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.