I live in hell*

This is the second bite of the cherry for this post as wordpress somehow swallowed attempt 1. Based on that I apologise as rewrites don’t tend to be as articulate.

As mentioned I have been thinking about the future. At this point, roughly 4 1/2 weeks into my last tour I was already planning the next one and I think I may have even have bought the ferry ticket. So although this tour is longer I can’t help but think of plans after my return to the UK at the end of July. At the moment apart from a few weddings it’s a bit of an open book.

Now I do have some ideas for other tours and adventures but having learnt that planning around favorable weather is a good thing to do these won’t come to fruition until at least spring 2016. So that gives me 6 to 8 months of spare time. My rough guess calculations estimate that the cost of my year from leaving my job at the end of last September to the end of September 2015 should stack up to approximately £3000. I don’t know if that sounds a lot or not, I know I haven’t budgeted much. In this spare period therefore it seems logical to enter the labour market and earn a similar amount to give me ‘touring funds’ for next year.

However in order to limit that involvement to as short a period of time as possible I still have no wish to enter the housing market. This gives me a number of distinct options for meeting my needs for shelter during the British winter.

Option 1 is to continue camping. Now the cold doesn’t scare me but the wet does. In addition if I’m located in one place I think I would exhaust the wildcamping options fairly quickly and returning to sites increases the risk of discovery. A ‘base camp’ would be preferable where with permission a larger tent could be placed that not only would make quarters less confined but enable cooking in bad weather.

Option 2 would be to buy some form of van. This gives a wider range of night time options for siting it. However it also includes an initial cost probably beyond my means and ties you in to tax and insurance. A static location for the vehicle on private land would enable you to declare it SORN to avoid the last two.

Option 3 would be the provision of somewhere free or very cheap to live that sits outside the normal housing market. I’m thinking sheds, boats etc. These things are out there, my friend Greg once lived on a canal boat in London for free. He did however hate it and the boat sank but it shows free shelter is possible. Mod-cons are not required.

Option 4 I guess would be ‘sofa surfing’. I’m not too keen on this as it is bound to lead to over staying welcomes and strained friendships. Whereas the above option utilises unused shelter, ‘sofa surfing’ almost says “you participate in the market, so I don’t have to”. Not exactly fair.

Option 5 is a return to ‘Woofing’ to meet food and shelter needs. Now in order to also add money to the touring fund some form of part time job would be required too. This means it would take longer to generate the magic cash figure, also inevitably leading to long days and tiredness. I can see it being less than fun.

Option 6 would be squatting. Now I need to do more research here especially as I believe the law has changed. I also need to talk to some current and ex-squatters I know. However now is the time having learnt to live with very little that I am most prepared to seriously use this option.

Option 7 is clearly the ‘easy’ option. Move back in with my parents. Now it’s a testament to my cultural indoctrination that the thought of doing this somehow feels wrong. It shouldn’t, in many cultures extended families live under one roof. My aunt also lived with my grandparents well into her forties. I need to gauge how my folks feel about this too as that is clearly going to impact how pleasant living at ‘home’ would be.

I can hear some of you saying “just rent somewhere you fool”. I however do not wish to get sucked back into the rental market. Entering the church of work just to pay bills. That would be failure. So I can’t do anything about this now it’s just some brief musings. It is a statement of intent though and if you can help or point me in the direction of appropriate shelter, please do.

*I don’t live in hell but this song is great and the lyrics are sort of relevant.

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