Monday, September 29, 2008
A New Home
Well, here we go again. A new base. Not that I haven't been or lived here before. Just, not as a vandweller. Plenty of work, living facilities and so on. Lots to do and see and play and eat and work and date and... But, a challenge. To vandwell in a place where the homeless are being criminalized. Cuz', when it comes down to it, vandwellers are essentially considered homeless to the authorities. To exist as a vandweller in this environment, will require stealth to the max. I'll execute an organized cycle of rotating sleeping locations and maintain my appearance and schedule to look basically normal. A chameleon, hidden in plain sight.
Like I said, I've lived here before. People here mostly mind there own business, unless you are close to their homes. Then, they are nosey-parkers, watching through drawn curtains. I'm going to have to pick and choose specific locations and neighborhoods to find that perfect balance of indifference and camouflage. I've already been scouting nightspots, there are plenty and I've spent nights here. But, you've got to keep your eyes and ears open, things change continuously.
So, the new routine begins. New mailing address, change cell phone to local number, decide on sport club for showers and facility, develop driving and parking patterns for sleep, eating, hanging out, work and so on. I'll find parking places where I feel safe, or if I'm leaving the van for a long time, where it probably won't be broken into (with luck). New laundromats, new cheap eats delis and diners, new grocery stores, new gas stations, new everything. Organize. Streamline. Execute.
There's plenty of work. Important. No work, no money. No money, no fun. People I know here are already setting me up. I'm going to be here for years, so I will be seeing how far I can get. An experiment. Maybe, I can get into the government or somewhere they deal with the issues of the homeless. Then one day, I could stand and say, wait a minute, these people aren't helpless, incapable or creative. I've been working beside you for years, and you couldn't tell that I'm homeless. Surprise.
The nice thing is, if I don't like it or it doesn't work out, it really doesn't matter. There is always somewhere else down the road, the next county perhaps. I've spent the last eight months based close by, on a group of islands, with no problems.
I have a network of friends and family, on those islands. Here, I have a small, but very good network of close friends, which is important to my style of vandwelling (see old article, the network, Jan. 21). When the weather turns to the cold, rainy season (our late fall, winter, early spring), I'll have people to visit and share dinner/evenings with. I'll be able to go and visit my folks to help them out on the weekends. I'll be able to visit my buddy, Eric, and play my guitars and amps (stored there for safekeeping and convenience) in his studio. My network is important for socializing, variety and sanity.
My van is too small to be holed up in on a continuous basis, during the rainy season. There is no problem during the warmer part of the year; you can hang outdoors and be comfortable. So, I take advantage of all the conventional buildings in my area. I just try to pay minimally for the usage, you could say.
If you stay cooped up in your van, you will emanate that behaviour. Be social. Venture out and about. You'll fit in with the area more, and attract less unwanted attention. Just remember to maintain your specific level of privacy. This lifestyle requires you to somewhat operate on a need-to-know basis. Only certain people need-to-know that you are a vandweller. NO one else does, so why bother going there. It can possibly result in hassle, problems or worse. So why tempt it. Why complicate things? It's not worth it. Live your life as you want, but for me, this is my way. Your path is yours to walk.
p.s Sorry about the spacing on this post, I can't seem to edit it.