In my car.
That’s where I’ve slept for nearly 5 years.
Not a camper. Not a van. Not a tour bus. Not a hotel. Not an apartment. Not even a real bed.
An SUV full of my stuff. Sometimes with a sofa cushion. Sometimes not.
The last time I was so bold about sharing this information — which was about 1,000 days into my journey — someone scolded me by saying I just wanted attention and then suggested that because I wasn’t “forced” into it, it doesn’t count.
1,000 days of living without a bathroom, running water, or many of the things people take completely for granted and — it doesn’t count.
1,000 days of dealing with the challenges that living in your car presents (many of which people have no comprehension of), while also trying to create a new life, with no blueprint, from almost nothing — and it doesn’t count.
If I simply wanted attention, I’d spend time writing about how…
I tore my calf and ended up on crutches and how awful that was (while living in my car).
I’d write about the following three months where I was hoping to prove the urgent care doctor wrong. Because, dammit, if he was right, I was screwed for life.
I’d write about the doctor screaming (screaming!) at me when I refused his suggestion to seek treatment with a specialist. And how he threatened me with “never being able to walk properly again.”
I just didn’t buy it. I thought he was shady. I think I was right.
And I walk fine, by the way.
I’d spend more time writing about the recurring painful urinary tract/kidney infections I’ve had since I went on antibiotics last spring as a result of dental work. How much it’s messed up my system and how I sometimes wondered if perhaps I really was dying.
I would’ve written more about the bouts of food poisoning/viral infections that caused the most horrific symptoms (use your imagination) — while I didn’t even have the benefit of being able to go anywhere but the back of my car.
I’d write more about the fear that comes with waking up to someone shattering your car window and spraying you with shards of safety glass at 6 in a morning and not just gloss over it with a single post and some silly humor.
I’d also write more about the other 2 times my window was smashed this year. No less frightening. Although you learn to deal with things more effectively when they happen to you more than once.
And then I’d write about the other 5 or so times my window wasn’t smashed when people tried to find alternate ways to get in. All in the middle of the night. All while I was inside.
If the thought of having someone with ill intent try to get into your bedroom — while you’re sleeping in it — in the middle of the night sounds a little creepy to you, you’re damn right it is. It’s creepy every single time.
I’d write about not yet being over a painful shoulder injury I suffered over 3 months ago. And how sleeping in cramped quarters doesn’t help. But yes, I’m getting better.
I’d write about the dark side of humanity. The domestic abuse I’ve witnessed. The fights. The abusive father throwing his young daughter into his car by her hair. The drug deals I’ve seen go down. The pet owner abusing their dog when they thought no one was around to see or hear it.
And all the other things that people might be interested to read about, but that are all the sorts of things that make people feel kind of awful when they read them.
There’s enough of that already. It’s heavy and it’s depressing. If you want more, simply turn on the news. They’re happy to share it with you.
Bad news gets the best ratings, but it’s not my thing.
I see and experience the bad — and I write about and highlight the good. Over and over again.
If I wanted attention and sympathy, my posts would be more about me and my struggle.
They wouldn’t be mainly meant to make you laugh or smile and add value to your day. They wouldn’t be about being kind and tolerant and encouraging people.
They’d be about trying to get something from you for my own benefit.
And if I simply wanted attention, you can be damn sure I’d post more than a single photo of myself every 6 months or so.
But as I’ve said recently, I find writing about the things mentioned above to be a distraction — and not what I want my page to be about.
Yes, they are interesting stories, but they don’t belong here. They will probably be in my book if I ever feel I have a story worth telling.
But my story, if I tell it, will not be about darkness and hardships. It will be about overcoming darkness and hardships. There’s a difference.
And I haven’t even mentioned the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with.
None of those things made me feel like dying would be better than going on.
But I overcame those feelings, too. And it wasn’t easy, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I’m better for it.
Go camping in the woods for 6 days and people will commend you for roughing it. Tell someone you’ve lived in your car for 1,000 days and “it doesn’t count” and “you just want attention”.
Camping, people understand. But living in your car as a means to conserve resources in order to chase your dreams, that is a concept so abstract to many people, that they just don’t get it.
So I stopped talking about it.
Today, it’s been over 1,643 days that I’ve lived in my car.
Nearly five years.
And I’m still as “over it” now as I was just a few weeks in. But I’m used to it at this point. I’ve made it work. I’m good at it. People I meet have no idea. But it’s still not easy nor comfortable.
And at no point was it ever my ambition to do it for so long. But nearing 5 years now, yeah. I think I’ll aim for that. But no more than that.
I had a new life I was leaping for — when I left my job, terminated my lease, and sold everything. And this is not that life.
But I keep at it, using this journey beyond my comfort zone as an opportunity for personal growth.
I’ve used it to learn valuable lessons about everything from friends & family, relationships, possessions, jobs, love, persistence, passion, kindness, and personal strength.
And in turn, I share those lessons with others — rarely asking for anything or drawing attention to myself in anything other than a self-deprecating or humorous way.
I want to make you laugh, smile, or encourage you. I want to add value to your life because doing so also adds value to mine. It feels good to make a positive difference.
And that’s an extremely cheesy thing to say. But it’s true.
And I’m grateful for that, because it’s one of the things I originally set out to do.
And I’m grateful for my readers. And grateful for the friends I’ve made along the way.
And I will do this for as long as I am able, because I made a commitment to myself that I would never give up while I was still able to go on.
Not everyone will understand my journey because it represents a sort of obsessive stubbornness most people don’t have. It isn’t “normal”. It isn’t “practical”. And it doesn’t always seem rational to others, but it’s always rational to me.
And despite — or because of — the struggle, I still believe in what I’m doing. And I have no complaints. This has been the most fulfilling time of my life.
But it’s hard at times. Really.really.hard.
And I’ve sacrificed so much. By choice, yes. But it doesn’t make it any less difficult or any less uncomfortable. In fact, knowing you are responsible for your own situation — and taking full responsibility for it can make it even more difficult.
Because you wonder if you are, perhaps, crazy. You wonder if you’ve lost touch with the world by choosing your own path. You wonder if you made the biggest mistake of your life.
But no. I’m not crazy. I’m not out of touch. And it wasn’t a mistake.
And I stand by that. Because I see how I’ve affected people in a positive way.
And I know it doesn’t always have to be this hard. And I hope it won’t always be this hard.
Because I do not aspire to spend the rest of my days working in cafes during the day and sleeping in my car at night.
I wouldn’t mind an income based on content I’ve created. I wouldn’t mind a comfortable bed to sleep in. I wouldn’t mind having a few nice things. I wouldn’t mind being in a relationship with someone I can’t stop thinking about.
But I’m not there yet. And I’m not entirely sure how to get there. But I do know, it’ll take me a lot longer to get there without your help, than it would if I had it.
RE: The follow-up to this post is: The explorer
Don’t mistake someone’s willingness to show vulnerability as weakness. They’re not the same thing.
It takes a great deal of courage to show vulnerability. And that takes strength.
“Have you ever thought about?”
There is a TON I could do and would do — with the resources to do it. But it’s a lot harder to do it completely on my own.
I’d love to talk with people. Teach people. Meet with people. Share experiences. And would go anywhere in the world to do it. But I need resources or enough people (or a company) to believe in me enough to help support (or sponsor) me to do it.
I don’t like asking people for things. But I will say that I could use your help if you are the type of person who wants to give it.
And if you want to help, but don’t know how, just ask.
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