Noodling a New Freedom

Lately I find myself thinking about “place” and freedom a lot. I’ve lived in Harlingen TX, Jacksonville FL, Pittsburgh PA, Knoxville TN, Seattle WA, St. Joseph MI, Chesterton IN, Memphis TN and here in Baton Rouge LA. And, yet, I still have wanderlust. I want to live in the mountains. I’d like to live in a big city where I don’t have to have the albatross of a car around my neck. And time, as they say, is ticking by.

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How many moves do I have left in me? Moving used to be easier. I remember moving to Harlingen in my Mercury Lynx. Just out of college, I had no furniture. I rented a small place in a bad area of town that was furnished. I was so poor in my journalist job that I had to leave the house and go to the beach on the weekends because I couldn’t afford to run the air conditioner. I sat on the beach in the south Texas breeze and went home at night when it was cooler. I was only 22, and I knew no one in Harlingen. Now that I think about it, I was quite the adventurous spirit. I never thought anything of it. I just moved across country like I was driving down the street.

I drove from there to Pittsburgh where I married my first husband. The long drive from south Texas to Pittsburgh took me 3 days, and I added a wedding dress to my luggage in my Lynx. I remember feeling like a freebird as I drove up and down the Appalachian mountain range to start my new adventure as a young wife and a northerner. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so excited. Life was just beginning, and there was so much to see and do. I wanted to see it all, and I felt like forever was a very long time.

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Moves got more complicated. I had more stuff. I collected furniture, married husbands, left relationships and I had to find new jobs to support my lifestyle. I had more baggage – figuratively and literally. Moving was more complicated emotionally. Rather than racing off on a grand new adventure with stars in my eyes, I would sit and cry grieving the loss of one place while eagerly anticipating the adventure of a new one. In another empty house full of memories, I would cry, call my sister, and she’d tell me how lucky I am to have lived in so many wonderful places. I’d sob and choke back tears while I realized she was right, and it was time to look forward. Drying my eyes, I’d lock the door, start the car and drive away. My heart was always heavy when I looked at my home in the rear view mirror. But, I had to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me.

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I’m beginning to wonder why moving has become so hard. I must be descended from a nomadic tribe that wandered from place to place. How easy they must have had it! They could cover up the fire, pack up their tent and their babies and move on. There was no new job to secure. Their houses and family and friends went with them on their new adventure. I can’t imagine a better way to live.

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I’ve become fascinated with living in an RV. Apparently a lot of people are doing it. It’s mainly for the retired and the twenty-somethings that haven’t locked themselves down to a location yet. Momma was telling me about a friend of hers who had a huge home that was full of antiques, and they decided to sell it all and live in an RV for a few years. They travel to a place, get a job where they work for money and an RV spot. They love it. Her friend is now questioning whether or not they will ever go back to living in a house. Who needs to be tied down?

These tiny houses have caught my attention. And they have some on wheels called Tumbleweed Houses. They are much less expensive than a regular house, and they can be put in a remote area. If I decided that I had a hankering to live in the mountains for a few months, I could just pull up and drive there. Then, when it gets cooler, and I’d like to go down to the beach, I could pull up and relocate. Because it’s so much less expensive than a house, I could take lower-paying jobs. I could work in coffee shops, sell tickets at movie theaters or even write freelance – until I didn’t want to anymore. Ahhhhh … the fantasy of being free at last to roam at will.

Take a tour of a tiny house…

In other countries, people don’t buy all of these big houses with all of this property. They live in small apartments, and they socialize outside in the urban areas where there are beautiful parks and lovely city streets. They make friends with neighbors and frequent coffee shops and cafes. We are the only country that goes on massive grocery shops so we can hole up in oversized houses and avoid the neighbors by shutting our garage doors behind us. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve lived where I never even knew my neighbors. Life was lived inside. Our homes and property have become our lives.

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At this point in my life, I’m really evaluating what’s important to me. I don’t own a home at the moment, and I am really happy with the freedom of knowing that if I moved, I could pay an extra month’s rent and be out of here. I don’t have to sell anything and lose my ass or wait for months and months before someone decides that my house should be their house. It’s still not as easy as a tiny house on wheels because I’d have to pack all my crap and move it to a place where I have a job that pays enough for me to store all my crap in yet another house. I long for the days of packing my Mercury Lynx and driving away with the wind in my hair and not a care in the world.

I’m starting to get really motivated to live life a little differently. I want to live life on my terms, and I’m thinking that means I need to live more simply. I’d love to get up one morning, eat breakfast, leave the dishes on the table and say “screw it”. I could lock the door, hook my house up to my car and drive away leaving the last place in a cloud of dust. My days of wanting “stuff” are coming to an end. I’ve had enough clothes, new furniture and kitchen gadgets, and none of them made my life any happier than I was driving over the Appalachians anticipating the next grand adventure. I ….. WANT ….. THAT. 

9 thoughts on “Noodling a New Freedom

  1. Hey Sharon…I can relate to what you’re saying. I’ve often thought I’d just like to roam the country in an RV. Love the mini house concept too….but I would consider that in a more permanent location…think hooking up & unhooking utilities from a house would be a little more complicated and expensive then with an RV…but I’m not sure….guess I’d have to research that first….But I really like the idea of having that freedom to just pack up and move on. Now you really having thinking…haha….Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I saw a video on Facebook or TV about people live in RVs or vans. They’re not homeless, they choose to do this. I was excited watching the video and it really consumed my imagination for weeks.
    I still think about it and plan how and when I’ll leave my job. Should we sell the house or lease it out? What about the kids? Can I live in a camper with my wife?
    Just knowing that this lifestyle is an option makes it easier for me to think about going into semi-retirement earlier and leaving all of this BS behind.
    I’ve watched a few of the small house shows on HGTV and I’m not sure I could do that. I can live in a box, as long as I get to travel and have adventures. I want to run in races all over the country.
    Everytime I open a closet I see things we need to get rid of.
    That one video really changed the way I think about things.
    Thanks for writing about this!
    Andy

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