I started this post yesterday, the one year anniversary of the evening we drove away from our home in Connecticut, but then life got in the way, as it sometimes does. Anyway, here we go.
I was the one to suggest going homeless, “We have enough money to buy a cap for the truck. We could put everything in storage and just go.” I’ve always been one to “buck the tide,” as they say, but it was a wild idea, even for me. Brian didn’t hesitate before agreeing, but I don’t think he took the suggestion as entirely serious. However, over the next few days, as we started talking about our options more and more, homelessness stopped being a harebrained suggestion and became the plan.
The majority of my family lives in Pennsylvania while the majority of Brian’s family lives in Louisiana. Staying with either side would have relegated Brian’s job search to areas where we didn’t want to live. There are exceptions, of course, but most companies don’t entertain interviewees from across the country, especially in Brian’s line of work, with their penchant for multiple interviews before making a decision. Staying with family meant we’d have to settle.
I am not much for settling. I try to live in a way that when I look back on my life in five, ten, or fifteen years, I won’t see a pattern of shying away from tough choices, and I won’t hang my head in shame for not taking chances. I’ve watched people waste away in easy but unhappy situations, and while that might work for them, it doesn’t work for me.
When we told people we were going to voluntarily become homeless, we were met with a multitude of reactions; a few of them were kind offers of places to stay, others were shockingly unconcerned, some didn’t seem to grasp the idea at all. There were a lot of “Whys?”
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry David Thoreau
That is my favorite quote, and it’s one I wholeheartedly stand behind.
Together we made the decision to forge our own path rather than follow the one set in front of us by circumstance. We followed our dreams. Now here we are, in our new (and final) home state, in our jerry-built house, living exactly the life we set out to live. We are free from compromise and settling, reaping the great reward that came from great risk. It’s a feeling I wish everyone could experience.
by Dave Stamey