Countdown To Homelessness

Such a very strange time in my life — this countdown to homelessness. Strangest of all is that I, a world class worrier, am calm — even happy — about the whole thing. I do have occasional brief moments of panic and just as many moments of excitement, but mostly I think my situation is . . . amusing. Yes, that’s the word. Amusing.

I find myself musing about the future. I find myself bemused by the chain of events that lead me here. I find myself smiling in amusement at the possibilities of an uncertain life. And the necessary research keeps me amused for hours.

desertOddly, I am quite content with the thought of living nowhere in particular, but the truth is, as long as I am alive, I do have to be physically present somewhere, and that does give me pause. There is no place I really want to be, and the thought of being anywhere in particular spooks me.

The main conflict right now comes from my desire to continue taking dance classes, but unless I find a place to stay here, I will be heading out. (Maybe just for the summer or until I can find a place here. Thanks to the internet, every place is everywhere, so I don’t have to be present to continue looking.) I have offers of places to stay in an emergency, and I will probably take people up on their offers since I have promised to continue taking classes until June. (We have a performance at the end of May — a Hawaiian War Chant and a trio of Tahitian Apurimas. I love both these pieces. Energetic and so very exotic!)

I am leaving future to the fates, God, the universe . . . whatever you choose to name the Great Unknown. If I find a place, I stay here in the desert. If I don’t, well, I have friends to meet all over the country, and actually, all over the globe. But specifically, I have offers of places to stay temporarily in Northern California and Texas. Invitations to hike in Door County. Lunch in Ohio. A dear friend in Louisiana to connect with. An old friend near Tucson to reconnect with. A friend to meet in Quartzsite (and maybe even a place to stay if she hasn’t sold her RV.) An invitation to visit a friend in New Zealand. Plans to meet a friend in Australia. (If you want to be added to this list, please let me know!)

To be honest, considering the state of my finances, I should get a job, but there’s nothing much I’m suited for except looking after the sick, old, and dying (it’s all I’ve done the past 10 years) and I’m ready for LIFE.

I’d considered getting a van and turning it into a camper, considered getting a larger car that I can sleep in, but somehow (not sure how, exactly) I decided to get my ancient VW Beetle restored. It started with my wanting a paint job so I wouldn’t look like a bag lady living in a decrepit car, but no place would paint a car with rust even if I signed a waver, so the rust had to be removed, and if I did that, I might as well have the dents fixed, and if I did that, I might as well . . . see? Somehow it all just happened.

And somehow, my future will just happen, too.

I do love the idea of traveling around the country in my bug, visiting my online friends, camping out in remote and not so remote areas, getting a feel for the world and my place in it. (Maybe preparing for some sort of epic walk while I’m at it.) Since I have no experience camping and have no gear, there is a whole new realm to get to know. Where can I tent camp for free or almost free? I don’t want to be around RVs, won’t need the same sort of amenities, and wouldn’t really be a part of that culture, anyway. And I definitely don’t want to camp in the middle of a busy campground. So I’m researching tent campgrounds and camping equipment. I covet the eight-person tent I saw — multiple rooms, plenty of space, even a closet! — but it seems a bit impractical. There are wonderful camp toilets, but the practicality ends with the cost of the liners and fillers. They would be fine for a week or two, but months? No. Way too expensive. So, lots and lots of research!

Whether or not I ever do any of this — camping, traveling cross-country, taking a freighter to New Zealand, staying here and continue taking dance classes — it’s a true experience rethinking what is necessary for both my comfort and safety. The internet is a necessity, of course, but I can use my phone to post my blog (which I would do whenever I could find a signal) and use truck stops and other public places when I need to use the computer.

If I’m traveling in my car rather than on foot, I’d have no problem carrying enough food, water, shelter, pillows whatever I need for comfort and cleanliness. But safety? Eek. I just read about a guy sleeping in a tent who had been bitten in the head by a black bear. Oh, that is so not on my agenda!! Nor are ticks and miss-quits (as a friend calls mosquitoes because they never miss and never quit). So more research needed!

Do you see what is most important to me? Internet, comfort, safety, in that order. Hmmm. Don’t quite know what to think about my priorities. Might have to research that too.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

17 Responses to “Countdown To Homelessness”

  1. Jean Says:

    Wow! You are one brave lady!!😁👏. Love what you have to say……I can so relate…..

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The bravery is yet to come. I still have a couple of weeks left in this comfortable house, so it’s easy to be brave. But thank you. I appreciate your note of confidence. I so need it!

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I’d definitely do a road trip for a while if I were in your position. Just see where the road takes you. Just don’t stop into any towns with weird vibes. Seven times out of ten it’s the start of a horror movie.

  3. sumalama Says:

    You’re most welcome to camp out in my living room in Oceanside, CA. We’re 14 blocks from the beach. My wifi won’t quit!

  4. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Wow Pat–talk about “onward, into the fog…” You’re actually doing it. Hope you’ll be able to keep posting, so we can keep track of you and your holy wanderings. Freighter to NZ sounds most exciting of all prospects, but if you ever get this far east, you can certainly crash here for a few days. Next week, an old friend will stay for a few days, on her way back from solo Mexico, which she does every winter for months, and on a shoestring and barely any Spanish…love!

  5. Kathy Says:

    You’re thrilling us with these thoughts of possibilities!

  6. Coco Ihle Says:

    Pat, you are something else! I’m one of those “planners from heck.” You’re my hero! Sorry, I guess I should say, heroine! More power to you!!! I’m on pins and needles, waiting to find out what you do end up doing!!!

  7. mickeyhoffman Says:

    I repeat my favorite quote, supposedly from Yogi Berra. “When you see a fork in the road, take it.”

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m cracking up here. My mind did one of those weird switches, so the image in my mind was of an eating fork lying in the middle of the road, and I wondered why I should take it. Oh, my.

  8. Constance Says:

    I think that it would be fun to travel and see all your friends everywhere, no matter how you do it. Just keep blogging so we all know where you are, and how you are doing.

  9. Pam Garlick Says:

    Prayers coming your way. My husband and I are one paycheck from homelessness ourselves. All because of my high medical bills. Should anything happen to him. . . Well, let’s just say I hope I go first. I like your optimism. I hope that if, or when, I face the same I will be as courageous as you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Pam, I’m sure you will be. So often, circumstances dictate who we become. This person I’m turning into isn’t someone I recognize. I’ve always been . . . not timid exactly, but cautious and worried.


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