Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Economics of Being a Vagabond

In the past week we have changed from "average" citizens with a home, job, ties to the community, etc. to, for lack of a better word, vagabonds. Surprisingly the spouse hasn't mutinied yet!
While the survivalist in me is quite happy with order, a guaranteed roof over my head, a year's worth of food provisions, and all of the other things that impart security in an insecure world, the vagabond in me is currently reveling in the fact that we now own very little. Here's what's changed:
  • We have no home. We completed the sale of our house and are currently staying with relatives. We will then head off to visit other friends and relatives over the course of the next few months in the US before heading overseas for a few months then coming back to the US for what may be an epic physical challenge (more on that later).
  • We have one small storage shed that is holding a few of our belongings that we didn't want to part with.
  • Other things have been stored at the homes of trusted friends (vehicle, firearms, etc).
  • The things we technically have at this point: a private mail box which will forward our mail to where ever we go, backpacks with our meager belongings that we will bring with us, a fairly good-sized emergency fund, and a fairly good-sized travel fund.
  • Other things we won't have: gas bill, water bill, garbage bill, sewer bill, electric bill, mortgage payment, cable bill, property tax payments, house insurance payments, and the need to buy loads of junk during the course of normal shopping (in fact this greatly helped to pump up the travel fund as during the past few months our shopping was basically nil because we knew we were going to be leaving and not have room to pack anything else). Of course we have no debt which is the cornerstone of the vagabonding life.
  • Things that we will pay for as we go: food, sundries. Shelter is graciously provided for free by friends and relatives for the time being.
  • Some concerns: not being able to carry a firearm with me on a more or less daily basis as I usually did. Not even being able to carry a pocket knife with me! Not having a giant stockpile of food in case of emergency. Not having a garage full of stuff that would be very useful during an emergency.
  • Alleviating these concerns: the fact that if there is a disaster in a certain area, relocating is as easy as hopping on a plane and going somewhere else. Also the fact that if there was a disaster, we would have very few possessions to loose in such an event.

That's what's happening so far. Posting will resume more regularly this weekend after we settle into our next temporary home.


  1. Pretty unlike you to think that you can just "hop on a plane" at any time.

    I seem to recall that was a problem last year if you happened to be in Europe when that volcano broke loose in Iceland..

  2. One thing I am curious about is your "Not even a pocket knife" I have carried a knife since about age eight. (So that is now fifty years worth!) Needless to say, I don't carry during air travel or in government buildings, schools or major political events. Still, when I fly somewhere, I generally pick up a cheap, "throw away" folder of some sort after arrival. Which I can leave as a gift or mail back home.I'm surprised you don't do this.

  3. Anon--If I am packing checked luggage, I always throw my pocket knife in there, however these days it is carry-on only and since I will be flying every few weeks for the next six months or so I suppose I will remain knife-less (although it is odd after having one within reach for decades).
    Busted--you are right about the plane situation. After a disaster, everyone and their brother heads for the airport (Egypt saw this just last week) and of course everyone will then look for alternate transportation too. The trick will be getting out ahead of the disaster if at all possible, being creative about alternate transportation, and to some extent luck. Barring any of those three things, survival skills will be required even if that only means setting up your own shelter at the airport.