I’ve been trying to write this post for week. It’s a heavy subject and one I was totally oblivious to until I joined the RV life. Homeless were the people you served in a soup kitchen when you volunteered at church or Girl Scouts. That’s my only experience before I lived amongst them for a few months. Homeless isn’t just the people lining up for a bed in the shelter. Campgrounds are full of us but I do feel like there is a hierarchy.
Retired – usually in expensive rigs, sometimes friendly, don’t stay put long. Most of this group have homes they return to after traveling for months at a time. This a stereotype of the ones I met. Optimus got out one evening and did not go anywhere near this particular couple’s RV but she had to chat with me. She walks her cat every morning and doesn’t want to worry about meeting my corgi unleashed. Oh dear. I did miss her talking to my immediate neighbor when his dog got out but that’s the Bitter Betty side of me. She also isn’t following my stereotype as she’s been here longer than a week but for the most part, the retirees are the kings and queens of the campgrounds.
Intentionally Homeless – working but choose this lifestyle based on their jobs or desire to travel. Usually we are pretty laid back and just living life. Obviously, this is where Vince and I fall. I feel like we were pretty clueless going into this. We weren’t aware of the growing trend towards this life. We’ve met several families tired of mortgages, tired of utilities, searching for freedom. Mid-life crisis? Possibly but we’ve seen all ages choosing the RV life. It doesn’t suck. I can clean the house top to bottom in 30 minutes. If I don’t like my neighbors, I move. Google Travellers or text your girl for my recent movement.
Working Homeless – this group has been the most surprising to me. Two income families that can’t afford rent for various reasons. Kids attend school but the districts consider them homeless. They have a home, it’s just on wheels. Parents work. It’s normal life in a much smaller space. The ones we have met, desire a bricks and mortar dwelling. They didn’t choose this life. My heart breaks for them because I want them to have it all.
Car Campers – people living in their car. We’ve only had limited interaction but I can tell you there is a spot in suburbia KC with a car community. I think living in a camper is rough, I can’t imagine doing life in a car. But if you can’t rent an apartment and you can’t afford a camper, the next option is the car life. There are also Facebook groups of people intentionally choosing to live in vans and such so I’m not saying everyone is down on their luck but it’s a world I didn’t know existed. Naive much?
Homeless – or what I considered homeless. I can’t say I’ve had a bad run in but I do tend to meet them in the laundry rooms and shower houses at campgrounds. As in life, most are very nice. I don’t know all their stories. One man in the laundry room told me he was a former Marine and hit hard times after his divorce. I gave him a quarter when he came up short on the dryer. He told me he had just landed a job but he needed clean clothes to start. Sucker? Probably since a girl walked in and landed a big old smooch on him. He introduced her as his girlfriend but then he stepped outside to smoke. She told me they had met 48 hours ago and had been partying non-stop. She was really tired and hoping to sleep after laundry. Interesting. He came in and she started taking clothes out of the dryer and putting them on her body. She said warm clothes from the dryer were her favorite. He told her that was probably a luxury considering how they lived. No judgement.
I choose to be homeless and there are days I question our sanity. There are days I miss my house and my yard but plenty of days that I don’t. This isn’t what I thought I would be when I grew up. I also think this post sounds shallow and oblivious since I’m shocked by all the people considered homeless. It’s not like movies.