Tis the season to be grateful and I’m grateful this is only my second time being homeless. As I sit here hiding from the 92F (33C) degree weather in an air conditioned library while getting to use free wifi (I’m now in a house sit, with a BED. It feels sooo good), I think how ungrateful I can be when I wish I had a “home”. Many people have different definitions, but mine is somewhere where
- I’m with my boyfriend
- It’s for longer than a month
- There’s warm water. Why do public bathrooms only have cold water? Why? I’m weak, I need it to boil my flesh
It feels as though all we, as a couple, do is run around trying to escape the fact that we’re simply from two different countries. It tears me apart, and having a “home” has been on my wishlist since we started dating.
Drama aside, it’s our 2nd temporary period of homelessness and we’ve learned lots of things that I would have loved to know the first time around, SO I figured I’d write them down in case any of you might need them (although I hope not).
First things first
This post is actually a guide. The next one (Pt 2) is more about the fun stuff we did. I typed too much so.. I have to split it up.
We slept in our car, but also actually paid for two nights out of our week in a campground for showering. It was $45 a night (normal ones are about $30) which is steep BUT it’s worth it for all the rad stuff they had to do. I might have high standards but I always look at campsite reviews to see just how nasty the bathrooms are going to be. The one we went to was clean, the bathrooms were separated so instead of stalls they were each a little bathroom with a shower, toilet, sink and mirror. OH MY GOD it felt so good to use a clean sink and toilet and not have to awkwardly turn diagonally over Sebastian to stretch my legs.
If you can’t afford to sleep in a campsite, and you have a car, then truck stops are the way to go. In the area we were in, it’s illegal to sleep in your car unless you’re in a designated area. You might want to look it up in your area, but that’s why we had to use a truck stop. They are never clean, and we met a huntsman spider, but it’s a place to sleep.
If you’re sleeping in a car and there’s two of you, I hope you like spooning.
Wow those are definitely not the most flattering pictures, sorry. You can string clothes and blankets around the windows for privacy so nobody can see your bits when changing or watch you while you sleep.
We got sleeping bags and a tent off Gumtree (Australia’s Craigslist) for cheap, you can also go to a thrift shop for that.
If you don’t have a car, you can sleep on benches if it’s warm out. If someone tells you to leave, it’s easier and less awkward to tell them you were drunk walking home from a party or something than telling them you’re homeless. If it’s cold then you can find a place open 24 hours that most likely won’t be busy, like a small gym and lock yourself in a bathroom stall. Those are some of the saddest words I’ve ever typed.
I apparently have a tiny weak baby’s skin so if someone looks at it wrong, or if SOME people rub their face all over mine because they like to pretend they’re a cat or something, then I’ll get 5 billion zits. So I have to wash it twice/day. I washed my face in McDonald’s/Hungry Jack’s handicapped bathroom many a time. Locks never worked. Absolutely depressing, lowest point in my life and I think my soul lost a good chunk of itself every time I did, but it gets the job done. Go somewhere where nobody goes. Of course on the last day I found out the library has the cleanest bathrooms EVER so I did it in there.
If you need cheaper showering for a longer term, you can get a gym membership or trial membership. A week long one will be free but clearly only a week. The problem with gyms is they like to lock you into a contract so just be weary. You can also go to a swimming pool for a day which should only be like $8 and get to use the shower there PLUS have a swim.
Going to use the bathroom is easy, fast food joints and gas stations are basically always open and couldn’t care less if you use their bathrooms without buying anything. Most of them wouldn’t care if you just killed them right then and there, they all look dead inside. That’s customer service for ya.
Laundry can be done at a laundromat. It’s kind of expensive, but it’s better than smelling like.. a.. homeless person. If you’re trying to do begging, people are more likely to help someone who doesn’t look like they need it than someone who does. Don’t ask why, people are weird, but keeping up appearances will help.
Yeah this part is depressing. If you’re able to buy some camping gear, like a cooler, bowls, pots, silverware, maybe a burner, then do it. We got some used stuff for free from a previous house sit so we got lucky. Again, you could buy used equipment off Gumtree/Craigslist. Anyway if you don’t have a burner then you can do what we did and buy cans of soup, beans, whatever and eat that. Free plastic spoons/forks can be found at 7-11 or any gas station.
Only problem is it’s always going to be room temperature and taste like the Great Depression.
I also meal prepped 2 kilos of rice and a big batch of some mighty fine black bean and chicken mexican mix, plus stir fry so we were able to eat that. We used tortillas, and cheap bread. If you’re in Australia, then go to a Woolies in the evening, at least after 5 PM but usually after 8 PM and most of them put their bakery items on sale. If you’re lucky it’ll be for less than half price 😉 If you’re not in Australia, then you can still check out the stores around where you live.
Two sad meals lol. We kept frozen veggies in the cooler. They were never frozen which was perfect. One day my corn on the cob was still rock solid frozen and it was like eating a popsicle, which was perfect because it was hot as hell outside.
The cheapest food you can get will be stuff like beans ($.60-$1.25 a can), fresh veg like carrots ($1.20/kilo) or potatoes ($2/kilo), fresh fruits like bananas ($2/kilo) and apples ($3/kilo), and frozen veg which can be as low as $1.65/kilo. We never buy anything over $10/kilo unless we’re feeling really fancy, like turkey for Thanksgiving ($15/kilo). Sausages are always really cheap ($4.50/kilo) so if you have fire or heat or whatever, you can feast like a king on sausages and that fresh bread you got from Woolworths 😉
If you have access to a microwave, you gotta make microwave potatoes. Just stab it all over like you have blood lust, add some oil if you have it (touch of water works too) and nuke it for 3-6 minutes depending on how big the tayto is. You can mash it if you want to too. Can also put it in plastic baggies and carry it with you to eat on the go. Sebastian used to make 2 kilos of mashed potatoes at a time and sit there with a LARGE mixing bowl full of mashed potatoes and eat it like a bowl of cereal. Yes he has issues.
Whatever you do, do. not. give. into. fast. food. It is so overly priced and you’ll be wasting your money no matter how tempting it is. Now I’m a hypocrite because I let Sebastian buy frozen cokes all the time when it was nearly 40C but the man can’t handle the heat so I let him. Just don’t follow my lead.
Oh also water can come from drinking fountains or bathroom sinks of course, just buy a cheap big bottle of water for $.70 and reuse it.
Things to do for fun – Things I learned while being homeless pt 2
I’m going to write a second post on this because I already typed too much, so the next one will be about what we did to enjoy ourselves PLUS extra tips I forgot to add. I hope you found this useful, although ideally you didn’t even need to read it at all.
Being homeless really makes you mad jealous of people you see through restaurant windows eating a nice fancy hot dinner while you’re sitting on a bench eating a can of beans with a plastic spoon. Also makes a real bed about 15,000,000,000x more comfortable. I have nothing to complain about though, there’s people who don’t even have clean water or access to a school, plus baked beans are pretty darn tasty even when cold. So with that I shall get onto typing up the next post. Sorry I talk so much lol