Choosing Hardship

A project log for The Village

Long term project to build an entire village using sustainable technology and traditional methods.

DustinDustin 01/22/2022 at 03:320 Comments

I don't often talk about how I live, mostly out of past shame and embarrassment. I've never had a remotely "normal" life, as defined by the standard of living in The United States. All I'll say on this right now is that I come from a broken home and spent my childhood unsure of where I'd live or what I'd eat. I wouldn't normally wish it on anyone, but it has made me who I am. There are certain types of people who would benefit from certain types of hardship. 

I've had a few chances in life to live a "good" life. Such as when I worked for a software company or the recent towing company I left. Plenty of money for which to spend on rent, bills, and treating depression and emptiness. I've tried that route and it drove me nearly to the edge. I've found that the will to live seems to be a mental resource that an be depleted, much like physical and mental energy. "Normal" life depletes my will to live quite rapidly, and it took me many years to realize and accept this fact. I've stayed with friends, had a few places of my own, and even in homeless shelters as a kid. My distinct lack of a steady "home" has caused me much stress and loneliness over the years. It's also taught me the immense power of simplicity and letting things go. In the past, as recent as a year or two ago, I held onto things very tightly. Physical items, people, beliefs, grudges, emotions. I currently live in a 16 foot by maybe 8 foot camper. I don't have room to be holding onto things. Everything here has to serve many purposes and be of high quality and reliability. That means that there is no physical room for duplicates, extras, or luxuries. 

I recently had my first visitor to this camper recently. He's never known the lifestyle I have. I don't hold it against him at all. I envy him at times. When he saw the 1973 box I live in, he felt bad for me. I don't blame him, not do I actually feel bad for myself. I have everything I need here, just smaller. I have hot and cold water, shower, toilet, filtered drinking water, microwave, gas and induction stove tops, fridge and freezer, large kitchen sink, gas furnace, diesel heat, electric heat, a table, couch, bedroom, and storage space. I manage to have everything I need here because much care and thought has gone into designing the space. I don't want anyone to feel bad for me here. I chose this, and for good reason. 

I feel bad for most people, actually. Not to be smug or arrogant. My total loving expenses, per month, are around $1,000. That's food, gasoline, rent, phone, and gym bill. I don't need much else. Rent is often near my entire expenditure for many people. I'm getting ready to return the gigantic service truck I'm borrowing when I get my truck on the road again. This will mean I'm eliminating my debt as my truck will be paid off in full very soon, gasoline costs will go down significantly, and the option to take road side service calls for extra income becomes available. I'll have to pay insurance, but that's easy enough to make up for. 

The point of all of this rambling, which I'm quite good at these days, is that I chose this life in order to avoid making large commitments to anything. I need my freedom in order to build this gigantic dream of mine and enjoy life. I would never be happy with a big house and 30 year mortgage. Nor would I enjoy a high paying job that treats me like I'm disposable and uses me up. I belong out in the world, making videos, recording adventures, building, and trying new things. The only way I'll be able to do so is by living as simple and frugal as I can tolerate. So when I have to go buy diesel fuel for my furnace instead of just having it come from the wall, I remind myself that my diesel heater is mobile and paid off. It can go with me to the other side of the country. So can my fridge full of food, and even my bathroom. I could make a smoothie in the desert, or at the beach. If I needed to leave for months at a time to check out a piece of land, I could do so without the hassle of upcoming bills such as a mortgage or car payment. When all is in order, I won't even need to rely on a particular boss or place of work. I'm basically buying my freedom later by choosing a simple and frugal life now.