Homelessness can be adventure rather than a torment. Attitude is the key to overcoming distress.
I just watched a George4Title video on YouTube. I’ve been watching his videos well over a year now – ever since the economy failed and I looked on that site for information on what was happening in the cities when people lost their jobs. George has it covered. He had the information I wanted, and since then I’ve watched as he’s gone from hopeless and unemployed to famous internet entrepreneur, since he’s making good money with his videos by putting AdSense advertising on his YouTube pages.
Tonight I watched a video about people who are (gasp!) running out of gas because they have no money. He said his friend actually had to stay home a few days because he had no gasoline. Wow. I hate to admit it but that has happened to me so many times during the duration of my life (I’m 58 this year) that it really doesn’t surprise me. My poverty status didn’t happen during a recession or depression – it was more a way of life. We all have to learn to live within our means.
In the middle of the video he cut to a scene of a man camping next to a busy road somewhere down there in Southern California where he lives. Now this is what prompted my comment:
“I moved to the mountains ten years ago and live a very simple lifestyle in a small cabin-type house. Making do with less is the way to get through this. I live in an area with no fluoride in the water, where I can have an organic garden…. all this because I planned ahead and got out of the city back in 1999. My income is low but I’m gratefully not destitute in a city. What I don’t understand is why people are camping homeless in cities when they could be in the forests having an adventure.”
I’ve been through periods of homelessness … but never felt destitute. Most recently I lived for two months in a tiny car with two kids and two cats – that was ten years ago after I left the San Francisco Bay Area, and before I found the cabin I’m currently living in, which I’ve been in over ten years now (thank you God!)
Homeless or not, there are choices. Living on a city street with nothing but cardboard for a blanket is a choice. There are options, and I don’t mean those horrible homeless shelters with strict curfews, demands that you cook for the crowd, and other restrictive rules. I was in a few of those after I left the man who battered me twenty years ago. It isn’t likely that I’d go back… in the meantime I’ve become much more creative in my thinking.
And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? There are probably lots of people suffering with city-based homelessness because they can’t think outside the box well enough to get some simple camping supplies and go backpacking in the wilderness. How many of them have thought to research wild edible foods? Why are they content to live in pain and misery when they could be walking in the beautiful countryside with smiles on their faces, observing nature, drinking in good chi and creating happy memories?
I expect that the main restraints are ignorance and fear: ignorance that a better life is possible through positive thinking and forward action, and fear that they might not get life-sustaining opportunities (ie: dumpster diving) if they ventured out of the big city.
If charities for the homeless provided sleeping bags and little tents and backpacks and a way to get foodstamps, people could be on their way to adventurous vacations rather than stuck in soup lines.
For those who think it can’t be done – I’ve got to pull the Peace Pilgrim card. My goodness. This little old lady left her home, ditched her name, and traveled back and forth on foot across North America multiple times, walking until given shelter, and fasting until given food. She maintained her positive attitude, healthy lifestyle, and her very life for years, and left us with an amazing legacy of her philosophy which was collected by the many friends she made along time way.
So, down with attitudes of hopelessness! Up with exciting adventures. Homelessness is what you make of it. I do hope that there are many who shed the public perception of homeless distress, and take the opportunity to do something wonderful and different with their lives.
I first encountered Peace Pilgrim when I found her book in a used bookstore not far from where I worked in Visalia, in 1987. She’s been a source of inspiration and has had my ardent admiration for many years.
Homelessness doesn’t frighten me because I’ve got good memories of traveling light with my kids ten years ago. I believe life is what you make of it, and attitude determines the quality of our experiences.