Domestic Vagabonding and Pain

About 8 years ago, I moved to the largest metropolitan area within a half day’s drive from my hometown to get on board with a directionless start-up in hopes of making a lot of money in a short time. The start-up fell flatter than a pancake and I quit in an unprofessional fashion (not bragging) within two months. So, there I was in the big city with no job, my pickup truck and a mountain of student debt. My good friend and then landlord generously cut me a deal on rent until I found another source of income.

Over the next three months, I sat unemployed and unoccupied for hours each day applying for 1,000 jobs with little idea of whether I was qualified for them. I “networked,” started a blog that is somewhere in an internet cemetery and wondered about my life’s purpose. The latter is still part of my alone time.
After going 90 days without a job, I had to start making money again, so I set my sights on temp work. I came up empty-handed after interviewing for a barback position and then as a waiter. So, I bit the bullet and took the first job I was offered, which landed me back in my hometown. If nothing else, it got me back afloat.

If the above-described situation had happened today, I would be able to hold strong without full-time employment until I found work I liked instead of taking a job to avoid going broke and the existential vacuum that comes with having nothing to do every day.

In fact, a similar situation is happening right now. This time, however, it is far easier. After returning from living in Asia, I returned to live in my hometown and applied for jobs in the same big city I lived in in 2010. I did this for the first quarter of 2018. Unsuccessful for 3 months, I decided to make the move and figure it out when I got to the big city. With a rented sedan full of my limited belongings, I arrived at my first AirBnb.

For most of us, living in the first world requires transportation and shelter. Those are both far more temporarily available in 2018.

Full disclosure, I am holding out from buying a car by choice. I like the freedom. Thanks to Uber, Lyft and all of the ancillary ridesharing platforms, I can drive myself by renting another person’s car when I feel like it and operate without a car when I feel like it.What “ancillary ridesharing platforms?” You may ask.

Two platforms called Hyrecar ( and Turo (
IaIQobChMIwsbPse_q2gIVjYbACh1lxAY2EAAYAiAAEgJ6g_D_BwE) make it possible for you to borrow someone else’s car to drive for Lyft and Uber. Because my ultimate goal is to live within walking distance from work, I have not committed to buying a car even after getting full-time work. It may be an ocassional pain in the ass for friends to give me rides, but it’s also liberating for me and I don’t experience the inevitable rises in blood pressure that go along with driving in traffic. The sharing economy in all its glory makes moving to a new city without personal transportation a no-brainer.

As for moving somewhere without signing a long-term lease, I am doing that too. My primary reason for this is that this city has world-reknowned traffic. To avoid it during the next phase of my life, I will live as close as possible to work. Since I don’t know exactly where I will be working, I have avoided signing a long-term lease. Almost all of my friends, including my previous host, are married and most have kids, so moving in with them won’t really work at this stage. So, I have opted to use AirBnB. It has been an adventure with a little pain. I am in my fourth different place since April 1st.

I have no complaints about my transient, minimalist life at this moment. I will get a place and car when the time is right. An unforeseen challenge to this lifestyle is having personal space to use as my own for the purpose of my choosing. I like to doing yoga, handstands and bodyweight HIIT workouts to start my days, which requires a little more than a yoga mat of space. I didn’t realize that a body length (I’m 5’8″) of space that is not a bed or closet is not quite enough for me. I learned this the hard way.

During one of my recent AirBnB stays, I came down from a handstand to hit my ankle on a metal bedpost which sidelined me from the rigorous exercise routine I like to keep. The shock of the pain kept me on the floor of my rented room for 3 minutes. As I laid there writhing, I thought about the risks I have taken over the past 2 years and how I ended up in this position. It was physically and emotionally painful. I needed this pain. It taught me something. Shivering, I suddenly grasped the meaning of the pain. I shouldn’t be ashamed of needing more than a bed and a place to put my bags. Perhaps getting my own place has some functionality outside of hosting friends. I indirectly caused this pain by not renting a place with enough space to fall, worry-free from a handstand. It’s not needy to want these things so I can operate at a higher level. Materialistic is the last thing I can be accused of being right now, but my pain taught me that some first world luxuries have some functionality outside of abundance for it own sake. I may not be quite finished vagabonding, but will seek living space with enough room going forward. It doesn’t make me soft. It makes me newly more practical.

Thank you pain. I will heed your advice.


2 thoughts on “Domestic Vagabonding and Pain

  1. Great post. Although not as severe, it reminds me of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s reflections during his imprisonment in a Soviet gulag. Most people complain or cast blame on other circumstances, but he dwelled on his own choices and how it brought him to his current predicament. Afterwards, he took ownership to create necessary change.

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