I have been homeless since February, if you go by society’s definition of homelessness. It was in February that I gave up my rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, sold and gave away a bunch of stuff that I no longer wanted or needed, and put the rest in storage. I whittled down my necessary belongings to one wheelie carry-on suitcase and began traveling.
My goal was to continue to strip away those aspects of myself that no longer served me and get to my core being. Like our homes, our beings can get cluttered with lots of “stuff” that weighs us down. We could be holding onto old memories that cause us pain, wearing masks and personas that hide who we really are, or literally carrying around lots of material goods that cause us stress. By choosing a consciously homeless life, I hoped to release anything else that needed to be released in my life.
I had been working on this for a while – releasing personas, limiting beliefs and memories and pain that weren’t helping me be authentically who I am – but knew that it was time for me to go deeper. I challenged myself to spend at least 6 months without the security and support of my home while I explored other cultures…hoping that by getting completely out of my comfort zone I could shake things up a bit in my life.
It’s been almost 9 months now, and I’ve learned and shed a lot:
- Home really is a state of mind, not a physical building. I spent time living in a small thatch-roofed hut in the jungle of Guatemala, in hotels across Japan, Thailand and Cambodia, and on couches of friends and family members. Regardless of where I was, and what my living conditions were like, I could easily tap into “me” and feel at home in my surroundings. I don’t need a specific building to feel this way.
- When we are out of our comfort zone, life has a way of letting you know when you have some more work to do on yourself. In Guatemala I came face-first into an old wound that I thought I had worked through and healed. I was wrong, and Guatemala showed me not only my pain but also how to heal it. I would never have had that experience and growth if I had been living my “normal” day-today life.
- We don’t need nearly all the stuff that we carry through life and have in our homes. I think there were maybe one or two times during my travels that I wished I had something that wasn’t in my carry-on bag…and those were because of extenuating circumstances. Who would have ever imagined that I would be invited to a wedding in Guatemala and needed a nice dress and shoes? I’ve gone back and looked at my stuff in storage and know that I could easily get rid of even more.
- While cultures, food and how people live varies around the world, people are basically the same. Everyone wants to live a happy, healthy, comfortable life; wants a better life for their children; and enjoys sitting around a table, sharing a meal. The times I spent with new friends in each country in their homes are some of my most cherished memories, since they were sharing personal aspects of themselves with me by inviting me into their homes.
I don’t know when I’ll go back to living in one, typical home. I’m having too much fun living my life this way. It aligns well with my personality. Currently, I’m thinking that I will split my time between San Francisco and Guatemala when I’m not traveling to other places since I have places that I can stay in both locations.
What can you release from your life or home that is weighing you down?
Beautiful, Jennifer. I have loved following your journey ad your bravery inspires me! I think one thing I am to release is need to be doing all the time. I want to BE more.. Thanks for all your writing!