Houses Are Overrated
Its been seven months since we moved out of our RV and back into a regular house; and, for the most part, it sucks.
The first thing that sucked about moving back into a house was the money.
Technically, our rent is only $300 a month more than it was when we wintered in an RV park. But that winter, our only bills were rent, electricity, one cell phone, and propane. We could actually survive on minimum wage.
When we moved back into a house, we had to put down a deposit, buy a bed and a couch, get a “second” vehicle (since we can’t use our RV for driving around Saskatchewan in the winter) and get a second phone since we would actually spend some time apart now. After all of those major expenses, not only did our rent increase, but so did all of our other bills. And then we added an internet bill, house insurance AND car insurance, and the extra cell phone bill.
Sometimes I have two hot baths in one day, just to try and make myself feel better – since that was something I couldn’t do in the RV.
Its best not to think about that though…because it means I pay about $700 a month to take hot baths.
The second thing that sucks is that I’m trapped. I wanted a house again because I wanted to feel secure. But, security just limits my freedom (I should have known that already).
In our RV we could have everything packed up and be ready to move in about an hour. If we decided to do that now, it would take at least a month. We would have to “give notice.” We would have to store/sell our furniture.
And the worst part: we would have to explain ourselves.
Another thing that sucks is that there is ALWAYS something to do around a house. Living in an RV is a lot of work, for sure. But the hardest part is just that its different. And then you get used to it. There is actually less to maintain in an RV, but less people know how to do it. So, you just have to be resourceful, do your research, and ask for help.
But consider this: What would happen if the furnace in your house stopped working right now? (And if you rent, consider what would happen if YOU caused it to break!)
If the furnace went in our RV, we could probably replace and install a brand new one for a few hundred bucks (but there’s a good chance Cody and a few other “handy” people from the RV park would get it working again). Arguably though, we might not replace it at all since electricity is so easy to come by. A propane furnace would just give us more freedom; it would be our choice. In a house, we might have to go into debt just for the “security” of having a furnace. We couldn’t let our pipes freeze!
We didn’t have to worry about a washer and dryer to maintain, a shower or bathtub to clean, a leaky basement, a large yard, a sidewalk or street front to shovel… and I could clean the whole thing from top to bottom in under an hour. Our vehicle and our house maintenance was wrapped into one. And, if I started a project, I would just have to finish it because there’s no room for unfinished projects in a tiny RV!
Life was simpler. It really was.
But you know what sucks the most about living in a house?
We are back in “the system.”
And, quite frankly, the system
sucks right now. We’re disconnected from the needs of our neighbours, because
we assume the social net will catch them. But it often doesn’t. It certainly didn’t
We’ve survived (not just the trip, but life in general) because we have kind, privileged and extremely generous family and friends. That makes us privileged.
And somehow, the message that we got from society when we were on the road, was: we were “brave,” “adventurous,” giving our daughter such an “amazing learning experience,” and “changing lives!” We inspired people!
The message that we get from society now is that we need to work harder.
Like seriously, just get a fucking job.
It doesn’t actually matter how many lives we change – from adults learning how to believe in themselves again to children discovering that their body actually belongs to them. We KNOW that Hoop Play changes lives. We KNOW we’re doing good work.
But it doesn’t matter, because now that we’re “in the system” we are seen as financial investments again.
That’s what a “productive” member of society is. Society will not help me, unless I can prove that I will make more money in the long run.
Am I even a good person? Am I a good mother? Society tells me that since I’m not doing EVERYTHING I can to get the good job with the good pension and the good benefits, then I’m probably not putting my child first.
Why didn’t I hear that, why didn’t I feel that judgement when we were in our RV?
Maybe its just because those people stayed the fuck away from us. Maybe a white girl with dreads popping out of a 45-yr old RV, while waving goodbye to her cat in the window, was enough to scare those nay-sayers away.
At least people knew where I stood then. At least I knew where I stood.
I used to think that the fringes of society were bad, scary and unsafe. I revelled every moment of our great adventure, but I still wanted to get back to society (eventually) because I was sick of getting kicked out of parking lots and lying about being on “vacation” when we got dirty looks.
But now I know that the fringe of society is a beautiful place.
As an educated, experienced and mature adult, I can see that inside society – specifically, inside the workforce – is where I am most exploited. Dancing on the edge of a broken system gives me the perspective to take only what I need from it and leave the rest.
Do I really need a bathtub? Do I really need to work harder? Is there really so little in this world that I must fight for every fucking crumb?
I doubt it.
But I might need to step back again to know for sure.