LIVING IN A VAN | PART 4 | DON’T YOU EVER THINK, “FUCK THIS, I’M GETTING A HOUSE!”?

Probably the number one question I have received over the last four and a half years, ‘Don’t you ever think, “Fuck this, I’m getting a house!”?’

In short, no. Housing’s for quitters!

Fuck this, I'm getting a house!

Jokes aside, there have been many times where I have contemplated the age-old question What the fuck am I doing?, usually when the van is freezing cold, something crucial breaks or I have a close encounter with some kind of perceived authority. However, I think asking yourself this question from time to time is a healthy type of reflection. If you’re asking yourself weekly, though, then it’s time to take a harder look at yourself, behaviour, environment and situation.

I’ve never thought about packing in my van lifestyle in exchange for a house, though. Ever. Why would I? Let’s look at my two sparkling other options. Again, these are my views. I am not saying these are practical steps for everyone or that everyone should do this. It collapsed my reality and turned me into somewhat of a societal outcast. Imagine what it would do to you!

Rent
I really do refuse to accept the procedure and practice of succumbing to paying over-priced rental fees. Haemorrhaging away money on a monthly basis to make someone else richer and leaving you with nothing to show for it once you decide to move on seems very inefficient to me. You own zero yet have to sell your precious time to someone in exchange for permission to live somewhere usually at a severely hiked price. I don’t have a problem with the concept of rent per se, short term for days at a time is often practical (Air BnB, for example) but I am not willing to accept it as a living method. It completely skews your availability of your own time when you have to portion off a large amount of it in the form of labour in order to meet payments.

Mortgages
Definition, as per the Cambridge Dictionary; an agreement that allows you to borrow money from a bank or similar organization, especially in order to buy a house, or the amount of money itself.
Possibly one of the biggest cons in the last 100 years, the illusive mortgage. To illustrate how effective the mainstream schooling system is, I didn’t even know the definition of the word ‘mortgage’ until I was in my early twenties. I eventually became sick of hearing everyone talking about these things and not knowing what the fuck they were. School tells you nothing about them and yet it seems everyone has them. Logic would suggest then, that the average person who has a mortgage hasn’t got a fucking clue what is going on behind the scenes, as no one has been prepped for the ins and outs properly. The economic crash of 2008 proved this, and if you’re not sure what I mean, just go and watch ‘The Big Short‘ and try to understand what the hell they are talking about. Because I didn’t have a clue. All I knew was that someone making 469 billion off of people’s demise was disgusting. And that someone knew a hell of a lot more than you and I did about the mortgage.

By definition then, if you borrow money to purchase something you cannot afford and have made an agreement to pay that borrowed sum back, you are going to have to earn a certain amount of money, monthly, yearly, in order to return the debt. That equates to selling your time to an industry or employer, often for 30-40 years plus. Do you know what I understand that to be? A death sentence. A slow, laborious death sentence. Borrowing money from a bank has always seemed to be a bad idea to me.

Really, the con is on you, being told that your house is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, as is the land that it sits on. My mobile house is currently worth less than £1000. It also sits on public land that I pay a contribution towards; the road. The value of your house and the land it sits on is in constant flux and is not defined by anything that you have control over. The country you live in and the state of that country’s economy decides, which is ultimately decided by the banking and money-lending elite. Again, The Big Short depicts this very well.

I cannot understand why anyone would want to live in a dwelling that they have no ownership of or control over, that can be repossessed at anytime and still costs a monthly fortune that only seems cheaper when placed next to an over-priced rental option. Oh, and did I mention you’re gonna be paying this bill off for fucking ever!?

Comforts and Amenities
I’ll be honest. Comforts and amenities are overrated. So overrated. I have lived without a native power source in my van for the best part of 4 years, 6 months after my leisure battery system packed in and I was too broke and lazy to fix it. I have lived without native running water for the entire time, never once filling my built-in van water tanks, but instead filling bottles and containers from taps, outside or otherwise. I have lived without a heating system for 1 of the 4 years and that was a massive fucking error. It dropped to a record -7 degrees celcius that winter and I started coughing a lot more than normal, most likely due to a fluid build up on my lungs. Since then, I’ve burnt wood to stay warm in winters. And I’ve still got laid, still built muscle, still had insights, still had laughs, still learned new skills, still progressed as a person.
If anything, this somewhat extreme approach to self-reliance (as viewed in the western hemisphere) has improved my level of resourcefulness no end, a skill that I think is absolutely paramount to survival and finding your own way in life.
My small-space adaptation has meant I’m able to make a hook or shelf out of anything, from utilising paperclips to strategic knotting. My reduced income has meant I’ve sourced food from supermarket waste bins, for years. My non-localised dwelling setup means I’ve been able to train my body and mind and explore how to tame them both in such a fashion that I can get away with eating food from supermarket waste bins. If I can feature in the UK’s leading ‘Health and Shitness’ magazine for men, from living on a bin-diet and in a wheeled box, then what’s all the hype about?
Your forever-getting-bigger flatscreen T.V. is doing nothing for you, really. Nor is your abundance of clothing, reflective surfaces and lack of books.
Basics are all you need and you’d be surprised how few of them I own and how little you need to surive and still feel like your achieving and feeling fulfilled. I’m happy to pay for electricity and water, neither of which should be priced highly. But thanks to my resourcefulness, I rarely have to. Do I need a house to have the basics? I do not.

I’m coming to the end of my time in The Mothership. She has served me well and I’ll soon be approaching the crossroads of this post’s theme where I will have to make a choice. To be honest, I’ve already made it. I won’t be moving in to a house that I do not own but instead upgrading to a newer vehicle and righting all the wrongs that I’ve made over the last 4 plus years. That’s right ladies, soon you’ll have a bathroom, lighting and a practical bed.

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harrycloudfoot

Harry Cloudfoot is a writer and explorer of movement and mind. You can check his social media if you want but you'd be better off going and doing something, instead.
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