Introduction to the Project
I spent nearly five years, from mid-1996 to the beginning of 2001, homeless, or as I liked to call it with a distributed household. I had storage, shelter, mailbox, telephone, shower, bathroom facilities, cooking equipment, and transportation, even access to television, radio, computer equipment, and ac power. I had the essence of a home. It was simply more geographically scattered than is traditional in our culture.
I'm not the first to do what I did, to live homeless well. I'm not the first to find advantage in homelessness. It is a well kept secret that homelessness can be freedom and comfort can attend it. The secret is well kept because revealing that you are homeless in this society is dangerous. There is stigma. There are even laws prohibiting it. Imagine that. There are laws against being homeless. Let me say that one more time. There are laws against being homeless.
There are laws against sleeping in public, in your car, on the beach, anywhere in the public view. It is the only law that I know that prohibits a behavior that is involuntary. You must sleep. There is no choice. You must do it. If you do not sleep for approximately one third of your life, you will suffer. The less sleep you get, the more physical and psychological symptoms you will suffer, until your mental faculties break down, your grasp of reality disintegrates, your self-control disappears. Your body will make you sleep, and if you use stimulants to avoid it, you will rapidly begin to become psychotic, with unpredictable mood swings, displays of aggression, and hallucinations. Nevertheless, the law in nearly every municipality forbids sleeping unless you are rich enough to afford a house or hotel to do it in. It's a human rights violation, but I will get back to that.
I've been thinking about writing this book, a guide to living well, for years. People think it will be easy to be homeless, that it is a lazy choice. Nothing could be further from true. Homelessness is very hard work. Homelessness can be very uncomfortable until you solve some basic problems. It is vital, for instance, to have a place of concealment. It is vital to assure that you will be warm, and to provide for safety, and for hygiene, and for communications, and even for a source of income. If you are newly homeless, you will not be meeting all of these basic needs, and to the extent that you don't, you will pay for that. This book will teach you to meet those needs effectively and fast.