This conversation is closed.

Would you ever choose to be homeless?

I have had several occasions over the years where I found myself making a conscious choice to be homeless. Usually only for a day or two sometimes a week or so. I did however spend about 6 months in my youth without any real address and honestly look back on it as one of the best experiences of my life. By allowing myself the freedom of being truly both vulnerable and flexible I met some of the most interesting and generous people one could ever hope to meet from such diverse backgrounds. I am now contemplating making it a lifestyle. This is not to say sleeping in allies everyday, but camping out staying with those who would have me, even paying for a room when needed and yes allies. I believe that I might feel more at home when I am traveling often aimlessly than I do around my family for whom I care for deeply. Why can't we loose the stigma of what it is to be homeless? Many teachings suggest that a life without all the clutter of the material that is so pervasive in modern culture can be very rich and rewarding. The pope even takes a vow of poverty upon his appointment, however sometimes I am not sure how seriously he takes it. Now let me ask you the same question again but grant you the ability to enjoy all of the comforts of home regardless of where you lay your head at night. Would this make a difference?

Closing Statement from Skylar Nitesh

We are all homeless in the sense that ownership is illusory and the only certainty is change, but we all share this planet we call earth and here we all have a home. I live for the day when we take this obsession of the material and strive for not only substance but connection and longevity in all that we create and the lives we lead. We are a family and while we may not always agree our fates are bound.

  • thumb
    Aug 5 2011: Hi Skylar.
    I admire your courage and will. I wish to try it sometime, especially to build relationship with the others on the streets.
    Ever since having read about Shane Claiborne who redefined the meaning of a bible cliche "help the poor" as being family with them, I've wanted to try it. But you bring up another perspective to the dream by saying that you've learned and had the best experiences in your life, suggesting that this can be not just a charity case, but also a lifestyle in a pursuit of knowledge and experience. Thank you.
    • Aug 5 2011: Thank you very much for you compliments and insights. They are encouraging even though you are a world away and we have never physically met your words carry hope.
  • Aug 5 2011: Hi Skylar. Have you heard of couchsurf.org? This is a great way to safely travel throughout the US and abroad.
    • thumb
      Aug 5 2011: i did this in europe last year, hitch hiking and couch surfing even through serbia, it was great. met the most amazing people.
    • Aug 5 2011: I actually just started filling out a profile on couchsurf and was one of the reasons I have chosen to discuss this topic. Thank you both, it is a wonderful site.
      • thumb
        Aug 7 2011: It is the only way to travel.

        When you say you where homeless, what do you mean? You didn't have a permanent residence and where just squatting with friends? What was the process of staying with randoms, did you just meet people and ask if you could stay? Did you have a job?

        To be honest I have thought about doing it a couple of times, more so just to see what it was like for a homeless person. To start from nothing and see what it was like to be able to get a job without owning a car or residence, and to how hard it was to get a place to stay without a job and not relying on anyone.

        Personally I am for the voluntary simplicity movement, and believe we have too much attachment for material things, I would love to spend my days living off the land, not being apart off all the issues of today. But unfortunately we live in a world where this is not easily possible.

        “Why can’t we lose the stigma about being homeless”, it’s very unfortunate that many people are homeless and live on the streets; many of these people also have mental illness. I could not imagine how hard it would be to own nothing, the only people you know are also homeless, what it would be like to find something to eat and a place to sleep for the night let alone try and get a job, and to top it off a failed system to support you and not many people really giving a shit.

        I don't mean to be rude but the “being homeless” you are talking about would be a dream for many of the people who sleep on the pavement every night. The stigma is on the mark, and should stay to show people what it is to be homeless. We can lose the stigma when we people’s rights are met and have a shelter over their head.

        Thanks for the great subject.
        • Aug 8 2011: I mean I didn't have any financial means of my own no job no bank account in regard to my roughly six month stent and relied on the generosity of others which was well received and often with little to no solicitation. I dressed well, had average hygiene and believe this was a major factor in peoples willingness and often eagerness to engage me. I was lucky enough to make friends who would let me store the few things that I had and come and go pretty much. Most nights however I would chose to go home with strangers (not always sexual) that I would meet anywhere from a bar, store, beach, through others or just walking around. There were several schools in area which helped. Students usually accept others. I would also find an alley, abandoned build, but preferred the beach and parks. It wasn't all rainbows however I have had knives and guns pointed at me (never shot or stabbed luckily) been in fights where I was out numbered but was able to hold my own and wasn't too proud to run away if presented with the option to do so. I would often wake up and not have a clue where I was geographically that is (excuse me sir what city is this kind of thing) but I even look back at those experiences with fondness. I think I put myself in dangerous circumstances to push my limits and grow as an individual. I have been blessed with the intuition of a child that has saved me numerous times. If you pay attention and listen to your gut it can save you a lot of hurt. The day here day there stuff was very much about sleeping in public places and/or creating new experiences for myself walking rather than calling for a ride choosing to not talk with anyone I knew thirsty for new connections because something in me was driving me to do so. Sometimes I would go out with friends to the club and tell my ride to leave me which was often met with worry, but I would persist and drop off the grid for a few days or week until I felt more like a complete person I guess you could say. Thank you.
      • thumb
        Aug 8 2011: That is a great post. Your experience sounds amazing, it reminds me of something I read a while ago, sorry for being vague as I can't remember to well, but it was s
        Something about ether Hindu are Buddhist living with no home or possessions and would only eat what was offered to them and rely on the kindness of others for a place to stay.

        What country do you live in? I would love to do this and try it out, I just have no idea where I would begin. 
        • Aug 8 2011: I live in the US and was in South Florida (Miami area) when I did this. It is always important to recognize that which is most rewarding can also be dangerous and if anyone decides to try this I recommend that you not be afraid to walk away and maybe try again perhaps in a different place and or time if things get too intense. It is important to prepare both physically and mentally to plan for the unexpected one will surely encounter with such an endeavor much like an expedition. Make no mistake it can be a jungle out there, but to me that is what makes life so precious, its dynamic nature. The risk I believe to be well worth the reward. Thank you my friend and good luck in your journey.
  • thumb
    Aug 5 2011: i plan to retire to a commune indefintaily someday. so in a way i would be, but it would very much be a home.
    • Aug 5 2011: A home yes, but hopefully with fewer walls to keep people out and more of a willingness to embrace otherness as Thandie Newton might say. I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
  • Comment deleted

    • Aug 5 2011: Yes, responsibilities and obligations not to mention piles on piles of stuff. I am not saying that just anyone can or should try this, but then again a person can change and so there lifestyle and circumstances. Less is often more especially when it comes to time, because we are here such a short period. In many cases even in our modern world the mountain must first be climbed if you want to see whats on the other side and how humbling the view from it's summit. Thank you for your time I know it is precious.
  • thumb
    Aug 5 2011: Erm I'm definitely misquoting but this blog entry is so beautiful:

    "Let’s DO talk coffee.
    I travel a lot. I haven’t had a stable home ever since I was very little, after 14 years old I changed so many places I stopped counting at around roughly 27. And there have been many nights, many countries, many different languages, many cities, many streets. Most of the time when you live like this, you don’t have many friends, people forget you fast and those who want to love you don’t do it because they feel you’ll be just a passenger in their lives. So nights pass, days too, you meet people, forget some, run to catch a bus, try to remember this word in that language, you run across Terminal D with the suitcase in one hand, the ticket in the other and a carton coffee cup between your teeth, dangerously swinging about a coffee grown cold since half an hour ago.

    Someone’s car, a stop at a gas station at 5 in the morning in the middle of nowhere, grab a cup. An airplane flying above the ocean at night, you call for the stewardess to get you, if she can, a cup of black, bitter one. A crowded street. Waiting at the travel agency. Working over time. Working 2 jobs. Balancing a pile of books with a cup on top of them. Writing, writing many words. Here, there and everywhere. And in some silent moment you sit waiting for the airplane, it’s late at night and your flight is still 5 hours away and you sit there alone, on top of your suitcase, staring at your coffee cup and you know this is all you got right now. Sure, it’s just coffee. But it’s funny how it’s the only thing in the world that gives a damn about you at 5 a.m."
    • Aug 5 2011: I view this portrait to be more of a business person who's monetary pursuits have left little to no time for the intrinsic and aw inspiring. My intent is to learn to slow down and take notice and appreciate the things that life in the fast lane would only cover with dust as it sped by. I am talking about making real genuine connections with people and our environments not constraining these connections' ability to grow and strengthen by putting a time limit on them. I appreciate your willingness to share and any input you may have. Thank you.
  • thumb
    Aug 5 2011: I love the movie into the wild. But no thanks I have psoriasis and must take two baths everyday as a part of my treatment. So being homeless means lots of sacrifices besides warm beds and tv rooms.
    • Aug 5 2011: I am not preaching solitude as the young man in the film sought. I want genuine connections and connections are strongest where there is an abundance of life such as parks and cities or city parks if you will. One of the reasons I bring up this topic is another thread I posted: A home away from home... Life goes mobile... I believe that in the near future it will be possible to take the comforts of home (warm bed and yes TV, but so much more than that) with us wherever we go and perhaps even treat illnesses especially those involving the dermis layers without having to stop what you are doing.