Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

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.

128 Comments:

At 11:01 AM, Blogger chirimoya said...

I just started to read this project and it's what i've been looking for, i was in danger of loosing my work a year ago and i wondered what would happen if i become homeless... Nice to read about other's experience in the subject and not get too frightened of the unknown. Good job.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Lis said...

I don't have any great insights or experiences to share, but I wanted you to know I found this a beautiful discussion. Empowering, hopeful, kind, respectful, and inspiring are a few more adjectives that come to mind.

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger Salinas blogger said...

I spent a year working as a case manager at a homeless agency and I have to agree--being homeless is NOT the lazy choice. For some, it's the only choice and it's an incredibly difficult way to live. I had some clients who were totally with it and chose to live nomadically, and some who were just lost and broken and couldn't find their way in life. The work also made me think about what I would do "if." The ever-present if.

In any case, the site is fascinating.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger recoveryroad said...

In the early part of my recovery, I came close...

I like your writing.

regards

rootsradicaluk

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger PowerON! said...

I have start 4 days ago and wondering what is like. That when I was about going to get a sleep in my car at deep park between golf course and resident where nobody can see me. For few minutes, I woke up and decide to look up on my Tungsten W to make google search for the information about homeless who live in car.

Wow! What an interest about site! It seems much useful information. That sure saves my ass! Thank!

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger oldmom said...

I am an older mother on Ont. Works, soon to lose my housing as my kids are leaving the nest. I am 51, and cannot run as fast in the capitalist job market to pay impossible rents. I shall be perusing this blog spot alot for tips on how to survive the most vicious, misogynist, and anti-life economies the world has ever witnessed. I'm sure the police are monitoring this site. Keep them off, and thanks!

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger para knoid said...

I find your blog interesting, as I have been researching homelessness as a lifestyle choice. I've been looking into living on the fringes of a city, where one can squat hidden away in the woods, yet be close enough to the bus lines so owning a vehicle would not be needed. Seems if one were to go to the the expense and hassle of owning a vehicle while homeless, one would drive a small camper rather than a car:-) The Roanoke, VA area seems to be user friendly, as it is surrounded by mountains, plenty of woods, streams, rural bus routes, and the Appalachian Trail runs nearby, affording plentiful camping and shelter opportunities not far from part-time work, groceries, libraries, etc. Also nearby is a ten thousand acre watershed land preserve, no hunting allowed, so no need to worry about getting a stray bullet during deer season. One could migrate in the colder months to FL. Similar outdoor living options in the wooded areas north of Tampa are available. I just can't see being homeless in the city. Tried it years ago and found it to be too dangerous and demeaning. Besides, those of us with strong social anxieties tend to do better in the woods away from folks. I've also considered what some folks do, hike and live along the appalachian trail or other trails during the warm weather months, then rent a room in the winter and work enough to have money for the next year's hikes. There seem to be quite a few trail bums out there enjoying this lifestyle. Google Ray Jardine for a list of his books regarding homemade lightweight gear, and pay a visit to gossamergear.com for other ideas, and downloadable plans for lightweight homemade packs. You and your readers might find the printed zine Dwelling Portably informative. It offers tips on rural homelessness, available only by mail from PO Box 190-nxn, Philomath, OR 97370. Send them a few dollars and ask for samples. I was a little concerned about it being a ripoff, but they are for real. Ten bucks got me several back issues. This zine goes back to the eighties and has tips for shelters, cooking, work, remote living, etc. Lot's of good advice for those just starting out. And of course, everyone considering dropping out of the mainstream should read the classic Walden. I put off reading that book for years, started it many times, but it seemed to drag early on. Finally, last year I made myself stick with it, and like so many others, fell in love with the book. Aside from the New Testament, no other book has been such a pleasure to read. I've never been rich, but I've never had to do without the basics of life, and have even with my meager salaries over the years managed to tryout scuba, skydiving, flying lessons, motorcycle racing, hiking, biking, camping, sailing, too many years of computers, read gazillions of library books. Worked lots of different jobs, AC & Heating, electrical, water treatment, security, truck driver, but have never really fit in anywhere. It's easy for me to consider dropping out of the mainstream as i have experienced the material world and found it lacking. My buddy Dave on the other hand, grew up poor, lacks a formal education, never had that new motorbike, or any toys, got married too young and had a kid, makes
$6.00 an hour as a security guard, and always wants what he can't afford. He can't uderstand why I would be willing to walk away from the worldly lifestyle, why I stopped wanting "things". I keep trying to explain that I've had everything I ever wanted within reason of course. ( never could swing a deal on a learjet:-) And those things, just didn't in the end make me happy. It makes it easier for me to say no to the world now. The only people that truly benefit from the hard work ethic our culture promotes, are the bankers that write mortages for those that do the hard work. The working class slaves away for the bankers, so they the workers may have the privilage of paying on a home for thirty years, pay off a few cars, then die, never having really lived free. I'm at the point in my life where I believe the only important issue is one's relationship with Jesus. Where one lives in this life is unimportant be it indoors or out, as Jesus has prepared an eternal home for his people that believe in him. It's a shame that in America with our beautifully written constitution which the patriots claim is inspired by God's laws, living freely out of doors as God intended man to live is against the law. I guess I've rambled on too long, after all, this is your blog :-) Thanks....

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger rxhector said...

beautiful site, I was a carpenter for 15 years until I had back-surgery, now I cant work anymore. I hate it when people assume I am lazy, quite the contrary - I worked so hard for so little that I broke myself. Now Im three days from being homeless. Not that I couldnt survive, but it sucks for my kids. I've been denied for disability but have reapplied. It seems like no matter what I do, every time I turn around there is some other catastrophy that wreaks havok on my life.

 
At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just tonight started my research on homelessness and surviving. What a great site and very good tips. Keep going.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger travelswithdog said...

Para Knoid....a beautiful post, just beautiful. Especially your last paragraph.

Once a person finds the strength to separate from the "cult of things", life quickly becomes infinitely richer. But as with any addiction, the first steps to breaking free are hard. There is withdrawal, and backsliding. But then one day, you find yourself someplace, say, walking in a mall, an activity 90% of Americans define as fun-- and the spectacle of all that consumptive gluttony looks repulsive. Yes, repulsive....

and at that point, like Neo in the Matrix, you start to know freedom...

 
At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not one to hate a homeless person. I planned/lived a month that way to save for an apartment move in. And I agree our society is too interested in obtaining meaningless trinkets. But no one seems to mention that the reason you are able to live a homeless lifestyle in our society is because others are willing to sell their time. The author mentions access to tv,internet, showers and libraries. Surely these would not be available to anyone if everyone in our society decided not to work. So let's not get on a moral soap box. If you choose to be homeless,you will have more time (every living beings most precious resource). But to a certain extent,you are living of the labor of others.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger jimmyjames said...

To much more of an extent, a landlord lives off the labor of others.

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Debra said...

I don't know how I ended up coming across this blog, but "WOW!".

There are five of us in our little rental in Portland, OR, where the economy has gone to hell. I will stay to keep my kids in this school district and close to their father (who is an excellent dad), but it is so hard to live here. I lost my once-successful business due to the failing economy. My husband has his class A and hazmat but can't even get a job here as a pizza delivery person. Not to mention that Portland (Oregon altogether?) has become a police state. Anyway, it's no longer a joy to raise your kids...rather, it's scary all the time, wondering if someone's going to take them away from you because you didn't keep up certain appearances. I swear, it's like I'm on high-alert all the time. I'm so tired.

My fantasy has been (not that I don't want my family...I love them so much!) for so long to someday have a little teardrop trailer hitched to my little '97 Civic. The trailer is sparse...just bedding and books and music. I eat a raw-food diet, so a stove isn't necessary. Anyway, it just seems like it'd be so freeing/simple.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger nonoman said...

Nice, necessary and informative. I look forward to learning more.

 
At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Katie Mae said...

I am a freshman at the Ohio University. While I am for the most part of the year not homeless, much anticipated breaks for other students are for me a survival challenge because I have no family and my friends are scattered through out the state. Before coming to college I lived in my van for 2 years while finishing highschool. I have learned like you many little ways to help me get by not only when I am kicked out of the dorms a few weeks at a time, but as a broke college student in general. So as there is not a neverending comment below the introduction to this marvelous resource I will post my own helpful hints and experiences through out the chapters.

To Whomever May Have Wrote This, Thank You very Much !

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous antonio ciccarone said...

You know what dude... You are so right. I haven't read this whole blog yet, but so far you're right on the money. I was homeless for about two years, it's a sick feeling that not only are you homeless, but it's freaking illegal to be homeless. Not in the sense of being actually illegal. But, you can't even use the bathrooms at a dunkin donuts without a purchase. I'm bookmarking this blog and will read more today. Speak the truth.

antonio

 
At 5:11 AM, Anonymous TooUnfazed said...

It makes sense to plan for homelessness, as the permanence of affluence is merely an illusion. After a couple of life changing physical blows I decided to pursue the preparation for homelessness that was surely coming. I'm living with a friend in exchange for my services, while continuing to work and save money as a cushion. I use 10% of my money to buy what I need for four season survival: lightweight tent, hammock, sleeping bag, water processing, firemaking, hobo stove, deydrated foods, sprouting seeds, vegetarian fare, light weight clothing for smart layering, etc. I am caching these things in a triangular area where I plan to "range", and have a full set of survival/camping gear in my car. It's a combination of homelessness preparation and survival preparation, which are essentially the same thing. I am a fifty year old grandmother, battling back physically from an accident. I hike weekly on overnight treks with a local group to get and stay in top-notch physical shape. As part of my preparation I have a pre-paid cell phone of long-standing. It IS my home phone number. It is pre-paid now for two years and has 5000 minutes on it. I know my local libraries well and have cards at all that would let me. Those are my satellite offices. I have established an eBay business making a popular collectible item. I can theoretically live in a tent in a safe area of my community and make inventory, sell and mail it, within 10 miles of my safe location in the woods. These kinds of sites on the internet have been KEY to my learning the ropes, planning my survival (or escape!), and in demystifying the process of survival without total dependence upon "the grid". I can always stop the ebay business and the internet access when it is no longer useful or feasible. The true key to all this is having flexibility. Go with the flow. When bad things happen to you in life, don't dwell on the bad. Surrender it. Consider that you have been redirected by your higher power. You are meant to do something else, so you your mission is to go and do it. Don't blame people or circumstances for your circumstances. You are the ultimate manager of your circumstances within the capabilities of your skills and knowledge, and within the limits of your resources. This exercise is the ultimate affirmation of personal responsibility.

 
At 1:31 AM, Anonymous puddle of said...

oh wow everything everybody said here is great stuff. stumbled onto this site by accident on doing research for a paper i'm attempting to write on homelessness.

anyhow, i wanted to add my two cents worth on ray jardine-type stuff. i recently learned that you can make really cheap alcohol stoves that work fairly well - the hiker bum -type people use them when they go hiking. try googling 'cat stove' or 'penny stove'.

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is extremely important to finish! This is a book that needs to be written. Good luck!

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger AmeriCorpsChick said...

Help me please. I live in Los Angeles. My housing situation is quite annoying right now so I have pitched my tent in the back yard. I have a portable TV, CD player, dome lighting, fan, etc. (all battery operated) I also have a cooler, trashcan, airtight storage bin, etc. I even have a combination lock. :o) I have been doing this since mid to late June. My car is acting really crazy now and may die at any moment. I only go in the house in the mornings to potty, shower and change clothes. I would like to pitch my tent somewhere "SAFE" in the LA area for a few months and save my rent money to buy a car. I want to join a Gym, get in shape and I'll have somewhere to take showers daily. What SAFE place can I pitch my tent? ( I'm female) I can't find anyone to do this with me. Any addition advice would be appreciated.

 
At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a search on terms related to living in a car and found your web site. Recently, I was homeless, in my pickup, for about three weeks. During that time I traveled the highways, sleeping in the back under a cap. Presently, I am staying with my sister, and her husband and three children. They are having severe financial difficulty so I am contributing $100 per week while I stay. The money is coming from savings from a previous job, which I just had to quit because it had gotten so excruciating. I am glad to be helping my sister and family, but have not decided how long I will stay. My sis would like me to stay at least the winter, but I'd need to find a job to do that. My staying is helping me too though. I don't think I am cut out for homelessness, as I get so very lonely.

I am not at loose ends because of alcohol, or drugs, or mental illness -- although I don't exactly feel "whole," emotionally, or spiritually. I am rather educated, having a Masters, and only two credits short of a second MA (which I won't complete). The education got me into rehabilitation fields, which I have no intention of returning. All the effort and expense to get into those careers, only to find I was extremely unhappy working for the government -- a near-necessity within the rehab fields --knocked much of the ambition out of me. I said I have no plans of returning to my previous professions, but really, there is such a gap of time between then and now that I could not return even if I wanted to.

I have been at my sister's for less than a week now, trying to decide what I will do. Yesterday I went with my sister shopping for groceries, and she was so thrilled to be buying groceries the way she used to. She used the two hundred dollars I had paid in advance. By the way, it was my idea to contribute the money, not a stipulation she presented for taking me in. It was painful seeing her worry about money, and I love her, so it eases my pain seeing her less stressed. But I need to start making money, rather than simply have my savings drain away.

What I need, to help me get out of this pit I am in, is an idea of some occupation that would suit me. I am an excellent student, and hard worker, but if I am unhappy in my work I get terribly depressed, even suicidal. It doesn't help that I am nearly 51, and single.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have lived in a van on and off for years,in the coldest of seasons in northern nevada and thru the heat of summer.i have done it because of my utmost hatred of the lords of the land and this system that forces us to participate and punishes us if we dont.and you know what?it has made me stronger to know i can go back to it at anytime.i dumpster dive and find amazing amounts of good food,clothes are no problem,i have a real motivation to stay healthy by eating well and bicycling.the toughest thing is having a good atitude while being homeless,the stigma of doing it alone will defeat many.

comfort is a double edged sword,nice to have but sufficating since you get hooked on it.im working two jobs right now,and moving indoors for the winter but be assured,its not permanent,as my personality desires freedom and independence more than anything.and i am not a kid,i am in my 40's.just remember how important knowledge,friends,networking with others and a positive mental space are for thi life.

peace to you all and anyone traveling thru reno can always reach me at dapperdan7@hotmail.com

 
At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting...and scary. Fear of homelessness has contributed to my ongoing depression. I used to be resilient and get by depite the depression but divorce, isolation, and being without work have robbed me of my will.

I can see myself being homeless as there is no one who would care to catch me.

I'm not sure I could make it as a homeless person --- in part due to my depression.

I think the homeless are very brave and determined. My life circumstances are driving me in that direction. I really don't know what to do.

 
At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have learned a lot from this website and lost many presumptions, but i still find that the homeless are not productive members of society. i feel that it is important to contribute to the community and to the world.

 
At 12:41 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

The world cares more for a flying bug mussing up celebrity haute couture than it cares for us. Why should I give a damn about contributing to furthering the status quo? The status quo is bullshit. If you want to contribute, the only righteous thing to do is contribute to change. Personally, I turn my back on society. I use it where it serves the individual needs I have, and ignore it when it makes unreasonable demands. Oddly, It's easy to find the lines, the places to stand my ground, and the moments to run. I've been assaulted twice in two decades, and I spilled not one drop of blood on either occasion.

The biggest failing people have is they don't understand the nature of their conflict. Sideline society, it hasn't got players in the game. A conflict is between you and someone standing between you and your basic needs, whoever they may be, of sleep, safety, security of personal items, food, water, hygeine, laundry, employment, and comfortable temperature regulation.

Find out who the antagonist is.
Determine his motives.
Determine if he can be bought off and for how much.
If not, tell them whatever it is that is necessary to send them away. Once gone, they are no longer a problem, until some distant future, where you will figure out what to tell them to send them away.

Our foes come in two sorts, stupid and envious. The stupid are owned by bureaucracy and will rigidly apply inapplicable rules. Sometimes they can be trained. Sometimes they learn. Sometimes they can be channelled to apply some equally inapplicable rule in your favor. Look at them and sigh. The method here is endurance, and a constant willingness to make your problems their problems.

The envious are actually out to kill us and can never be won over. Separate from them. If you must be in the same circles, then avoid discourse. No good can come from the envious. When in actual conversation with this sort, shift the topic away from yourself quickly.

The society I care about is the society of friends and family that I build. The rest of the population is either an asset, or a harm. Most of them sadly are a harm.

 
At 5:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Perfect for research. I think I might have to switch to the lifestyle soon and I needed to know how. One question though... How do you do this without any ID? Not that I'm running from the law, just from everyone around me. Need to get out desperately, I've fallen in with the wrong crowd and need to disappear. Can I live 'out there' without being tracked? How do I get a car and a POBox etc - as you suggest - without proper ID? Can you help me?

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

You need i.d. to live in society. The only replacement for i.d. is having others rent or buy on your behalf. I am not an expert on forged or false documents. If that is what you are looking for, you will have to look elsewhere.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Nomad said...

I've read through multiple times, and I've noticed that most of the advice is geared towards being homeless but staying in one place. I was wondering if you had any advice for a slightly different situation: I plan on traveling for a few months, working for a few months, then moving on, and so on, wherever I choose to go. Any advice would be appreciated.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Al said...

You have provided me with invaluable information that will aid me in my quest. My sincerest thanks to you sir, and keep up the excellent work.

 
At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anybody had any advice for me.

So basically I live in Canada
Very very long cold winters. I don't have a vehicle, so living in one is out of the picture. And Basically I live in this tiny town and it's just....gotten to me, I've had to drop out of school, etc etc, don't want to go into detail but I can't deal with living here anymore and wonder how hard it is to survive during the winter? or how hard would it be to get my green card in the states so I could move some where warmer there....and if it's possible to live homeless without a vehicle. I have no friends to stay at except for possibly one in Vancouver. Which is while away from me.

 
At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog, and I just wanted to tell you this is an amazing project.

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Vicky said...

this is a major inspiration, thank you so much. a couple of years ago i decided that i would live homeless for at least a year in my mid-twenties, and since then i've been trying to figure out exactly how i will manage everything. it's going to be an important part of my future, and just knowing that you successfully lived homeless for five years makes me extremely optimistic. thanks again!

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger jkthorn3 said...

I like your site a lot and it inspired me to start one for veterans as well. I am a homeless veteran and your site taught me a few things, but having lost my vehicle I had to learn a few more. Could you link your site to mine? http://wanderingvets.blogspot.com/

thank you.
A Vet

 
At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mind being homeless, even if I have to eat from a gabage can as long as I get out of this life I lived in. I've lived like shit before, it's not the first time. I'm not planing on reading whatever the hell people respond to my comments, cause I'm gonna not comming back and read this again. So, if you think you should be out there, then go now for own sake because it's not much difference between there and where you live. Peace.

 
At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am confused by some of the comments posted here I have been in the private security field for nearly 15 years and part of my job is to run off the (Homeless, street people,Bums, Vagraints, etc) So to atempt to paint a picture of the homeless that I deal with on a daily basis.

1 They dig in the trash, dumpsters etc, Wich would be fine if I didn't not have to help clean up the mess made from them doing so.

2.They use old coke bottles to steal the liquid soap out of the bathroom. Not "some" but all of it.

3.They take a bath in the sink and leave a huge mess. (dirt and water everywhere)that others have to clean up

4. They buy "one" newspaper and steal the rest out of the machine then walk around trying to sell the extra papers.

These are just a few instances from the last "Month"

If the Homeless that I had to encounter were more like the image that some of you portray in this blog it would be great in fact I may encounter some and don't even realize it.

If that is the case I truly hope that I was nice to them, But lets face it it's the ones like I mentioned above that are causing a great deal of the problem and socity is simply reacting to the problem.

I am sure that I will get some people telling me off and acuse me of being heartless etc.

But! as I said it's is the theives, drugies and the "Lazy" that paint the typical image of the "Homeless"

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a poor college student. Never had a dad to pay my way. Never had a car. Get 600 bucks a month from the gov. for living expenses during the year. My rent is 600. It's hard to get a job with any kind of criminal record, and I'm very antisocial. This is a relief. Thank you.

 
At 1:02 AM, Anonymous one lass said...

I am female, married. To a man who had the best his parents could provide him. My background is shall we say, more "modest". My Father, killed in Vietnam, Mother, worked hard to keep us fed and clothed. We were what I refer to as country poor. We now suffer financially after our business has failed. We are in some debt from business loans. My husband was distraught, stressed, working and depressed. This was due to in no small part to being unable to adapt to walking a finer line, down scaling, living more simply. He is fine now. I guess there is a certain philosophy to living "small" instead of "large" I have tried to share with him, the idea that to do so does not diminish one, which is similar in sound to your ideology. We lived for months with the house unheated. Cooked out on the patio. Slept with pets in the bed for warmth, (and comfort) Decided candles throw a beautiful light and silence has its own message. A 2olb bag of rice lasts a long time, Cold water is invigorating and free coffee and dollar dogs at neighborhood gas stations really will result is a devoted patronage. I could say we still "struggle" financially except the word struggle would be wrong. We live letting the rest flow over us after we have done each day what can be done. You laugh, learn, maybe get a little slap and tickle in for cardio. I don't really want to be homeless, I like a soft bed, but I know it can be done with grace. And I know it could happen to anyone at any time or by choice.
I am touched that intertwined with the sticks and stones of a very useful and matter of fact instructional essay, are the uncurling leaves of a philosopher and humanist. You are a good sort Project Guy. Do consider self publication on Lulu, then those who would buy you, could do so. C. Shin

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Empty Nester said...

qI realize this is an old blog but I do recall reading that you still check it on occasion. I just wanted to thank you for the practical information you've provided. I was in a similar situation to you except I moved across the country wanting to create a new life for myself once my kids went off to college (and I had lost my job). I moved in with relatives who suggested I move in and stay for awhile, but I soon found out that they really meant until I find a new job, not until I save money to get my own place after getting a new job. I never would have moved across the country if I didn't think I'd have a place to stay for awhile (and if it wasn't offered). Anyway, I'm over that now and have been living rather contently out of my car. I have a full time job that helps me pay my bills and keeps me busy 40+ hours a week. I bet my co-workers would freak if they knew I "go home" to my car each evening. I spend a lot of time on the weekends at the library, visiting museums, going on long hikes, and basically doing all the stuff I never would have done when I was glued to the couch in front of the tv. While I have to admit I sometimes miss curling up in a soft bed at night (especially when I was sick) and I'm a little concerned about the hot weather coming up, I believe I will probably continue this lifestyle even when I manage to save money to get a place (and furnish it). It's amazing how my thinking has changed regarding all the junk I used to buy to make my home more "home-y" Stuff I now don't even miss. It’s been awhile since I happened upon your blog and decided, today, to come back and browse through it again. Thanks for words of encouragement.

 
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Case_Stacker said...

I am 53 years old and have just started to research living homeless. I found this site most helpful.

I am seriously considering the possibility of living on the street. I lost my job in January 2008 and have not been able to find another. I am either to qualified or do not have a college education.

I will be losing my third property soon to foreclosure. This is the home I am living in now. I have a felony record going back 36 years ago when I was 17 years old. I did my time and have since lived an exemplary life. I worked hard to attain a successful life. I immigrated from Central America at the age of seven. Due to the felony conviction I have not been able to become a US Citizen. So every ten years I apply for a renewal of my residency in the USA. Every year I have dutifully paid my taxes and contibuted to society. Two and a half years ago I applied for a renewal of status. Immigration Agents showed up at my door wearing full S.W.A.T. gear and detained me. It did not matter that I had served my time for the crime or that I had lived an exemplary and productive life since my release. I have never had another moment of disgrace or agression. quite the contrary, I have helped others less fortunate than myself. I have lead many fundraisers and given of my time and talents to others. After my detention by Immigration my life turned upside down. I lost my job, my savings my self esteem. This grand USA now has ordered my deportation, did not even give me a chance to be heard in a court of law. So I may only have a few more months before I am deported, completely stripped of my home and possessions. The USA will also disallow any social security contributuions I have made over the many years I contributed.

I have always wanted to see more of the splendor of this great country. I figure I will take this last opportunity to take a long walk. Any help to live it up as a homeless person will be appreciated. Sincerely, Case_Stacker

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

Just leaving a quick comment to let you know your work is great. I'm not homeless, but with your advice I would certainly manage.

You write exceptionally, and should consider getting this published!

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger Logan said...

Well. I spent my first night as a homeless person last night. I have decided that instead of staying here in spokane, wa I will instead travel around the country. Visit family from different parts of the country and work odd jobs here and there for money to pay for gas/food. This site is wonderful and made me realize that living out of your car is not really horrible. I think our culture has a strong stigmata for it because if no one had to slave there lives away just to have some shitty apartment over there head, the rich just wouldn't get richer. I truly hope and pray that one day society will pull its head out of its ass. It is completely despicable.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger SDB said...

I came across this blog looking for ways to survive the cold night at state college tonight. Going to the football game tomorrow. anyways... i have a great amount of respect for what you've done. especially that you've taken your experiences and have offered them up as a survival knowledge resource to other individuals. i just wanted to say thanks for the advice on surviving the night in state college tonight... and good luck with life. I really enjoyed reading your blog, it was "eye-opening".
-stace

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

D00d awesome site, keep it up.
Its pretty awesome knowledge, I'd love to find it out the hard way but I have parents that care. Its a small shame but probably for the best.

 
At 3:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya Mobilehomemaker,I just want to say that first of all I find your blog extremely interesting. It's the first blog/sight I've come across that writes about things such as; the advantages of homelessness, or at least how to survive it. It makes for a change to the other sights that all discuss purely negative issues. What I would love is if I could get your consent to use your blog(and the comments on it,if possible) for a psychology research report I'm doing. I'm in 2nd yr in college and was interested in looking at homelessness from homeless people's point of view, like why people would choose this way of life. You discuss some interesting things such as the freedom it brings etc. So, if you would be willing to give me your permission to use your Blog for this I'd really appreciate it. If not, or you wouldn't feel comfortable, then that's fine. Thank you for the insightful read either way.
I had to leave you a comment asking your permission as I had no other way to contact you. Sorry about that!

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

You may email me at homelessness@gmail.com with your request and I will respond to you privately.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger wiseman01 said...

i like this site alot and think it is very important for people homeless or not. In todays economy u never know what is gonna happen.So what are u suppose to do if u lose everything?In real life you are pretty much screwed huh. Nobody cares ..i think this site could be very powerful and i am really glad to have seen it .I think it is really bogus that it is illegal to be homeless..thats not even humane ..thats like saying if u don't have this government blood money u get shoved off into the cold to die ILLEGALY.it makes me sick how some people get treated just because they are down on there luck or whatever the caseI am the type of guy who would buy a homeless a warm meal even if i had a little money money comes and goes its dirty .Greed is the devil . Everyone keep your head up and NEVER give up

 
At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to know if someone holding a permanent residentship would be deported if they sought help in homeless shelters.

 
At 2:41 AM, Anonymous n8cha said...

I am in Australia, and a while ago I spent a couple of years without a permanent residence. I lived in a shack in a forest, a tent in some coastal scrub, camped on a couple of properties( with the kind owners permission), stayed in backpackers, slept anywhere I could find that was hidden etc. I made my way around Australia, and had lots of wonderful experiences. I showered at truck stops, and washed in public toilets, or in the ocean, or a creek, or in the rain. By an amazing stroke of fortune, I now live in my own home, but I really hate the way society expects me to behave in order to have one. There has to be a happy medium in between. In tribal histories around the world, people did not have to 'buy' land or a house; the very idea was alien to them. Yet we force our people to toil for most of their lives for the mere privelage of 'owning' land. Outrageous. Admittedly we trot along like sheep, buying the latest gadget, the newest automobiles, getting loans for a house with more bedrooms or features than we need. Breed like there are unlimited resources. We need to change. both individually and as a community. Have the people who live like this (in excess) ever even contemplated that they could be happy living differently? When I drop me child off at school, my old, held together with sticky tape (yet reliable) car gets distasteful glances from the women in their big shiny four wheel drives-SUV's to all the americans :) - If I go into a shop with bare feet people look at me like I have a green face. When i wore my painting clothes and trecked through Sydney with a handcart on wheels( had all my art stuff in it) people assumed I was homeless or something and crossed the street to avoid me.
Would people really rather work their butts off all week, come home too tired to enjoy their family or lifestyle, and hoik back to work on Monday again? Even in a house there are ways to live frugally and happily. I cook on a gas camping stove, which uses such a small amount of fuel, and also, if I bring potaoes or beans or whatever to the boil, put a lid on, take the pan off the heat and wrap it in towel, then put it in an insulated bag ( like a picnic cooler bag) the food then continues to cook until ready! Why light up your whole house when you are only using one room. If you own the house- plant fruit trees! Or if you are not a keen gardener, and the mere thought of looking after one scares you, plant( after a little research) native fruiting trees; They need no care.
But yes, being homeless can be a nightmare or an adventure, depending on your circumstances and frame of mind. But there are many ways to enhance your lifestyle by researching stuff ( such as edible plants/weeds etc, and places like this site)and being creative. I wish you all happiness, and hope we all take care of this generous planet.

 
At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting i will be writing a primer for living 'homeless' on Kauai. I have insights and ideas specifically for the island lifestyle. Your work warrants such exposure as Oprah show. Truly balanced and insightful Keep it up

LAMA

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Courtney said...

I was searching for a list of truck stops that have showers in preparation for a four month long road trip when I stumbled upon your blog. I think this an amazing project and would like to link to you on our blog.

 
At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been an itinerant worker all my life, i've never had a 'home' except what I make myself, or stay for a while in 'comfort' at a motel. This is my lifestyle and I think it is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices one can make if they were to make it.

People have lived this way for thousands of years whether some people choose to believe that or not is a nother matter, the modernist structure is degrading to the spirit of man. look to adapt the native indians traditional ways and bring them into modern life. live and work for your needs.

I have enjoyed your website, and will continue to read.

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous MzM said...

MzM I could of really used your informative site twenty years ago when I was a single, forty year old woman of color. I was at a stage in life that I knew more about what I didn’t want, versus what I wanted. Working sixty hours a week and acquiring more material goods, was no longer a want. My children were grown and I longed to step off the work wheel. So when lay offs were announced, I said, sign me up!

Took the final paycheck and yard sale money from selling the last of my worldly goods, after gifting the children their ancestral loot, and brought a twenty year old van. It had a bed, stove, LP heater, and 12v lites. Added a battery operated radio. Already had a gazillion paper backs. Filled the gas tank, stocked the shelves with food and water. Went to the dog pound and rescued a puppy for companionship and to ride shoot gun.

I had fifty dollars left. I didn’t consider myself homeless, just nomadic. I had no camping experience, but headed for the mountains and one of the state parks. I brought an annual state park pass ($40), which are for day use. When the park closed, I would travel several miles to the truck stop and overnight and return to the park when it opened at six.

Eventually, I wormed my way into a volunteer position. Several hours work on the weekend earned me a free camp site - no electricity, but showers were a quarter. Other campers taught me a lot about the “nomadic” lifestyle. I got a fishing license and learned to catch the trout in the park lakes and even started container gardening because they were portable and could be moved.

Having been laid off, I got unemployment. So that helped with expenses. I shopped once a month when the check came in, which kept wear and tear on the van down. Life was good!

After that experience, I started traveling and continued to “volunteer” at other state and federal parks, picking up odd jobs and projects on the side for cash. When you do a good job, your name gets passed around. I would stay in an area for months, or a couple times, for a year. Twice I took a real job to upgrade as I knew this was the lifestyle I wanted to maintain.

Twenty years later, I’m still living and enjoying the lifestyle. Great places and scenery. Wonderful memories, adventures and tales that are unbelievable. The rig is larger, still an older unit, but the accommodations are very comfortable, including a small cast iron fireplace, wind and solar and I trailer and ride a motor cycle for supply runs. Still growing vegetables too!

Lost my two fur critters and faithful companions of twenty years, over a year ago. Just recently rescued another dog and for some strange reason, this BIG wild cat has adopted us.

For single women posters, if at all possible, get a vehicle that you can lock. You don’t need anything fancy - and there are a lot of old vehicles out there in decent shape. Use it as an abode, not transportation. However, it does need to be moveable. When the van would break down, I would lift the hood and there was always some old timer that would help out. And I would watch or hand them tools. That way if it happened again, I could do the repairs. In most cases, if I brought the parts, they would do the labor. (In exchange, always have sandwich fixing or the crock pot on and a hot or cold drink.) It’s the neighborly thing to do.

Lastly, I made a pact with myself when I started on this path to always, always trust my intuition. No matter how tired, or hungry, or broke, if the circumstances did not feel or seem right, I acted, even if it meant moving. Never second guess yourself when it comes to your safety. They call it a gut feeling for a reason.

Mobile Homemaker thank you so much, I’ve enjoyed the comments and you do need to publish, I too want to see you on Oprah!

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Josie. said...

Well,
I found the blog beneficial as well. My situation is not desperate, per say... though I am fed up with society as much as the next intellegent guy. And I could go on.
But my main interest at this time is time away. I'm college age, accepted to one of the best art schools in the country, but without financial means. I'd love to have time to pain scenery, create music, build something from nothing. I have a car and alot of connections across the country who have offered assistance if need be.
I've got over one hundred original songs recorded, and I've played a few local venues.
Do you think the law minds hobo musicians as much, who have a home, and will return if worst comes to worst?

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I think the law couldn't care less about beautiful art. Fortunately, the law is not your only patron.

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger planningfornexttime said...

Hey, I was a police officer and was living in an apartment with no electric, it took every penny I make to make my car payment, and rent. I can see that I was so close to being homeless. I swear, I was taking baths in cold water, which actually made my hair and skin look healthy, I kept my hair cut short, easy to wash and dry with the heat from my car fan. Well, about a year later, I did end up homeless. I took another police position and I did end up homeless. I had to buy another car, a 4-runner, so I could port around all my belongings. No one really suspected it. I was luck enough to use a mailing address of a family member, this family member was nice enough to let me use a room in her home to store big items, and give me a B address, like apartment B.

But, every moring, I would go to the rest area on side of the highway, then alternate to the other rest area on the other side of the highway. Altogether, i rotated between 3 highway rest areas, A Wal-Mart parking lot, a large university hospital parking lot. So, I lived homeless for about 3 years. I had my own TV in y 4 runner, I had the windows tinted dark, I had a small kitchen, coffee pot, two coffee pots, one for coffee, and one for hot soups, and I did work so I would but salads and so forth. I had access to a college campus, where I exercised and showered.
So, anyone can live homeless as comfortable as they make it. I lived a good homeless life. The dag-on police departments just don't pay enough money. There are still a lot of poor police officers out there. I would not mind living homeless again.

I can see that where I am now, I would have to really plan this thing out if I were ever suspecting that I would soon be living homeless. Well, I could attend college, use the showering facility at the recreation center, go to classes, find a sofa to sleep on somewhere I'm sure, take naps during the day, like everyone else does in the Library. There are some colleges that have vacant buildings all night long. Just make sure that you always wash your hands, and keep good hygiene. Most students I know that are practically homeless do not have good hygiene, so if you keep good hygiene, that is one of the most important keys to living and quiet homeless life. Just make sure you get your sleep, and a nap, and study, and make the best grades in your class, and smell clean, and have a small work study position, and have a bank account for you financial aid money. Spend money wisely, go to summer school, this will give you validation to be on campus property, have a small summer "easy job". Not at McDonalds they work you like a dog. Do hospital volunteer work then apply for a part time position, good way of getting a good job. Work on writing a book, and have it published. Go to church. Be honest to people, be nice, be kind, just remember where you live, around and about the college campus. When you graduate, you will get a job, and make some money. Hey, did I mention to use class college text that the instructors put on file in the library at the college, yes, do not have to buy or carry books around, PLUS A BIG SAVE ON MONEY.
Then what you can carry in your backpack is a small pillow, and hygiene supplies etc....as far as a blanket, your winter coat becomes your blanket, so when shopping for a winter coat make sure it suffices for a good blanket too. OH YEA< ONE REALLY IMPORTANT THING< MAKE SURE YOU BUY A North Face big shot backpack, it is the BEST!!!! Get a cheap bike for campus too, but you may have to have to pay for a parking permit for you bike=yea the university her in Lex. Ky will probably impose a parking permit for those who get around on campus by bike. How lame is that idea? I swear, a student has every right to live on campus homeless, and use all the facilities they can get by with. Just make a good plan, maybe with someone else who will have to do the same thing as you.
Just make sure you are clean, practice good hygiene.

Let me know, and I can maybe give some good tips.

 
At 3:21 AM, Anonymous Zheng said...

Not sure if your still checking for comments, but I felt obligated to say something. I really admire the work you put into this guide and what I'm sure it means to you. Thank you for the insight.

 
At 12:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I separated from the military six months ago, and I cannot find work. I'm just days away from moving into my truck, and it's more than a bit scary. I'm tired and I'm scared. I'm going to join the local library and I'll watch this site for the hell of it. Thank you for taking some of the fear out of being without a home for a bit.

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 45 single male the only thing I am good at is playing blues rock guitar live and as soon as it stops I am terrified. I suffer so bad from social anxiety that I have quit or left every job I ever had I was so miserable. I could care less about money but no matter how hard I try just to make enough to feed and clothe myself. Something goes wrong. I love to remodel and just do hard work. It is just a pure clean humbling feeling to do hard work,, But Crew leader will beat you down {damed if you do damed if you dont} or get I will get ripped off and not get paid,, then the car breaks down,,etc,, now I am homeless recently. I have always been overwhelmed with life and just amazed at how talented and amazing everyone is around me and how good they are at just living and being. I read these blogs by you people and the same thing,, you people are are so amazing and talented and resouceful to live homeless so successfully. It is some of the best stuff I have ever read. I have acually always dreamed of living like woody guthrie or maybe jeremiah johnson,, but again I am absolutely inept, Just a dumb suburban kid,, anyways your stories are amazing and incedibly enlightening but It actually shell shocks me even more because I just became homeless have no money and no idea how to continue.

 
At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I was backpacking and enjoyed my freedom and independency to the extend that I soon found myself running out of money.

For a couple of months I saw my situation heading towards homelessness (was working in a bar for only 200 bucks a week).

When I look back, during that period I could have changed my situation and look for another job, but I let myself run broke... Probably because of a low self-esteem and some sort of anger towards other people, who also so me heading that way but didn't really care or offer help.

Once I got kicked out of my hostel and I was broke, I quickly lost my job (because sleeping outside wasn't really combineable with working). I was now homeless. At this time it was very hard to change my situation.

I soon figured out that being homeless in the city is quite a hard life (first night I allmost got stabbed, police kicking you awake in the middle of the night, pedophiles, psychos, fights, sleep deprivation leading to psychosis,...). I wasn't made up for it. I longed for a bed and peace and quiet. However... since my situation was worse than when I was still working, the way back was also a lot harder.

I had to prostitute myself (being a straight guy) for 6 weeks in order to: first get back into a hostel, than find a job and afterwards get back into society.

Luckely I never really got into drugs (just before I found a job again I started injecting ice... which was the only way I could feel good about myself back than), since than you take another step down te ladder you eventually have to climb back on.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you see yourself heading towards disaster, it is better to act fast, than to let disaster happen.

From my experience, I would advise people not to let it come that far.

On the site, I sometimes get the feeling that homelessness isn't all that bad. For me, if I could go back I wouldn't have let it come that far.

That's the best advise I can give, I think. Because otherwise people might find themselves falling in an endless pit. I thought in the beginning that things couldn't get worse once I was homeless, but I saw soon that it was only the beginning of a rollercoaster down. Best advice I can give is at all cost first try to avoid taking that rollercoaster.

 
At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I was backpacking and enjoyed my freedom and independency to the extend that I soon found myself running out of money.

For a couple of months I saw my situation heading towards homelessness (was working in a bar for only 200 bucks a week).

When I look back, during that period I could have changed my situation and look for another job, but I let myself run broke... Probably because of a low self-esteem and some sort of anger towards other people, who also so me heading that way but didn't really care or offer help.

Once I got kicked out of my hostel and I was broke, I quickly lost my job (because sleeping outside wasn't really combineable with working). I was now homeless. At this time it was very hard to change my situation.

I soon figured out that being homeless in the city is quite a hard life (first night I allmost got stabbed, police kicking you awake in the middle of the night, pedophiles, psychos, fights, sleep deprivation leading to psychosis,...). I wasn't made up for it. I longed for a bed and peace and quiet. However... since my situation was worse than when I was still working, the way back was also a lot harder.

I had to prostitute myself (being a straight guy) for 6 weeks in order to: first get back into a hostel, than find a job and afterwards get back into society.

Luckely I never really got into drugs (just before I found a job again I started injecting ice... which was the only way I could feel good about myself back than), since than you take another step down te ladder you eventually have to climb back on.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you see yourself heading towards disaster, it is better to act fast, than to let disaster happen.

From my experience, I would advise people not to let it come that far.

On the site, I sometimes get the feeling that homelessness isn't all that bad. For me, if I could go back I wouldn't have let it come that far.

That's the best advise I can give, I think. Because otherwise people might find themselves falling in an endless pit. I thought in the beginning that things couldn't get worse once I was homeless, but I saw soon that it was only the beginning of a rollercoaster down. Best advice I can give is at all cost first try to avoid taking that rollercoaster.

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Your story is precisely the kind of thing my advice is designed to avoid and overcome. You became homeless in an unprepared and unthinking way, and frankly you were extremely lucky not to lose your life or freedom in the process. I am giving practical advice to make homelessness a great deal less dangerous, even sustainable, and at times, yes, even desirable.

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my question is if living homeless was so fun why did you stop?

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Every lifestyle has its drawbacks. I wanted a family.

 
At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mobile Homemaker, I like your site and the information is generally very useful however I think it would be nice to have a section about "staying dry" as I live in the northwest and it's often damp and cool here. I personally have found that a poncho (whether home-made or factory) to be a very useful item especially paired with rubber boots (the calf high type.) It doesn't get cold enough out here to crack the good rubber ones and with the often constant rain you just change your socks once or twice a day to keep your feet fairly dry (my feet sweat alot so someone with less sweaty feet wouldn't necessarily need to change their socks so often.) I dry my socks under my clothes for the next use (while my feet are sweaty I keep them clean so they don't stink.) Regular rain gear makes you stand out in public too much so I don't use it, especially the heavy duty commercial bib pants although you can get away with it in the industrial end of town or by the port. On the other hand a decent rainjacket is pretty much the norm around here so it doesn't stand out, I've also worn the lightweight rainpants a few times but they really don't stand up to the abuse for long (asphalt and concrete are really rough on any type of clothing!) As perhaps you've noticed I don't mention a car, I used to live a conversion van but after losing my job I had to sell it (I wanted to get as much for it as possible before it deteriorated to the point that it wasn't worth much or anything.) I just spent july and august traveling around the mid and southwest (ride the scenic railroads! Not only dangerous but very exciting/boring at the same time! Boring you say? Yeah amazingly loud, bare steel is uncomfortable, and you can't move around much. Oh yeah, no bathrooms, no dining car, no water source, nothing you didn't bring.) Well just to reiterate I really like the site and have found a few useful things to add to my repetoire. And about the "anonymous" tag I use to comment, it's just 'cause I'm a bit paranoid sometimes and now it's a habit. Thanks again.

 
At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, anonymous here again, I thing another suggestion might be a "tool" section. I nominate the Leatherman "wave" and "supertool" to this category since they're extremely useful and generally won't get you in trouble with the law if they do frisk you, unlike the 4" bladed folding knife I also often carry (a CRKT M16 tanto tip) which has gotten me some real grief from the cops (though it is legal they have tried to convince me they could confiscate it, I always tell them they need to give me a receipt which usually stops that, especially when I ask them to show me where in the RCW (that's Revised Code of Washington ie the law) it says that it's illegal, most cops now have a laptop in their cars with internet access so this might piss them off but really forces them to "do the right thing" ie not play so macho, but of course, you have to be strong but humble and give them an "out" to save face. Worked every time so far. Well that was a little off topic but hey let's add the humble folding tree limb saw to that list since it's so useful cutting up pallets for firewood and for getting access to and cleaning up remote living areas. A pair of anvil type hand pruner is really useful in getting past the blackberries around here to a remote campsite too. I mentioned the poncho and rubber boots in a previous comment but I like construction grade visqueen too. It's often easy to get some at the downtown construction sites (from the workers or out of a dumpster) and it's really a multi-purpose item: raingear-poncho-foot wraps-ground sheet-tent-wind/sight blocker-trash can-backpack-etc......Well enough for this message, maybe more next time. Thanks again for the website. anonymous

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger elocs said...

I have been reading all of this with great interest. I am 57 and I am planning for my retirement. It's just me and I have total freedom and my intention is to become voluntarily homeless.

Currently I am only working enough to pay my bills and that's all I need. In 3 years my '06 Scion xA will be paid off, with low mileage. I will be buying myself a teardrop trailer and that will be my home. No house payments or rent and the freedom to travel wherever I like.

I have 9 years until full retirement, or 5 if I were to retire early at 62 but that would be about a $500 a month hit. I also have a small Teamster's pension, but at 66 I would be getting $1200 a month which is plenty to live in on the road.

This has really given me something to look forward to and to plan for in the future. Along the way until then I will have to weed away all of the "stuff" that I've collected over the years. From what I've heard from the teardrop trailer dealer near me there are many people who have the intention of just chucking it all and hitting the road. I have read a blog of a retired lady who is doing a lot of traveling by herself in her teardrop trailer.

This was written on 12 October 2009 for anyone wondering.

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i, too, have been a homeless by choice - for over a year and i cant believe how rewarding, educating and adventurous this 'frowned up' life style was

not only i became mentally and physically strong, i now also have a proof that i can and will handle ANYTHING life throws at me

within a week i stopped missing the TV and started reading books (a lot of them)

for my hygiene needs i joined a local fitness club... and besides taking showers there i also started working out 4 - 5 times a week (yes, people, i look good naked now)

and on top of it all ive been able to save a huge amount of money which i used to relocate and have a good life in southern europe

dont get me wrong, i had a VERY rough and tough start but my homeless story did finish with a happy ending ;)

best of luck to you all

 
At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is scary and great! The scary part is, I have never seen so many happy people, high functioning, and well...homeless! This site has opened my mind on a Biblical scale. The price of housing, sure you can buy a dump, but it sounds like people are feeling enslaved and driven to break some chains, I felt like giving up today, and decided to take one more shot at the material world! Wish me Luck, I hope I can make them back taxes, afford sales tax, able to pay all the fines. and use the money left for living expenses.

 
At 6:05 AM, Blogger sie.men said...

Very good information. I went through it with a dog, for the dog and glad I did it. 14 years It was a learning experience. I have been thinking about writing a book, but you beat me to it. I may be able to add a few things, but you really hit most of the tips. I was a mobile mechanic that lived in my work truck. I told my friends that I went on a service call that lasted 14 years. When my dog died I finally made it home. I now work on Corporate Jets as a mechanic.
sie.men@hotmail.com

 
At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Thomas Sexton said...

My name is Thomas Sexton, I'm 20 years old. And I can't live an average life. That is to say, I cannot function in normal society.
I see past the walls of our illusion. This reality that everyone has come to except as their routine. The reality that everyone calls a normal life. The same reality that is bound by laws and limitations. Life is limitless.
People are blinded by the need for stuff and cling to it like a life line. Not that I'm saying I don't enjoy the technology, just not the need for it.
I wish we could still move forward without such a need for homes and offices. A world where people will simply work for the better and not for themselves. Of course, those kind of thoughts and those kinds of hopes are meaningless. You could not change the minds of 6 billion people so easily.
My whole life I've been working for other people in hopes that I might one day save the world from this illusion of money and power. I dream of a world with simplicity and technology that helps the world and doesn't destroy it. I dream of a world without poverty and a world without hunger. I'm sure I'm not alone in these dreams. But lately I've discovered the futility behind my dreams. You can't change the world by yourself.
So I'm leaving my home town. The home town I've lived in for over 17 years. I'm leaving work and leave my friends. I'm going to travel on foot to where ever feels right. And I'll just be free from these ideas that tear us apart. And perhaps I'll find others like myself so that I may know that I'm not alone.

This is a really good thing you're doing. Eventually and hopefully soon, people will realize a better path. Enough people will find there way away from "law and order" as they call it.

Good luck and best wishes from me.

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Oh geez, Thomas. Good luck. I see suffering in your future.

 
At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this Mobile Homemaker. And thank you for making this information readily accessable. I hope that if you ever do pursue writing a book on your experience that you will still leave this here for the desperate or maybe for those seeking some enlightenment.

I have been considering this as a lifestyle partly due to current economic resources and partly as a desire for a basic way of life.

I'm a middle aged man who had the "American Dream". Circumstances arose which disrupted that for me. Those circumstances opened my eyes after periods of self reflection, abandonment of hope and learning to accept that on many aspects of our lives we have less control than we like to think.

I have been unemployed for some time now but still making rent payments with what used to be a nest egg. I have worked construction off and on in the interim simply to bail water out of my proverbial sinking ship but that will not be sufficient for much longer, maybe 2-3 months.

I could re-enter the working world but I'm still battling with some esteem and insecurity issues with regard to what used to be my career. I am left with a "what now" feeling, possibly appropriately coined as my mid-life crisis. And I owe back taxes I can't afford.

I fell into that pit, owned by my things and working harder just to keep them or have more "things". Providing a better life for your family than what you had growing up is what we have been teaching for several generations. But at what cost to the future of our kids?

Our country is now on the verge of an economic crisis. Our planet is on the verge of an energy crisis. The new homes that I have seen being built over the last decade, the explosion of technology and populations and the very real fact that our entire worldwide economic system is based on continuous growth....exponential growth. Until when?

What happens when "our" (and I mean the human race) exponential growth has peaked beyond available resources? You can only imagine but fact remains; it will be a world very much different than anything any of us has ever seen.

I dont mean to go off track about a rant on environmental issues but much of my reason for wanting to pursue this lifestyle is because I am absolutely certain that our economy, our ever-constant population growth and our wasteful consumption of raw materials....at some point can NOT continue. Like the brakes on a freight train, Industrialism as we know it cannot continue forever, not at a constant growth rate. When that point is reached, what happens to our economic system?

I see more and more homeless, carrying their world on their shoulders every passing day, in suburban areas. I think there is going to be much more of that to come over the next 20 years in our country, much much more.

I admit it, I was guilty. I over consumed, like most. I think it's time to learn to live on what we need. This is partly why I am here, reading and trying to accept a different way of life because I dont see much future in what we have known it as.

People have posted responses to this blogspot regarding the contributions that homeless people do not offer society. But I really need to ask those people what THEY are doing to contribute to the FUTURE of society. Homelessness teaches us to value resources, to cherish them and not take them for granted because your very life may depend on them. The part we are *supposed* to play in society as it is today, is to continue contributing to a GROWING society on a planet that stays the same size.

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 14 and my parents are about to split and i'm considering living on my own, shoveling snow whatever i have to to make money, if you have any solutions or easy ways to find shelter letme know on here

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

There are no easy ways of living on your own for a 14 year old. I was homeless at 17 and it was hell. If you are leaving just because you are angry, don't. If you are leaving because you don't want to be in the middle, don't. Only run away if you are actually being abused. You could do worse than suffer through a miserable time at home.

 
At 4:31 AM, Blogger pinkmoons said...

For the first time in my life, my husband and I are facing actual homelessness as we go through foreclosure on our home. One primary job lost and and cuts to the other primary bread-winning job have ravaged what we have left. Even though my mother's family has a home nobody lives in (after my Grandmother died recently), they have deemed it "inconvenient" for the two of us to move into it temporarily. (Thanks Mom! You're the greatest!) I'm sure I will be checking back here to help me get my head around this psychologically and our physical lives around this for real. Thanks for your insight and information.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I mentioned your blog on Facebook. One of my friends asked me to post it. Do I have your permission to do so?

Thanks in advance.

Alisa Vernon

 
At 1:47 AM, Blogger william said...

The only thing missing is Food...
Cant survive without food. Cant have food without money.

I need cheap ways to attain a meal. Even simple recipes and techniques would be perfect!...I know you have some information on this one...

 
At 2:02 AM, Anonymous Anonycat said...

Are you still there? I hope so. I like this immensely so far; I always get very offended at most blogs on homelessness. They focus on pitying the people I wouldn't consider trustworthy, and on "bringing them back into the fold" - making them function as a capitalist.

What if I don't want to be a capitalist? This sounds like a teenaged "it's not fair" whine, but I never signed a contract for this. I never agreed to live by these arbitrary rules, and now I can't get in or get out. Goddammit, I want the choice that capitalism promised me: I want to get out.

Aside from that rant, however, I have two things to say:

1. You don't... necessarily need a form of income. My partner and I managed to survive three months with no money by shoplifting every single ounce of food. It's quite easy. Don't go for anything with cheese or dairy; it has some kind of supernatural malice attached to it, which is probably why people who constantly eat it are so untrustworthy. Organics are a good go. Get a good tall bag, control your body language, get a friend so you're not as suspicious, but remember that one stands out but three's a crowd. Don't be twitchy, man. (I could write a book on how to shoplift. It wouldn't be profitable, but it would be useful! hahahaha)

2. Have you done any review-type things of tents, etc.? Because if you haven't, here's mine: if you have the money (I had a small starter fund), get the Nemo Losi 3-person and its footprint and pawprint. It is literally the best thing I have ever found. You might need another person to set it up properly, but it has enough room for three people and a dog. Pay attention to how you take the tent and rainfly out, because there's no instructions on how to re-fold.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I don't like the shoplifting idea. I value my freedom too much. Remember, they only need to catch you once to mess your life up pretty badly.

 
At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in Melbourne Australia and I am a 35 year old university student and I have just decided to become houseless, live in my car for the duration of my degree. I have made this choice because I believe it will result in the best situation for passing well at university. I have a car at the moment but hope to save for a van for more comfort. I lived in this same car a couple of years ago for a few months between jobs and I didn't find it difficult at all. I have decided the only way to fully dedicate myself to my studies is to be a full time student and be on campus everyday, to hold any sort of rental accomodation means that I need to work. Making the decision to get this degree was life changing and I am not going to give it half my attention. I am going to be fine and I am excited at the prospect that as of next week I can be fully focused on study without worrying about money. Thanks for the tips here, I found www.vandwellers.org an amazingly valuable resource as well.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger Sadie Sea said...

hey man, this blog is great! it's the best and most informative homeless page i have found yet. recently decided to start a blog of my own experiences, and i plan to link your blog to mine.

you write from the perspective of living in a vehicle which is a completely different style than i. like yourself i am setting up my page to be a resource for others to learn from, and to find some inspiration. if you care to check out what i've posted so far, or possibly link my blog to yours, feel free to stop by!

http://thesagevagabond.blogspot.com

cheers!

 
At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, great blog. I have lived homeless by choice for about 5 months. I had it far easier than some (van, access to hot water showers and a dog to keep me warm :) )It was great until some local civil unrest made it dangerous to sleep anywhere coastal. I'm back in a house now. To anyone still 'living the dream' and anyone trying to, good luck you get alot of respect from some of us.

 
At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a recent departed member of the housing/corperate world.

Having just entered (100% fully consciously and 100% completely willingly) the world of homelessness (currently I am living in the woods just outside of Seattle)

I am interested in knowing if there is a nomadic group of us who has formed together?

I would like to meet others.

(well planned, well thought out, people who are contributing members to the sustainabilty of our own happiness, and the survival of the planet, through enlightened "home'lessness."


My email is: benbingham29@yahoo.com

Thanks for the support!

 
At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi i'm 19 and have been planning my escape for about a year now. all day everyday i'm baffled by the "zombieness" of everyone around me. i'm a very self educated man and continuing this lie of a lifestyle is becoming less and less of an option. i seek spiritual enlightenment which can only come from total physical and mental freedom, i yearn to find and know the true core of my existence. so i've been planning on backpacking across america with a tent. i've been researching for months on how to go about this expedition and the only problem i've come across is my own eyesight. i have terrible vision, i've been wearing contacts sice i was ten years old and i feel helpless without them. i figure i can continue to wear them and keep them clean with some effort but eventually i'll run out of them. i know your site's not made for this type of information but do you have any concerning a "natural healing" of the eyes? some way to strengthen your vision with the power of your nmind the one and only thing that's processing the information coming through. hope you write back peace and love to all.

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

No. I don't have a way for you to heal your eyes. This does bring up a serious topic, the vulnerability of the homeless to cons and cults. Please, if your eye doctor can't offer you a cure, a homeopath will simply steal you blind.

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous coolrayfruge said...

Love your site.
Its so informative.
I've been homeless since 2008.
I started out living in a motor home which was nice for a while, but found that the expense to keeping it running, insured, registered and keeping gas in it to be costly when there was no money or jobs available.
Finding a place to park a 24 ft motor home without being hassled was a problem too!
I was constantly getting violation tickets.
I finally had to abandon it at my brothers house in MO and put a for sale sign on it.Still waiting to hear from my brother of any buyers.
I thought of using the money
so I can get a small van to live in and get around easier,be less noticed.
Been looking at electric VW Buses on the web.
( this idea is only if I got the money to afford all that)
I figure with solar panels on the roof of it and a inverter I could get around without being dependent on gas and not have to worry about finding a place to plug it in.
I know a bicycle would be cheaper. But getting around on one would be slower and not good for long distances and also would suck in bad weather.
It would be good to have a bike as a alternative form of transportation. in case my van broke down or I need it park it for awhile to charge my batteries in my van.
Transportation has been the biggest problem I've had to adjust to,while being homeless.
Not having wheels sucks!
Being 51 years old and having bad feet I can't walk long distances.
I do used the transit bus system from time to time, but you have to plan your whole day around their schedule.
The Days and times they arrive.
The Days and times their not running.The waiting.
Having the money and the right amount for the fare.
Hoping there not packed.
Lugging your belongings around with you.sucks!
Not having wheels has been the hardest part of being homeless.
cause you have to find a way to lug all your belongings along with you.

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a senior in highschool, dreadful about facing this tough economy and still unable to decide what path I want my life to take. Out of feelings of being lost, I decided it wouldn't hurt to research some tips for the homeless in case I ever was in the position. I spent tonight reading your entire blog.

The result was more than I expected. This for me was an experience, it was insight into life and what happens when humans are faced with insecurity, our deepest fear. I've always been interested in human nature. Your stories have taught me about how hard it is to break the human spirit of hope. And somehow this way of life is attractive, a solution to being tied down with the system people have created; a system that makes it hard for us to be in touch with reality and slowly numbs us.

I am much more appreciative of the things I have now, and I know that if I ever am faced with homelessness I will not let it make me feel inhuman or worthless. I plan on living this way someday for at least a short amount of time. I think it will be a valuaable learning experience.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Mathias said...

I've been out of work about a year and had to give up my apartment in Houston last March '10. I could have lived in my car in the city and ate at churches but I didn't like the idea of roaming the city streets. My family has a nice house in the suburbs but I'm too old to move back in (44) so I bought some camping gear and set up in a secluded woodland along a river not far from them. It's a peace you won't even find at campgrounds. Wildlife everywhere-deer, racoons, possums, armadillos- fireflys at night. After a rain the mosquitos are unworldly-a $1 headnet from Academy helps alot. My credit's still good so I don't have to fish for my meals yet but I do forage: wild greens, blackberries, onions, and mushrooms abound (read up if you're going mushroom hunting). Feral hogs, alligators, and cottonmouths are around too but you have to know how they live and you'll be okay. Had to learn what poison ivy looks like the hard way. I have books and my best friend, a cheap transistor radio. I can use the library computer if I need to. I can take a birdbath and clean up just fine. I carry 1 liter water bottles I refill in the river, then set them on tin foil under the sun for a few hour so the uv can kill the bacteria. Works for me. I saw this new lifestyle coming and had time to prepare. It's honestly not bad.

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My twin sister and I were left at 2 months old at the arrivals terminal of the Charles De Gaulle Paris International Airport, so we have no idea what country we even come from, let alone parents. We were put in orphanage until kidnapped by a couple who stole us and took us to America to make money of our looks (blond, grey-eyed twins). The woman and I and my sister were not allowed to learn English. The man beat us, never the face (couldn't ruin all the commercials), and eventually raped and murdered the women, in front of us, tied me up while he raped and beat my sister in the head to death, and then me, but I broke my wrist getting free, and found his gun and someone held it high enough to shot him. I was 4. By then the police were there. I was put in an orphanage not speaking English. First Foster Home at 8yrs was abusive and I ran away to live on the streets by myself in 8 mile Detroit. I occasionally was either put back in the orphanage or Juvy, but back to horrid foster, and ran back to streets, where believe it or not, were actually safer. Knew not to do drugs, not to turn my self out, but did steal and tried to keep notebooks and info from the drivers' licenses to pay back some day. In my mind. Made deal with some Fosters if they didn't report me missing, they could have the money from the state, and then I could still go to school and practice competitive gymnastics. All the advice you give is right on. Though from what I have learned, each time you are placed again, I have found there are actually five options: Foster, Street, Juvy, Jail, Gang. You have to weigh your options.
But you are so great to even care. You don't understand how scared we are to be sent back home. It's worse then death. At least death, it's over. Sent back home, it's a living hell. Like some fosters. Please keep finding a safe way to just help---food, hygiene, a way to show us there is more then just surviving. Make our eyes actually light up over something. You are wonderful.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Greylin said...

I wrote in just before about my twin sister and I being brought over from France, she and the male and female that brought us died when I was 4 1/2yrs old. I don't want an email, but I had to be given a code name that won't be tracked down that you can use---it's Greylin.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

uh huh

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. I found this just when I needed it most. Your project is important and the world could use more people like you.

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Jeff said...

I'm pretty sure I've the got the same opinion about this blog as anyone else... FREAKIN' AWESOME.

But really, VERY insightful. I haven't been able to find a job for 2 months now, and my money has run out. I was starting to get worried. Although I do have alternatives, like moving back in with mom and dad, I'm not doing that. I hate my hometown for reasons of my own, and I WILL NOT go back there. It's out of the question.

So, I'm taking this route. Since I've found this site, my fears went from "Holy shit, this is gonna be scary" to "Wow, I can pull this off pretty easily." I know I sound crazy, but this blog opened my eyes to realizing a lot about myself.

So, for my plan:

I'm going to get one of those crappy part time jobs, like at a mcdonalds or something, just to save up some money. My lease on the apartment is up this month, so I'm going to end it and stay in my car. I'll use the money I make to save up for the REAL big stuff. I should make PLENTY of money, considering I have no rent or utilities to pay.

I'm gonna pay off my debt, a measly $300 credit card. Once that is done, I'll look into buying a lot of the stuff that this website suggests.

After that, I'm going to do what the user "Mzm" posted. I'm headed to a state park to make use of their facilities and grounds, and volunteer as well. For extra money, I'm gonna donate my plasma. An easy $50 a week. After a while I'll probably find work in the park pretty easily. I'd imagine life will be good. Hard at times, but well worth it.

Most importantly, THANK YOU mobile homemaker. You're changing peoples' lives with stuff. By teaching me some things, I realized that what I REALLY want to do in life isn't all that crazy and terrible.

 
At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This website is a big help. it lessens the burdan off my shoulder. I too am homeless. lately i've been going through hard times to find the necessities. i live in a tent with a sleeping bag. I have my back pack, and my bicycle. the more i live like this the more i realize how people are so quick to criticize the homeless. the way i see it..this is how humans began...they didn't have AC and all these new gadgets you see in the world today. they can choose to be a part of the whole distraction,but i know that i have peace of mind without all that. thanks man, i really like what you're doing here..
-Josh

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Thomas said...

I am a photographer and would love to do a photo essay on homelessness. Ideally this would entail spending a great amount of timing essentially being homeless myself. Any advice on how you would go about finding people who would be willing to let me spend some time with them? I know spending a week in someone's shoes is not the same thing, but I hope that if I can capture their life I can tell a greater story than just my week on the street.

 
At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Thomas, just read your comment that you posted about doing a photo essay and or journalizing on homelessness.
I have been paying close attention to this web site. I read it daily and notice that there is not a lot of activity,with no dates posted, its hard to say when you wrote Thomas.Any way I have thought of the same thing,living amongst the homeless is the best way I know of to gain trust enough to write of their personal, lives, endless plight,endeavers,successes,failures
or whatever they choose to say, or you choose to write.
If you are still interested in doing some "photo" type of journey I suggest you choose A homeless person as A guide. By being an in-
concequential observer at any place that has A lot of homeless activity you should be able to find someone who is not in with a mob of scavanger types, and is presenting himself {preferably male} not as a public neusance, but as a trued, tried, and experienced survivor. You may have to "buy" some of their time with cheese burgers,sodas,a couple of pairs of new socks or the likes. do
not offer drugs or alcohol for any thing,as this will throw a wrench into your spokes right away. Establish repore with someone of this nature and assure them that this is the real deal and to meet him on the days you choose to do photo work and interviews. Make it a public place to meet. do not make a desision right away who you will use as your guide.
Thomas, unless you have experiance homelesness and endured any portion of what we go through , I strongly urge you to get a guide.
carry your least expensive photo gear until you get the feel for keeping your eyes on your belongings.
My name is Mark.I have been signing my post "Homeless in Colo."
I try to write something usefull every day.LETS BRING THIS WONDERFULL WEB SITE TO LIFE. If you are still out there Thomas I would love to chat on this subject some more.please date your entry so I know Im in touch with the now.
I also visit on this site at the
"addictions" and the "controlling desperation" tabs.11/14/10.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey man, 11/21/10...Day 6 without a smoke. No big deal so far..coffee is a big help.that is my best nicotine replacement so far its helped the most.
It seems doubt and dispair falls down around me more rapid fire than before without the nicotine.
Back to the survival guide for me a standard reference point on which some of my current desicions are made from. I havent been led astray yet.Stay warm all. From
Colorado

 
At 11:54 PM, Anonymous mark said...

Hello to all and any,11/27/10. Have had 3 smokes since 11/15 10. Still refuse to buy any or become dependant on any one else supporting my habits. Drawing that line in the sand so to speak helps to ease the craving for nicotine..Seem to be verry scatter brained this past week..it will pass. stay bundled.. Best to all.. Still in colorado..

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Laura said...

all of this is awesome advice on basic street survival. some are short-term fixes.... but some tactics mentioned seem like they could sustain someone who is homeless for the long-term (maybe resulting in them becoming chronically homeless and comfortable in their situation.)

that being said, my question is, where are you now? we know you are a survivor, but what inspired you personally to move on and get off the streets? i think you are an inspiration and an awesome soul and because of that many people are listening... so why not take this opportunity (especially the teens) to tell your personal story about how and why you got OFF the streets? maybe inspiring them further to make more progress even though they may get to a comfort level with being homeless.

just curious.

thank you for all this. especially the part about avoiding drugs. perseverance is the most important tool in these circumstances and drugs only inhibit that. you are great.

cheers and congrats, friend.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger totally lisa said...

This is a great site! I have been contemplating being consciously homeless for some time now. I do not want any part of the corporate ruled society we live in. I want to be away from the concrete and asphalt cities and the brainwashing tv. I am in SC. I would love to meet like-minded people near me. I was thinking of starting my new life by hiking along the Palmetto Trail up to the Appalachian Trail and just hanging out there for a while. I love to hike but it is not so much about hiking; it is more about living! Please email me at leisarobyne@hotmail.com if interested. I am a 46 y.o. woman born and raised in Charleston, SC.

 
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous caroljean19 said...

I am a professor beginning to conduct research on the experience of homelessness, the gaps in government support, and what public policymakers can do provide support that is desired, respectful, and effective. The comments posted on your site seem to convey so many parts of what it is like to be homeless and where the system has failed. Is it possible (and permitted) to quote some of the posts using short excerpts and code names to hide the identities of those who posted?

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

The comments here are unsolicited and unclaimed. They are pretty well anonymized by their authors. I believe they are the very definition of public domain. Furthermore, I believe what you are describing would be a fair use. If you wish to quote from the blog itself, then I hope you'll ask my permission by emailing me at homelessness @ gmai . com.

 
At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello
I stumbled across your blog in my search for information on living on the road and i am greatly interested in your book.

i realize that this post was written in 2004 but i hope you still receive this and have written your book already.

And that's really my question
Have you written your book yet?

thank you
Jane

p.s
thank you for all your hard work

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm glad you find the blog useful. For its current status, click here: Current Status of the Blog

 
At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Lanthir said...

I have been homeless in the past, but only for a few weeks or less at a time (up to two months, if you count very long camping trips). When my lease runs out though, I am going to be voluntarily homeless for an undetermined period of time, not likely to be less than six months.
A lot of my friends have been concerned, and one of them just sent me a link to this blog. Thanks so much for providing this excellent resource! I'm sure it will prove very useful to me, and will hopefully set my family's mind more at ease regarding my change in lifestyle.

 
At 3:33 PM, Anonymous RainWithHope said...

Ok I am considering to do the same like "you" and "empty Nester" but the only differance that I am a woman in my late thirty.
I got divorced because my exhusband cheated with many women and he shared credit card with one of his mistress without my knowledege.And he afforded to hire a lawyer which I could not because he withdrew all the money in the joint account without my knowledge too.
I do not want to start any relation with any man only because I need to move to his place!! I do not want to get hurt again from bad relation.Because I need to make sure if I want to start any relation it is the right one.

Now at the end of July I am considering to live in my car and get full time job but the only problem that I am thinking of is how a woman can fell sleep without possiblity somebody may hurt her or attack her?

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Survival Moms Site said...

Excellent blog and very interesting. I have never been homeless but have done camping and like to do research on survival topics.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

This blog gives me hope. There are so few resources when one is newly homeless that it seems like you are the only one homelessness ever happened to. I lost my house a few years back and my kids and I couch-hopped for three months. Keeping up appearances while they were in school, trying to keep the family together, trying not to lose my mind, scrambling to find some way and somewhere to live--it nearly broke me. Thankfully, family finally took us in and we are thriving now. I long to have the security of living on my own terms, somewhere in-between homeless and the debt-ride of the American Dream.

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Peter & Cody my Dog said...

There is hope at the end of the line. You just need to draw that line.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous RainWithHope said...

I am now living it in my car . I have only part time job that I did not tell them about my new circumstances inorder not to loss the job and I am applying for different other jobs. my problem that in the job application they want the physical address even if I give them my PO box address.

It is exhausting process and cost gas moving around to find a place to sleep safely for me as a woman. But I do not have any other solution as I do not have anybody here. Inaddition I can not trust the apartment building management as they rip you off by stealing the deposit and charge more for fake repairs after moving out.
I went yesterday to change the oil in my car and they ripped off too because I am a woman and they charged me extra for services I did not need but because I did not have experience in that I did not know that only later after they gave me the bill.

God with me and I know that and one day everything will be fine.

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

@rainwithhope

God has never been one to intervene in our trials. You'd do better to look to yourself and read my blog for some tips. For instance, I advise not to get a PO Box. Instead rent a box from a UPS store and use the unit as if it is a physical address. For most applications, they will never know.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Revin F Floyd said...

Outstanding info. I tried putting something like this together a few years back, and even registered the domain MobileHomeOffice.com (which I had to let go when I became homeless and could no longer afford or justify the $12 bucks a year to keep it...

You're doing a great job here! I've had short spreads of homelessness in my life and learned many of the lessons you teach here. It is possible to live homeless and maintain dignity, self-respect and a fair degree of comfort and freedom if you take care of some basic necessities and keep your mind open.

For the past year or so I've had a place to stay in Mt. Shasta, California--an extremely hostile environment to be homeless in--and although I had a place to go at night, I spent many days hanging out with the local homeless crowd, as they were the most interesting and hospitable people I found in the area.

One thing for sure, you won't find homeless people fretting about who got kicked off Survivor or Dancing with the stars. And that's why I left my cozy abode nearly every day to spend at least a couple hours hanging with the homies.

Keep up the good work, and I'll try to find some of my original content to share with you sometime.

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous RainWithHope said...

To Mobile Homemaker,
Thank you for this blog and your advice regarding the address for the job application.
The idea of living in my car was very scary but reading your blog and advices from you and others helping me to survive until now living in diginity in my car as a woman.
I do not speak to anybody about my situation and I do not join the crowds of the others which is an excellant advice to women inorder to survive during the homelessness.
Now the weather in Seattle is getting cold so I try to wear double thick layers during the night and cross my fingers before I go to sleep to walk up safe next day.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Charlotte said...

To RainWithHope, Almost had a local mechanic charge me $480 for a simple spark plug change with wire change. I use to do all my own engine tune ups and outside the engine block mechanics when I was younger. Last Friday, I started back to doing them again if this is what I can expect now. I'm 53. If you can, learn to do simple tune ups like oil changes, air filters, fuel filter, and spark plug changing. You'll save a lot of money. I saved $405 because AutoZone had the parts needed for only $75 and with a Haynes Auto Manual for my truck, the work was done.

 
At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Debra said...

I stayed up late reading your posts and they should be mandatory reading for social work students and others in human services work. Every politician and law enforcement official should spend a day in the life of a homeless person. This site has opened my eyes. I have never even been close to being homeless but a couple times I've had to wait 6 or 7 hours overnight to get Greyhound bus connections after the station had closed. As a young female I had to wander around dangerous, unfamiliar cities for hours at night looking for a warm place to stay while waiting for my bus connection. It was a scary experience since I really felt a sense of having nowhere to go. I had to be resourceful and walked until I found all night cafes or bars where I could stay until the bus station re-opened. At least I had money in my pocket to do these things, but imagine if I had none? This site is amazing!

 
At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too thought about writing a book due to my experiences. however I lack the motivation and software... haha... I had a great job but my job was located in one of the most expensive counties in the nation. even though I was making descent money I couldn't afford to make rent and my truck payment... so I lived in my truck... Easy right... Wrong... you learn sooooo much... my first attempts were to stay at a state beach camp site... yeah it was great at 30$ a night. and a dollar per 3 minute shower tokens... yeah that sh*t got expensive... so I thought I would try staying in a church parking lot... well got a love those RELIGIOUS good people they called the cops to remove me... But not only did the cops bang on my camper shell they also called in reinforcements to search my vehicle and perform a full cavity search... I was late for work that day... to witch their reply was it is illegal to sleep in your car and that's what hotels are for... at 75 dollars a night sure I'll take 3... well.. I don't want to go on and on so I will just share some things I learned... Lesson #1 You are not alone The more places you stay the more you see the same people (rest stops are great as long as you only go there when your ready to sleep and you do not use drugs... police will f*ck with you if you have ANY drugs including alcoholic beverages) I LIKE BEER.. haha... Lesson #2 find a gas station that has a floor drain and buy a dog sprayer that attaches to a faucet. make sure you buy a lot of stuff at that gas station and clean up after yourself. great way to have a hot shower... Lesson #3 be anonymous as possible... attracting attention to any one is only going to cause hard ship.. stay away from tweekers and don't even look at police they will bash your face into a car for no reason and claim some bull sh*t story.. I speak from personal experience. I could go on and on in this subject but I wont thanks for reading... safe journeys... A2

 
At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an umemployed veteran. 5'10" 28 yr old female and living in my Focus (not tinted) since Dec 2010 to presently Mar 2012. It sucks. IN the beginning my feet would swell up constantly hasn't happened in few months. This blogs hit the points spot on. I sleep in my back seat. I have long hair so i braid it in before i climb in the back seat. I park in the cusp of residental and street parking. most nights i sleep Maybe 3 hrs tops. In southern CA it does get hot after 10am. I do feel hopeless, depressed and don't even know where to begin. Have GI bill to go to school but i totally feel absolutely lost. nowhere to go. all alone. i've lostin touch with friends. unemployment and no money limits outreach plus i feel too ashamed to speak to them regarding my plight. I spend my days in Starbucks (laptop), local library which opens at 10am or in Barnes and Noble. I am aimlessly living. I loathe it. I shower in the a motel once every 20 days or so. Other days i use BABY WIPES. still sucks but i have done it on deployments. i quickly shave legs, armpits and brush in starbucks private restrooms. feels like basic training (bootcamp) speed but i am desperate. It gets extremely loney. At night i find myself speaking to myself about things. i always thought that it was the path to losing sanity. there are many days i cry myself to sleep sick of life. it's not constructive and I eat cheap 99cents fast food once a day. Overall i do blend in but i avoid people contact afraid i have nothing useful to contribute. I am conflicted in my faith in the lord and i know i have to do somthing to turn my life around but just don't know where to turn to. Sometimes i find myself regretting for not re enlisting othertimes i am glad i didn't. on the bright side i have lost weight 25 lbs. This experience hasn't change me in anyway other than my self esteem, self worth and confidence.
i hope i get something in me to change my life around and be useful. I cannot expect anything from anyone but me.

feeling beyond hopeless.
D

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I care about you, D.

Homelessness is not a measure of your worth. With some effort you can make it more comfortable. Do not allow yourself to be hopeless.

Thank you for your service to the country. Seek mental health counseling to help you with depression if you are willing.

 
At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is that in today's America almost all of us are closer to being homeless than we are to being wealthy.

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You.

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Lindo. said...

I know this is the "COMMENT SECTION" but,wow!i'm not quite sure what to make of this. I ask a question on Google about homelessness and this is what I find. It's Interesting and Insightful. I guess that this feels like a real eye opener for me. I am currently on the verge of being homeless. I knew it was a possibillity but didn't think it would happen to me. Being Homeless seems intense! And I'm scared, but I know it's coming very soon. So, thanks for this information:) I do have a question though, I am a young, attractive (not being vain, just the truth:/) female in my early twenties, is it more dangerous for a woman to be homeless?(I'm assuming it is...if yes, what are some survival tools for a female on the street?)??? And Where I live there are not a lot of resources for homeless ppl. I've searched online for shelters in my area and I have been homeless when I was a child so I know the shelter in my town is not safe at all!And we do Not have transit in my town and I cannot afford a cab. I find myself currently unemployed, without a car and I cannot crash anywhere anymore. Family is out of the question and my social life is sh** And I'm broke!:( bumming, slumming, and using my friends laptop! Any advice on what I should do?I can work, I have documentation, but no vehicle and hitch hiking is illegal and like I said i'm a young female, I don't want to take that risk. Homelessness is near I can taste it almost...I just want to be prepared, I know It will take a while to get back on my feet,but I just want to be ready. Thanks:)

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in some years i will be living in an island near the shore, where there is no one, in a tent, i will sleep there, no taxes, no pollution, 0 criminality and you can piss where you want, noone will bother you, of course i will have a canoe and go to the shore everyday. im just a boy, but i will move to the island when i finish my studies like at about 25 and get a job, really, i dont know why people like houses, they are expensive and they cant do anything

 
At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm glad i found this blog. it may become a valuable resource for me to learn to survive in a way i never thought i would have to. i guess its true. it can happen to anyone.

much like the author, i went to college, even graduated cum laude last may. but, despite all my efforts and those of my relatives, i can't find a job. oddly enough though, I'm being blamed by my relatives for people deciding i am either over-qualified or under-qualified, and refusing to hire me on either basis. every relationship between my family members is fractured to the breaking point and the fissures are growing everyday. i feel like my welcome is rapidly being worn out, and things will come to a head soon. so its best to prepare for what, to me, is the worst-case scenario.

all i can say is thank you for this guide. the knowledge will hopefully keep me, and others like me from having to learn it first hand and probably save some time in jail due to ignorance and stupidity.

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is modern day cave painting. Gifts of guidance and hope given with no expectation of material reward. Thank you all

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in a van for two years and would like to share some techniques I developed. I bought a used mini van from a homeless outreach health center, then removed the back seats. Then I bought a good single mattress and a tent made almost entirely of mosquito net and put it inside the van on top of the mattress. My bedding and anything else I didn't want the bugs to get into then went inside the tent with me every night, including my backpack and walking shorts. I was sure to drink at least one bottle of orange juice or water a day, and to save the bottles to pee in at night. I had a 24 Hour Fitness gym membership and used the equipment there to stay fit, and the showers and toilet. I just took my full pee bottles in my backpack in with me to the gym in the morning and emptied them in the toilet and threw the bottles in the trash can. I used the local laundromat for cleaning my clothes, and just stacked clean clothes in the van next to the tent. I bought those dark plastic rain guards for the front windows so I could keep them open an inch or two at night, and my rear windows were the push-out kind which I also opened at night to get air flow. The full-net tent on top of a mattress worked like a charm and allowed air flow with the van windows.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Catherine said...

I am working on a way to make cotton reusable underarm pads that attach onto my shirts with Velcro. I would sew Velcro into my new looking shirts(which would hopefully stay new looking since I may rarely wash them) and every day take out the pad and replace it, and wash the old one and put it in a mesh part of the backpack or whatever to dry. There is already such a solution for panty liners that you sew that you can Google, but no reusable underarm solution.. I am in addition to that, practicing how to take a spray bottle shower in 32 oz of water(hair washing included-you just wash the roots with a small sponge and a TINY bit of soap and it works good!). I am not homeless currently but I am pretty much unable to keep up with what is required to care for myself in regards to earning ability.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks man. Driving to NC from Florida and will be living out of my car. This will help a lot.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so great to see an article like this. I am currently living out of my car and am in Pa. This is horrible because it is freezing here. I do not know what to do. I have a lantern so I can see at night, sleeping bag and blankets, privacy from prying eyes but I am sleeping in a car where the windows become iced over on the inside and I am bathing in walmart bathrooms. I hope as I continue reading I find some tips to living better this way. I do not see a near end to this situation. I am feeling hopeless.

 

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