a simple life

The other day a twitter friend, @jfmailander if you want to look him up, described me in a tweet as an ascetic. I don’t know if that’s a totally accurate characterization, but I kind of like it. So I thought I’d post a short description of how I live. Maybe you’ll be interested, maybe not. If not, feel free to ignore it.

I live in a once abandoned class C motorhome in the desert of southern California, 30 miles from the nearest town. It needed a little patching up and a good cleaning, but it’s basically sound and serves my purposes perfectly. I live rent free right in the middle of where I’d decided over the last couple of years I wanted to live in exchange for managing a small campground. The work is minimal. Before I came here I lived for a couple of years in tents and my Jeep, both here in the desert and in LA when I’d spend time there. Moving inside was huge for me.

I own a car, some clothes, and too many books, if there really is such a thing as too many books. I’m obviously hooked in to the internet — I have a phone, a small tablet that I use occasionally, and a laptop that I use rarely. The phone is my main tool. I use it to post and to keep in touch with the world. It’s also my camera. For lighting I use a few candles, a solar lantern, and a small battery powered light that was given to me. Mostly I live by the sun.

My expenses are minimal. I pay no rent, taxes or utilities — I keep my equipment charged by the sun and back that up with my car chargers. I help out my daughter and her mother with their phone and power bills. They live in LA — not necessarily an easy place to stay afloat. I believe it’s important to help out your tribe if you can. I can.

I eat simply. I indulge in good coffee. I use on average about 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water a day. Two or three times a week I’ll use another gallon or two for bathing. I burn on average about a tank of gas a month. Sixteen gallons. This gets me around and charges my phone and other gear when I need to supplement the solar chargers.

I live this life on $760 a month. A little additional income would be good — if I could increase it to $1000 a month I’d have more breathing room and could even save some, but it’s not critical or necessary. I’m not willing to sell my time for a few extra bucks. Money comes and goes, but time wasted is gone for good.

So… call it ascetic, call it spartan, call it what you will. I just call it simple and unencumbered by a lot of stuff. I call it a good life. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

2 thoughts on “a simple life

  1. I admire and respect what you’re doing. It’s akin to what I tell people, now that I left my job on the fringes of corporate America to write (and photograph) full time, in that I would rather live in my car than hold that kind of gig again. They think I’m joking. I’m not. It’s good to see someone else doing it, and I salute you for it.

  2. I appreciate that Chris. Good for you for knowing what you need to do, what you’re willing to do to get there, and not letting other’s doubts and fears hold you back. That’s the biggest roadblock. More power to you.

    I look forward to following your progress as you carve out a new and fulfilling way of living. It can be a rollercoaster at times, but well worth it.

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