Sunday, October 20, 2013

Unconventional Homes For Conventional People

These days many people are taking to permanent rv/travel trailer living partly because of the number of foreclosures America has seen since 2008, and partly because people are starting to want to live "off the grid."

After my building fund was embezzled, as I faced my 60th year, I became one of those people who stopped dreaming the American dream in traditional terms and started to look at alternative options. 

The more I looked, the more enchanted I became of these unconventional "homes."

Of course, I couldn't have horses, or work within my career field.  But at almost 60 years old those days were coming to an end anyway.. even if all of my home/horse facility fund had not been stolen.

As a child I would watch the Gypsies in Europe  gather on nearby commons. The wooden bow topped caravans painted bright colors, the assortment of horses and ponies tethered as far as the eye could see. The smell of open cooking and the large family activities of these nomads without roots. Always strangers in their own land, never quite belonging to the communities they stayed in. Each contented with the community they belonged within.

Over the years the original bow topped caravans became sought after  collectors items in America, and slowly they were sold, being replaced by conventional metal caravans (trailers) drawn not by horses, but by vehicles.

It was the end of an era. Memories never to be duplicated again. and those with no gypsy blood in them, became gypsies.

Today's modern American gypsies, those who live mobile,  have a strong bond. They may have been living mobile for a month or 10 years, but their doors are always open, a hot cup of coffee or soup always ready for a temporary neighbor. The most fellowship and caring I have ever felt was in a small rural campsite.
I had never met any of them before, yet there was no stranger present.

The advantages of mobile living were too numerous to count:

* If you don't like your neighbor... move your trailer!

*  If you don't like the weather... move your trailer to another state!

* If your family tick you off.. move your trailer across the nation! Go to Canada, Mexico.. just GO!

* If you become so senile that you forgot what you went into another room to get.... you don't have far to walk back and wait to remember.

* No exterior painting required.

* You cannot buy everything you want.. where would you put it?

* If you don't like the interior decorating take a week-end and change it!

* If the sun hurts your eyes, turn the trailer around.

* No stairs to climb

* No laws to mow

* No need for long ladders to wash the windows.

* No relatives visiting for a week. YOU can visit THEM!

* If you feel like spending a few months in the mountains, spend a few months in the mountains. If you decide to spend the summer on the beach.. drive to the beach.

* No hotels/motels/guest homes to book.

* No need to look for anyone to "house sit" when you leave. Just put the trailer in storage.

* At Christmas you can park right next to the first available pine tree and decorate it without the need for cutting down a perfectly healthy tree.

* You can call ANY state "home" - at least until you want to call another state home.

* Housecleaning takes 30 minutes from top to bottom. No need for maid service or carpet cleaners, or dry cleaning bills for expensive drapes.

* Have trouble deciding what to wear? No trouble here.. you have room for 4 outfits.  Take your pick.

By watching people older than myself I came to a valid realization. I watched people work countless hours to accumulate "things."  A larger home, a more expensive dining room set, a garage full of toys for a garden that slowly became too much work as the owners aged. I watched the transformation  when downsizing was part of the process.  and it dawned on me that we spend most of our lives trying to attain what we cannot keep hold of.

Babies grow into children, children grow into adults and they leave home to start families of their own. And most of the "things" we thought we needed, we didn't need at all.

 I am confident that leaving the horse industry is going to sting for a long, long time.  I am just as confident that the nostalgic loss of not having a piece of ground to call my own is going to raise it's head from time to time, and it may overwhelm me. Long enough for me to think about the last time I paid property tax.

One of the things I have noticed ever since becoming "homeless" is that insurance companies rarely want to cover you when you do not have a "fixed" address and I advice all embarking on a mobile lifestyle to not be too liberal with information. They want to know that a vehicle is parked at a stationary address.

There are some minuses of course. Mail is difficult to get unless you have an established post box set up at a certain location, but these days that is less troublesome than it was before the internet days. Some locations may not offer internet access. The cost of gas is rising, rising and rising. And no one can ignore the fact that no matter how large your trailer or RV may be, you are in a limited space and organizational skills is a must.

But even in this world of frugal living there is always the one, or two, or three that makes you drool..

The $9999999 Sunset Trail Reserve. I hope, for that price, the Royal Dalton china shown comes with it. Now where did I put my lottery ticket?

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