batteries are chainable. The batteries can be charged from the solar panel, an AC outlet, or by DC current (your car battery).

Being able to stand tall and have light. Those are the two most important comfort and safety items for me.

Yours may be different.
What were/would be the most important comfort items for you?

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4 Comments

  1. Your comment about appearing “confident, ready and ‘normal’ ” reminds me of scenarios such as walking in a questionable neighborhood (perhaps where you don’t speak the language, or are officially dressed as the invader) or driving with a suspended license or no insurance (not that I would know anything about that, AFAYK), or continually pushing down a panic attack to continue daily function.

    I’ve no doubt that you can wear that visage like a cloak, but I wonder if you remember how much energy it requires, how much of a strain it can be… yeah, actually, I think you do remember.

    Still worry about you, though — not because I think you’re not up to hoeing a hard row; more because it seems like it’s been a long row for you already, and that’s just exhausting to think about. Do take care, girl.

    Reply
  2. Lara

     /  September 27, 2011

    Normal is crucial. Normal includes clean clothes and regular showers. A safe, heated, not skanky place to shower is heaven. Can you stand to be in a gym or the Y? I used to sneak into the gym at the local college.

    Reply
  3. Hey Lara, I’m trying to get a reduced membership at the Y but it isn’t looking likely, they want proof of income (which I can’t provide because I don’t have any) and I was told “well, who’s taking care of you, get a statement from them” and she wouldn’t believe me when I said “No one is taking care of me, I’ve been living off of my savings”. I can’t afford the $60 a month they charge these days. I’ll do some more looking around but I think the Y is the cheapest gym option around here.
    And the local college doesn’t allow any one to use their gym facilities unless you’re registered for a gym class. They actually check ID’s. I know.. wth?

    Reply
    • Lara

       /  September 27, 2011

      $60/month? Wow, that’s expensive. And they don’t understand living off my savings because I have no income? You’re just the wrong kind of poor girlfriend 🙂

      Reply

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