It’s been three days since we sold nearly everything we own, including the house, stored some important stuff, and packed up what was left of our belongings and headed out to see how efficient and effective a mobile lifestyle can be, especially for a pretty die-hard survivalist.
Here’s what I have learned so far:
• The government isn’t a fan of people they can’t easily find. I tried to change the address on my driver’s license, per the law in my state which requires license holders to notify the department of licensing within ten days of their move, of their new address. After trying for an hour to explain to the lady at the counter at the DMV as well as her supervisor, as well as their state supervisor, that the only address I will have is that of my private mail box because I won’t actually be living in any particular place and will be traveling for the next year or two, they finally concluded that they couldn’t help me since there were no rules for them to follow governing such a situation. Which led me to a couple of conclusions…one, customer service and logical thinking is sadly lacking in this government-run organization. And two, if they can’t even figure out an address problem, I would hate to see what the government does if they are running the entire health care system. Scary. This makes me an even bigger fan of the less government/more free enterprise fan club.
• For day to day living (granted this isn’t an after-a-major-disaster survival situation) you actually need very few things to survive. Some cash, some clothes, some toiletries, a cell phone, a netbook…that’s about all I have with me (obviously the free accommodations and lots of free food provided by our hosts while we visit friends and family helps a lot). I simply can’t think of anything else I need to run out to the store and buy.
• Eating on the road can be expensive and less than healthy. Definitely the ability to have a home/your own kitchen and space to stock up on healthier food when it is on sale, or better yet, grow your own food, is a major plus to having an actual home location. I will be looking at ways to work around this situation as we get more into the mobile lifestyle.
• People are generally astounded that we can do such a thing. The bottom line is that more than anything it takes a major attitude shift as well as the ability to “be weird”—as Dave Ramsey says—in order to make such a thing happen. You basically have to go against everything you have ever learned as an American in our American consumerist culture in order to make such a change. This means saving money instead of shopping, saying NO to debt of any kind, living without a home (definitely something quite unusual!), and checking out of the consumer lifestyle of work-buy-work more-buy more. Obviously it is also important to have some source of income but you don’t need nearly as much income for this lifestyle as you do to support a mortgage/car payments/eating out every day/shopping at the mall every other day lifestyle.
• This lifestyle is at once both much simpler and more complicated than our previous “normal” lifestyle. Simpler because there is less to worry about—no roof to fix if it leaks, no bills to pay, no local politics to get into, no work-related hassles…you get the idea. More complicated because everywhere we go we need to settle into a new routine, deal with a lesser support system of people than we had when we were firmly rooted in a community, there are travel logistics that are always a hassle, and things we take for granted with a home (mail delivery, medical appointments, etc) need more attention than usual.
That's the high points so far. I'm sure there will be many more lessons to learn.